Monday, January 5, 2015

Reading Buses, togetherness redefined

Reading Buses. I love it. There are many buses under this logo in and around Reading. The buses have are a number, and a color associated with them. So you see a purple, a pink, a green, a black, so on and so forth. Although the tickets are costly, the buses are convenient. There are frequent buses especially during the rush hours. During weekends and off-peak hours, your wait might be as short as 20 minutes and as long as one hour depending on your route. On the positive side, Reading is not a big city.

If you depend on these buses, you might have noticed a strange phenomenon. Most of the bus stops have a display board indicating the arrival time of these buses. These are real-time display. Sometimes, they show a bus arriving in a few minutes. Then it turns to the most desirable status. DUE. Mostly the bus arrives within a minute or so. If the bus does not show up after a couple of minutes, the display board has an interesting way to deal with these late-comers. The display board kicks out the defaulter and refuses to show it.When you are wondering about what happened, the next bus is due. That is when both of the buses, one that disappeared from the display board and the one that is now due, appears at the same time. In some cases, these two buses are different. One might purple and the other pink. In other cases, it might be two purples arriving at the same time or two pinks. In even stranger cases, there might be three purples arriving at the same time.

All of these buses have the same starting point. They also can see the next bus ahead of us. Isn't it possible to delay the start? Isn't it possible to have an interim stop to leave a sufficient gap between the bus ahead? Why would these buses want to stick to each other? The services should be abundant and frequent. Isn't that the purpose of a great public transport system? 

How does the display boards on the bus stops work? If it is real time, why do buses disappear from the board without even arriving at the bus-stop? Why isn't there only a static timetable for the bus routes? Isn't it time to have this information dynamically, through an app or a website?

Tags: Musings, Reading, Bus, Display

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