Dear Valley Ride,
I participated in your May in Motion promotion, and rode the bus nearly every day in May. I so wish you would have had a way to formally (or even informally!) poll all the riders that took advantage of this offer! After riding for a month, I had some ideas I wanted to share with you…
- ALL stops should have timetables. Similar to the picture below, I’m not proposing a big new complicated system of signs, just add an estimate of when the bus passes each and every stop along the route. It shouldn’t require a smart phone to know when the bus is due to arrive. This one change would allow visitors to more easily hop on, and reassure first timers that they are in the right spot at the right time. Here’s an example:
- Once you’re in the bus, there are a few friendly features that would go a long was as well. First, the brochure racks with route maps should always be fully stocked. This is a nicety for visitors, first time riders and those riding unfamiliar routes.
- It would also be a great use of the space to include route maps and timetables along the top of all the buses. The bar along the top, that I assume is for advertisements, was mostly empty on all the busses. What a missed opportunity! Use the space for route maps and time tables. Here’s an example:
- The drivers should all be trained to use the microphone for making any announcements. Perhaps they are just accustomed to driving the bus and don’t often ride it, but it is extremely hard to hear on the bus! The announcements they make (next stop for example) might seem redundant and unnecessary, but is SO nice for first time riders, visitors, those riding unfamiliar routes, as well as for blind or seeing impaired riders. I also experienced a driver who yelled out, “anyone need a bus held?” when they were running 20 minutes behind. Not everyone heard this announcement and there were several extremely frustrated riders who arrived at the main station as their connecting bus pulled out without them.
- And finally, if you are going to be running buses so infrequently, it’s IMPERATIVE that you run on time. 20-30 minutes behind is crazy to try and understand (especially without a phone). If you want riders to choose to ride, not just use it out of necessity, then it has to be reliable.
The majority of these items don’t require any additional funding, and I think would go a long way to make the buses more friendly for all.
For a bit more context, in an earlier post I shared my personal experiences commuting with kids.