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Grand River Transit
#61
(11-20-2014, 06:50 AM)rangersfan Wrote: Last night taking the bus from the Kumpf Rd to Downtown Kitchener reinforced the need for Ion for me. It took 2 hours using the 14 and 7, it usually takes about 1 hr.
The 7 at Conestoga Mall was jammed to capacity and about 15 potential passengers were left in the cold at the station. On the way down King st we had to deny passengers at several stops.

Great to see the demand but crazy that people are being left behind.

Was that the 7 that left around 5:25 or so? If so, I was on that bus. What a zoo.

The weather had a lot to do with it, to be fair. But every day, the 200 reaches crush load and the 7s are pretty packed, too. As soon as something like weather affects operations, people get left out in the cold.
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#62
Being passed by a crush-loaded bus is one of the most frustrating experiences a transit rider can have. It has the same effect as a bus that does not reliably adhere to its schedule (i.e., the rider is not sure if there is going to be a bus for him or her at the time the schedule says), but feels even worse.

Crush loads and passengers left at stops should mean more buses allocated, immediately, even if frequency on a less-subscribed line has to be cut.
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#63
The 200 are a more efficient use of a bus, because they take less time per round trip than the 7. The idea should be to consolidate 7A, 7B and 7F and get rid of 7D, 7E which are replaced by the 92+200. 7B would be replaced by a new 8 routing.
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#64
(11-20-2014, 09:01 AM)MidTowner Wrote: Being passed by a crush-loaded bus is one of the most frustrating experiences a transit rider can have. It has the same effect as a bus that does not reliably adhere to its schedule (i.e., the rider is not sure if there is going to be a bus for him or her at the time the schedule says), but feels even worse.

Crush loads and passengers left at stops should mean more buses allocated, immediately, even if frequency on a less-subscribed line has to be cut.

Presently GRT tries to service every area of the city, which means empty peak hour service through suburban neighbourhoods. This is simply a waste of resources. Create bike paths from residential areas to iXpress bus stops (something GRT is already actively looking at) and use those empty buses on the main lines.
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#65
I agree with you completely, BuildingScout: GRT's commitment to coverage is causing shortfalls in frequency and service in areas that can actually support frequent transit. Any reduction in the resources tied up to cover suburban neighbourhoods that do not have the density to support transit, would be good. If those neighbourhoods can be served in other ways, like bike-and-ride, so much the better.
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#66
Not only that, GRT often has to fight suburban residents who don't want a bus going past their house in the first place. People who choose to live in the suburbs (as I have at certain times) are looking for peace and quiet, not convenient public transit.

I really do not see from whence this "serve every neighbourhood" self-imposed mandate comes from.
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#67
On days like yesterday where bus arrival times were all over the map due to the snow, I do have to say that the previously posted GRT Realtime Map is a god-send.

http://realtimemap.grt.ca
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#68
(11-20-2014, 10:12 AM)BuildingScout Wrote: Not only that, GRT often has to fight suburban residents who don't want a bus going past their house in the first place. People who choose to live in the suburbs (as I have at certain times) are looking for peace and quiet, not convenient public transit.

I really do not see from whence this "serve every neighbourhood" self-imposed mandate comes from.

I think it comes from Regional Council. One could write to one's Regional Councillor and ask about that.

Having said that, I did talk to GRT staff when they were consulting about the planning changes and how they serve the suburbs. They did say that they were trying to straighten the routes in the suburbs so that they would run faster, but it is intrinsically challenging to serve these areas. They've even thought of purchasing property to make rights-of-way, but it didn't quite work out.
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#69
I made this yesterday, during the afternoon rush hour. Half an hour of GRT buses fighting through a snowy rush hour. (~5:20-5:50)

[Image: KBqTzPf.gif]

I twotted it too:
https://twitter.com/Markster3000/status/...9157258241

Some interesting things to notice:
  • A pack of 7s and 200s are jammed together through Uptown
  • A southbound 6 spends half an hour going a distance of 2.5km from Eastbridge to Bridle Trail.
  • Northbound 201 service is very irregular
  • The 15 gets stuck in an impressive backup at Victoria/Lackner
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#70
(11-20-2014, 10:52 AM)plam Wrote:
(11-20-2014, 10:12 AM)BuildingScout Wrote: Not only that, GRT often has to fight suburban residents who don't want a bus going past their house in the first place. People who choose to live in the suburbs (as I have at certain times) are looking for peace and quiet, not convenient public transit.

I really do not see from whence this "serve every neighbourhood" self-imposed mandate comes from.

I think it comes from Regional Council. One could write to one's Regional Councillor and ask about that.

Having said that, I did talk to GRT staff when they were consulting about the planning changes and how they serve the suburbs. They did say that they were trying to straighten the routes in the suburbs so that they would run faster, but it is intrinsically challenging to serve these areas. They've even thought of purchasing property to make rights-of-way, but it didn't quite work out.

The GRT business plan defines a coverage standard. This is from the business plan working papers-- if you want a copy, message me. I wasn't able to find it on the website and got it through email request.

[Image: MY3pbzG.png]

Anyway, if you want to redirect suburban transit resources to the core, you need to change this. It dominates a lot of route planning. And as plam pointed out, it's intrinically hard to serve low density, winding-street suburbs well with transit.

But even if we're moving our transit system away from a purely "transit as a social service" role, it can't abandon that role. Slashing low-ridership, low-frequency routes has real consequences for people for whom it is a lifeline. Remember GRT's route restructuring last year? Cambridge lost a low-ridership route, and access to House of Friendship went from doorstep to 250m away. It made a bunch of people unhappy and politicians aren't blind to it.

I would say that as long as we consider our transit service as fulfilling both the roles of lifeline and people-mover, we need to fund it to perform well in both roles. Don't rob from one to pay for the other.
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#71
(11-20-2014, 12:12 PM)Markster Wrote:
  • A pack of 7s and 200s are jammed together through Uptown

Which is why a BRT without a right of way would not have worked. Once you have a right of way you are 70% of the way there in terms of costs, while only 50% in terms of reaping the benefits, which is why Ottawa eventually went with it, after much unnecessary hesitation.
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#72
(11-20-2014, 12:30 PM)zanate Wrote: But even if we're moving our transit system away from a purely "transit as a social service" role, it can't abandon that role. Slashing low-ridership, low-frequency routes has real consequences for people for whom it is a lifeline. Remember GRT's route restructuring last year? Cambridge lost a low-ridership route, and access to House of Friendship went from doorstep to 250m away. It made a bunch of people unhappy and politicians aren't blind to it.

People who depend on public transit should move to places where it is provided. Students do this all the time. No one is entitled to a symphony hall within 450m, suggesting that a similar entitlement exist for public transit is madness.
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#73
While this was not likely on their minds, the uproar over UpTown West road designation changes highlights another concern: if people get uproarious over such changes, it makes transit harder. One thing the designation change includes is that it would allow for buses to use these routes. I am fairly certain a look over the region could find areas where we have two buses covering the same area in parallel, overly dense coverage, because a route that lies between those routes does not have the designation needed for bus route usage.
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#74
(11-20-2014, 12:35 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: People who depend on public transit should move to places where it is provided. Students do this all the time. No one is entitled to a symphony hall within 450m, suggesting that a similar entitlement exist for public transit is madness.

Huh

I cannot take that comparison seriously. That's not even apples and oranges.

You're also talking about public transit as entitlement, and I think you've missed the point. Coverage standards like ours exist because as a society we've accepted that public transit provides a social service. You can argue that it should seek to maximize ridership and efficiency and impact, and I'd agree with you-- up until the point someone suggests that goal is the only goal.

When someone of limited means or mobility is going to have their life completely disrupted by the removal of their main transportation link, they have a right to have their complaint heard. It doesn't mean that we can't change anything, or keep every vestigial route. But ridership is not the only goal.

This Streetsblog piece covers the question of whether a transit service should seek a ridership goal or a coverage goal. The answer is not one or the other, nor is it the same for every transit service. It's how much should go to each goal.

My opinion? If someone is arguing to strip suburban service to add a couple more buses into the central corridor, I'm going to object. One, you need to ask why that suburban service exists. Two, it's a proverbial drop in the bucket-- low frequency routes don't add up to a whole lot of service hours compared to doubling up the 7. And three, we should push for the high-ridership routes to get the funding and capacity they need to function, without scavenging it from the rest of the system.
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#75
(11-20-2014, 02:00 PM)zanate Wrote: You're also talking about public transit as entitlement, and I think you've missed the point. Coverage standards like ours exist because as a society we've accepted that public transit provides a social service.

You lost me right there. First we as a society have barely accepted that public transit exists, we are far from settled about how prevalent it is.

Second you make it sound like everyone is being served and I'm breaking some ground by withdrawing service which is disingenuous. We do not provide public transit to large parts of the region, such as the townships or the new subdivision in New Dundee road or no off-peak hour service for so many of the existing routes. All we are left to argue is where we draw the line.

Third, your emotional appeal to persons without mobility is moot since we provide special door-to-door service and special stops for them. 

Fourth, in real life one must rob Peter to pay Paul, since suburban public transit is a major revenue expense (it looses much more per passenger than high volume routes) and hence those funds must come from somewhere. Those are the decisions elected representatives have to make day in and day out. It would be great to live in a world where we could have bus routes going past everyone's house, but until then we have to make do with a reality where we must choose which areas to serve and which ones we don't.
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