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View Poll Results: What do you think?
Terrible idea. 33 71.74%
They're on the right track! 13 28.26%
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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:53 AM
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TransLink to phase out printed bus schedules at bus stops

Quote:
TransLink to phase out printed bus schedules at Metro Vancouver stops

By David Karp, Vancouver Sun
June 11, 2009 10:01 PM

VANCOUVER — Bus riders without cellphones will be out of luck in future if they want to know when the next bus is arriving.

TransLink has decided to phase out its “info tubes” — plastic cylinders that wrap around poles at bus stops, with printed schedules inside.

TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said bus schedules are normally changed four times a year. But a flurry of changes as a result of the Canada Line opening this fall and the Olympics next year makes keeping the tubes up to date too difficult.

All the info tubes will be removed by Labour Day, Hardie said.

“The person power and the physical ability to get around and change all of that material in the info tubes doesn’t exist,” he said. “We simply don’t have the horsepower to do that.”

Riders who have cellphones can call TransLink information or text their stop number to 33333 to get bus schedules, but those without a cellphone will be out of luck.

“[Cellphones] are very ubiquitous,” Hardie said. “To reach the relatively small part of the market that doesn’t have a cellphone, that might be a cost that just can’t be rationalized.”

Hardie was unable to estimate what replacing the info tubes would cost.

The removal of info tubes is “a little premature,” said Jim Houlahan, vice-president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 111, which represents bus drivers.

“It will be a bit of a loss for the public, because not everyone has a cellphone,” Houlahan said. “I was riding the bus myself the last couple weeks, and I went right over and used the info tube.”

Houlahan carries a cellphone, but he doesn’t know how to text on it.

“I don’t text-message, but I’ve seen lots of news stories about people getting hit with lots of surprise bills because they are texting,” he said.

Hardie said route information will be posted at bus stops where routes interconnect, and in some cases TransLink workers will be at stops providing riders with information. He said the text-message service will be expanded to provide real-time estimates for bus arrivals based on global positioning. TransLink will re-evaluate the info tubes after the Olympics, but said he hopes they aren’t missed.

“It would be a good sign for us if not too many people turn out to miss the old info tubes,” he said. “We know that it’s dislocation for some people who got used to them, but the practical issue of trying to keep them updated in the coming months is almost impossible for us.”

dkarp@vancouversun.com
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
http://www.vancouversun.com/Technolo...073/story.html




Abysmal move.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:56 AM
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jaypiddy

June 12, 2009 - 12:00 AM
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As of July 2008 only 69% of Canadians aged 16 to 60 currently own a cell phone, compared to 90% in the United States and 97% in the United Kingdom.




A Rooney

June 11, 2009 - 11:47 PM
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Yet another reason why your car is the better option. Poorer bus services aren't going to attract riders.




Bernito

June 11, 2009 - 11:30 PM
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why don't people take the bus the old fashioned way, go to the bus stop, wait for the bus ! it don't matter what that tube says, the bus won't be on time





vancouverite155

June 11, 2009 - 11:13 PM
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Great, just another way to get us hooked on these electronic gadgets. I use the info tubes everyday. What about all the elderly people who've never used a cell phone in their life? Please rethink your decision, Translink!





old rider

June 11, 2009 - 10:37 PM
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I just thought phasing out printed bus schedules will not encourage people to take the public transportation. Yes, translink reduce the cost of printing and keeping update of that. But translink lose some people who probably think it is not conveneient to take the bus ride without the bus schedule info tubes. The bus is to serve for the public. Now translink goes the wrong road. Will translink think most riders are all students in young age using the cellphone all the time? I am not young and do not know also are not willing to use the text message.





wh

June 11, 2009 - 10:32 PM
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I don't know the statistics but not everyone has a cell phone. I can appreciate that not every schedule can be updated every time a change is made, however some broad information shoud be avallable and the tubes left on on routes with minimal changes. They have removed the tubes from some stops in North Delta where the schedule has been pretty constant for years. Cell phones are an additional expense for many people and some people who have them have limited amounts of time to talk and do not text message. I wonder what the cost in infrastructure to set up this system was and the ongoing costs. I can guess it wasn't cheap. Compared to the cost of updating schedules and the lack of information for people who can't afford a phone or aren't comfortable with using this type of technology. I like to think public transport information is easily accessible to all and I'm not sure this makes it so.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:12 AM
deasine deasine is offline
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I don't find it a problem... I use my cellphone. It costs resources and money to maintain such a system, so might as well just scrap it. It's still available to major stops and Skytrain stations.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:37 AM
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Well, one of the comment was on to something... buses are never on schedule anyways
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NetMapel View Post
Well, one of the comment was on to something... buses are never on schedule anyways
hahaha you rock!
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 12:52 PM
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The amount of people who are stumped by the concept of text messaging staggers me. I see almost no loss in not having the tubes. They're frequently out of date or wrong as is, and like was said earlier, how often are busses ever on time?
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 1:55 PM
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Most people I know check the schedule on-line (or have the schedule memorized) before they head to their stop.

Of course, on the traffic heavy routes such as the 9 it doesn't make sense to look at the schedule. It's not going to be correct anyway and the buses are so frequent that a schedule is pointless.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 1:55 PM
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No way....they should improve the bus schedule signs rather than taking them away!
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  #9  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 3:00 PM
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Electronic signage with a list of bus routes, and the next arriving bus for that route?
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 3:32 PM
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Before the advent of the internet, one would go to the library or other places to get a bus schedule. You memorise your bus times, which surely should not be difficult for the average human to do especially if you take the bus at the same time daily, or you can write the times down(god forbid using a pen and paper), or you take the bloody thing with you when you leave the house. The bus stop tubes were convenient for some, but so is owning a paper bus schedule.

Bus schedules are still widely available in their traditional paper format at libraries, community centres, City Hall, etc.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 3:53 PM
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I'm mixed on this. I have no doubt that it costs a lot of money to maintain, probably because of the union type wages and inefficient process involved.

However I find the cell phone comments a little misguided. Commuters are one thing, and they probably have everything memorized, but the typical person who relies on the bus as their only means of transportation is probably in the below average income area, and is even less likely to have a phone and/or the "skill" to figure out text messaging. Think of the elderly for example, they make up a huge portion of bus riders.

Overall it seems like a poorly thought out decision.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 4:36 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Yeah... maybe remove SOME bus tubes, but in the end, I can only see buses on the "Rapid Bus Network" which promises a bus every 10-15 minutes should do away with the tubes.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 6:05 PM
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Not a good move. Tourists, occasional travellers and the very old or phoneless will lose out. And these are the people that need the schedules the most.

More important than a bus schedule at each stop is a route map! I find it bizarre that a) all bus stops don't even list the numbers of the buses it serves, and b) you're just supposed to know where it goes! Fine for commuters, not so fine if you're going to a new place or trying a different bus that appears to go down the road you want but you don't know when it turns off. How many times have you been on a bus and it's been held up at each stop by boarders asking the driver if the bus goes as far as XYZ?
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 6:24 PM
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This isn't a big deal. They are getting rid of them for the olympics, which makes sense, because schedules won't at all follow the regular pattern. They could replace them all, but it sounds like a lot of work. Apparently these bus tubes exist all over Vancouver, but I've only ever seen them downtown. I won't really miss them.

And to that bus driver who doesn't text because it's difficult and because of surprisingly high phone bills - seriously? You can't text 5 or so different numbers to 5 of the same numbers? It's not even words you are texting...
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  #15  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:14 PM
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I don't see the problem with this. Texting isn't complex, if you don't have a cell you can ask someone who does (or old school it and look it up online), and the schedules were never right anyways. Once they get live-schedules going, there is absolutely no reason to go back.

I've actually been hoping to see this for awhile. Smart move.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:25 PM
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the paper timetables are quite handy, even though I have a smart phone. And of course for seniors or people with their hands full (moms with strollers), I do think it is a good idea.

of course, if the cost is prohibitive (hundreds of stops at union wages) it would have to be looked at.

Ideally, there would be a small LCD screen on the new bus shelters with realtime displays of times. I know that citizen's bank on pender has a big LCD at their window in front of a bus stop that displays online bus schedules. Labour cost for changes would be low.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBeats View Post
And to that bus driver who doesn't text because it's difficult and because of surprisingly high phone bills - seriously? You can't text 5 or so different numbers to 5 of the same numbers? It's not even words you are texting...
Putting it into context:
Those that find it expensive to text are people who don't have text plans. Some refuse to text based on principle (it's the most expensive bandwidth on the planet at something like $1000/MB).

$0.15 (assuming receiving is free) is a 5% increase to your $2.75 transit fare.

Word to the wise. If you don't text much but you have a data plan: bookmark this url:
http://m.translink.ca/stop/12345 (replace with your stop number)

The page is 3KB, so if you don't have a dataplan a text may be cheaper.

The iphone version:
m.translink.ca/?i
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  #18  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:00 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzanine View Post

Ideally, there would be a small LCD screen on the new bus shelters with realtime displays of times. I know that citizen's bank on pender has a big LCD at their window in front of a bus stop that displays online bus schedules. Labour cost for changes would be low.
Replacement cost for stolen LCDs though...
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  #19  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:21 PM
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I have mixed feelings. Personally it doesn't impact me as I'm quite used to texting for bus schedules at this point. I do however think it is an unwise move for people less likely to have useable cellphones on them like tourists and the elderly (though I generally assume the elderly have their bus schedules memorized).

I also agree however that those posted schedules were completely useless for certain routes at certain times of the day.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:34 PM
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They better have the full printed bus schedules made more widely available..
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