Better Buses


As I’ve said in comments elsewhere on the site, many problems could be solved by having a more intelligent 21st century approach to routes.

On the London underground, you don’t get on a tube and expect it to take you to your destination – you get on one that takes you some of the way, hop off onto a different one, and so on until you get where you need to go. As a result, you don’t have every tube train trying to go through the same stretch of track in the centre of London.

Compare that to Glasgow buses, where every bus seems to go down Renfield Street and up Hope Street. Looking out on Renfield Street at 6pm, you can see 20+ buses, easily, and the whole street looks like a dumping ground for buses. This is a complete waste of time. Why not have ONE shuttle service going up and down Renfield Street/Hope Street, linking the services at each end? This would cut congestion in the city centre dramatically, and also stop buses being late by getting caught up in the city centre.

Obviously, this requires a properly integrated ticketing system, as people would be paying to get to a destination however they like, rather than paying to use a bus for a certain distance. But as Patrick has highlighted, the technology is there – they just need the will to use it. If force is necessary, then so be it.

Most importantly, bus companies need to recognise they are the bottom of the transport food chain. More inconvenient than a taxi, slower than a train, and less comfortable than both. The only advantage buses can ever provide is price, but at the moment you are cheaper driving than taking the bus. Cars take you directly from A to B, don’t have to stop and pick people up, and don’t leave you standing for ages like you do on a particularly full bus. This will never change, so the only trump card buses can provide is price.

And I wonder how much those useless electronic displays cost to run? Would it be as much, for instance, as it would cost to have a touch screen allowing you to work out your route for yourself, thus solving the problem of not having enough space to have full routes and fares on the notice boards in the bus shelters…?

Doug Daniel. At a Glasgow bus stop.

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