4/15/2008

Discovering slight flaw in CTS Real-Time service

Well, I've exposed a fatal flaw in the whole CTS real-time system.

Currently, all you're able to do is track the amount of time it will take for your bus will take to get to your bus stop. It does nothing to tell you how long it will take for your bus to arrive at your destination. In the future, I'll have to track that information.

I've been sitting on the back of the bus for the past 20 minutes now, sitting on JPA, waiting to turn right past the University. I'm not sure what the delay is, to be honest. I can reasonably assume it has something to do with either the South Lawn Project or the demolition of the old health system parking garage. But, I don't know for sure.

Luckily I have a laptop, so I'm able to get some work done. I may end up missing a meeting because of this, so I doubt I will be taking the bus to work in the future, at least not this route. We'll be moving to another part of Charlottesville, soon, so maybe I'll be able to do it. But, every minute I sit on this bus is another minute I have to work past the end of my regular work day.

It's a shame that CTS hasn't figured out a way to re-route this bus somehow, to avoid this traffic snarl. Of course, I'm sure most of the passengers on board will get off at the medical center. There are about eight passengers left. Another two or three decided to get off the bus.

I feel awkward typing on the bus, though it makes perfect sense to be getting work done.

We're now at the South Lawn project, and we're moving faster now that we've turned right onto JPA. I'm amazed at how fast the South Lawn project is moving. The steel superstructure is climbing quickly, and I'm amazed at how close to the road the building is. I'm assuming that where I'm sitting now will one day be covered by the building, and this will be "underground." To my left is the wooden ramp they constructed to funnel pedestrian traffic through to New Cabell Hall.

Now we're making good time, and the medical center is in site. So much construction going on through here. To my right now is the new nursing education center, with a huge crane arcing over head. Someone hits stop, and we're making good time now, fully rolling. It seems that one tiny stretch of road was the bottleneck. What ways could be found to break that gridlock?

Now this is more like it, the bus fully rolling on. Four other passengers left, as we're at the intersection of JPA and Lee Street. To my right cattycornered across the light is the parking garage, soon to be demolished. They're ball and chaining it very slowly at the moment. Another person requests a stop, and now we're about to turn on West Main Street, a sudden burst of speed. The future of the West Main corridor is sure to be different, as I pass more and more potential projects. The tone is clearly set by the new gargantuan parking garage that's now to my left.

At this speed, I should soon be at work in about five minutes now. I do like taking the bus, but I don't think I can take it to work at this time. Maybe I could start walking? With gas as expensive as it is, every little bit of savings is going to help. At least in this hour, I've been productive. I've produced one podcast and was able to write about this trip. I don't write nearly as often as I'd like, because so much of my professional life is now spent writing something or another. So, it's nice to kind of steal this moment, to capture it. I don't mind working a little extra today, because this has been worth it.

I'll unfortunately have to cancel an appointment I've been meaning to have. I'm doing that way too much these days, in part because I don't have a good sense of time.

Now we're about to turn onto Market Street, and I momentarily have to stop typing, as the bus whipsaws round, and there's a light at 2nd and Market, so we go flying up the hill. Time to power down, and begin the work day!

1 comment:

maiaoming said...

I loved reading both these posts about riding the bus... it definitely seems like they need to let you know things like estimated traffic problems AND, something you didn't experience but I have, when the bus driver is expected to take a ten-minute break or exchange drivers - something that can unexpectedly delay your trip...
Unfortunately, it seems that the bus system operates on the idea that it isn't used by people as a choice, but out of desperation, so under that logic, why go the extra mile (hardy har har) to help people get places on time? It's not like a taxi, that's motivated by getting a tip to provide a fast trip... maybe the bus drivers should get tips?