Saturday, February 7, 2009

Public Transport: Friend or Foe?

BUSES running late has become an all too frequent occurrence. One which is not news to any of us, however, one that is always frustrating.

Only a few weeks ago I had an appointment in the Sydney CBD and had appropriately organised a bus that would transport me to the station for a connecting train. That bus arrived 25 minutes late.

As a result, I had to catch a later train and all together was an hour late for my appointment. This, of course, was to the annoyance of those on the receiving end of what appeared to be my tardiness, and yet in actual fact was a reflection of the poor timetabling system of local buses.

My tight schedule for that day was thrown completely out of whack by no fault of my own. I paid for a service that did not deliver.

The frequency of stories such as this that I not only experience but hear of frustrate me further.

What is the point of a timetable if it is inaccurate? How are people expected to organise their day, their own 'timetable', if they are relying on unreliable forces?

It is understandable that there are many factors that contribute to the lateness of buses such as traffic and herds of boarding passengers. It is common knowledge that during peak hour the Hume Highway is in grid lock, but there are writings on network theory and logistics that could be more acutely applied to individual bus networks.

Furthermore, surely there is some extent to which traffic and boarding delays can be 'timetabled in'. For example, if buses tend to run late as the day wears on, the end of one cycle and the beginning of another could be separated by a few minutes which act as a time buffer.

Surely it is time for the lateness and unpredictability of buses to stop? Time to begin setting standards that are regular and reliable.

We pay our fares, we pay our taxes, we deserve nothing less than an efficient bus service.

No comments: