Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stop Numbers

Bus stops in Metro Vancouver are very minimalist. At the worst, you get a pole that says "Bus Stop" with a stop number that is stuck in the mud. At the best, you get a bus shelter, sign with route name, number, and a timetable. Traveling around North America, I have to say Portland has one of the best bus stop way-finding systems because the route name, number, map, and stop number are on the pole. I would love to see this in Metro Vancouver. That being said, TransLink has improved bus stop way-finding in the last few years.

I got a message from a friend that used to live in Calgary and now lives in Victoria. She was lamenting about how hard it is to find next bus information from BC Transit. Apparently, you need to know the cross street and direction of your route as there are no stop numbers. It was very confusing for her. TransLink used to be like this, but have since introduced the stop number. You can text, go online, or call in to get bus stop information. Yesterday, I called in because the texting service wasn't working and found that the robot voice on the other end gave me the route number, name with termination, and next time. Now if the texting service also included the route name, things would be great. I think the next step should be for real-time bus information as all TransLink buses have GPS systems installed. Finally, if they could put maps on at least the key bus stops, we'd have a world class way-finding system for buses in Metro Vancouver.

1 comment:

Rob Bittner said...

I think that would be phenomenal. The bus stop #'s are very helpful when text service is working. But if you don't know where the bus is supposed to be headed (i.e. at one of those wonderful "stick in the mud" signs) it would be nice to have the route destination show up in the text from Translink. Hopefully the GPS and real-time info show up soon!