May 14, 2012

Bus Advocacy

I am a firm supporter of COTA and public transportation in general. It compliments complements biking very well for days when one isn't up for biking. I've spoken before about bike advocacy, but here are some things a person can do in support of buses and public transit.

Just like riding a bike is great for bike advocacy, riding the bus is a good start for bus advocacy. Obviously, profit is not a goal for transit but transit agencies do have ridership goals in mind. In 2011, COTA had a goal of 20.55 passengers per hour. So if you start using the bus, that means that your route(s) will begin to have a higher ridership which could lead to more frequent service. More frequent service can lead to higher ridership which can lead to... Well, you see how it can be a positive feedback loop with increased ridership.

The other thing you can do is to actively support changes or plans that COTA has in mind. For instance, I am a supporter of bus stop consolidation. Along one area of the route I use, there is a distance of 400 feet between two stops followed by 500 feet for the next stop. According to Human Transit, 1000 feet between stops is ideal. I also like the two-trip ticket even though I would much rather prefer a 10-trip ticket.

(The goal isn't to make people walk farther. The goal is to speed up the average trip because the bus would stop half as much. Acceleration/deceleration are slow and a bus can have a herky-jerky feel if it stops at every stop. A transit agency could argue that some stops are so infrequently used that there's no point in getting rid of them. The counter-argument is that you would have to build in more  recovery time in the schedule, especially during peak hours because that's when most people are using transit and people will go to their nearest stop. So the bus is more likely to stop at every stop during peak usage.)

Finally, Human Transit has a few recent posts about positive feedback. When things go smoothly, the transit agency will hear next to nothing. When things go poorly, the transit agency will receive negative feedback. If you experience something good on your transit trip, say something about it. Such as, "I'm glad we don't have to stop every 500 feet."

The Wheels on the Bus link of the day:


  1. Cole, if I may impart some grammar knowledge to your fair blog, I think the word you're looking for in your second sentence is "complement," not "compliment." Compliment is an expression of praise, while complement is a counterpart or something which makes another whole. Unless, of course, you mean to say that COTA and other forms of mass transit provide good wishes to biking. If so, I guess I have some crow to eat.

    1. You didn't know that the exhaust coming out of the bus is just it's way of saying, "Nice legs, biker!"?

      I've corrected the sentence. Now the exhaust says, "I complete you!"

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...