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How can buses get better?

Old 04-22-19, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower
Well, the point of an economy is to serve needs and to regulate production and labor. So there are uncountable ways to accomplish these economic goals, and there are a lot of political-social issues that impede potential solutions. Regardless of how people's labor/productivity and consumption are ultimately regulated, it's possible to look at the bigger picture of what is better in terms of something like bus transit.

Imo, if no one was afraid for their job and you asked them if they'd rather get paid the same amount to drive a bus all night over a long distance or do so locally during a day shift, very few would choose the long distance night shift. Such shifts/jobs probably pay better for that reason, and that is the reason that drivers would hate to see them lost to automation. It's ironic, really, because the reason the job pays better is because it's less desirable, but then because people are afraid to lose money, they end up wanting to save the job for humans even though the whole reason it pays more is because it is less desirable.
Let's just say I've seen more than enough automation replacing humans over the last several decades that I'd rather buses (and freight trucks) remain driven by people that need to make a livable wage.

An old article quoted below.

"The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.

This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

. . . So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing." - https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...net-inequality
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Old 04-22-19, 06:21 PM
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The biggest problem with transit buses is also their biggest benefit: they accept everyone.

Intercity buses on the other hand, already exist, but I'm not sure about the private booths. I am sure about its existence on intercity trains however.

As for high-speed trains I've been a proportion of that since way before 9/11. I have to give Obama credit that he did try to institute that program but no state was prepared to accept it.

The privet industry could do it but it may well end up costing tax payers more since they'd no doubt have to donate the land. At one time the richest people in the world owned the railroads, but they were also notoriously corrupt and used that power to build their fortune.
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Old 04-22-19, 06:43 PM
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More routes.
Grid system of main lines and feeders.
Straight routes.
More frequent buses.
More hours.

Platforms for main lines.
Pay at the platform.
Platforms at walk-in height.

Feeder lines.
Feeder lines are free.

Easy to use payment system.
Max daily rate.
2 hour rate.
Monthly rate.
Steep discounts for students and seniors.
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Old 04-22-19, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
More routes.
Grid system of main lines and feeders.
Straight routes.
More frequent buses.
More hours.

Platforms for main lines.
Pay at the platform.
Platforms at walk-in height.

Feeder lines.
Feeder lines are free.

Easy to use payment system.
Max daily rate.
2 hour rate.
Monthly rate.
Steep discounts for students and seniors.
I ride the bus and they have all that. But none of that is going to get people out of their cars -- except on a limited scale where have limited stop express buses that take people from the suburbs into the city. People still have to drive or get dropped of though to get to the stations. So even that is a partial, partial solution.
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Old 04-22-19, 08:40 PM
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Mass transit has become a sitting duck. It moves so slowly that the competition can take shots at it and win.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/st...pps/ar-BBSDu2g
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Old 04-23-19, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
More routes.
Grid system of main lines and feeders.
Straight routes.
More frequent buses.
More hours.

Platforms for main lines.
Pay at the platform.
Platforms at walk-in height.

Feeder lines.
Feeder lines are free.

Easy to use payment system.
Max daily rate.
2 hour rate.
Monthly rate.
Steep discounts for students and seniors.
More routes, more frequent buses, and more hours would be good, especially in the outlying areas around here.
Grid system would be impossible here, there is no grid!

Straight routes ... as with grids, impossible, but direct routes would be good.
Feeder lines that connect into direct routes and free feeder lines would be great.

I like the idea of platforms and much nicer stops. My bus stop is just a stop ... no shelters, benches or anything. On a rainy, windy, cold winter day, it's miserable out there. And my homeward bound stop is so nondescript that bus drivers miss it entirely every now and then.

As for the payment system, we've got a pretty easy to use system already as you describe. The next step would be to use credit cards or phones instead of our current payment cards.

This page describes our payment system: https://www.metrotas.com.au/fares/urban-fares/
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Old 04-23-19, 12:36 PM
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Trolleys did not have the same traffic congestion issues when the track lane was separate

from the Paved motor vehicle lanes, [ BITD, Brick or Cobbled ] ..

but those manufacturers coveted that reserved right of way

and did what they could to crush their competition, to seize that territory . like war spoils.









....
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Old 04-23-19, 04:34 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Machka
...
Grid system would be impossible here, there is no grid!

Straight routes ... as with grids, impossible, but direct routes would be good.

....
It's really about making travel as quick and convenient as possible, and the overall system easy to use. In urban grid cities, getting anywhere with one transfer is ideal. In more linear areas, mainline routes with feeder lines may serve the purpose.

Many transit planners look at their current ridership and design convoluted routes to cover current high volume spots. Not a plan for anything but maintaining the status quo.
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Old 04-23-19, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
It's really about making travel as quick and convenient as possible, and the overall system easy to use. In urban grid cities, getting anywhere with one transfer is ideal. In more linear areas, mainline routes with feeder lines may serve the purpose.

Many transit planners look at their current ridership and design convoluted routes to cover current high volume spots. Not a plan for anything but maintaining the status quo.
Mass transit is suffering set backs and reduced ridership so yes they are cutting back to protect budgets. And there are problems we haven’t even imagined.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lat...outputType=amp

and then there is new competition.

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/01/uber-lyft-ride-hailing-impact-public-transit-ridership/581062/

Last edited by Mobile 155; 04-23-19 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 04-23-19, 07:39 PM
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[QUOTE=tandempower;20

But what else could make bus transit more popular, especially for longer distances.

[/QUOTE]


1. One price per year and all you can eat - I would love for there to be one price for lets say $2,000 per year and I can board ANY bus in the country.


2. An app that can show me where EXACTLY where the bus stop is located and what time it arrives and pricing - I know this sounds strange but if you're stranded in a strange town and want to get home, what do you do? Most transit agencies will list routes but how do you find your exact location on a paper map and where exactly is the bus stop? This is the reason many people who don't have cars won't venture past 20 miles from their home because bus transit becomes complex.


3. All commuter coaches should have a bathroom, bike rack and free wifi.


4. All long distant coaches should show a movie or at least have the news on!


5. A national Bus Rapid Transit Lane across the country should be created in 50 years.


6. The diesel bus must be eliminated in 25 years and replaced by electric buses.


7. Run articulated double decker buses and drop the fare by 50% with all the extra room. Articulated buses are those that are extra long and look like two buses in one.


8. Local city buses should NOT stop at each corner and must travel 7 blocks before encountering a bus stop. Prepaid systems must become the norm instead of painfully waiting for passengers to drop coins in the fare box or crumpled dollar bills. Boarding the bus from BOTH doors must become the norm on a prepaid system.


9. Inexpensive Mexican jitney vans must be allowed to operate in any city. This provides work for unskilled labor while creating more transit options for those cities with little or no options.


10. Buses should not be charged tolls of any kind keeping the fare box low.


That's all for now. I can dream right? LOL
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Old 04-23-19, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155
Mass transit is suffering set backs and reduced ridership so yes they are cutting back to protect budgets. And there are problems we haven’t even imagined.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lat...outputType=amp

and then there is new competition.

https://www.citylab.com/transportati...ership/581062/
I read the article that Uber and Lyft are hurting public transit. However, ride sharing isn't cheap and costs almost 5 times or more than a city bus. But people are paying those rates because bus transport can be little or nonexistent at night or during weekends.
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Old 04-24-19, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I read the article that Uber and Lyft are hurting public transit. However, ride sharing isn't cheap and costs almost 5 times or more than a city bus. But people are paying those rates because bus transport can be little or nonexistent at night or during weekends.

Yes they are willing to spend more to get service from spot to spot. Because transit is taking a hit they cannot afford to pay for low ridership at night. Yes it is a vicious cycle but that is what happens with someone sees a hole in your business plan and put a service right in that hole. Like some other studies have stated mass transit suffers at the hands of a strong economy because people will pay for status, comfort, Like to one in LA that suggests that because they can find work new immigrants aren't taking mass transit they are buying used cars. Mass transit has designed itself to service the poor and the poor seem to be using another method of getting to work. Not all poor but enough to take ridership away from both Bus and light rail. A good read on the subject tells us that there isn't really a lot of public support to invest more on mass transit.

https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/...-under-threat/
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Old 04-24-19, 01:05 AM
  #38  
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Old 04-24-19, 09:13 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Machka
More routes, more frequent buses, and more hours would be good, especially in the outlying areas around here.
Grid system would be impossible here, there is no grid!

Straight routes ... as with grids, impossible, but direct routes would be good.
Feeder lines that connect into direct routes and free feeder lines would be great.

I like the idea of platforms and much nicer stops. My bus stop is just a stop ... no shelters, benches or anything. On a rainy, windy, cold winter day, it's miserable out there. And my homeward bound stop is so nondescript that bus drivers miss it entirely every now and then.

As for the payment system, we've got a pretty easy to use system already as you describe. The next step would be to use credit cards or phones instead of our current payment cards.

This page describes our payment system: https://www.metrotas.com.au/fares/urban-fares/
Tasmania? I want to live where you live.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:15 AM
  #40  
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How can buses get better?

FYA for the subscribers of this thread, I posted back in 2015:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
FYA, @Roody, there is a luxury bus service between Boston and New York City, known as the LimoLiner, even nicer than Amtrak, with all kinds of amenities, for $89, one way. I

n particular it has large sight-seeing, clean windows for viewing as it passes through the length of Manhattan (and not the ”backyard”). [[u]railroads are said to travel through America’s backyards]
Originally Posted by Roody
It's funny that we in America call these luxury buses "limo-liners". In Europe they just call them "buses."

But next time you're in Michigan, check out the "Michigan Flyer" buses run by Indian Trails. They're beautiful, clean buses that currently serve Metro Airport, Ann Arbor, and East Lansing. I think they run on loop routes 13 times a day. Fares look decent, with 50% discount if purchased online 48 hours in advance.

Michigan Flyer > Home

Actually, all the Indian Trails buses are all beautiful, new, clean, free wi-fi, customer-centered drivers and agents. The buses are mostly on-time, even. They show what Greyhound could be with a better customer service model.
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Old 04-24-19, 10:03 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by tandempower
But what else could make bus transit more popular, especially for longer distances.


some ideas:

1) self-driving systems for the highway portion of a trip: making a long-distance run requires drivers to stay overnight and/or return to point-of-origin as a passenger, which wastes time and money. Self-driving buses could go long distances without inconveniencing drivers, who would only need to bring the bus to and from highway exits.

2) bus trains: connecting multiple buses on the highway would save fuel. Autonomous control systems would make it safe to do.

3) refueling without stopping: it would be challenging to design a refueling system that could operate while the bus and fueling vehicles are moving next to each other at highway speed, but autonomous control and other safety systems could make it feasible, imo.


What other potential can you think of for bus transit for intercity travel? More leg room? Beds for sleeping? Private passenger compartments?
1) Self-driving - that would save the company money and possibly lead to lower fares but it wouldn't speed up travel very much as they currently keep the buses moving by switching drivers at nodal points.
2) Bus trains. Probably not. That would disrupt traffic for other vehicles by making lane changes more difficult. As well, if the front bus did crash, a lot more people might get hurt.
3) Refueling as they go - probably not, as they still need rest stops for passengers, plus they would need a fuel truck to accelerate to pace the bus and that might use more gas than it saves.
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Old 04-24-19, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker
1) Self-driving - that would save the company money and possibly lead to lower fares but it wouldn't speed up travel very much as they currently keep the buses moving by switching drivers at nodal points.
2) Bus trains. Probably not. That would disrupt traffic for other vehicles by making lane changes more difficult. As well, if the front bus did crash, a lot more people might get hurt.
3) Refueling as they go - probably not, as they still need rest stops for passengers, plus they would need a fuel truck to accelerate to pace the bus and that might use more gas than it saves.
These were in reference to long-distance bus/coach trips.
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Old 04-24-19, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix
Tasmania? I want to live where you live.
Odd as it seems, it is my home state, and as a school kid I used buses and walking to get to and from school which was quite a distance from home.

I was around 12 years without owning a motor vehicle as an adult, and used buses to get from a rural residency in another state into a large city, although often I also used trains to move from one stop point for the bus into and out of the city -- had a bicycle with me most times. Prior to that, I lived in Tasmania, and used buses when I was sick or very tired after long distance bicycle riding to get to and from work.

Since my near-fatal workplace accident 14 months ago, I have had to use buses regularly to get from home to medical appointments and home again. The buses here are excellent in my opinion. The 99% of drivers are excellent, the buses themselves are modern and reliable and comfortable, and the cost for passengers is much better than fuel and parking costs for motor vehicles.
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Old 04-24-19, 06:00 PM
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One thing I didn't point out is that the city bus service I use in Tasmania is state government owned and run. And frankly, it is better than any of the privately run services that I have encountered elsewhere in Australia.

I also have used long-distance buses in Australia and Canada and they are OK, but not something I would use every week... although once again, the ones in Tasmania, privately run, have been really good.
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Old 04-24-19, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
Odd as it seems, it is my home state, and as a school kid I used buses and walking to get to and from school which was quite a distance from home.

I was around 12 years without owning a motor vehicle as an adult, and used buses to get from a rural residency in another state into a large city, although often I also used trains to move from one stop point for the bus into and out of the city -- had a bicycle with me most times. Prior to that, I lived in Tasmania, and used buses when I was sick or very tired after long distance bicycle riding to get to and from work.

Since my near-fatal workplace accident 14 months ago, I have had to use buses regularly to get from home to medical appointments and home again. The buses here are excellent in my opinion. The 99% of drivers are excellent, the buses themselves are modern and reliable and comfortable, and the cost for passengers is much better than fuel and parking costs for motor vehicles.
That's likely due to being peak hours. Which is true for a lot of municipalities. Try the system during the off hours to get the more true idea of how it works.
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Old 04-24-19, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
One thing I didn't point out is that the city bus service I use in Tasmania is state government owned and run. And frankly, it is better than any of the privately run services that I have encountered elsewhere in Australia.

I also have used long-distance buses in Australia and Canada and they are OK, but not something I would use every week... although once again, the ones in Tasmania, privately run, have been really good.
As a school kid, I walked to elementary school and high school. Middle school was too far away, so I spent those years riding a school bus. Some trips out of town on the Greyhound with my mom and brother thrown in during those school years.

My real bus travel days were when I was 19 to 21 years of age. To catch a city bus, I seemed to always live an hour's walk away. Then the city bus would take an hour for me to get to my destination.

Travel out of town meant I walked to catch the city bus to take me downtown to catch a Greyhound or Trailways. During holidays those intercity buses were so crowded people would be sitting on the floor.

The best buses around here seem to be the ones that are for Park and Ride commuters or chartered buses going to out of state casinos.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL
That's likely due to being peak hours. Which is true for a lot of municipalities. Try the system during the off hours to get the more true idea of how it works.
The bus services here outside peak hours are fine, and do what I would want, along with other people. And considering I have been catching bus services in various places for the past 50 years, I think I have a pretty good clue as to what happens.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix
As a school kid, I walked to elementary school and high school. Middle school was too far away, so I spent those years riding a school bus.
No school buses in my school days. Catch the suburban bus into the city, then catch another bus that went past the school. Same going home.

Now I live opposite the entry to a school that sees around 70 kids dropped off by their parents in cars. The school bus for that school is not really full at all.
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Old 04-25-19, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
1. One price per year and all you can eat - I would love for there to be one price for lets say $2,000 per year and I can board ANY bus in the country.
That's a really interesting idea. They should at least start experimenting more with selling multiple ride tickets in a single package and then doing more research into what customers want.


2. An app that can show me where EXACTLY where the bus stop is located and what time it arrives and pricing - I know this sounds strange but if you're stranded in a strange town and want to get home, what do you do? Most transit agencies will list routes but how do you find your exact location on a paper map and where exactly is the bus stop? This is the reason many people who don't have cars won't venture past 20 miles from their home because bus transit becomes complex.
True. There should be some kind of guarantee that if your bus doesn't show up within a certain amount of time you get a free taxi ride. The transit system could just send a driver in a car.


4. All long distant coaches should show a movie or at least have the news on!
Why couldn't they have personal media in the backs of the seats, like on airplanes?


7. Run articulated double decker buses and drop the fare by 50% with all the extra room. Articulated buses are those that are extra long and look like two buses in one.
Or make them more comfortable for sleeping and have more overnight schedules.


That's all for now. I can dream right? LOL
Thanks for a constructive post on the topic.
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Old 04-25-19, 06:21 AM
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From what I've heard, the current intercity bus services work pretty well. They're faster, cheaper and much more comfortable than Greyhound. Of course, they work as a business model because they don't serve rural areas. But I don't see that this model could be improved on a great deal in terms of speed or convenience without great infrastructure costs.
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