There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blocks to the perfect transit system

Simple, petty frustrations. It's enough to make you want to sympathize with people who refuse to give up their solo commute.

Tuesdays have been a problem recently. Unlike most evenings, I need to leave work and arrive at a specific spot at a certain time. On previous Tuesdays, this worked well. I had a choice of arriving a little early or a little late. But then today someone at work threw a monkey wrench into the works.

So I decided I could leave an hour early and do what I need to do from home and then catch a ride to the appointment.

But RT blocked that.

Buses run in groups of four runs -- a block -- with a set interval between each run. But the interval between blocks is not the same. In the case of the No. 82 bus I use, the interval between runs is 30 minutes but between blocks it is 45 minutes.

Normally, I can catch light rail every half-hour starting at 5:41 p.m. until 7:11 p.m. and make a perfect connection with the No. 82 bus home -- 5:58 p.m. until 7:28 p.m. But before 5:41 p.m. or after 7:11 p.m. the bus blocks no longer match the train.

Today, I wanted to leave at 5:11 p.m., but that train doesn't meet the No. 82 bus, which leaves 65th Street station at 5:13 p.m., six minutes before the train might arrive.


Perhaps the RT driver guy can comment on why buses have to run in blocks. At least the trains run every 15 minutes (until the Folsom line shuts down). It would be nice if buses were as predictable.


Hearten Soul said...

RT Rider! That would be the closest I've heard you come to a grumble!

I'm not RT Driver -
but I can respond to the unspoken question about buses (like the 82) that run every half hour EXCEPT for 45 minute gaps between 8:13a and 8:58a, 10:28a and 11:13a, 12:13p and 1:28p, 2:58p and 3:43p, 5:13p and 5:58p, 7:28p and 8:13p.

Almost all bus schedules across the RT fleet were adjusted a few years ago to give RT Drivers their breaks as mandated by new state laws. This resulted in a very irratic and unpredictable bus schedule.

As RT Riders, the one thing that we learn to count on - is that we should not count on consistency!

John said...

"That would be the closest I've heard you come to a grumble!"

Ah, I can whine with the best of them. For instance, I'm not a big fan on the people who man the phones at 321-buss. And you'll find the "scheduling " topic has more than one unhappy post.

I once had a bus driver make an unscheduled stop at a Starbucks on an evening run. Seemed like a fine idea at the time. I'd only been riding for a couple of weeks. Now I realize just how odd that was.

Anyway, the "break time" disruption in the schedule is annoying, and finding an alternate way of meeting that state mandate would certainly be high on my list of "improvements" that Regional Transit could make that would encourage more people to rely on RT service.