Currently viewing the tag: "Bus Stations"

Tired of unreliable buses? Sick of not knowing when the bus is coming, or whether you just missed it and have to wait the full 30 minutes for the next one?

We can’t do anything about the unreliable buses until we get a streetcar, but BCT has begun putting up real-time message signs that tell you when to expect the next bus. The first two started operation Thursday at bus stops on Hwy.  441 near Oakland Park Blvd., and more are ready to be installed in the near future. Broward County’s signs one-up many similar systems across the country by including a voice that audibly tells riders when to expect their bus. It’s a great feature for visually impaired or illiterate people, many of whom are forced to ride the bus as they cannot legally drive a car.

Maybe we need some more visually impaired people. We need some way to get people out of their convenient Lexus Cages. Failing a sudden rise in blindness, perhaps comforts like these message boards will help.

Read more details about the boards in the press release. If anyone’s used the message boards, please let us know how they work. How’s the accuracy of the time?

 

Update 6/11/2008: BCT sent us a picture of one of the message boards. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

 

 

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Below is an excerpt from an email I received this morning from my friend, an occasional bus commuter from Miami Beach to Downtown Miami.

Dude,

I took the bus this morning. Let me bore you with the details. Because my parking permit at Miami-Dade Community College expired (the court provides no parking for clerks), and I have to re-register for a summer class (that I do not need to take) to get access to the world’s crappiest parking lot, I took the bus. I missed the bus, waited 20 minutes, and finally caught the C.

When i got on the bus, i sat in the back, and guy with long hair covered in tattoos sitting on a bag of crushed cans began grooming his hair. He untied his ponytail and ran his fingers through his hair. It smelled like a barn. Hair went everywhere. Naturally, I moved to where a spot had opened up in the front row. As soon as I sat down I noticed the guy in front of me, a guy probably in his 30s who hadn’t paid to get on the bus (I heard the driver yelling at him when he got on, but she still let him on) took up 4 seats, lying sideways in handicap accessible row, with his legs and arms splayed. He had a crumpled 20 dollar bill in his hand, which he took out and put away in his pocket several times, and he smelled like Monday’s booze. He tried talking to me a few times. I ignored him for a while and eventually said, “I’m listening to my headphones, sorry” which was true, in a pissed off voice with my sunglasses still on. In response, or so it seemed, he took out a comb and began scrubbing his head like a brillo pad in front of everyone. The bus stopped every 30 seconds, and he never moved for anyone, and everyone accommodated him trying to pretend that all was normal because no one wanted to have to talk to him. The bus driver did nothing, naturally. Finally we got to the other side of the McCarthur Causeway and I’d had enough, so I got off right at the base of the exit ramp. I’ll walk 15 minutes to the office, I thought, just let me off. Also, I hate how the bus goes to the bus stop (Omni Station), which is a stupid mandatory detour for anyone commuting to downtown. Of course, my new friend decided to get off with me, then proceeded to follow me for about 5 blocks until he couldn’t keep up, at which point he fell behind and eventually out of my sight. I thought about turning and just popping him as hard as I could, but he was about 20 feet behind me the entire time so there was no need, and also, that’s not something I typically do.

I finally traverse my way through the streets of Miami, where cars zoom past me, where I see billboards and trucks but not one one coffee shop, restaurant, store, or habitable dwelling. Finally, as I get to the MDCC campus, which is right across the street from the courts, I see my same C bus pulling up. It’s the same speed as walking! Not on the causeway, but once you’re in Miami it moves at the same pace as a pedestrian (or at least, someone like me who walks rather fast).

The system is designed in such a way that people like me (i.e. employed, kind of a yuppie) give up because the mass transit is so inconvenient, slow, and disgusting. This is coming from someone who LOVED the subway system in NY and DC. In Miami, I’d rather wait in traffic, spend 20 minutes parking, and burn gas (btw, there’s no way it costs $3/day in gas to drive from SoBe to work and back - if they really wanted people to take the bus, they might want to make it cost effective), than have to deal with the bus situation each day.

OK, thanks for listening to my rant. I actually feel a bit better.

Yikes. Lucky for him, he won’t be enduring this much longer. He heads back to New York City towards the end of “summer.” I also suggested he try joining me in the bicycle commute sometimes soon. Unfortunately, his place of employment offers no showers and no reasonable place to change/store his clothes. Makes you wonder when that Bay Link might show up, huh?

A city revolutionized the way people use the local bus network by creating pods where riders pay to access the pod rather than when boarding the bus. This process streamlined the whole boarding process and made the busways far more efficient and reliable. Can anyone name this city?

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  • Tri-Rail Ridership is up 15% for the first six months of 2007. Making it the third fastest growing transit system in the Nation.
  • MPO suggests running a commuter train from Dadeland North to Metrozoo along the unused CSX tracks (finally!) The plan also calls for two express bus lines to travel down Kendall to 167th avenue and the other along 137th avenue from Kendall to FIU.
  • The FDOT is working hard to salvage the Port of Miami Tunnel plan after the city of Miami commissioners sabotaged it recently by not contributing their measly $50 Million share.
  • A new 45 story tower could soon be rising in the CBD…

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Some people wonder whether I go on vacation to relax or experience foreign public transit systems; I like to think it’s a little of both. Utilizing foreign transit and witnessing other city’s approaches to some of our similar problems captivates me and drives me to try and bring about some of these changes in Miami. The small nation of Scotland is entwined in a network of rail and regional bus routes, guaranteeing regular access to even some of the most remote towns and villages.In Edinburgh, you queue. Not to place an order in the drive-thru, but to wait for the bus. Scottish residents queued for the bus and boarded in the order which they arrived in a most uncanny display of civilized behavior. Lines stretched down blocks a few yards, allowing continuous pedestrian passage along sidewalks. Bus shelters were even designed longer than American shelters to allow for greater covered queuing space and typically featured electronic displays of routes and approximate wait times.

We rented a car to experience both the joys and hazards of driving on the wrong side of the road and headed north to witness the natural beauty of Glen Coe. While driving along a precarious single lane road (with a few haphazard passing bays) which serviced only two small (~500 people) towns, we pulled off the road to allow the daily public transit bus to pass. Remarkable! This wasn’t the only instance where we encountered this, in fact every town we passed through had a bus stop with schedules attached listing the daily regional bus service which passed through the area, even in towns where sheep seemingly outnumbered people 50 to 1.

Glasgow is the only city in Scotland which currently has rail public transportation, although Edinburgh will soon begin work on a streetcar system (see sign below.) The Glasgow subway runs in a circular path around the city center and has never been expanded since its opening in 1896, making it the third oldest metro system in the world. It’s a most unusual subway train, just 4 carts long and barely tall enough for me to stand up straight in. The limited 6.5 Mile system is interconnected with several (7, I believe) suburban train lines which arrive at the central station as well as the city’s vast bus network. Plans are in the works to also bring streetcars or guided busways to the city.

It was August in Glasgow and a chilly 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was drizzling all day (heck, all week) and the wind was kicking, yet the city was alight with activity, pedestrian activity that is. With weather conditions that would typically render walking along Lincoln Road improbable, Glasgow’s main pedestrian mall was buzzing with pedestrian activity, shopping, and dining along Buchanan Street.

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Edinburgh is covered by an intricate web of bus lines which keep things moving along the narrow city streets. Double Decker buses constantly flow in and out of central bus stations filled with locals and tourists alike. A couple of enclosed central transfer stations exist to handle several bus routes as well as to keep passengers out of the whimsical Scottish weather. A sign posted near the rail station informed me of upcoming plans to add streetcars…

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