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Some good news for the Province, details of the transit portion of the Safe Restart funding was released this morning, which will help all systems maintain essential levels of service. Based on the funding distribution in the release, it looks like this will allow all systems to maintain their current level of service, and allow the systems that cut service due to Covid to return to or close to pre-Covid levels when ready. This will also set a cap on how much fares can be raised.

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020TRAN0063-002006

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Hahaha...

At BC Ferries, this means no fare increase this fiscal year ending March 31, 2021

Okay but in more serious news, I find this line from the BC Transit portion of the document to be a huge breath of fresh air:

"Although ridership remains lower than historic levels (as of early September 2020, ridership was 41% of levels in September 2019) it will be important to continue to operate as close to 100% of planned revenue service hours in order to facilitate physical distancing of riders."

I've been frustrated by this from the beginning. Transit is a service, not a profitable business. Some people have to use transit. It's not just some second option - and if service levels aren't maintained, it will get more crowded with those who are stuck using it, and that will push even more riders away. 

I will say that the breakdown of funding showed something I hadn't known - some systems that behave as scheduled conventional (albeit infrequent) service are classified as Custom Transit or Paratransit. 100 Mile House, Ashcroft-Cache Creek-Clinton, Clearwater, Highway 16, Merritt, and Okanagan-Similkameen (to name just a few) are listed as paratransit. This is odd as (for example) Princeton, which falls within Okanagan-Similkameen is listed separately but still as paratransit. Should those systems not be listed as conventional? I recognize that the provide scheduled services are infrequent (sometimes only a few times a week) but they are still scheduled and operate between fixed points, and there is no equivalent system listed in the conventional section. Where can I learn more about what BC Transit considers "paratransit" vs "conventional?" 

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27 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

I will say that the breakdown of funding showed something I hadn't known - some systems that behave as scheduled conventional (albeit infrequent) service are classified as Custom Transit or Paratransit. 100 Mile House, Ashcroft-Cache Creek-Clinton, Clearwater, Highway 16, Merritt, and Okanagan-Similkameen (to name just a few) are listed as paratransit. This is odd as (for example) Princeton, which falls within Okanagan-Similkameen is listed separately but still as paratransit. Should those systems not be listed as conventional? I recognize that the provide scheduled services are infrequent (sometimes only a few times a week) but they are still scheduled and operate between fixed points, and there is no equivalent system listed in the conventional section. Where can I learn more about what BC Transit considers "paratransit" vs "conventional?" 

The breakdown between conventional/paratransit has been something that has been listed internally by BC Transit for many years. I don't know the full logic behind it (and some of it may just be legacy), but most of the systems classified as "paratransit" have some element where the buses may either deviate from the scheduled route to accommodate customers, or where buses may alternate between operating conventional scheduled routes and HandyDART service depending on the day (or even time of day). There is actually a third category, "Custom", which is mostly seen in larger systems and applied to buses that are solely used and equipped for HandyDART service. This is closer to what most other jurisdictions considers as "paratransit" which is probably where some of the confusion lies.

Two examples I have some more personal experience with:

  • Revelstoke: They have a fleet of four buses, all classified as "Paratransit". On a given day, one bus is used all day for fixed conventional service, a second is on HandyDART duty, and a third is used for the Health Connections service to Kelowna.
  • Terrace: the three Vicinity buses are classified as "Terrace - Conventional", while the two Arbocs are classified as "Terrace - Paratransit" because they operate HandyDART during the midday, but act as the third conventional bus during rush hours.

South Okanagan-Similkameen has their buses split up between locations, and because they are operated by separate contractors they cannot overlap/integrate between routes. So it still makes sense to denote buses by the separate communities rather than the larger system (West Kootenays, another merged system, still has their buses broken up into three groups). It is also related to accounting, as each community pays for their own buses, and therefore individual units need to be assigned (on paper) to specific communities. One example of this is that one of Kelowna's Arbocs is actually assigned on paper to Peachland, so that Peachland can pay for the share of the capital costs of providing service to their community. However, the bus assigned to Peachland on paper does not always get assigned to route 22 Peachland.

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1 minute ago, Articulated said:

This is closer to what most other jurisdictions considers as "paratransit" which is probably where some of the confusion lies.

Aha, thank you. Princeton would be the same - the bus in Princeton that operates the 50 - Penticton/Princeton also provides door-to-door service within Princeton and Coalmont, and the 50 itself also clearly makes deviations from its route upon request (despite BC Transit claiming otherwise) since the schedule claims it has eight stops inbound and only five outbound, leaving travelers from Cawston rather stuck a good distance from the homes on the way back. Thanks for the breakdown and examples. y the way, I'm blown away by the fact that Terrace has only five vehicles when its system has over 75 departures on all routes daily. I feel like it would be pretty easy to reverse engineer their paddles from the schedule, now that I know they only have three Infinities. 

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14 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Aha, thank you. Princeton would be the same - the bus in Princeton that operates the 50 - Penticton/Princeton also provides door-to-door service within Princeton and Coalmont, and the 50 itself also clearly makes deviations from its route upon request (despite BC Transit claiming otherwise) since the schedule claims it has eight stops inbound and only five outbound, leaving travelers from Cawston rather stuck a good distance from the homes on the way back. Thanks for the breakdown and examples. y the way, I'm blown away by the fact that Terrace has only five vehicles when its system has over 75 departures on all routes daily. I feel like it would be pretty easy to reverse engineer their paddles from the schedule, now that I know they only have three Infinities. 

Kitimat and Terrace are a bit of an odd situation because of the integration with Skeena Regional Transit System (which doesn't actually exist as a separate system). Kitimat provides the bus for the main service on route 11 (which is why their fleet has historically been larger than required for what is otherwise a 2-bus system), and upon arriving in Terrace it does a round trip on either route 13 or 14, before heading back to Kitimat. One of the Terrace buses will do a trip on the opposite route at the same time - it's easy to figure out which route this is, because the departure/arrival times do not match up with route 11's.

This is all a bit of a long-winded way of saying that not all of the trips/departures under Terrace's schedules are actually operated by Terrace. I would encourage you to type down all the departure and arrival times for the routes, and match them up - it get surprising and very informative to discover how busy buses can be in these small communities.

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  • 2 weeks later...

BC Transit has redesigned a portion of its web layout. Previously, schedules were provided with timing points listed down the page, with departures later in the day going further to the right across the page. For buses with many departures (like the 6, 27/28, 4, etc) this was a horrible design that led to the need for a hilariously long scrollbar at the bottom of the page. They have switched to a layout that closer mimics the logic of bus stop departure boards, with later departure times descending the list. I personally welcome this redesign as the old one was clunky and a bit illogical. Since a route rarely has more than a dozen timing points, but sometimes multiple dozens of departures, it makes far more sense to have the departure times on the visually unconstrained axis (vertical) and the timing points on the more constrained axis (horizontal). 

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Are there any red-white-blue D40LFs operating anywhere in the province any more? Seems like just yesterday that we had the paint-peeling, duct-taped seat red-white-blue buses in Victoria. On that note, what bus was it in Victoria that had no lower window on the back door and had the big green HYBRID written down the side? Is it gone from the system now or was it repainted? 

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32 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Are there any red-white-blue D40LFs operating anywhere in the province any more? Seems like just yesterday that we had the paint-peeling, duct-taped seat red-white-blue buses in Victoria. On that note, what bus was it in Victoria that had no lower window on the back door and had the big green HYBRID written down the side? Is it gone from the system now or was it repainted? 

https://cptdb.ca/wiki/index.php/BC_Transit#Conventional

Looks like 2 red/ white D40LF buses in contingency service. 

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  • 8 months later...
50 minutes ago, Oc4526 said:

That was a Victoria bus, and the collision was already posted in the Victoria thread.

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  • 3 months later...

As a regular TransLink rider, I just have to appreciate how BC Transit's next stop voice is so much better than the CMBC next stop voice. The BC Transit voice is much closer to human speech, vs the robotic, often unclear voice on CMBC.

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3 hours ago, anyfong said:

As a regular TransLink rider, I just have to appreciate how BC Transit's next stop voice is so much better than the CMBC next stop voice. The BC Transit voice is much closer to human speech, vs the robotic, often unclear voice on CMBC.

I think that part of this is that the CMBC system is almost ten years older (if I recall correctly). You should have been here during the transition period when it wasn't yet NextRide, but they'd put in an auto-announcement system that told you every single cross road as you reached it... all mispronounced horrible. Cedarwood was "Said-Air-Woo-D." Gabriola was "Gah-Bry-Oh-Lah." Even common words like "exchange" ("Ex-Ch-Hange").

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19 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

I think that part of this is that the CMBC system is almost ten years older (if I recall correctly). You should have been here during the transition period when it wasn't yet NextRide, but they'd put in an auto-announcement system that told you every single cross road as you reached it... all mispronounced horrible. Cedarwood was "Said-Air-Woo-D." Gabriola was "Gah-Bry-Oh-Lah." Even common words like "exchange" ("Ex-Ch-Hange").

You forgot the best one at McTavish...

"Dead End on Street with No Name"

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On 1/13/2022 at 3:47 PM, InfiNorth said:

I think that part of this is that the CMBC system is almost ten years older (if I recall correctly). You should have been here during the transition period when it wasn't yet NextRide, but they'd put in an auto-announcement system that told you every single cross road as you reached it... all mispronounced horrible. Cedarwood was "Said-Air-Woo-D." Gabriola was "Gah-Bry-Oh-Lah." Even common words like "exchange" ("Ex-Ch-Hange").

now entering SA_NOCH!

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  • 2 weeks later...

NextRide is coming to... well, pretty much every transit system in the province. This means that Google Maps will soon host the transportation info for every route and stop in British Columbia, and this include the regional and long-distance services except for BC Bus North (which is too bad, since they supplement the other services on the Highway 16 corridor). 

I would really love it to be a requirement for all regional and long-distance bus operators to make their data available to the public rather than publishing low-quality, hard-to-interpret schedules on websites that no one can find. 

Regardless, NextRide everywhere is a step forward. Yes, NextRide has its issues but this is big!

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/bc-transit-to-launch-real-time-bus-tracking-app-on-all-routes-across-province-1.5738940

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It's better than the existing NextRide system. 👀

Although I believe the intention at this time is to introduce it everywhere with fixed route service that didn't get NextRide 1.0. So, not sure when systems like Victoria will get upgraded.

One thing to note that the rollout will be towards conventional, fixed route services. On demand routes with variable routing and schedules isn't really something that will work with the system unfortunately. 

 

Also yeah expect delays in the rollout, that timeline is way too ambitious...

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3 minutes ago, ephrex said:

It's better than the existing NextRide system. 👀

Although I believe the intention at this time is to introduce it everywhere with fixed route service that didn't get NextRide 1.0. So, not sure when systems like Victoria will get upgraded.

One thing to note that the rollout will be towards conventional, fixed route services. On demand routes with variable routing and schedules isn't really something that will work with the system unfortunately. 

 

Also yeah expect delays in the rollout, that timeline is way too ambitious...

Many rural, regional routes aren't described as on-request in rider's guides, but have on-request components (like certain areas where a scheduled bus will deviate if it is asked to by dispatch). Do you know if that will ultimately eliminate those routes from the system? I don't understand why on-request can't be integrated - day-to-day detours are frequently marked on NextRide already, how hard would it be to have a system that "detoured" buses to their on-request stops so that, in the case that someone might want to use it, they could? I am not a fan of on-demand-conventional, but at least make it easily usable for the public.

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I would be extremely surprised if those services were eliminated altogether -- it's more likely that they simply wouldn't show up on Transit App etc. 

I don't know the details, but I would expect it to be extremely difficult to integrate -- how do you make a realtime arrival estimate when you don't have a fixed route, fixed stops, or even a fixed schedule? Conventional fixed route service with certain on-demand detouring sections (The Agassiz-Harrison service comes to mind) would be less problematic in that regard because it at least has a fixed schedule.

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On 1/23/2022 at 1:38 PM, ephrex said:

I would be extremely surprised if those services were eliminated altogether -- it's more likely that they simply wouldn't show up on Transit App etc. 

I don't know the details, but I would expect it to be extremely difficult to integrate -- how do you make a realtime arrival estimate when you don't have a fixed route, fixed stops, or even a fixed schedule? Conventional fixed route service with certain on-demand detouring sections (The Agassiz-Harrison service comes to mind) would be less problematic in that regard because it at least has a fixed schedule.

I wasn't suggestion service cancellation, just omission from NextRide and their GTFS feeds.

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On 1/25/2022 at 3:35 PM, ephrex said:

I have sent BC Transit an email with a bunch of questions about the upcoming technology improvements through UMO and NextRide:

Quote

With UMO, as the fare card is intended to eventually be almost universal across the province, and with vehicle tracking to allow for better fare tracking, are there plans for the new capabilities of the system to expand the interlining of transit routes that encroach into other service areas? If this is not intended for the near future, is it being considered to improve accessibility to transit for equitable interregional transportation in areas like the Highway 16 corridor, the Okanagan-Shuswap, Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley?

I've also asked whether scheduled BC Transit Health Connection buses will be included on NextRide services as they appear in Riders' Guides and are scheduled. I have a strong feeling that the answer is no but we can only hope, as having more intercity buses on Google Maps is always a huge step in the right direction. It is virtually impossible to find your way around the province right now without weird regional specifics of who does what and where. 

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Health connections is, unless something significantly changes in the very near future, a no -- there's hardly any point when the service is by reservation only to begin with -- if anything having those show up on realtime is worse because then you get irate customers who see it but can't board because they never called to reserve.

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