Friday, April 07, 2006

Too Bus-y To Do Anything About It

Oak Grove bus stop.
A mild mannered T bus approaches.
Eager commuters crane their necks to catch a glimpse of the bus route on the LED sign.
Not surprisingly, the sign is all wacky, and there is a nice white sheet of paper taped to the windshield with the route number on it.
For the first time ever, the sign is not written with a sharpie, but is printed from a computer.
What's this? Route 101? But that goes from Malden Ctr. to Sullivan Square.
Oh, I see, the side LED sign has the correct route number on it.
But wait, there is also a paper 101 sign below the LED.
What is going on?
So I step onto the bus (#0250) and ask the driver if this is indeed going where I want to be.
Yeah, comes the surly reply, it's on the side sign.
But, pointing to sign on the front window, you know this says '101', right?
Yeah, and the side sign says the correct route.
But, there is also a '101' sign underneath, so which is it?
It's 'XXX'!
Oh. why don't you take down the paper signs then?
Well what if they switch this bus to the other route?

Since the bus was stopping at a T stop, they tend to wait for a load of people to board, so it wasn't that big a deal. However, when a bus is coming at you at 40 MPH, and you're waiting on the curb at a bus stop, you look at the front window.
If the route displayed is not the one you want, you generally step back, and the driver knows to keep on going past you.
Now if you had stepped back from this bus, there is no way you could see the side LED, with the correct route, until the bus almost ran you down.
By that point, you've missed the bus.

Free Rides!

If you're especially skint, or you just like sticking it to the man, head on over to Oak Grove in the next few weeks for a free ride on the T.
They are in the midst of replacing the old turnstiles with the new Charlie Card fare gates, and barely have staff watching commuters going into the station.
I have a monthly pass, and you can only see if it is current by looking at the back.
Have I once been asked to show the pass back?
Yesterday afternoon the "watcher" was getting a coffee at D&D's while groups of people just waltzed in.
And what's with the coin box they've got going? Do you think they'll check to see if you chucked in $1.25, a token, or a washer?
And even if they did open the thing up, how could they prove you scammed them?
Here's an idea to generate more revenue, Mr. Grabauskas: