Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tips For Riding Metro

I like this article the West Seattle Herald on how to ride the bus:

With gas prices topping $3 per gallon, there are a lot more people riding buses these days, said a Metro bus driver, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Metro recently released figures showing ridership was up 7 percent between 2006 and 2007. That translates into an average of 365,000 boardings per weekday. It's the biggest increase Metro recorded in the past decade.

The increased ridership means buses are running a bit slower. More passengers mean more time spent picking up passengers and dropping them off. It especially takes time to maneuver a bus into and out of a bus stop, and passengers can speed things up if they signal their intentions to the driver as the bus approaches.

I think he left out my tip, please don't talk on your phone. What other tips did he leave out?


TroyJMorris said...

Have your money ready, know where you're going, and understand WHEN to pay.

bgtothen said...

When you are getting off the bus get out of your seat and to the door before the bus gets to your stop.

Nickin206 said...

Don't sprawl out over the whole bus. Take your seat and your seat only, that way people who get on the bus don't have to spend time asking you to move your stuff. Also, get comfortable with crowds, people who stand when there are open seats often slow things down too, because it gets jammed up front at the door.

Andrew Cencini said...

please urinate before you board the bus

reading said...

Not to be too pig-headed... ah hell I will be pig-headed...

I'll talk on my cell phone on the bus if I want to. It's a public place and I don't talk loudly. Want a quiet place? Stay home or drive.

If I have to give up my cell phone in a public place, I think other people should have to give up their right to wear ugly clothes on the bus that pollute my visual serenity. No more ass crack!

Jamie said...

I read Sound Transit's ridership is up 20% Since ST's average passenger travels about 4x further than a Metro rider, I'm wondering what the metrics might be for a comparison.

daimajin said...

If you're not talking loudly, then it's not too bad, but a bus is not like other public places in my mind.

For one, you cannot easily move away from the other person. If you're in a park or on the street, you can just walk away. On the bus, you're only option would be to get off the bus, and that's not really fair.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

1) In the past week I've noticed at least several occasions of people standing in the aisle and talking to their seated friend while they expect everyone to squeeze by them. This is very annoying.

If your friend wants to sit and there's no other nearby seats and it's a busy bus, too bad. Keep moving to the back.

2) If it's a super crowded bus and the driver is opening up the back doors to let people off, it's okay to step off the bus for few seconds so allow people off. You don't need to stupidly stand in place on the bus right in front of the door area and block people trying to leave.

3) STFU. If you're talking very loudly on your phone I won't hesitate to tell you. On the better routes you'll see everyone txting or surfing the web or whatever on their devices.

4) If you aren't old and/or feeble, consider going up towards the front of the bus before it gets to your stop. But don't be too aggressive about it. Those four people just standing there in the aisle may also be getting off at the next stop as well, so don't try shoving past them. Over time you should get an idea of who gets off where.

Andrew Cencini said...

metro could help us out with one thing that would speed things up (and many, many drivers agree and have suggested the same thing)

switch to the european fare control system for people with passes - in other words, stop making people have to fumble for their passes/change/etc and instead have roving fare control agents that check that people have paid and give them a (moderate) fine of like $40 if they didn't buy a ticket.

that being said, since metro is so slow to do anything (i hear that at least rapidride will do this, as will the light rail), in the meantime, people should have their &@%&#%@$ fares ready when they are waiting at the bus stop. that drives me nuts - people sitting there doing absolutely nothing waiting for the bus, only to spend 2 minutes fishing out a dollar and a couple quarters once they get to the farebox.

ideally the bus should be pay as you board at all times so riders can exit out the back and enter through the front but our silly ride free zone screws that up pretty nicely.

i also agree about the standing in aisles thing - *move to the back* when it's crowded, and let people by!

in more minor points, don't hold up the bus for everyone by putting one foot on board at a stop and spend 5 minutes asking for directions for some other bus. sorry, but you've just delayed a lot of people!

when the bus is crowded, for the love of pete, don't be that person who sits in the aisle-seat and doesn't move over towards the window. some people (like me) are unable to stand for long periods of time, and when someone wastes a seat like that (oddly, it seems like 7 out of 10 times it's an old lady...) the bus gets more crowded and thus moves more slowly.

finally, metro needs to get coach assignments right. it perplexes me why all #43 trolleys, for example, are not 60 footers. they run 40 footers during the crush-hours that turn passengers away. stop running 40 footers on that route except maybe on sundays. we need to get larger capacity buses on the busiest routes... (of course, there are so many routes now that are so busy even a 60' every 10 minutes is SRO - time for rail)

TroyJMorris said...

Ride free zone is not silly. It's necessary. If people had to pay during the stops downtown, the entire 1.25 mile stretch would take an additional 1-3 minutes every two blocks. That's far too much time.

Contrary to popular myth, the ride-free zone isn't to be nice. It's to speed things up. I completely agree with the European system of roving payment enforcement. And pretty much every other thing you suggested.

(especially the asses who don't move to the window- I don't care if that seats still warm with butt glow).

And it's not a minor point about the directions. That's fucking annoying and I have yelled at people to just read the map.

Chris M said...

I agree with troujmorris about the ride free area. It's definitely speeds things up downtown plus it helps tourists who don't know what to pay and are generally traveling only to points in downtown.

On the cell phone thing, I think the rules you would use in a coffee shop or restaurant should be followed on a bus. Short, quiet conversations are okay, don't talk on the phone while paying your fare (as you wouldn't talk on your phone while ordering coffee from a barista) and keep them civil. We don't need to hear about the sores on your ass or who you had sex with last night.

Andrew Cencini said...

i understand the necessity of the ride free zone but i feel the aggregate confusion and slowdown, while harder to measure, kind of negate its usefulness at a global level (it does solve the problem downtown though). granted, switching to an honor system would negate the need for any of this which would be the totally preferable option. riding the bus can be confusing enough without having to know the secret handshake of when to pay, etc. (tourists _really_ get burned on this).

it's not PC to mention on a transit nerd blog comments, but trolley buses are also kind of to blame for many slowdowns (dewiring, bunching/inability to pass, etc.). the trolley system downtown can get clogged up during peak times, while diesels can pass each other, etc. i actually really like the trolleys, but they are measurably slower (i think they have avg speed of 11mph while diesels tend to avg around 22mph according to apta stats). i don't know what the solution is but finding a way to make trolleys work better would be a good thing. yes, i know they pull up hills a lot better and there is no exhaust and less noise all of which are awesome; but from a pure performance perspective, they are a bit anemic (look at the 7 or the 43)

espalier said...

Ooh...transit etiquette pet peeves. I want in on that.

Ditto to andrew et al about moving to the back of the bus. If a bus is SRO and you don't move to the back, you're wasting valuable space and slowing down the boarding of waiting passengers.

I'd like to add this--take off your goddamn backpack. There have been countless times I've been bludgeoned by the massive pack of some clueless bus rider as they turn in the aisle. Taking your pack off and holding it while on the bus is polite to your fellow riders and saves space in a SRO bus.

Andreas said...

The editor notes that the article was written some time ago, but assuming it was published this week it would've been nice if they'd edited it to reflect the current fares. It's not too helpful to tell people to have their fares ready, and then give them the wrong prices.

Julia said...

Very satisfying, this thread.

My $0.02: when people are exiting the bus, do not block the doors. We can see that you are anxious to board, but as I'm sure you can understand, people have to get OFF the bus before you can get ON.

When I visited NYC last year, I was surprised to find that New Yorkers are some of the worst perpetrators of transit door blockage I've ever seen. I'd imagined that NYC riders would be paragons of transit etiquette, but in this respect, they most definitely were not. In Manhattan, particularly, people attempting to board crowded so close to the subway doors that sustained pushing was often necessarily to disgorge oneself from the car. One would think that when so many people ride public transit every single day, it would be universally recognized that attempting to board before exiting passengers have disembarked is inefficient (not to mention futile), but I guess it goes to show that we aren't always particularly rational creatures.