March 6, 2012

More on Bus Dwell Time

On Saturday, I discussed about how I chose biking over busing because I was impatient. John, of Xing Columbus, set me straight and provided some suggestions:
Buses wait at High & Broad to facilitate transfers between routes. It's called a pulse system.
http://www.humantransit.org/2010/12/basics-finding-your-pulse.html

However, I have also been annoyed by this recovery time/dwell time/pulse issue in downtown. It's worst as a through rider. The bus just stops and waits around for a few minutes when you want to keep going. You don't really know how long it's going to be stopped. If your destination is somewhere in downtown, you sit there wondering if you should get off the bus and start walking or not.

I think the frequent service routes (#1, #2, #10) should be exempt from the pulse. They come frequently enough that any transferring passengers won't have to wait long for another to arrive.
First of all, the Human Transit blog is amazing for public transit information. If my professional life was actually city planning, I would be totally geeking out about it. Secondly, I completely agree with everything John said.

Let's also look into an overview of how many buses stop at High and State, the stop just south of High and Broad. Based on what I believe is the Google Transit COTA data for the Sept 2011 - Dec. 2011 period, 627 buses will stop at High and State on a weekday. This includes 601 stops of local routes.


COTA Route
Number of Stops
Route Type
1
85
Local
2
113
Local
3
35
Local
4
41
Local
5
27
Local
6
46
Local
7
39
Local
8
45
Local
9
30
Local
11
36
Local
14
2
Local
15
22
Local
16
42
Local
18
33
Local
19
5
Local
31
5
Express
32
2
Express
36
4
Express
38
2
Express
40
1
Express
47
7
Express
55
2
Express
67
2
Express
68
1
Express


Total Local
601
Total Express
26
Total
627

This doesn't tell us too much because there is a wide variety in the service levels by hours. In a later post I will focus more on peak times of 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. The one thing that we can tell is that the #2 comes by like gangbusters with 113 stops. 

Instead of giving a broad overview right now, let's tamp the scope down to just the bus that affected me. I was waiting for the #3 at High and State at 1:35 PM on a weekday. Here is the schedule of buses which arrived and departed around that time:

Bus Route
Arrival_Time
Bus Stop ID
3
13:34:00
High & Broad
18
13:34:00
High & Broad
2
13:35:00
High & Broad
3
13:35:00
High & Broad
18
13:35:00
High & Broad
2
13:36:00
High & Broad
18
13:36:02
High & State
2
13:37:37
High & State
3
13:37:41
High & State

If you're wondering why each route has 2 listings at High & Broad, it's because it's the point when the bus schedule changes from one half to the other such as North High compared to East Main for the #2. We can see that the #3 waits the longest. Interestingly, the #18 doesn't dwell much later than the arrival of the #2. 

All it means is that the published time of 1:35 PM for the #3 should be delayed a bit to more accurately reflect that it takes 2 minutes and 41 seconds to get to it's next stop.

Cool fastest-running-robot(18mph) link of the day:

2 comments:

  1. As another aside there was recently some crazy talk about buses (and their patrons) being the reason for poor retail development on High Street downtown. COTA did a study of options to reduce bus traffic on High Street, with diversions to other streets or the construction of an off-street transit center. It seems to me that keeping the #1 and #2 moving on High during daytime frequent service hours would help a lot with the bus idling problem.

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    Replies
    1. That makes sense to me. I also wonder if having the main pulse point being at State and High. There's not as much retail there and the block is twice as long. There's definitely a visual difference between buses taking up a half block and an entire block.

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