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Sunday, July 16, 2006


Yea, the Buses Come In Clusters

Even when they sometimes go in the "right" direction. Sometimes that makes sense, but at other times, up to 3 buses arrive in a cluster and only 1-2 of them fill up with passengers, while the remaining one(s) leave half empty.
It seems weird that rather than distributing the buses so they arrive in even, more convenient intervals, they arrive in bunches even when it doesn't make sense.

(More could be said about this, in terms of the frustrations it creates for people who've already waited for extended periods, only to see a clause of buses arrive at the same time.)

Rather than sending 3 buses to transport very few passengers in relation to available seats, how about distributing them over each hour so that the schedules level better? Basically, how about not sending more buses than actually are needed? Likewise, how about sending more buses to where they Are actually needed? Duh...

Nobody would pay more for a product than its actual price. Only the MTA would.

But we'll see. When the MTA shows a solid switch in persona, I'll stop whining about them here. Right now there seems to be a plethora of inconsistencies, though.

It's not exactly malicious scheduling to blame. Consider this scenario: Two buses leave the depot 10 minutes apart. The first one stops and picks up passengers, slowing it down, while the second one has fewer stops since the bus in front has picked them up. As time progresses the buses get closer and closer. It's a tough problem to fix. One strategy is to have a bus behind schedule start blowing stops if there's a second bus catching up with it, but that's difficult to manage without GPS and computer dispatch. The only systems without bus bunching are those with huge headways (say 30-60 minutes) between buses.
Maybe it's not about the schedule.
But sometimes there are three empty buses across from where the crowd is waiting for the bus. A crowd can wait for more than 20 minutes only to see 2-3 buses arriving in the opposite direction and be almost empty. That ought to be a provocation. It's as though you wait to be served a meal, and somebody keeps teasing you with fake food.

Don't know why it happens, but in combination with all the other issues it appears to be stemming from some form of mismanagement. It's hard to not be cynical after you experience all the other things.
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