Tactics for reducing bus gaps
We CTA riders call it bus bunching, but the CTA's President Ron Huberman refers to the problem as bus gaps.
"We're trying to attack the big gaps in bus arrivals -- managing the intervals," said Ron at a coffee Sept. 20 with CTA Tattler and a few aficionados. Huberman said he prefers to call the bunching problem a gapping problem because riders hate it when there are big gaps in buses caused by earlier bunching.
The No. 1 solution is bus maintenance -- getting the bus fleet into good repair. And Huberman said he CTA has made substantial progress -- in the last year, bus road calls are down substantially. In December of last year about 90 buses were of the street due to maintenance issues. That number is dropping as the CTA has leased new hybrid buses.
The second key solution is to have drivers leave the terminal on time. This sounds simpler than it is. Some drivers arrive back to the terminal late because of traffic problems. They have to get their break, and then they end up leaving later than scheduled. And sometimes it's just a discipline issue where the driver is poking along and must be disciplined to leave on time.
The third solution is to just fix/change the schedules. The CTA is learning more about true run times with the Bus Tracker GPS in place. So now they are adjusting those schedules and run times to better reflect reality, Huberman said. Drivers recently did a new run pick based on these new schedules.
And speaking of drivers, many folks here asked about drivers who text or eat or use the phone while driving. Huberman encourages you to call (888-968-7282) or write the CTA with the bus number, route, date and time. He confirmed that eating or drinking and using the phone while driving are against the rules. Even wearing a Bluetooth is not allowed while the bus is running.