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13 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

It's an accessibility issue. I don't want to have to use a portion of my world's-most-expensive-mobile-data every time I want to take the bus. Many people don't even have the option, when having data costs more in Canada than anywhere else worldwide. As I've mentioned to Matt in the past, that isn't of concern on frequent corridors, but loads of stops in the CRD see buses less than once an hour, meaning that someone without data can't just show up and wait for the right bus. Imagine trying to catch the 83 on a whim without access to a schedule. Rider's Guides need to continue existing for equity reasons... for the same reasons that it's not fair to charge a fee. Charging a fee for a paper guide is just a different place to dump your money than into the pockets of the Canadian telecoms.

 

10 hours ago, SomeIslandKid said:

Before I had data I had to use the ones on the bus to figure out what's the best way to get sorta close to my house when the 50 was late and it broke the transfer to the (too early) last bus to my neighbourhood for example. It was figuring out how the 52 worked and walking 20ish minutes, or walking 60ish minutes.

So yeah, having rider's guides on board is good. It is a touch point, but like people should've been washing their hands after taking transit since well before the pandemic lol

To be clear, I didn't say I wanted to get rid of the print guides altogether, but I think it would expand the reach of the guides to have them available off of the bus.

It's extremely rare to have someone come board a bus to grab a schedule and not ride said bus. Pretty much everyone that takes a schedule on board a bus is also travelling on that particular bus, which means they already figured out how to catch that bus regardless of whether or not it had a print guide on board.

Having them available in other public, high traffic areas increases the information dispersal to current and potential riders alike. If you have them available at a large amount of locations, and on a diverse enough geographical spread, you actually make it easier to avoid the challenges you describe. Instead of standing at a bus stop wondering if and when it will ever arrive just so you can grab a print schedule, you just have to go to the closest bricks and mortar schedule outlet to pick it up. Unlike buses, buildings don't appear for a brief moment and then vanish for an hour or more 😆. If you aren't able to access a print schedule until you're actually on board a bus, they aren't accessible enough, and in my eyes the arrival of Covid is further justification to re-examine how the print schedules are administered and distributed. 

 

10 hours ago, northwesterner said:

I mean, you're the one who said it, so....


*****

It's a good thing the internet exists, as I just looked up the union contract.
Six days of sick leave (48hrs) into a bank at the start of every year. That seems pretty low, so I kept reading.
Oh, what's this... once you're out for more than 4 days a Short Term Disability Plan kicks in, paying 96% of scheduled days pay from day 4 through 8 weeks, and then 85% for weeks 9 through 17.

Seems like they have a very generous plan.

What's the date on that contract? 

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15 hours ago, CV92 said:

To be clear, I didn't say I wanted to get rid of the print guides altogether, but I think it would expand the reach of the guides to have them available off of the bus.

It's extremely rare to have someone come board a bus to grab a schedule and not ride said bus. Pretty much everyone that takes a schedule on board a bus is also travelling on that particular bus, which means they already figured out how to catch that bus regardless of whether or not it had a print guide on board.

Yes I agree they should be available off the bus, however without them being on the bus, it wouldn't have helped me when I've needed it. I'd used my phone to see when my 3 route 2 transfer trip from UVic lined up and got hit with surprise highway traffic after getting on the 50. It was after 9:30pm at that point so most places you suggested would be closed. I had to figure out how to catch a different bus mid-trip, which included being unsure of which exchange to get off at as I had already known the 52 gets me close enough to home, not which time it left which exchange. I left the guide onboard since I only needed it then. There's value on having them on-board, so I only object to removing them from the buses since transfers to an infrequent route don't always go as planned and Google Maps won't give backup options ahead of time. Getting BC Transit to have a perfect 100% on time rate is the only way to prevent that use-case.

Another use-case is a regular rider grabbing a new schedule with each service change. Assuming COVID doesn't totally destroy the VRTC's plans of 20,000 expansion hours a year for the near future this will present an on-going need for print guide using riders to get new ones. Having them on-board makes this convenient for people who don't regularly pass through a place where the guides are distributed.

I completely agree that every place you suggested would be great, it's just that keeping them on board is also important.

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i question some of these paddles. Some paddles literally do half a trip, then deadhead back to the garage. 

Example, there's one that deadheads from VTC garage to Sidney, does an 82 in service to Saanichton Exchange, then deadheads back to VTC. 
Also, there are paddles that deadhead from VTC to Royal Oak, do half a 6 to Downtown, then deadhead back to VTC. 

It costs the company more money for having the driver do their pre and post trip and deadhead. Sort of like the 76 paddles, where the driver would deadhead from LTC or VTC, do a 76 from Swartz Bay to UVic in service, then deadhead back to Swartz Bay, repeat. In that case, half of the drivers shift is just deadheading. 

The paddles that make sense are the ones that are out from 5am to midnight or later. I'm sure transit has their REASONS for having such ridiculous short paddles and splits. 

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^^^ Transit is very reliant on peak times which are very short, they need the capacity for a brief period of time during the day and it would cost more to keep the bus out on the road then it would to deadhead back after a trip or two. 

 

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3 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

It costs the company more money for having the driver do their pre and post trip and deadhead. Sort of like the 76 paddles, where the driver would deadhead from LTC or VTC, do a 76 from Swartz Bay to UVic in service, then deadhead back to Swartz Bay, repeat. In that case, half of the drivers shift is just deadheading. 

The paddles that make sense are the ones that are out from 5am to midnight or later. I'm sure transit has their REASONS for having such ridiculous short paddles and splits. 

Because of how the 76 only operates on Fridays, it is impossible to integrate it with a regular paddle without completely upsetting the rest of the system's scheduling for that day. The only clean way to do it is to have it on its own separate paddle that can run on days it's needed, and not run on days it's not needed.

I actually find it's not great to have buses out on the road from start of service to the end of the service day. Any dirt, garbage, and issues that happen during the day stay out until the buses run in. Circle checks rarely happen on the road, and info gets lost sometimes when multiple drivers rotate through the seat over the day. In addition, while it's not as much of an issue in Victoria, but moreso in Toronto with our 24 hour network we have some runs that are out in service for over 24 hours straight. During hot/cold weather where the AC/heat is requiring more power, and especially on highway runs, fuel level can become a real concern on long runs. While modern buses are usually designed to handle 18+ hour days without issue, it's still not a bad idea to bring out fresh buses at some point in the day.

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14 hours ago, Articulated said:

Because of how the 76 only operates on Fridays, it is impossible to integrate it with a regular paddle without completely upsetting the rest of the system's scheduling for that day. The only clean way to do it is to have it on its own separate paddle that can run on days it's needed, and not run on days it's not needed.

I actually find it's not great to have buses out on the road from start of service to the end of the service day. Any dirt, garbage, and issues that happen during the day stay out until the buses run in. Circle checks rarely happen on the road, and info gets lost sometimes when multiple drivers rotate through the seat over the day. In addition, while it's not as much of an issue in Victoria, but moreso in Toronto with our 24 hour network we have some runs that are out in service for over 24 hours straight. During hot/cold weather where the AC/heat is requiring more power, and especially on highway runs, fuel level can become a real concern on long runs. While modern buses are usually designed to handle 18+ hour days without issue, it's still not a bad idea to bring out fresh buses at some point in the day.

In terms of the 76, since it's already an express route (pretty much the most express route in the entire system) there would be literally no harm done in simply leaving it in service for a somewhat useless but absolutely harmless run from SWB to UVIC and vice versa. If it's already driving the route, and the policy is to never stop anywhere enroute except Quadra and Shelbourne, I see absolutely no possible argument that would justify not adding in a trip even if only one or two people used it. Trust me, there are always people trying to get from the Peninsula to the Quadra/Shelbourne/Gordon Head area, someone would use that bus. I had previously mentioned the lack of logic in a lot of the deadheads. As previously mentioned (and even in line with the ongoing discussion about rider's guides), so many people use an app these days and just take the bus it tells them to that new "express" routes that are made of repositioning buses would not be unused, even if it was just one or two people on a bus.

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9 hours ago, 9924 said:

I see Matt add a "confused" emoji to my post.  What confuses you about my post?

Again, I still think it's a huge waste of resources to have a driver deadhead to a start point, do half a trip or so, and deadhead back to the depot. I know they're trying to "fill in" service on certain routes, but they should have a paddle that comes in to Royal Oak around that time (like a 30, 31, 83, 32, 35, etc) do that trip, then resume the regular route they do. I know there's paddles that do 32 and 35s all day. Have the driver do a half-trip of the 6 then resume their 35. But I guess transit has their reasons. 

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1 hour ago, ygk said:

A 76 that served Swartz Bay and McTavish directly from UVic could be a great route for students.

Not only for students, but also for residents. There is absolutely no convenient way to get from the Gordon Head/Shelbourne area to Swartz Bay at the moment - the 39's transfer is always an uncomfortably long wait that makes the journey well over an hour and a half for something that shouldn't take more than an hour, and the 16 (when it's running) stupidly doesn't stop at the Highway 17 on-ramp that every other bus stops at. I get why it can't do it in the UVIC direction - it would have to turn right across several lanes of traffic - but in the Uptown direction I see no reason that the 16 couldn't stop at Pat Bay and McKenzie since it always goes through that stop serving the 70/71/72 corridor. I feel like boardings at that stop are so infrequent that it wouldn't hurt the schedule at all to add it, since the express routing has no stops nearby. What this means is that people living on the West side of the Pat Bay have no access to UVIC after the very brief travel window offered by the 51 closes. Anyways, we need an express bus that at least daily goes from Gordon Head/UVIC to SWB and back. There are times when Google Maps tells me I might as well take the 27/28 all the way downtown and then catch a bus from there instead of trying to navigate the horrible schedule of the 39 and transfer at Royal Oak. 26 works sometimes but since they completely destroyed the logic of routing through Uptown, you can't just wait at one stop for every one of the 7# buses because they all seem to follow different routes now... around a two-block area. This is another topic that you really shouldn't get me started on... that routing around Uptown makes my head spin.

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On a completely different topic, Google Earth's (not Google Maps) transit data is so out of date that it still shows the 13 serving University Heights via the 12/24 terminus. It also thinks the 33 still exists... a UVIC special that previously ran up Richmond in the morning. Also the 19... which I know nothing about.

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12 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

On a completely different topic, Google Earth's (not Google Maps) transit data is so out of date that it still shows the 13 serving University Heights via the 12/24 terminus. It also thinks the 33 still exists... a UVIC special that previously ran up Richmond in the morning. Also the 19... which I know nothing about.

Apparently the 19 went between Hillside Mall and James Bay and was killed off in Jan 2018. I found it in the VRTC documents a while ago while trying to figure out what exactly happened with the Westshore changes in April 2018 lol.

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27 minutes ago, SomeIslandKid said:

Apparently the 19 went between Hillside Mall and James Bay and was killed off in Jan 2018. I found it in the VRTC documents a while ago while trying to figure out what exactly happened with the Westshore changes in April 2018 lol.

Wow, that's recent. I have a rider's guide and it appears it was a school special for Vic High, similar to the 17 Cedar Hill, only it terminated at Hillside Mall for no logical reason. Back a few more years there was also an 18 that did the same route as the 17 except it skipped the loop out towards the highway and had a UVIC destination board. There was also a 29 that operated on the 28 loop in Gordon Head, then followed Laval to UVIC. Odd how we only have one school special now. I guess other routes in the same areas have had enough of a service boost that people can rely on them instead. 

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12 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

Again, I still think it's a huge waste of resources to have a driver deadhead to a start point, do half a trip or so, and deadhead back to the depot. I know they're trying to "fill in" service on certain routes, but they should have a paddle that comes in to Royal Oak around that time (like a 30, 31, 83, 32, 35, etc) do that trip, then resume the regular route they do. I know there's paddles that do 32 and 35s all day. Have the driver do a half-trip of the 6 then resume their 35. But I guess transit has their reasons. 

The "reasons" are ... they have a very expensive, computerized scheduling system that runs optimization models to determine their schedules based on the parameters and constraints set in the model. 

These software programs do require some massaging to get things right ... you have to program in travel times correctly, etc, for them to work correctly. 

I tend to also dislike scheduling anomalies like you are reporting, but if you don't know what they're optimizing on, then how can you complain? 

Are they:

  • Optimizing to use the least drivers possible?
  • Optimizing to use the most drivers per day while meeting contractual hours requirements?
  • Optimizing to minimize total operations cost?
  • Optimizing to all pull in / pull outs, for sanitation?

I don't know.

You don't either.

But the software will produce paddles to fit any of those scenarios - and a million more, based on the "reasons."

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8 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

On a completely different topic, Google Earth's (not Google Maps) transit data is so out of date that it still shows the 13 serving University Heights via the 12/24 terminus. It also thinks the 33 still exists... a UVIC special that previously ran up Richmond in the morning. Also the 19... which I know nothing about.

I remember the 13. I was living near University Heights at the time, and I recall always seeing a small shuttle bus driving by a bunch of students waiting to go to UVIC. Even though it would say "UVIC" on the destination sign, they would still wait for the 26, 26A, 39, etc. The 13 is one of those routes they have to put in for service reasons but nobody takes it. 

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On 7/18/2020 at 5:29 AM, Matt Dunlop said:

I remember the 13. I was living near University Heights at the time, and I recall always seeing a small shuttle bus driving by a bunch of students waiting to go to UVIC. Even though it would say "UVIC" on the destination sign, they would still wait for the 26, 26A, 39, etc. The 13 is one of those routes they have to put in for service reasons but nobody takes it. 

What was the 26A? Also, we had the same conversation a few months ago about the history of the 13 - it would still be well used if it served University Heights as a supplementary service between Shelbourne and UVIC but unfortunately it is an absurdly useless thrice-daily route that goes the opposite direction from the 11 so it can't even supplement that. 

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2 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

What was the 26A? Also, we had the same conversation a few months ago about the history of the 13 - it would still be well used if it served University Heights as a supplementary service between Shelbourne and UVIC but unfortunately it is an absurdly useless thrice-daily route that goes the opposite direction from the 11 so it can't even supplement that. 

26A was the short turn 26 that ran between UVic and Uptown, and turned around via Oak and Cloverdale. It was replaced by the 16. There was no point in Matt mentioning it, because in the situation we are discussing, no bus would ever be displaying 26A on it's sign 🙂

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9 minutes ago, CV92 said:

26A was the short turn 26 that ran between UVic and Uptown, and turned around via Oak and Cloverdale. It was replaced by the 16. There was no point in Matt mentioning it, because in the situation we are discussing, no bus would ever be displaying 26A on it's sign 🙂

From what I remember, there used to be a 26 "Douglas Only" and a 26 Dockyard. But that was 10 years ago things have changed. 

On another note, quite a few of the CNG Vicinitys have been delivered! 

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35 minutes ago, CV92 said:

26A was the short turn 26 that ran between UVic and Uptown, and turned around via Oak and Cloverdale. It was replaced by the 16. There was no point in Matt mentioning it, because in the situation we are discussing, no bus would ever be displaying 26A on it's sign 🙂

Interesting, since there are still a few 26 Uptown buses, notably one that begins at McKenzie and Gordon Head as what is effectively a Gordon Head High School Special.

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1 hour ago, Matt Dunlop said:

From what I remember, there used to be a 26 "Douglas Only" and a 26 Dockyard. But that was 10 years ago things have changed. 

You described exactly what I just did 😉

On 7/17/2020 at 9:29 PM, InfiNorth said:

Wow, that's recent. I have a rider's guide and it appears it was a school special for Vic High, similar to the 17 Cedar Hill, only it terminated at Hillside Mall for no logical reason. Back a few more years there was also an 18 that did the same route as the 17 except it skipped the loop out towards the highway and had a UVIC destination board. There was also a 29 that operated on the 28 loop in Gordon Head, then followed Laval to UVIC. Odd how we only have one school special now. I guess other routes in the same areas have had enough of a service boost that people can rely on them instead. 

Precisely. The 19 (formerly the 16 but was renumbered to 19 when the existing 16 began service) ended at Hillside Mall because there's not really anywhere else to end the run. They could have ended it at Vic High which could have theoretically given them more options for where to send the bus after (IE back downtown), but Hillside Mall is only a few minutes farther, and if the bus was to be headed towards UVic to start a route there, it would end up passing by Hillside anyways. As you state, the end of a School Special coincides with an increase of service on regular routes that renders the specials unnecessary. The 29 ended following a significant bump in service to the 12, and the 19 ended when the current configuration of the 2 took effect. I don't remember offhand when the 18 ended but I imagine it would have ended under the same premise. 

 

On 7/16/2020 at 3:54 AM, SomeIslandKid said:

I left the guide onboard since I only needed it then.

Every other part of your response I completely agree with you as more than sufficient justification to keep the Riders Guides on board. I see so many people in a day do exactly this, though. There's no doubt in my mind that you know proper transit hygiene etiquette (you are on this site after all!), but not everyone does, and the amount of people I'd see in a day take a Riders Guide while coughing into it and their hands which are turning the page, licking their finger to turn pages, etc, only to put the guide back in the rack, is discouraging to say the least. At the end of the day, if I have to choose public health or individual convenience, I'll prioritize public health. 

A number of non-BCT transit systems that I've ridden in the past couple years (Vancouver, Regina, Portland, Honolulu, Reykjavik, London, Dublin) do not generally have their printed timetables available on board the bus. Removing printed timetables from vehicles seems to be the direction agencies are going, especially with the recent health pandemic. I think you have said it as well as others, the ultimate goal is to have a system that runs so frequently and reliably that a passenger does not require a timetable. Until that happens, at some point there may have to be a higher degree of passenger responsibility for planning their trips in advance, and also having alternative routes planned in the event of delays. While I haven't seen it in more recent Riders Guides, in the past the guides would advise passengers to do exactly that.

 

43 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Interesting, since there are still a few 26 Uptown buses, notably one that begins at McKenzie and Gordon Head as what is effectively a Gordon Head High School Special.

Yep, a number of those trips still exist to assist with capacity issues. The 26A, as it was turning itself around via Oak and Cloverdale, serviced two stops that the regular 26 did not. It made sense to number those trips differently. 

On 7/18/2020 at 12:42 AM, northwesterner said:

The "reasons" are ... they have a very expensive, computerized scheduling system that runs optimization models to determine their schedules based on the parameters and constraints set in the model. 

These software programs do require some massaging to get things right ... you have to program in travel times correctly, etc, for them to work correctly. 

I tend to also dislike scheduling anomalies like you are reporting, but if you don't know what they're optimizing on, then how can you complain? 

Are they:

  • Optimizing to use the least drivers possible?
  • Optimizing to use the most drivers per day while meeting contractual hours requirements?
  • Optimizing to minimize total operations cost?
  • Optimizing to all pull in / pull outs, for sanitation?

I don't know.

You don't either.

But the software will produce paddles to fit any of those scenarios - and a million more, based on the "reasons."

On 7/16/2020 at 3:52 PM, Matt Dunlop said:

i question some of these paddles. Some paddles literally do half a trip, then deadhead back to the garage. 

Example, there's one that deadheads from VTC garage to Sidney, does an 82 in service to Saanichton Exchange, then deadheads back to VTC. 
Also, there are paddles that deadhead from VTC to Royal Oak, do half a 6 to Downtown, then deadhead back to VTC. 

It costs the company more money for having the driver do their pre and post trip and deadhead. Sort of like the 76 paddles, where the driver would deadhead from LTC or VTC, do a 76 from Swartz Bay to UVic in service, then deadhead back to Swartz Bay, repeat. In that case, half of the drivers shift is just deadheading. 

The paddles that make sense are the ones that are out from 5am to midnight or later. I'm sure transit has their REASONS for having such ridiculous short paddles and splits. 

On 7/17/2020 at 12:20 PM, Matt Dunlop said:

Again, I still think it's a huge waste of resources to have a driver deadhead to a start point, do half a trip or so, and deadhead back to the depot. I know they're trying to "fill in" service on certain routes, but they should have a paddle that comes in to Royal Oak around that time (like a 30, 31, 83, 32, 35, etc) do that trip, then resume the regular route they do. I know there's paddles that do 32 and 35s all day. Have the driver do a half-trip of the 6 then resume their 35. But I guess transit has their reasons. 

I'm not sure why you're suggesting a 30/31/83/32/35 be pulled off that route in order to run a 6? That's the exact reason why there's another bus coming out to run that trip on the 6 - so that there is no lost service on other routes.

Northwesterner hit the nail on the head. You can't look at an individual paddle and judge the system's effectiveness. You have to see how it interacts with the system as a whole. Subject to the priorities of the agency, what doesn't make sense individually is more than likely justifiable in the broader picture. 

 

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Okay, maybe I've been ignoring things around Uptown but holy cow VTC looks different. I've been away for a week and I hadn't gone by VTC in the last couple of weeks prior, when did this massive renovation/addition start? Looks like a new shop and at minimum the signage is brand new and shiny. 

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