Thursday, February 7, 2008

CTA Working To Reduce Frustrating 'Bus Bunching'

From Channel 2 and I'll just highlight the solution to the idea of buses arriving at a stop two or three or more at a time...

For more than a year now, GPS systems on board the CTA Route 20 buses have helped riders log onto real-time maps and arrival information. Called Bus Tracker, the pilot program can even be accessed via Blackberry at the bus-stop.

But the same system putting bus arrival times in the palm of our hands can also be a useful tool to those trying to avoid bus bunching in the first place.

"If there's a problem that looks like it is going to appear, this allows us to take more preventative action," said Wai-Sinn Chann of the CTA.

From the CTA's command center it's possible for controllers to use Bus Tracker to see gaps in service along the route, theoretically notifying field supervisors what's happening, who then can take appropriate action, for example delaying departures of buses on bunched up routes.

The program is still in its infancy, but also in recent months the CTA has given its drivers on all routes new power to navigate around a bunch.

"Drivers are now allowed to pass each other up to adjust their schedule so they do something called leap-frogging," Huberman said.

Small moves like leap-frogging have helped the CTA reduce bus bunching by 8 percent over the past few months. But the goal is double digit reductions and the CTA admits that will take time, all while commuters like Goedde are losing time at the bus stop.

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