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Re: Riders' Angles - and special call to our women

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  • minciusodas
    Shannon - great idea! And very special thanks to Richard Cayzer who not only sent his own thoughts, but also shared our draft with Miranda Mowbray who just
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 24, 2003
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      Shannon - great idea!

      And very special thanks to Richard Cayzer who not only sent his own
      thoughts, but also shared our draft with Miranda Mowbray who just sent
      me her International Riders' Angles, which I share below. Very
      profound! and a great inspiration that we can help each other around
      the world. Miranda is most welcome to join us here (and so are all)
      by sending a blank message to
      minciu_sodas_EN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com And it would be extra
      awesome if we might involve HP, too.

      Also, I came across a cool New York site for subway riders
      http://www.straphangers.org with, for example, some very intense
      discussion on putting your feet on a seat. Lively!

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas


      Hello there,
      Steve Cayzer (who is a colleague of mine at HP Labs Bristol,
      in the UK) forwarded me your notes on your "Riders' Angles"
      proposal. I have some comments based on my experience of public
      transport in various countries.

      > If our goal is to rely on the bus to get to work, then we need to
      > know that if we arrive at the bus stop X minutes early than we can
      > be assured a Y% chance of arriving on time.

      Well, knowing that is no good if Y is low. In Geneva I used public
      transport all the time because I never had to wait more than 5 minutes
      for a bus. In Bristol I know that if I arrive at the stop just after
      my bus for work has left, I have to wait another 30 minutes. I don't
      use buses so often in Bristol.

      > Why can't there be trash cans in the buses? And also at
      > each bus stop?

      There used to be rubbish bins in railway stations and bus stops in
      London in the '60s-'70s: now there aren't, for a sad reason -
      terrorism. The IRA hid bombs in the bins, and after the IRA renounced
      terrorism Al-Qaeda came on the scene.

      > we'll deal with hidden problems, like stigmatization, that destroy
      > public transit.

      What stigmatization? Here in the UK and, for example, Stockholm there
      isn't a stigma to using public transport - quite the opposite, you're
      "doing your bit for the planet". If there's stigmatization in Chicago
      you might be able to reverse it with education/publicity on the
      environmental angle.

      > Why can't people decorate their buses? Or bus drivers make
      > them into their own environments?

      This happens in some places I've been in the Caribbean and Latin
      America. The result can be an utter delight. However, it depends on a
      bus having just one regular driver, which may not be the case - see
      next comment.

      > Why can't there be information there about the
      > various bus drivers?

      In the UK a typical bus company will have a large number of drivers
      who very freqently change route, so this is not practical.

      > Do you know where the ads are inside the bus? ....Why
      > couldn't people bring information about their community work?
      > Or leave public messages

      In the UK cities there are often public service messages and/or
      messages from the local government in the ad spaces. I'm not sure
      anyone reads them. A better idea is Poetry On The Underground: in the
      London metro - and the Paris metro - there are poems in some of the ad
      spaces. On a cold day in an overcrowded train it's just wonderful to
      suddenly read William Blake. Here in Bristol there was an attempt at
      Poetry on the Buses, but it failed: the font was difficult to read
      from a distance, the poems were by members of the public and
      unfortunately low quality, and there are few seats on a bus from which
      you can comfortably read a given ad, whereas ad spaces on metro trains
      have a larger visibility. The London Underground has commissioned
      artists to produce large posters in the stations (Art on the
      Underground). I don't see why you couldn't put up artistic posters at
      bus shelters too. In Hannover, artists and architects were
      commissioned to design the bus shelters themselves. The result does
      enhance the visual environment, but is confusing - it's sometimes hard
      to tell whether something is a bus shelter or just an outdoor sculpture!

      > I know a company you may be interested in which helps transit
      > organisations use GPS so that a 'pop-up' reminder on your
      > desktop will tell you when a bus is coming, rather than you
      > having to dash out of a meeting for a bus whichis 30min late.

      Our company (HP) worked Helsinki Telecom on a similar service: you can
      track on the Internet where your bus is in Helsinki, so that you leave
      your house/work in time to get the bus stop just as the bus arrives,
      rather than waiting at the bus stop getting cold. In the Finnish
      winter, that makes a BIG difference.

      > Would that rider pay $1 a month for the service?

      Helsinki Telecom offered it as part of a bundle of services connected
      with a 3D online model of Helsinki, rather than charging separately.

      > What do the drivers say? If they could talk to one another,
      > perhaps they could even out the arrival of buses, notify each
      > other and headquarters of unusually heavy traffic or ridership.

      Bristol bus drivers do this. It's particularly important in cases of
      bus breakdown.

      > Is there a faster way to collect money?

      In many Continental European cities it's normal to pay upfront for
      a month's or week's bus pass and carry it with you on the bus. You can
      also buy one-trip or time-limited tickets (in some cases at a
      newsagent) and timestamp them in a machine inside the bus. Instead of
      the driver or conductor collecting money from each passenger for each
      trip, there are occasional inspectors to catch and fine passengers
      without valid tickets. Some UK cities have introduced flat rates for a
      ride of any distance within the city centre on a particular route.
      This makes collecting fares for the route simpler and quicker. I've
      seen ticket machines at bus stops in some cities. Don't like them
      myself, especially if I don't have change, or I'm not sure of the name
      of the stop I want.

      > Are there "car free" streets? Should there be?

      In Bologna the whole of the city centre is car-free, with very good
      results. The Netherlands piloted car-free urban districts, and I'm told
      have good literature on them. Making isolated streets car-free
      is more problematic. I've lived in areas of London where this was
      done and the result was just to double the conjestion of adjacent
      streets. Rome has started having car-free *days* on Sundays, which
      have been very popular and have slightly (but only slightly) reduced

      > What if ridership were free? How many people would use the bus
      > if it were free?

      In most (possibly all) the places I've lived, using public transport is
      a lot cheaper than owning a car. The reason people use cars is that
      they're more convenient. Reducing or abolishing bus fares doesn't
      change that. When public transport fares were heavily reduced in
      London, and free buses were introduced on some routes in Cambridge, I
      didn't notice people abandoning their cars for the bus. What did
      happen was that people who already habitually took the bus took more
      bus journeys rather than walking or staying at home.

      To end with, here's an idea I've come across in Argentina, Brazil and
      the Dominican Republic: a collective taxi. It's like a bus, except
      that it goes to your door - or, it's like a taxi, but shared with
      strangers who get picked up en route. Your journey time is longer and
      less predictable than for either a bus or a taxi, but it's cheaper
      than a taxi, more convenient than a bus, and more convivial than
      either. Why don't we try them in Western Europe and the US?

      Cheers, Miranda Mowbray.
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