TransLink, in one of their most boneheaded decisions to date, is going to phase out local bus schedules at bus stops. What the news story does show that the TransLink Board hasn’t a clue about public transit, nor do they care about the transit service. The Comte’s received so far from the Sun shows complete how out of tune TransLink and its bureaucracy is.
This bodes ill for any decent transit planning under the present regime. Regime change anyone? And Yes, it is June 13, not April 1!
TransLink to phase out printed bus schedules at Metro Vancouver stopsWant to know when the next bus is coming? Translink says, get a cellphone.By David Karp, Vancouver SunVANCOUVER — Bus riders without cellphones will be out of luck in future if they want to know when the next bus is email@example.com
TransLink has decided to phase out its “info tubes” — plastic cylinders that wrap around poles at bus stops, with printed schedules inside.
TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said bus schedules are normally changed four times a year. But a flurry of changes as a result of the Canada Line opening this fall and the Olympics next year makes keeping the tubes up to date too difficult.
All the info tubes will be removed by Labour Day, Hardie said.
“The person power and the physical ability to get around and change all of that material in the info tubes doesn’t exist,” he said. “We simply don’t have the horsepower to do that.”
Riders who have cellphones can call TransLink information or text their stop number to 33333 to get bus schedules, but those without a cellphone will be out of luck.
“[Cellphones] are very ubiquitous,” Hardie said. “To reach the relatively small part of the market that doesn’t have a cellphone, that might be a cost that just can’t be rationalized.”
Hardie was unable to estimate what replacing the info tubes would cost.
The removal of info tubes is “a little premature,” said Jim Houlahan, vice-president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 111, which represents bus drivers.
“It will be a bit of a loss for the public, because not everyone has a cellphone,” Houlahan said. “I was riding the bus myself the last couple weeks, and I went right over and used the info tube.”
Houlahan carries a cellphone, but he doesn’t know how to text on it.
“I don’t text-message, but I’ve seen lots of news stories about people getting hit with lots of surprise bills because they are texting,” he said.
Hardie said route information will be posted at bus stops where routes interconnect, and in some cases TransLink workers will be at stops providing riders with information. He said the text-message service will be expanded to provide real-time estimates for bus arrivals based on global positioning. TransLink will re-evaluate the info tubes after the Olympics, but said he hopes they aren’t missed.
“It would be a good sign for us if not too many people turn out to miss the old info tubes,” he said. “We know that it’s dislocation for some people who got used to them, but the practical issue of trying to keep them updated in the coming months is almost impossible for us.”