Circulator rethinking schedule strategy
Last week Charm City Circulator riider Tim Patterson raised some concerns about two issues affecting the free city bus service: the practice of interrupting normal pickups to get back on schedule and the tendency of certain street people to take up temporary residence aboard the vehicles in a most un-fragrant way.
Sarah Husain, transit coordinator for the Circulator, provided the following responses:
1. We’ve been experimenting with different ways to improve our evening peak headway times by trying new ideas in refueling the buses in the afternoons, but the “drop off” method that Mr. Patterson mentioned isn’t working well, so we’re changing that approach.
2. We have Downtown and Waterfront Partnership guides helping out to add an extra measure of safety and security on the Circulator on Friday and Saturday evenings, but if another passenger is causing an issue on the Circulator during other times, please let the driver know, who can then radio to dispatch that s/he needs assistance.
Suhain adds that the city is conducting a survey at its website in Circulator service and urges rider to sign on and give city officials some feedback on problems such as these.
My take on her answers:
1. It's good that the Circulator folks see the error of trying to adjust schedules midway through the run. The time and place to do that is at the end of the route. In the case of the Purple Route, if a bus must pause to alleviate bunching-up, it would seem the ideal place to do it would be on Lanvale Avenue between the drop-off point on Charles and the pick-up stop on St. Paul. On the Orange Route, Central Avenue could serve the same function.
2. Some riders might not want to be seen raising objections to the bus driver because they could be subjected to abuse by the people they complain about. But quite a few might prefer to notify authorities by text message. The city should look into what it would take to allow riders to report problems directly to supervisors that way.