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Thread: Are "Fleets" of buses an issue in your area (they are in Strathcona)?

  1. #1

    Default Are "Fleets" of buses an issue in your area (they are in Strathcona)?

    This got mentioned in the "Valley Line" bit, but was veering it off-topic, so I'll bring it up here. I definitely notice the issue of "too many buses going at once" in Strathcona.

    Typically, if I want to go anywhere, I have to hit the LRT station first. Which means going West on Whyte towards the U of A station(s). Now, this theoretically involves a LOT of options- four buses go down that way- two to West Edmonton Mall (the 4 & 106), while two others go to the U of A and then cycle back around (the 57 and I think the 9). Now, this should mean that I almost never would have to wait for the bus- FOUR choices, right?

    Except that's not what happens at all. I find that every time I head to a bus stop, I have to wait. And wait. And wait. And the other people pile up behind me, all waiting for the next bus. And when 15 minutes have gone by, there's the 4. And then there will be the OTHER three buses pretty much following directly behind it, to the point where one occasionally moves ahead of it in the line because it's stopped.

    This is REALLY dumb- making people wait fifteen minutes at stops this busy means they're absolutely crammed into the first bus that comes along, while the others barely have anyone. AND it means that you're constantly waiting, which is inconvenient. It makes a lot more sense to have the buses coming out "staggered" every five minutes or so- do that, and suddenly the buses are a lot less crowded.

    I get that it's easier to plan things for ":00, :15, :30 & :45" arrival times, but it's stupid that the 4 & 106 leave at the exact same time. They even leave the U of A for WEM at the exact same time! They are absolutely timing this in a very inconvenient manner.

    I've heard from a few other people that the "Fleets" of buses is an issue. Where else do you notice this?

    (now, if they could fix this, AND make an "Express" bus going straight from the U to WEM, then we'd have something )

  2. #2

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    As noted in the other thread, i saw this at Northgate TC where you would see fleets of up to 6 buses leave and turn right, west bound onto 13th Ave. This was so noticeable because the light phase was only long enough for 3 or 4 bused but since they were in convoy, the last buses would run the yellow and even the red. Most would turn left at 97th Street southbound and convoy through past the light phase except one or two that would go either on their route further west or north on 97th. Then 3 or 4 and sometimes 5 would go southbound in convoy, plodding along the bus lane as a group as you describe.


    When my daughter went to Victoria going home towards Bonnie Doon. The students would wait 15 minutes or more in a large group of 50+ students. Her bus would usually arrive first with 2 other buses right behind, all different routes that came from the Kingsway TC all heading to Jasper and 101st. She would want to get on the first bus because it would take her directly home via the transit stop at Jasper and 101st. Many kids were transferring at Jasper and 101st to take the LRT. They could take any of the three to get to the LRT but they would all cram into the first bus and my daughter would not be able to get on her bus. She would take the second or third and they would plod in convoy towards Jasper and 101st. Most kids would get off the first bus to transfer to the LRT and unfortunately the bus my daughter would be on would be stuck on the other side of Jasper Ave ( northside ) waiting for the light and have to sprint to catch her bus which usually pulled out just before she arrived. Then she would have to wait 15 minutes or more for the next bus, often in the cold. This would happen twice or 3 times a week. Sometimes when I picked her up from school I would see the pack of kids board the first of the fleet just as she described.

    These fleets of buses are due to the scheduling, timing points and a group mentality by bus drivers who often share a smoke and then move out in convoy, often to work together to blow though traffic. I have seen it on other routes as well. Just watch any Transit Center.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    (now, if they could fix this, AND make an "Express" bus going straight from the U to WEM, then we'd have something )
    I seem to remember a proposal to build an LRT line on that route years back. Maybe time to resurrect it now that the mayor responsible for killing that idea has been out of office for 4 years? Otherwise, an express bus from south campus to WEM would probably work better by avoiding the traffic mess of 114 St.

  4. #4

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    Fleetwatch 2017 continues:

    Waited at a stop on Whyte the other day (a weekday, even)- enough time to get bored and walk to the U of A for the LRT instead.

    And what do I see? Between Chapters and Safeway, not a single westbound bus. Yet there were SIX BUSES headed east- two 4s (one must be late), the 7, I think a 94, and another one. 20 minutes between westbound buses, and then boom- the 94 hits Safeway, followed a minute later by the 4 riding a foot behind the 7.

    If I'd walked from the beginning, I'd have beaten the bus to the LRT.

    Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. They should be monitoring the drivers. Or I should buy a video camera and record the drivers, then send a copy to City Hall .
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 12-11-2017 at 03:23 PM.

  5. #5

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    They won't care because the COE's largest union will dispute even video evidence as fake news...
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    It's not the fault of the drivers. It's the schedules. The phenomenon you are remarking upon is called caravaning and has been a feature of the transit system for the last several decades. Caravaning was introduced when computing power was not like it is today so the focus was more on making sure the connections worked. That is, if you leave the 4, you can catch the 130 within a reasonably short period of time. This was especially useful when the buses ran on a 30 minute schedule instead of shorter intervals. Very frequent intervals (less than 15 minutes) eliminates the need to focus on making sure the connections match timewise.

    With the increase of computing power, there have been some new models which have allowed a reduction of caravaning. The City of Edmonton is looking at implementing some of these new schedule models for the next revision of the transit maps.
    Xelebes

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by psiebold1 View Post
    It's not the fault of the drivers. It's the schedules. The phenomenon you are remarking upon is called caravaning and has been a feature of the transit system for the last several decades. Caravaning was introduced when computing power was not like it is today so the focus was more on making sure the connections worked. That is, if you leave the 4, you can catch the 130 within a reasonably short period of time. This was especially useful when the buses ran on a 30 minute schedule instead of shorter intervals. Very frequent intervals (less than 15 minutes) eliminates the need to focus on making sure the connections match timewise.

    With the increase of computing power, there have been some new models which have allowed a reduction of caravaning. The City of Edmonton is looking at implementing some of these new schedule models for the next revision of the transit maps.
    Interesting- the schedule thing was my first idea up top, but EdmontonPRT said otherwise. I can definitely see it with the 7/106 and 4 running identical schedules down Whyte- this has been a thing since day one.

  8. #8

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    FleetWatch continues!!

    Actually hasn't been so bad lately. I managed to actually get to the stop a MINUTE before the bus arrived; not right after it leaves. And it wasn't being followed by a pack of other buses. We did, however, touch off at the U of A with the 106 already there, took off, then ended up at the mall at the exact same time.

    Funny note: Waited about two seconds at the South Campus station before trying to set off, ignoring a bunch of people RUNNING from the LRT platform to the bus- the driver really should have seen it. And an old man literally THREW his cane about 30 feet, hitting the bus on the side and getting it to stop. Then he hollered at the driver for a bit, waited for it to drive so he could get his cane from under it, then he got on .

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    ^There are several free apps and a real time ETS map that allow buses to be tracked in real time. I find looking up bus schedules more of a pain than using these real time tools which especially help when buses get off schedule.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    ^There are several free apps and a real time ETS map that allow buses to be tracked in real time. I find looking up bus schedules more of a pain than using these real time tools which especially help when buses get off schedule.
    Oh? I haven't seen that kind of thing. My phone is a BlackBerry, so probably can't run apps very well at this point- I'm afraid of it blowing up .

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    ^The ETS real time bus map is web-based though optimized for use on a desktop or laptop rather than a smartphone. There is a mobile web version called 'ETS To Go' though it's not as good as apps like the Transit App which is a free download for Android or Apple devices.

    Link: https://etslive.edmonton.ca/


  12. #12

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    I also use and recommend MonTransit: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....android&hl=en
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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    transit55.ca is the best website I have found to date. It's usable on a smartphone although that's not what it was configured for.
    Last edited by Mla; 30-12-2017 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Add link

  14. #14

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    Another "caravan" this past Wednesday, around 4 pm. Came to the stop just as the last bus in the caravan was leaving, and it was another fifteen minutes before the next 4, 54 and whatever touched down- the 4 I was riding came up directly behind the bus in front of it pretty much the entire way down Whyte Ave. Given the fact that rush hour was drawing nearer, this made the entire journey exceptionally slow. The fact that RUSH HOUR would still draw "one bus every fifteen minutes" is ridiculous.

  15. #15

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    How full was your bus?
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  16. #16

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    Decently full, but not madly so- I didn't have to share a seat. Luckily, the 4 (my bus) was riding the butt of the... non-4 (whichever- 94, 54 or whatever bus that was), which got most of the riders. The 4 was following that one the entire trip, so that one probably got jam-packed by people who didn't want to risk the 4 "skipping over" that bus and not seeing other riders.

  17. #17

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    That's relevant and parallels my transit experience. The corridor needs more frequent bus service, transit priority at lights and more efficient service. Some stops are only 160 meters apart that slows service. 250 to 350 meters are more reasonable.
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  18. #18

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    Interesting note: Today, the "caravans" were actually broken up. But only because half a block was turned into a one-lane road going westbound because of some thing, so there was a massive "choke point" that utterly screwed up all the traffic on the Ave ! Watching cars slowly edge through, to the point where I could see the various buses lining up, desperate to ride each other's butts, was amusing- you wouldn't think making Whyte single-lane for some a short space would be so devastating, but there it was.

    Naturally, every bus was massively late today, considering the roads.

    I agree, however, that Whyte has too many stops that are REALLY close together- the Goodwill stop and Macs stop are incredibly close together, as are many going down Whyte. There's something like 4 stops on the stretch to the University! Way too many opportunities to stop the bus!

    I've heard from American friends that buses in large cities are banning the herculean super-strollers from getting on- that might be a helpful option moving forward (though generally, in my neck of the woods it's those motorized carts that are blocking up five spaces, crowding the buses even further- hard to be mean to THOSE people... but they're really slowing the buses down some days).
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 04-02-2018 at 01:15 AM.

  19. #19

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  20. #20

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    Careful- people whine and cry that you're being "ableist" because some people apparently "need" their carriers SUV-sized .


    Haha, normally Sundays aren't so bad for "Caravaning", but HOLY CRAP, today. I was out around 2 pm, and came from the Shoppers Drug Mart to see a bus going westbound. I was annoyed because this meant I'd probably missed ALL of the buses, but lo and behold- the #4 and the #94 were RIGHT THERE, stuck at the lights! They must have been FURIOUS they'd missed their friend, the #7! This meant I actually managed to get a westbound bus, which then immediately began hopscotching the #7 every time it stopped. Watching the annoyed bus stop patrons run back and forth trying to catch the right bus (if you're going to WEM, you only want the #4) was both amusing, and head-shakingly annoying. FIX THIS PROBLEM ALREADY!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    (now, if they could fix this, AND make an "Express" bus going straight from the U to WEM, then we'd have something )
    I seem to remember a proposal to build an LRT line on that route years back. Maybe time to resurrect it now that the mayor responsible for killing that idea has been out of office for 4 years? Otherwise, an express bus from south campus to WEM would probably work better by avoiding the traffic mess of 114 St.
    ...not to derail..

    ...but that LRT route had a couple major problems

    1. it connected 2 disparate nodes, demographics, and uses which really didn't have anything to do with each other,
    2. it transited a route that has, and would continue to have, low transit need and ridership vs other routes proposed,
    3. and the biggest factor, a huge bridge needed to span the river would be $$$$, and tunnelling would be as much $$$$$ if not more. The money is better spent on other routes. Given how Edmonton somehow finds a way to muddle up the system, and also do it for some of the highest costs per km in the world....hell no!


    ...back to the caravan conversation.
    Since calm logic doesn't work, I guess it is time to employ sarcasm. ...and before you call me an a-hole...remember, I am a Dick.

  22. #22

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    In Sweden, giant strollers & handicapped people get on in the middle of the bus where they've got a double-wide door & enough unobstructed floor space to be able to navigate. Very handy.
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    (now, if they could fix this, AND make an "Express" bus going straight from the U to WEM, then we'd have something )
    I seem to remember a proposal to build an LRT line on that route years back. Maybe time to resurrect it now that the mayor responsible for killing that idea has been out of office for 4 years? Otherwise, an express bus from south campus to WEM would probably work better by avoiding the traffic mess of 114 St.
    ...not to derail..

    ...but that LRT route had a couple major problems

    1. it connected 2 disparate nodes, demographics, and uses which really didn't have anything to do with each other,
    2. it transited a route that has, and would continue to have, low transit need and ridership vs other routes proposed,
    3. and the biggest factor, a huge bridge needed to span the river would be $$$$, and tunnelling would be as much $$$$$ if not more. The money is better spent on other routes. Given how Edmonton somehow finds a way to muddle up the system, and also do it for some of the highest costs per km in the world....hell no!


    ...back to the caravan conversation.
    Yet there are as many trips per day from the 87ave portion of this route to South Campus as there are trips along any portion of the currently proposed route.

    That's because it doesn't connect "two nodes" any more than the stony plain road line connects "2 nodes". The 87ave route is the fastest and most direct connection for all the 100,000+ people in west Edmonton south of 95st OR west of 170st to the rest of the city, particularly downtown AND the university. It's also the fastest way to connect the rest of the city to WEM. Does The Mis count as a node? Meadowlark?

    You can't look at Buena vista's demographic an write off the 87ave route's transit ridership on account of old well-off people than you can write off the SPR route based on Glenora. Apartment tower dwellers at Whitehall (by meadowlark) or in Callingwood village are better served by an 87ave route.

    And the bridge is a red herring when you realize that you're comparing the cost of that bridge as part of just 4km of track from Health Sciences to Meadowlark versus 6.5km from MacEwan to Meadowlark especially when that route will have grade separations too.

    Not to mention the idiotic "central circulator" with it's additional bridge jammed in between the High Level and the Menzies LRT Bridge, all apparently conceived to compensate for the poor connection from the wet LRT line to the university.

    The only legitimate study (c.2008?) of WLRT costs had 87ave costing less than any north of the river connections despite there being no grade separation besides 170st in consideration at the time. Add the savings of axing the "central circulator" and there could be over a billion dollars of savings to go with the 87ave option.
    There can only be one.

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    Sorry highlander...I stand by what I said.

    There is no red herring in what I mentioned at all. The suspension bridges that started to be proposed were stupid expensive.

    I don't want to debate this one on this thread. The right decision was made to remove that route. Just because it works on onion paper overlaid on a 2D map...
    Since calm logic doesn't work, I guess it is time to employ sarcasm. ...and before you call me an a-hole...remember, I am a Dick.

  25. #25

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    It's funny how administration blows costs of out portion. We can build a new multilane bridge and separate pedestrian span for $155M including world-class lighting/special effects, but its 200-300 million dollars to elevate an LRT line over one intersection (109/104), or how a suspension bridge would be needed and very costly for the 87th avenue option that RichardS doesn't want to discuss on this thread.

    I think Administration fudges numbers quite a bit to avoid opposition building to the LACK-LUSTER LRT plans they come up with on their own using metrics forced by Mandel that put transit below redevelopment opportunistic on some score card in route planning. It's too bad Richard has fallen for Administration fudgery.

  26. #26

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    You are correct Medwards

    That is why even the Sierra Club opposed the West End BRT plans a decade ago. They would not put even a cost down


    It was Route A would cost $$$, Route B would cost $$$$ and Route C would cost $$$$$

    When the administration was asked to define what the dollar signs represented as a value Was it $$$ = $50M, $$$$ = $51M and $$$$$ = $52M?
    or was it $$$ = $50M, $$$$ = $500M and $$$$$ = $5000M?

    They could not answer the question.

    Same thing with their cost analysis of the electric trolley system to replace the 38 vehicle fleet and maintain the existing lines for 10 years

    They costed a not maintenance but full replacement of every line, pole, substation and the full value of 38 new trolley buses, with no residual value. It was highly unlikely that more than just a few poles and lines and substation would need to be replaced as most of the existing equipment would last 50 years. They deliberately drove the cost to $110 million to sway Council to the less expensive diesel hybrid buses that were already failing and would never prove to be viable in Edmonton. They used this charade as a deliberate fraud to kill the efficient trolley buses and refuse to replace the full 100 vehicle fleet and upgrade the 127km network. They killed the trolleys using diesel hybrid buses to push their slow and hyper expensive streetcar line.
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