Sunday, June 28, 2009

BUS STORY # 139 (Who Moved My Bus Stop?)

Back on April 12, Phil posted an observation on DukeCityFix’s ABQ Bus Riders Discussion board that began:

“Starting today there were signs up at about every third Route 5 bus stop along Montgomery announcing that service at that location was being discontinued and moved to the next stop."

The Albuquerque Journal picked up the story on April 27:

“WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BUS STOP? That's what Dwight L. Crabtree wants to know.

He writes that "Montgomery — Route 5 — has numerous stops with red tags marking closures" and "there was not any information on the Transit Web site or on the bus about this. Does city management know about this?"

It does — and those aren't closures. The city is in the process of determining if they will be.”

On April 30, posted its story on the evaluation.

While the DCF forum has drawn few responses, they have been articulate and thoughtful. Concerns include the impacts on the elderly and disabled – longer distances to and between stops, and intersection crosswalk signals timed for the hale and hearty. There is also the increased risk to all riders limited to catching the bus on the far side of a busy intersection: having to walk through one or both busy streets of the intersection (“Albuquerque Roulette”) to get there.

On the other hand, the KOB story has drawn a whopping 88 responses. Unfortunately a large number of them seem to have been written under the influence of testosterone.

While Greg Payne certainly explained the city’s rationale for evaluating bus stops in the Journal and KOB stories, it wasn’t until May 5 that ABQ RIDE put up a page explaining its “Bus Stop Evaluation Program” and listing its goals:

1. Provide better service and make ABQ RIDE a more attractive alternative mode of transportation. By reducing the number of underutilized stops in high bus stop density zones, as well as stops preceding a controlled traffic intersection, we can reduce the time it takes our buses to go from point "A" to point "B," resulting in faster service.
2. Better utilize existing bus stop infrastructure. Infrastructure such as shelters, benches, signs and garbage cans that are currently in use at underutilized stops will instead be relocated to stops where these amenities are lacking. This will also result in fewer stops that need to be maintained.
3. Increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Each time a bus accelerates after making a stop, it uses fuel and causes additional particulate and carbon emissions to be released. To the extent that we can pick up the same number of passengers at fewer stops, we can minimize unnecessary stops and idling time, reduce our fuel use, and achieve an offset in our overall carbon footprint.

Despite the seeming logic, some critics want to see the data supporting these claims. It's a reasonable request. In the meantime, the city promises “ABQ RIDE would appreciate your input regarding the stops being evaluated. Your input will be used to make our decisions!”

I’m going to predict this will end up being a tempest in a bus shelter. It would have been smarter had the city been the first to break the news on the ABQ RIDE website, and included some data supporting its goals as reasonably achievable.

Based on past experience (Bus Story # 17, parts 1, 2, and 3, and Bus Story # 29, parts 1 and 2), the city has been responsive to the ridership. It has also been committed to expanding public transportation. I don't think the bus stop evaluation signals a change. I do think we all understand the need to preserve fuel consumption from both an economic and environmental perspective.

I just hope the first morning I go down to my regular stop and discover it’s missing, I’ll have had enough coffee to remember it’s just down the street.

The photo above features last year’s Poetry On The Bus fourth place winner in the youth category. The poem is Where Is My Train, by Aleyna Donaldson. Click on the photo to enlarge.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were riding the bus, I'd rather cross a busy street to another stop if it meant the bus would make fewer stops. If we must have bus emissions, I prefer them coming from buses going somewhere than from buses parked at stops.

BBBH (Busboy's Better Half)

5:59 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Ah, luv, I think you and Greg Payne are on the same page.

By the way, what's for dinner?

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a room, you two!

BBD (BusBoy's Daughter)

9:12 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

We did: the dining room. Great meal, and we can almost see the current bus stop from there.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We arent the only ones looking at this.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thanks for this interesting anf pertinent link, Anonymous. I’m providing a more specific link which also includes the comments made on the article.

Obviously, we are not the only municipality trying to balance accessible service with speed of service. No question that the length of time it takes to get from point A to point B on the bus is a discouragement for those considering leaving their cars in the driveway. But I remain concerned about distance and access for those who are dealing with physical disabilities or the limitations imposed by aging. I do believe the SunTran Paratransit system is a wonderful part of ABQ RIDE service, and I have this persistent fantasy of having to call the paratransits for a ride to and from the nearest bus stop . . .

12:35 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home