At the beginning of November, Community Transit received more than 1,000 responses to our survey about bus route information. This information will be used to help improve our rider materials and the way we communicate with our customers. Many people added additional questions or comments. I responded to some in an earlier post.
Bus stop posters in Seattle: One person asked why we took the schedule information off the bus stop at Terrace & 5th. King County Metro Transit prints and posts our information at stops in King County, and we weren’t aware that several of the Community Transit route schedules no longer appear at that stop. So, thanks for mentioning that (we’re working with Metro to get it fixed). If you ever notice a missing schedule poster or other problem at a bus stop, please notify our Customer Information staff and provide the location and stop ID number (on the pole and schedule).
Another person asked why some of the Seattle stop posters list times from stops several blocks earlier in the trip. Again, we send Metro our schedule information and they post it. Community Transit has a practice of posting the estimated arrival times at stops in between our designated timepoints. But Metro’s practice is to list only the official timepoints on stop posters - the same select stops listed in Bus Plus books and on bus driver schedule instructions. So that’s what you get in downtown Seattle.
You can use the “Find Next Bus” feature of our Trip Planner to find the next four estimated arrival times for any stop in King, Pierce or Snohomish counties. Just be aware that the times are estimates, and buses may arrive early.
Or late. Real-time bus information was the most requested feature in all the survey comments. As someone who experienced an afternoon commute home from Seattle last week (one of the days when we used our electronic alerts to warn “I-5 Accident Causing Delays”), I personally understand the demand for knowing when your bus is actually going to show up. The short answer is “We’re working on it.”
Planning and IT staff just returned from a week-long test of our real-time technology, and many issues remain to be resolved in the coming year.
When we’re done, we will feed real-time data to the public via the Web, mobile devices and by telephone (when you call in a stop number). We will have real-time signs at Ash Way Park & Ride, Lynnwood Transit Center, Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and at every Swift Station. Another part of the project is electronic signs on board every bus that will list the next stop as the bus approaches, and audio call-outs of stop names and important landmarks.
In the meantime, the information we have to convey to customers can be limited. Riders often know a bus is late before we do, and our Customer Information and Communications staff often won’t know precisely why or when it will arrive. We are committed to communicating with riders when there are system-wide delays or major reroutes. We also put in special effort when winter weather impacts our service – and I don’t mean rain!