Friday, September 9, 2011

Living with bus service that runs every 30 minutes or worse

On Wednesday, I had a horrible time getting home on transit. The SkyTrain was overcrowded and I couldn’t get on at Main Street, so I decided to backtrack to Waterfront Station after four trains. At Waterfront Station, I payed the extra money and took the West Coast Express to Maple Ridge to hop on the 595 to Langley. The West Coast Express was great, but when I arrived at the station I found out that the 595 Langley Centre failed to swing into the station which meant that I had to wait for the next 595. The 595 runs every 30 minutes. As it turned out the next 595 also failed to swing into the West Coast Express station, so I had to wait for yet another 595. I ended up catching the third 595 and got home 1.5 hours late. Not very good. I tell this story for two reasons.

This West Coast Express/595 issues is nothing new and I’ve called TransLink to complain about it at least three times. Every time I call, I get a very friendly person who notes down my concerns. Clearly nothing has been done. TransLink should really produce a document showing the top customer concerns and explain what measures they are taking to correct the problems. In this day and age, being transparent is important.

Experiences like I had on Wednesday are not ideal and would probably turn new riders off transit. Besides making sure that key timing points are adhered to, the larger issue is running buses that are not frequent. To get people to switch from driving to transit, the service must be frequent. I have to wonder if routes that run every 30 minutes or worse are not well used because of their frequency. It would be interesting to see what would happen if TransLink took a less-frequent route and changed it to every 15 minutes as a test. I bet that the route would start to see more people taking it.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nathan - sorry for your poor experience with the 595. I've asked a colleague at CMBC to investigate.