Re: Riders' Angles - and special call to our women
- 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_ENemail@example.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!
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 toWell, knowing that is no good if Y is low. In Geneva I used public
> know that if we arrive at the bus stop X minutes early than we can
> be assured a Y% chance of arriving on time.
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 atThere used to be rubbish bins in railway stations and bus stops in
> each bus stop?
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 destroyWhat stigmatization? Here in the UK and, for example, Stockholm there
> public transit.
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
> Why can't people decorate their buses? Or bus drivers makeThis happens in some places I've been in the Caribbean and Latin
> them into their own environments?
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
> Why can't there be information there about theIn the UK a typical bus company will have a large number of drivers
> various bus drivers?
who very freqently change route, so this is not practical.
> Do you know where the ads are inside the bus? ....WhyIn the UK cities there are often public service messages and/or
> couldn't people bring information about their community work?
> Or leave public messages
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 transitOur company (HP) worked Helsinki Telecom on a similar service: you can
> 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.
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,Bristol bus drivers do this. It's particularly important in cases of
> perhaps they could even out the arrival of buses, notify each
> other and headquarters of unusually heavy traffic or ridership.
> 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 busIn most (possibly all) the places I've lived, using public transport is
> if it were free?
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.