Sunday, March 22, 2015

The old Litany about Bus Transit

The second big Baltimore bus reform appears to fizzle. Why? The wisdom is that the lines need to be reformed to match the new shape of Baltimore. But maybe that is too ambitious? 
Maybe find out what the two or three worst and best performing lines are and analyze what the reasons in each case are. And then reform those bad lines to some set performance standard. 
What are the reasons for the bad performance?

Too long a run?
Too many stops?
Dwell times too long?
Bad traffic manGement?

Expand success line by line. 
Expand the Quickbus service. Put rigorous standards on fleet maintenance and operator performance. Give incentives when performance goes up. Simple stuff before complicated stuff. 

Reduce dwell times at stops can enhance performance more than anything else. 

I must say I agree with Rahn that better service shouldn't take 18 or 10 or even five years to achieve and that it doesn't need to be "gold plated". It is a matter of efficiency and reliability. The car industry has shown that more for less through efficiency is doable by copying from the Japanese. Running a bus on time shouldn't be so hard to do if the system isn't stressed to the limits. If it is that stressed, then cut some low level services to free equipment and staff to have less stress in the system. 

Anything that allows the MTA to say: See, our buses perform. 

From what I see things aren't as bad as the reputation, anyway. MTA has a fleet of mostly modern, clean buses. On-time performance is up. Possibly there are more problems in headquarters than in the actual operations. Those who publicly bad-mouth the buses the most never seem to ride them. 

Sun photo

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