Sunday, September 05, 2010

How to Improve YRT/VIVA: Part 1: Scheduling

Sunday mornings are not really York Region Transit's strength when it comes to transit service.  Along Yonge Street heading Northbound from Sixteenth-Carrville to Aurora the first VIVA bus doesn't leave until 8:41 A.M.  This is awesome if you are looking to Aurora for 8:00 A.M.

So one is forced to take a look at the YRT Service to get one from Yonge Street and Sixteenth Avenue to Wellington Street and Yonge Street in Aurora. This involves taking Route 99 from Yonge Street & Sixteenth Avenue to Bernard Avenue and Yonge Street and switch over to Route 98 to continue the trip onto Aurora.   This is where YRT makes things even more interesting.  On September 5th (today) YRT updated the schedules for both Route 99 and Route 98 that make up YRT service on Yonge Street.

Before today, the schedules for Route 99 and Route 98 worked quite well together.  I would board Route 99 and take it to Yonge Street and Bernard Avenue.  I would then wait ten minutes and then continue my journey to Aurora.  This trip used to take me about 40 minutes on a good day. 

Today YRT implemented the update in schedules.  Today, I got up earlier and ended up on an earlier Route 99 bus and disembarked at Bernard Avenue and Yonge Street.   I took a look to see when the Route 98 bus was going to show up...GRET...a forty minute wait for the first Route 98 bus Northbound in Aurora that leaves at 7:41 A.M. according to the posted schedule at Bernard Terminal.  So I waited the forty minutes, via a quick trip to McDonald's, and boarded the Route 98.  The bus pulled out onto Bernard Avenue and was waiting in the right turn lane to make the turn into the Northbound lanes of Yonge Street.  

At the time I was looking out the window to find another Nortbound Route 99 pulling into Bernard Terminal. I later checked the new YRT Route Navigator for Route 98 and 99 to see what the official posted schedule was for the connection between Route 98 and 99 at Bernard Terminal on a Sunday morning around 7:45 A.M.

Apparently, there is not supposed to be any connection between Route 99 and Route 98.  The first Route 98 is supposed to leave at 7:41 A.M. to go Northbound on Yonge Street towards Aurora and Newmarket.  Route 99 is supposed to arrive at 7:43 A.M.  To those who are trying to go Northbound on Yonge Street through the Bernard Avenue area to Aurora by 8:00 A.M., YRT gives you the finger.  YRT does this by:

1. Providing No Northbound VIVA Service on Sunday mornings.  This is understandable considering the low numbers of ridership for that early in the morning.

2. By not providing adequate connections between Route 98 and Route 99 that make sense.  One is forced to wait 30-40 minutes at Bernard Terminal after disembarking Route 99 in order to wait for a Route 98.   If you've arrived on the Route 99 at 7:43 A.M. be sure to wave at the Route 98 as it turns the corner on to Yonge Street, because you're now stuck until 8:06 A.M. to wait for another Route 98 to arrive.

3. By being dumb enough to print both Route 98 and Route 99 Schedules on the same sheet of paper for Customer Consumption (found here) and not even noticing the poor connection between the two routes.  The connection is so obvious between these two routes at this time of day, with a two minute gap between, one could almost taste the convenience.  But sadly, YRT Planners couldn't even "smell" this connection to even allow their customers to taste it.

4. When boarding Route 98 and going to Aurora, the driver requests that you pay an additional $1.00 fare upgrade becuase your about to take a "2 zone trip." Well contratulations YRT, not only do you make it almost impossible to get to Aurora from Yonge & Sixteenth Avenue on a Sunday morning,  without taking almost an hour in duration, you even insist on an extra whole dollar! A 2 zone fare this early in the morning? What for? To give a raise to the craptastic YRT planners who thought of this awesome revision to the Route 98 and Route 99 schedules around the 7:45 A.M. hour on a Sunday morning?  If the connection was actually made, then a YRT Customer might be able to stomach the extra $1.00, but as it stands now the extra buck makes us want to barf.

This, my friends, is what we call awesome transit scheduling courtesy of those in the glass office building home of YRT Administration. One would think those updating the schedules of both Route 98 and Route 99 would investigate the obvious need for a connection at Bernard Terminal between these two routes and make it work.  Apparently this would be too practical for the schedulers and didn't happen.

Mike's Golden rule of Good Transit Customer Service: if you want to attract ridership, make sure your simple scheduled connections between two routes serving the same major street are coordinated no matter what time of the day.

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