Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Roosevelt Island Red Bus Experiment Has Started - But Why Are There No Signs At Bus Stop Posted?

Image of Red Bus with Hand Straps

The Great Roosevelt Island Red Bus Experiment is under way this week having been postponed in May due to the H1N1 Swine Flu closure and the Memorial Day Holiday Week. According to RIOC President Steve Shane:
Our joint experiment with RIRA in scheduling to see whether there is an improvement in service has been postponed as the week of initial trial turned out to have the Child School closed because of a Swine Flu occurrence and that followed by a short week. We are going to try, during the week of June 1 to schedule the three red buses on the route from approximately 10 to 11:30 so as to leave the Octagon at 9:55, 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, 10:55, 11:10 and 11:25. Each bus will wait at the Tram to pick up the passengers and return northbound. A 45 minute loop is built in to account for unpredictable event along the way. Predictability should be enhanced, although waiting times may suffer as the buses will be held out of service to meet the schedule.
The Main Street WIRE published a Roosevelt Island Red Bus schedule for the Experiment Week showing the time North and South bound buses are to arrive at each stop location, give or take a few minutes for traffic contingencies. When combined with the Red Bus GPS Tracking System, the posted schedule should improve the predictability of the next bus. The question is if predictability is more important than total waiting time between buses?

A reader of this post asks:
Why oh why is the experimental Red Bus schedule NOT posted at the bus stops where (especially at the Octagon) where it could be of some use to the general population?

The experiment is doomed to failure if people don't know about the schedule and the fact there is a somewhat attempt at a schedule.
Also, although I don't ride the Red Bus that often, it appears to me that new overhead hand straps have been added to the Red Bus upper rail. At a recent Operations Committee meeting, the issue of vertically challenged people having trouble keeping balanced on the bus due to high hand bar was raised so these straps may be a solution to that problem.


Anonymous said...

The hand straps have been there for some time now.....

Anonymous said...

As Anonymous mentioned those handstraps have been around for a while.

I almost think the RIRA and RIOC want this scheduling experiment to fail - why pick the most underused times to see what the bus/passenger counts are? Why not do the whole day or at least from 6am to 8pm to get an idea of the amount of traffic and from that get the idea of traffic flow/usage and from there generate a provisional schedule? The fact that even basic schedules - such as the infamous every 15 minutes the Red Bus normally runs on during the week and the Octagon express schedule - are simply not posted I think speaks to the inefficiency and overall indifference about the Red Bus from the RIRA/RIOC perspective. Yes we'd all love to walk up and down the island all day long but throw in bad weather, heavy shopping bags or a tired kid and you just want a bus that shows up when it is supposed to.

Apparently that's too much to ask.

Anonymous said...

Start charging $1 per ride and the entire problem will be solved. It's good for everybody's health, too.

Unknown said...

Yeah, awesome idea. I'm sure the huge amount of senior citizens and disabled people on the island would love to pay more or ride the bus less.

Way to not see the bigger picture, Anon 7:40pm.

Anonymous said...

Charging more doesn't solve the primary issue that there is no simple posted schedule for the bus.

And how exactly is paying a dollar good for one's health? If you were disabled or elderly on a fixed income I hardly think that would make you feel healthier.

Anonymous said...

Bah. Students, retirees, and disabled people can still get a reduced fare, of course. I think the $1 will address the overcrowding by lazy folks who cannot walk 10 minutes to the subway. Maybe an increased fare will encourage them to do so. If not, the RIOC will get more money it could spend on the bus service.

Unknown said...

I really don't think the bus is overcrowded by "lazy folks" The subway isn't 10 minutes away for everybody, you know. The subway is around 10 minutes away from Trellis. Now... try being on the other end of the island. What if your a parent with a couple of kids in tow? A healthy adult with alot of baggage, etc.

The red buses should have the ability to service everybody on the island, even the people who just don't feel like walking. They have as much as a right to take the bus as anybody else.

Anonymous said...

There are always good reasons to take the bus (the ones you mentioned, for example, Barinthus). Then there are many (most?) folks who take the bus just for convenience because they are too lazy to walk to the train. I think $1 is a good price for a convenience service. Btw, I am raising three children in this island and you see me taking the bus with those kids once in a blue moon. We walk. It's good for you.

Anonymous said...

Barinthus, I am only addressing the fare. If you are lazy, pay up the Dollar.

Anonymous said...

I don't think taking the bus is an indication of laziness. And I possibly would use the bus even if it was $1 - I would think that the RIOC would have raised the fares long ago however.

I think the primary issue that folks here are missing is that there is no discernable schedule and there is not one posted. Additionally service could be increased during rush hours to avoid bus stacking or prolonged waits.

There could also be an idea of say $1 during rush hours or 50 cents during off peak hours.

Also the Octagon (I know, groan, those ingrates at the dreaded Octagon) is a good 15-20 minute walk. Yes exercise is wonderful but there's also the convenience of public transportation and reliability of a schedule.

Anonymous said...

Did I see this correct that the schedule is posted inside the buses? Are there any schedules at the bus stops? I couldn't find any in the Manhattan Park area.

Anonymous said...

Schedules are in the bus NOT posted at the bus stops.