Next Bus: The Greatest Hits Collection
Thursday, September 20, 200712 Comments
As about everyone has told you, Guelph Transit now has 2 new scheduling complications. First, during peak travel times (7:15am-9:15am and 1:15pm-7:15pm) buses that originate in St George's Square will operate on a 40 minute schedule instead of a 30 minute one. Second, bus stops will no longer have arrival times printed on the stops. Instead, Guelph has implemented the next bus system. With the next bus system rather than going out to your local bus stop at say 8:35 to make you 9:00 class, you can start at 8:00 by calling or going online to find out when the next bus is going to come. (That's where they got the system name from.)
Now, Guelph transit has made statements regarding the changes. In this past week's Ontarion, Greg Beneteau provides several quotes from Randall French, Manager of Transit Services. Beneteau reports French as saying "[Under the former schedule] 60 percent of our buses are running behind six to ten minutes late." This was the reasoning for moving to the 40 minute schedule.
However, with the introduction of the Next Bus system, it seems like the buses aren't keeping to any sort of schedule. With no time listed at each of the stops, Guelph transit can't really be faulted for being late. Over the last few weeks, the bus system in Guelph has de-evolved into some sort of chaotic system of transportation with buses not being late, early or on time but arriving when they arrive. This pseudo-system is throwing everything to the dogs. As I stated earlier, I missed set-up for Clubs Days because of the busses. This morning wis the second Next-Bus mishap I've experienced in a week's time.
Last Tuesday, at about 11:30pm I went to catch the 52 from the UC loop. I waited until Next bus said that the bus would arrive in 5 minutes because it was cold out and I only had a t-shirt. Sure enough, I went out to the loop and waited for 25 minutes for the bus to show up, freezing in my t-shirt because I figured that if I went back inside, the bus would surely come just to spite me.
This morning I woke up at 7:50. I pulled up Next bus as I wiped the sleep from my eyes to find that there was a bus coming to my stop on the #4 route in 2 minutes and another in 55 minutes. I planned on taking the one that was coming at 8:45-ish and got out of the shower with 10 minutes to spare (easy). I checked Next Bus and the next one was scheduled for 48 minutes. I'm not sure if the 8:45 one got a boost of speed, or if it had become uncompromisingly late, but now the next bus for me was looking to be at 9:30. Brilliant... I know. Finally, when the 9:30 bus was 10 minutes away, I ran to grab my iPod and when I got back to my laptop in the kitchen, the bus that was 10 minutes away was now 16 minutes away. then, when I got out to the stop 13ish minutes later, it was still another 10 til the bus came.
So, since I didn't have Clubs Days to attend all day, I decided to watch Next Bus. I'll give you the highlights.
It is ridiculous for Guelph Transit to allow this to go on any longer. I understand there is construction on the #4 route, but these problems are not isolated to the #4. These problems are widespread. It's hard enough for tech-savvy students, for example a news website editor, to catch a bus, what about all the people in guelph that are from a generation before computers being used for everything? there is a phone number that is supposed to provide times for bus stops, but the line has poor reception and if the problems below are repeated on the phone, which I know they are, the phone service is even more useless than the net system.
So, instead of blabbing on more about the faults of the Next Bus system.... I'll just show it:
Here is how the bus system is supposed to work. Each bus is about 30 to 40 minutes apart, not perfect but reasonable.
This, however, what is happening on numerous routes... Seriously? 116 minutes? How does that work?
While on other routes, buses are being stacked on top of each other like this. I like how the 45 & 106 on the 70b turns into 11 & 17 minutes.
This is my personal favorite... The buses were so far behind that, I don't think there was a bus on the route at that time.
And lastly, this is special. In watching the #52 the timer read 88 minutes and then a few minutes later it read 8, 20 & 47. This is a really bad glitch, especially if someone used the phone system at that time.
So, the most irking thing is that while it's nearly impossible for me to catch a bus at my house, I've seen 2 buses come, one directly behind another, on the #52 route like 3 times. And the biggest kick in the teeth is that the buses, running right behind each other are the same route, not like when the 52 and 51 come from downtown, but both the same bus on an exclusive section and they're EMPTY!
I have not heard from a single person that has liked, or even been satisfied with the new bus system. Something needs to be done. The current system is worse than the broken system that is supposedly being fixed.