This is a great first person commentary from someone trying to make rational transportation choices. Though he has the option of a car, transit or a bike, he always chooses the bike or a car over transit. He would prefer not to use the car but if the option is bus vs. car, he will never choose the bus. One of the primary problems is frequency: since it only comes every 20 minutes, missing the bus means another 20 minute wait.
Thus, as a practical matter, the bus is an option only if I have a lot of time on my hands, have no deadlines, and really don’t care what time I get home. It’s no wonder that students shy away from taking the bus and, instead, prefer to drive.
Without higher frequencies and/or real-time information about the location of the bus, taking it is not a rational choice for the author or many other people in his community.
Providing high quality, reliable service is essential for transit to survive (not just remain competitive with other modes). With the level of uncertainty and unreliability I experience on a regular basis, I simply can’t afford the risk of taking the bus on most days.
Read the whole article here: http://www.planetizen.com/node/52200.
Read about how the Living Streets Alliance is trying to improve real-time transit data in Tucson here, under the subtitle “Suntracker”: http://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/projects/.