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What the CTA is doing to help alleviate bus bunching across its system

After two posts last week with comments from a CTA driver on bus bunching, I asked the CTA for its official response on what it's doing about bus bunching. Here is its reply.

Bus bunching is an occurrence dealt with by public transit agencies throughout the world. It is the result of factors such as traffic congestion, weather-related driving conditions, increased ridership, longer boarding times, unforeseen emergencies or many other reasons including poorly timed schedules and operator behavior.

CTA has worked to address the issues that can be controlled such as the operator behavior and the schedules. 

CTA continuously evaluates bus schedules and makes adjustments to the schedules to better reflect the operating conditions.  Supervisors have increased focus on ensuring that operators leave the bus terminals on-time which improves schedule adherence throughout the route.  CTA also has leveraged the GPS technology on buses to allow supervisors to track buses using in-vehicle computers in order to assess situations and determine what adjustments need to be made in real-time in order to alleviate bunching.  Bus operators also have been given the authority to assess if a follower bus needs to bypass the bus ahead of it in order to help adhere to schedules.

In addition, CTA has also trained supervisors and management to issue bus lane citations to motorists who illegally park, stop or stand in a designated bus lane or at a CTA bus stop, which also is a contributing factor to bus bunching.

CTA staff continually evaluate route performance on a daily basis by pulling global positioning system (GPS) and logical positioning system (distance-based) data collected through the automated voice annunciation system (AVAS) on each bus, as well as information from those buses currently equipped and activated on the Bus Tracker program.

Analysis of this data allows CTA field and planning personnel to identify trends and their causes (scheduling, ridership, route configuration, equipment failure, operator performance) and determine what can be done to help improve service reliability as quickly as possible.

In September 2007, prior to initiating any of the new measures, 4.5% of all CTA buses recorded instances of one-minute or less between buses (bus bunching). One month later, when some of the new initiatives were implemented, there was an immediate but moderate decrease in bus bunching to 3.9%.

Thereafter, the percentage of bus bunching remained steadily below the four-percent mark with an average of 3.4% for the period of September 2007 through April 2008. For the month of March, CTA saw the lowest reported percentage of bus bunching across the system with 2.8%.


We must remember the #22 Clark bus data is not included in this information yet. and the worst of the bus bunching routes come out of North Park garage which has yet to get this "miracle" technology. I expect those percentages to go up greatly once that garage is online.

Can we get the CTA to vigorously promote "exit at the back"? Not only do the exiting passangers slow down those who are boarding but the soon to be exiting passengers clog the aisle or refuse to move to the back causing a logjam near the Chicago Card reader.

Bluebummer, #22 route performance information is included in that statistic. Even though the NP garages aren't yet on Bus Tracker, they do have AVAS data (every route does, actually).

What a typical crock of shit from the CTA!
Full of the usual bureaucratic crap that means absolutely nothing!
And soon, we will get the company line out of Rusty who would defend the gang of idiots that's run the CTA for the last 50 years all the way to the gallows.
I can't wait for someone to find out all the exclusions & fudge factors that are allowed in the metrics of these alleged good numbers.

Note that they use 1 minute as the standard, thus 61 seconds apart excludes a bus from being bunched.
It also has no breakdown either by route or time of day.

As for the alleged improvement from 9/07 to 10/07, what about a month after that & another month later & so on?

Now my personal experience is that the worst bunched routes are the 4, 22, 36, 55, 151, 155.
The 4 is just way too long a route & has almost no one using smart cards to board & appallingly high numbers paying cash.
Any idiot can travel the route of the 155 & figure out why it's bunched, all the cars that block the stops on Devon from Leavitt to Sacramento & the double-parked cars in that same section.

And Rusty, if you write to say that North Park's buses are included in the above numbers, then you're admitting that NP's exclusion is a political decision due to the wretched performance of the buses from there.
If the CTA can get the GPS data to measure bunching, then it can also port that data to the online & very public system for all to see in real time.

What color is the sky in your world, UC?

I'd like to see more representative datasets.

It's possible that Sept. 07 was representative of all months before, but it's also possible that Sept. 07 was one of the worst months for bunching, and that bunching has always averaged less than that.

One thing we know is that September tends to be the highest bus ridership month. The high schools provide a large number of riders, enough to be a huge influence on the annual cycle. Each new class of seniors has relatively few drivers, and few dropouts. As the year continues, there are more dropouts, and more seniors start driving to school.

As a result, you'd expect September to have the worst bunching records.

Still, I won't say there's been no improvement. I just want a real comparison. This isn't the first time a Huberman-led CTA has issued odd comparisons, showing one-month of pre-test data in order to 'prove' that their test has generated wonderful results. Ron, you may be doing great things. Show us real data to prove it, please.

I don't know what's included, and what's not included in the data set they chose to use. They seem to imply that AVAS data is what's being used, but they don't explictly say it.

And yes, one minute would imply that a bus 61 seconds behind would not be considered "bunched", but you've got to draw the line somewhere. I would disagree with using time as a measure, but rather a percentage of the scheduled gap would be more telling. After all, if the headway between two buses is suposed to be 3 minutes, a 55 second gap may appear and disappear if the two buses aren't stopping in unison.

Which brings up another question about their bottom line number. They say "4.5% of all CTA buses recorded instances of one-minute or less between buses". What is an "instance"? In the case above, does that bus that's 55 seconds, then 75 seconds, then 55 seconds behind again count as 2 instances, or one instance?

And a percentage of what total? Is the total based on the number of trips? The number of runs leaving the station? The number of hours a bus is in service?

The numbers they're tossing out might not be a very valid measure. We don't know because they don't explain a thing about how they're calculated, let alone why they chose that way to calculate them.

As for the rest of what they're saying, it sounds okay. But what else would you expect? What could they say? Toss in a couple stronger adjectives? They could speak of specific inititives, but if the examples they give apply to any route other than the 22, this group will just turn it into a personal afront on the riders of what they consider to be the flagship route of the system.

But that's what I would like to see. More specific examples of things they've done, even if it wasn't on the 22. And I'd like to see the results stated in some other way than some questionable statistic... or at least a better explaination as to what that statistic really means, and why they think it's valid.

I suspect, but I don't know, that the total "instances" is based on a trip, and that the bunching "instances" count a bus only once no matter how many times it bunches and unbunches. And I have a sneaky suspicion that the gap needs to be less than a minute for a minimum amount of time, rather than just crossing that line. But I don't know.

If my suspicions are all correct, then their bottom line number is going to be less meaningful the longer a route gets. And, of course, it's the longest routes that generally have the worst problems partly because of their length.

So my biggest concern is just how do they come up with their numbers. What is the total that the percent is a measure against? What counts as an instance? What doesn't count as an instance? Are multiple instances possible on the same run/trip/period of time?

And why one minute? Is that as valid of a measurement on a route with a 20 minute headway as it is on one with a 3 minute headway? If the buses are actually scheduled to be less than a minute apart, does that still count as an instance?

Sorry, but it was just predictable drivel until they started throwing out unsubstantiated numbers. Once they start tossing out random numbers, those questions need to be asked.

If Unindicted is saying that CTA has the internal data, but isn't putting it out on the public Bus Tracker system, there may be a point.

The Press Release that announced the funding for Bus Tracker said that North Park would be the first. http://www.transitchicago.com/news/archpress.wu?action=displayarticledetail&articleid=119117

However, then the decision was apparently made that buses that are soon to be scrapped would not get it, and NP has about 100 of those. On the other hand, somehow the decision was made that the 6000 series would get them, and 74th and Forest Glen went on line. But then 74th got a few new buses that don't have Bus Tracker, so its routes have big holes.

Therefore, I don't know if the decision on what routes on which to implement it was political, but it sure was haphazard.

Also, the CTA official response doesn't say that supervisors will be using any real time measures to alleviate bus bunching (such as telling one driver to pull ahead). And, obviously, real time measures can't be implemented on buses that don't have the equipment, including on the North Park routes indicated.

So in other words, CTA is planning on thinking about setting some time aside to maybe ask someone to consider levering some know-how to develop a plan in order to one day have a method to ease bus bunching. Hint: do what other cities do and set up a schedule and keep to it. Traffic, ridership levels, and other factors do not dramatically change from day to day. Putting together a schedule that factors all of these things takes some knowledge so I guess that's never going to happen.

I took the 65 bus running East from Western on Saturday (zero traffic). After waiting 1/2 hour, TWO buses came, both nearly empty.

1. The sky has been gray today, but is often blue.
2. However, when I'm waiting for a bus, it's usually black!
[That's a joke Bob S., just in case you're humor impaired]
3. If the CTA can publish data that claims that only less than 4% of its buses are bunched, you're damned right I'm saying that that data can be ported to Bus Tracker for the real time use of the riders.
4. CTA saying that some of the buses at North Park are obsolete, I guess that means the Flxibles, & NP won't get tracking until all are replaced is a copout. Just track the newer buses & only assign them to the route that needs it most, 22, the worst of the worst!
If only the Clark bus has BT out of all the routes at NP, there would be flat out Hell to pay somewhere in the management!
Massive changes are needed for the 22, especially on Cubs game days!
It's truly disgusting that after 9 decades of the existence of Wrigley Field, the CTA still can't figure out how to get the bus to go down Clark on those days!
That bus is still a mess 3 hours after a game ends!
Public embarrassment seems to be the only thing that gets the bosses on Lake St. to respond & correct something.
It might cause them to have a decisive meeting with everyone that needs to be there: CTA, cops & the city's notoriously incompetent traffic engineering staff.

It seems to me that the bus tracker is a pr benefit, for a small number of people, of this technology; the majority, or so it seems, of cta riders a) probably don't care, b) don't have phones that can handle it, c) don't know how to make it work on their phone or d) have mobile telephones period.

Just because they are collecting the data for bus bunching, does not mean that it is real-time. It could be as simple as someone writing it down as a bus passes a particular check point. They have CTA supervisors at various check points throughout the city that could be doing this. Now, I'm not saying they couldn't update their technology, but I always see them carrying a clipboard. Perhaps this is how they are measuring it... Just a thought, since many people are jumping to conclusions that they can port this data over to Bus Tracker.

nd, the public web interface of the Bus Tracker is only an incidental benefit. If that toy on the website was the primary result it would have been a huge waste of money for many of the reasons you've stated.

But the primary reason why they spent that kind of money was to get a management tool. The data, both real-time and historic, can be used for many functions. The historic data can be used to measure performance of routes and drivers, as well as create more realistic schedules. The real-time data can be used to "view" an entire route at once, thus creating the possiblity for better decisions to be made to adapt to problems. (Relieve bus bunching.)

The fact that web technologies has made it relatively easy to share the real time data in the form of a cute map online is incidental to the real purpose of Bus Tracker. And you are absolutely right that relatively few riders will ever make use of the online toy -- especially since few people actually have mobile browsers on their cell phones, and even a mobile browser is extremely limited in what it can show from the online tracker.

Just because they are collecting the data for bus bunching, does not mean that it is real-time. It could be as simple as someone writing it down as a bus passes a particular check point.

And at one time, this was the only way such data could be collected.

They seem to be implying that they're using AVAS data, and/or some mix of AVAS and Bus Tracker GPS data, but it's unclear how the data really was collected, what it's really measuring, or whether collection method changes could have affected the results.

They're just tossing out a random number, not explaining how they got that number, and expecting us to believe it has some significance.

I'll bet that looks cool on a Powerpoint slide, but I, and I would hope others, would like to see something more meaningful than what they're tossing out.

It reminds me of the DirecTV (or maybe it's Dish Network) commercial that shows the cable execs in a boardroom, and one guy says "Ninety percent of statistics can say anything fifty percent of the time." The numbers the CTA has given us are as meaningless as that statement, but hold just as much truthiness.

I am still convinced a factor in bus bunching is drivers taking their breaks at the same time and starting their runs at the same time. I've seen this countless times at the beginning of the Irving Park 80 at Sheridan and Broadway. They come out together, get into two 80 buses, (one is not an X80), and leave within 30 seconds of each other. There should be serious discipline for this to the effect that no driver would dare do this even with no supervisor within sight. But, I'm also somewhat convinced that the supervisors usually turn a blind eye to their "buddy drivers" on such actions as well. Its time for some continuous oversight from headquarters. Not sure if Bus Tracker is the answer or not to accomplish that. After hundreds of drivers nearly losing their jobs last year, one would think some increased effort would be made to keep the agency running as efficient as possible. Major progress and improvement after receiving the operational funding would send a clear message to Springfield that reforms are happenening as promised.

UC, you accidentally ended a couple of sentences with periods!

Just thought I'd let you know!

And if all you ever bother with is personal experience, then yes, you'll always have the worst of it!

But the Bus Tracker consistently proves you wrong!

Check it out sometime! One night there were all of four buses on a route! And they were all going the same direction! All four of them in one three-block stretch! That's even worse than the Clark bus!

But you'd never know that!

I've also seen drivers taking their recovery time for the 146 at the Berwyn L station & then 2 of them leaving at the same time.
I have to assume that the Foster/Sheridan supervisor either is in on the scam or has nothing to do with this route as it's happened quite a few times that I've ridden this from that point.
Now I'm not talking about 2 drivers that may have arrived late & took a quick toilet break, they were out there BSing each other for 5 minutes & then got on their respective buses & both left at the same time.
And we, the passengers had been sitting on the bus for 20 minutes thinking that a run got canceled, one wasn't pushed up, but then we learned the truth by the bad experience.

Actually Bob, I did once see five buses running together on one route. It was a number of years ago on a late Sunday afternoon & all five buses normally used on the 155 were in a pack going westbound.
I waited 45 minutes that day for the eastbound 155 at Kedzie.

And something happening on a route with tracking once in a while isn't the same as the day in & day out rottenness of the 22! [that was to keep you happy]
Here's a bunch more to make up for any I left out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are actually legit reasons why that could be happening.

Drivers are *required* to take some breaks. If they arrive to the terminal late, they have to take the break whether or not that means they will leave late. The problem isn't the driver. The problem is that CTA doesn't always allow enough recovery time to account for both a break and a late arrival.

It's also possible that they did account for a break by tweaking the schedule for the bus to leave late, and the schedule creates the gap.

But yes, Bus Tracker can help identify those drivers who are leaving late. They should be able to print-out trend reports based on the driver, run, route, or even piece of equipment.

The real question is will they print out these reports, and will they use them constructively. Having the raw data, crunching it and printing meaninful reports from it, and then acting on those reports are three different things.

Well, I think the CTA's response does provide a little more information than some people are claiming. (E.g., contrary to Rusty's one of comments, the CTA response does explicitly say that CTA is using AVAS information, and contrary to one of jackonthebus's comments, the CTA response clearly does say that it is determining "what adjustments need to be made in real-time in order to alleviate bunching" and that "Bus operators also have been given the authority to assess if a follower bus needs to bypass the bus ahead of it..."

Anyhow, I'm mostly suspicious of the way the CTA is measuring "bunching." At one point, weren't they just measuring intervals between buses at the end of their routes? If that's part of the measurement now, then I can tell you from personal experience that some of the "improvement" in the statistics is the result of bus drivers idling a block or two away from the end of their routes. In the last several months, buses have started idling for 0-20 minutes outside my home, which is a block away from the end of a bunch of bus routes.

Moreover, the CTA's measure of bus bunching just isn't very robust. (Did they consult anyone with basic statistical training?) If you want an informative measure of dispersion, there are better options available than simply counting sub-one-minute bus intervals at some arbitrary point(s) along a route. For example, the standard deviation of bus intervals would capture much more completely what's going on, and could be determined from the same sort of data the CTA says it is already examining.

contrary to Rusty's one of comments, the CTA response does explicitly say that CTA is using AVAS information

They say they use that information to evaluate performance, but they do not explicitly say that AVAS data is what they're using for their questionable statistical analysis. I think I'm being generous in giving them credit for even inferring that AVAS data is what they're using.

But such is the language of official spokespeople. Imply and infer, and hope people think you explicitly said something.

If they're just measuring at the terminus, they don't need to use AVAS data. If that's how they're measuring it, they could be doing it the old fashion way by having a guy with a clipboard take a sample, and then extrapolate what they gather.

As for some of the other things they've mentioned, if one supervisor once told a driver to pull ahead of his leader, that counts as something they're doing, even though they've only done it once.

They simply aren't being very clear or concise in their statement. But again, who really expected them to be?

Perhaps they'll have some more concrete examples like the article about how they were working to improve schedule reliablity on the 8... just before it got moved to a different garage. But if they regularly read this blog, they know that if the example isn't for the 22, UCC and KB will make a big deal out of how some other people got chosen first when they've been facing the worst problems of anyone with the 22.

But I do think they should tell us more specifics about how they're getting their bus bunching statistic. They may be measuring the wrong things! And if that's so, they're going to try to "fix" the wrong things. And worse yet, some day Ron will be standing in front of a big "Mission Accomplished" banner while everyone else will know that isn't even close to the truth.

Please be advised that I am infallible.

Should anyone be so unwise as to challenge any aspect of my comment, I will post another comment twice as long. My posts will double in length until such time as criticism of me ceases.

It's not that other routes have been chosen first, it's that I've been living along Clark St. my entire life. I ridden it more than all the other routes combined.

I rode the streetcars until I was 8.
I watched them line up on Schreiber Ave. every morning & afternoon to go out.
When they killed off the Green Hornets, the route was cut going from Clark & Howard [you waited in an arcade under the Marquardt Building] to 81/ Vincennes to only running to Cermak, to the current turn at Polk,
Then the propane buses, then the diesels, then the air conditioned GMC buses, which became the unair conditioned rolling GMC sweatbaths, then the 4400 unair conditioned buses which then had A/C added to them & now the New Flyers.

And in all that time, the 22 has never run right with buses.

The CTA always has an excuse, there's too much traffic, going through the Loop, too many people, the Cubs, the bridge went up, ad infinitum.

I remember when they decided to cut off every other bus at Devon, causing the northern end to run at 25 to 30 minute headways.

I saw that on Sunday mornings in that same period, at 6- 7AM the 22 was running at 7 minute headway to Howard.
Every single Sunday.

At some point, we, the riders figured out what's wrong with the 22, it's the CTA!
For reasons beyond my comprehension or anyone's for that matter, CTA management either can't or what would be worse, won't fix this route, which because of its passenger load is the most fucked up route in the system.

Here's my beef with the "reasons behind bus bunching." Now, traffic and slow people and people who generally suck at getting on and off the buses aside, I live two blocks from the Museum of Science and Industry, where the 55 and X55 begin their westward route to Midway.

May god strike me dead with lightning if 5-6 days a week I don't come out to catch a bus to find two 55s (and usually an X55 trailing right behind) waiting at the corner. There isn't a lot of traffic in the three blocks these buses travel, neither are there many passengers (5? Maybe?) getting on the bus before my stop. It isn't uncommon to wait for 30 minutes for ANY 55 bus to come, though the posted sign says every 6-20 and I KNOW I saw a bus heading to the MSI to turn around...

I'm not trying to blame anyone, and I'm not trying to dismiss what the person kind enough to write us about a bus driver's schedule is like, I'm just saying that it's really hard for me to forgive bus drivers who I see blatantly dicking around at the MSI and then bunching a few blocks later.

I think the biggest problem with the 22 is that it's too long. Frankly, I can't imagine that anyone would want to ride all the way from anywhere north of Devon to anywhere close to The Loop all the way on Clark. I don't think anyone would want to drive, or bicycle all along the length of Clark, either.

That's why I think Clark should be divided-up into 3 overlapping segments. Overlapping because if they didn't overlap, there's no logical place to make everyone transfer, but each segment long enough to serve enough customers who do need to travel fair distances.

Each segment should begin, and end at the Red Line. This would funnel the long-distance riders to a better choice -- one that can transport them faster than staying on Clark.

This would be similar to the choice that any car driver would make. No one would drive from Howard to The Loop on Clark. They'd divert to a faster moving street, perhaps Sheridan-LSD, or maybe Broadway, and then cut over to LSD. They wouldn't stay on Clark the whole way.

By cutting the route into shorter segments, you can get better reliablity on each segment, AND what happens in one segment doesn't to affect the other segments.

IMO, that's the only way you're going to get a real fix to reliablity along Clark. Seriously. Just because the street physcially goes through all the way doesn't make it a viable thurofare. It's not one for cars, and the CTA should give up the idea that it is for a bus route, too.

Well guess what rusty?
I not only take the bus all the way down Clark, I also ride my bike all that way!
If I have to go downtown, it's actually faster to just walk the 250 feet to Clark, catch the bus & head to the Loop.
55 minutes on a good day, 75 or more on a bad one.
And it has the advantage of taking me to where I want to go & not have to walk anymore.
If I take the 147, I either have to walk to & wait for the 36, 151 or 155 & Clark & Devon, wait for the 147 & suffer its trials dragging down Sheridan & stopping at every block. Then it drags down Michigan.
The L is worse. Not only is the 3 tracking making it slow, but the unending slow zones are worse. What used to be advertised on a lighted sign at Granville, "24 Minutes To Loop" is now 45 minutes to the Loop.
So the 22 is almost always faster, except for the interminable waiting time.
Going home I take it to save money as I will catch it at the end of my transfer time. Every penny counts for me!

As for the bike ride, it's not a bad one.
1. It's the shortest distance from Rogers Park to downtown.
2. See #1.

Breaking the route up punishes everyone that has to transfer to the next segment.
I also see a number of wheelchair users that take it most of the way.

What I would do is short turn every other or every third bus going south at Wacker to keep them out of the Loop. That way an empty bus would start at Marina City. This might help during the afternoon rush.
Plus rigid enforcement of parking & double-parking laws. Arresting a few drivers would work miracles here.
Add more red light cameras, especially at Clark/Devon & Clark/Ridge. At least two cars making left turns run the light on every signal change there.
Either sync the traffic lights and/or give the buses preemption controls.
Get rid of those useless city traffic aides.
Actually, they're worse than useless, they make traffic worse as 99% of them are complete idiots who stand in the way of traffic & just parrot the lights.

[Actually, they're worse than useless, they make traffic worse as 99% of them are complete idiots who stand in the way of traffic & just parrot the lights.]

My wish is that they would do a better job of parroting the lights. Many of them don't even stay on top of that. They react to the lights but well after they've changed, which just causes confusion for everyone.

Otherwise, I live in Rogers Park, also, and all I can say is that on the L's worst day I'd rather take the Red Line than the 22 all the way downtown.

Get rid of those useless city traffic aides.
Actually, they're worse than useless, they make traffic worse as 99% of them are complete idiots who stand in the way of traffic & just parrot the lights.

That's exactly what they should be doing unless there is an exceptional event, such as an accident, within the next block or two.

They should be maximizing the number of vehicles getting through each cycle, but also preventing gridlock from happening by making sure no one is stranded in the intersection to block cross-traffic. The presence of a human authority figure also lessens the number of yellow runners who exponentally increase the risk of an accident happening.

All that makes things better.

What makes things worse is when they ignore the traffic signals, and disrupt the traffic patterns carefully planned by the traffic engineers.

I do find it hard to believe that you ride all the way, and it hasn't occured to you that Clark is not a good choice for long-distance travel. Just because it's a straight line doesn't mean it makes sense.

And frankly, I don't think there can ever be enough changes made to satisfy you. Unless someone suddenly decided that people from Rogers Park are more important than those from any of the other neighborhoods along the way, providing yet another expressway along Clark isn't going to happen.

There are alternatives. You say they aren't as good, but no one ever said that public transit could give everyone a one-seat, door-to-door experience to everyone. In fact, that's not even something that it aspires to be.

The best chance of getting buses traveling with any schedule reliability on Clark will not meet your needs. But it can meet the needs of the masses -- as in mass tranisit. Your proposals would only make a tiny difference unless taken to an extreem that doesn't serve the masses.

I'll also say that UCc's complaints about the Red Line are of course being addressed. Slow zone work should be (mostly) fixed by the end of the year, and the three-tracking is of course expected to be finished soon also.

I personally feel that the Red Line is already a much, much better way to get downtown from Rogers Park than the 22. But whatever ambiguity remains on this point will be gone in a few months.

You both are missing the points.
1. One Clark bus is faster to the Loop than the combo of bus & L to the Loop!
Don't you find that absurd? The L now takes at least 15 minutes more to travel the same distance. A greater than 50% time increase.
2. Most of my trips are shorter, to Howard, Peterson, Foster or Irving Park.
3. The total unpredictability of the route. Waiting half-hour & 3-4 come.
Or missing 3-4 of them
4. This has been about bunching. The CTA can't run a short route like 155/Devon without bunching, how can they possibly run a longer one without it.
5. Both the 36 & 151 are almost as long & rarely have bunching as bad as Clark. Why? Broadway from Diversey to Montrose is a hellish street, Sheridan buses have to go down Michigan & through the Loop to Union Station, but still aren't as bad.
5. The traffic aides.
No driver obeys them, they watch the lights, the lights work, but the aide is in traffic, blocking the street & delaying traffic. Plus, when there are two or more of them, watch out! I once saw three of them come close to causing a 4 car collision at the west end of Navy Pier. They told all the cars to go at once & the drivers insanely obeyed.
I, personally had an aide tell me to keep moving on my bike. If I had I would have run over an old lady, who had a walk light.

I'm not asking for or expecting perfection, just improvements.

[1. One Clark bus is faster to the Loop than the combo of bus & L to the Loop!
Don't you find that absurd? The L now takes at least 15 minutes more to travel the same distance. A greater than 50% time increase.]

I've stared at this for a few minutes now and don't have any idea wht you're trying to say here. Are you saying that the L takes 15 minutes longer to get downtown from Rogers Park than the 22? I've never ridden the 22 all the way downtown, but I find this incredibly difficult to believe. Even in the dead of night, the 22 is scheduled to take over 40 minutes to get from Howard to Division (not quite downtown). During rush, that trip becomes 50 minutes - again, that's scheduled time, so we can consider that a minimum.

I don't think I've ever been on the train for longer than that to get downtown. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, it's possible that it takes that long when I include the wait on the platform for the train (although in my experience the trains run at fairly reliable intervals from Morse).

If this is what you're trying to say, then I think you're flatly incorrect. And at any rate, as you know full well, work is under way to make the L trip shorter, likely by a significant amount. So there's no point in complaining about it anyway - IT'S BEING FIXED.

[5. Both the 36 & 151 are almost as long & rarely have bunching as bad as Clark. Why? Broadway from Diversey to Montrose is a hellish street, Sheridan buses have to go down Michigan & through the Loop to Union Station, but still aren't as bad.]

I can think of three explanations for this, which I'll list in order of descending likelihood:

1) There are inherent differences in these routes that you don't understand. In other words, they're not as similar as you think.
2) Bunching actually is as bad, and you just haven't happened to experience it for whatever reason.
3) The CTA understands that you personally ride the 22 and enjoys torturing you.

At any rate, I think it's funny that you say in one breath that the CTA can't even manage short bus routes, while in the next saying that these *other* long bus routes are much better. Incidentally, this contradiction is what led me to listing option #1 as the most plausible; it's clear that you have no idea what you're talking about.

[I once saw three of them come close to causing a 4 car collision at the west end of Navy Pier.]

Well, if you saw something once that came close to maybe happening, that's enough of an argument for me. Sack the bastards!

strannix, while I'm a bad writer, you're a fucking idiot.

What I meant was that the L now takes 15 minutes longer to travel from Granville to the Loop than 15 years ago. 24 minutes then at least 40 minutes now. My 8:46AM post has that.
I have regularly taken the 22 north & done it from Wacker to Devon in 55 minutes.
I can't do that combo of bus & L in that time.

Now listen asswipe, I can't do stairs & I can't stand for long periods!
On the bus it's a few steps up/down & I always get to sit!

What works for you doesn't work for me.
Don't attempt to tell me how to live!
Or travel!
You have no idea of my or anyone else's physical problems that limit their travel options.

As for the differences in the routes, the 151 has many more buses than the 22. It's actually 2 separate routes, the ones to Belmont & the ones to Clark/Devon.
I believe they're even run from different garages.
I understand the differences very well.
22 has too few buses!

Hey Unindicted: I would appreciate it if you stopped with the name-calling, such as asswipe and fucking idiot. There's really no need for that.

I like the different viewpoint you bring here, and I don't want to ban you. So please stop it.


Thanks, Kevin. The personal attacks were getting a bit much.

"What works for you doesn't work for me.
Don't attempt to tell me how to live!
Or travel!
You have no idea of my or anyone else's physical problems that limit their travel options." Un-Co-Co

So true! So why do you try to tell others how to do things and mock them for not sharing your point of view? Different experiences and challenges result in different perspectives. We should respect them, as you wish yours to be respected.

OK, so I misunderstood what you meant. Perhaps that's because you wrote this above:

[What used to be advertised on a lighted sign at Granville, "24 Minutes To Loop" is now 45 minutes to the Loop.]

That's 21 minutes, and not 15, so you'll excuse me for not putting 2+2 together there.

But no big deal. You wrote something that wasn't clear, I misunderstood. It happens.

[What works for you doesn't work for me.
Don't attempt to tell me how to live!]

I'm making no attempt to do so. I'm merely trying to point out things that you said that I thought were not true. It's no different than what you're doing with me.

I will say, however, that I'm not a mind-reader (as my misunderstanding of your previous comment shows). If you have special circumstances, OK. But you can't expect me to know or even guess that you can't climb stairs, especially when you're talking in the same thread about how you ride your bike all the way downtown.

Instead you chose to argue that the Red Line is too slow, so I addressed that point.

I will also say that it may help if you developed some sort of recognizable viewpoint other than "The CTA sucks and is run by idiots." If you think the 22 needs more buses, OK. I can be persuaded on a point like that. It's a much more constructive point than "The CTA doesn't know how to run long bus routes, except for the 36 or 151" or "I almost saw traffic aides cause a wreck by Navy Pier." But it's the first time you've made that point in this whole thread!

[As for the differences in the routes, the 151 has many more buses than the 22. It's actually 2 separate routes, the ones to Belmont & the ones to Clark/Devon.]

Didn't you have a cow when Rusty suggested something similar as a remedy for the 22? I realize this isn't EXACTLY what he was suggesting, but it was close enough to argue the particulars instead of dismissing the idea out of hand.

Take out half the stops. Make the buses run 3 or more blocks at a time instead of one agonizing block at a time. If you can't wheel yourself or hobble an extra block to catch a bus you have bigger problems than access to transportation!

Look it folks: BusTracker just starting rolling-out a couple of months ago, they're going garage-by-garage, and for whatever reason, they're taking their time making sure the thing works. All you North Siders can just wait a bit longer, it hasn't been THAT long.

If CTA had turned on your precious #22 right away and it didn't work properly, you'd all be griping about how incompetent they are. blah-blah.

The AVAS system has been functioning for over 4 years now and I remember seeing a presentation at a conference that cited back then they began using the archived data to manage and re-schedule things, so this isn't new, only that Huberman appears to have taken a more aggressive approach internally (and publically).

As far as statistical expertise, it is well known in most transit circles that CTA has had a strong relationship with MIT on the very subject of operational research, so if you're willing to question the quantitative skills of MIT, have at it.

Oh, and by the way: you're all being hood-winked. The issue isn't bus-bunching, it's the wait that proceeds or follows the bunch. That's the real thing that pisses us off, so why talk about the bunching?

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