So the Capital District Transit Authority is installing a new express bus thing called BusPlus. It will start in 2011, and the line that would be most relevant to my interests is the one from Schenectady to Albany, as it goes right past my home stops and my work stops.
This is the BusPlus program's primer.
This is a great idea, and I am all for things that make our bus system more efficient. Those of you who read my twitter know how irritated I can get with the delays and minor problems with the bus system. So any way of improving things is just dandy with me.
My problem with this BusPlus idea is simply this: Someone did not think out the timing of replacing the stops involved. They replaced shelters at the spots along the BusPlus route. One of the drivers explained how it works: it goes from downtown Albany to downtown Schenectady and doesn't stop at every stop -- just the silver and red BusPlus stations (IE North Allen & Central, or Westgate Plaza). It will stop at all of those. They replaced all of the ones in the Albany section, as far as I can tell. I cannot vouch for Schenectady, as I do not live there.
They fixed all the Albany stops except one. Colonie Center, Northway Mall.
Guess when they decided to redo these stops? Anyone? Bueller?
Yeah, mid-November. I asked another driver how long that they planned to work on it, and he said it would be finished after Christmas. In the meantime, they completely tore down the old shelters and moved a stop.
First of all, there are at least three reasons why doing it now is a TERRIBLE idea.
1) It is the stop for the MALL. At peak holiday shopping time. You turn it into mud farmer central and demolish the stop, and make it increasingly difficult to get on or off at the stop. With larger amounts of traffic -- pedestrian, bus, or motor vehicle - it is not safe to do that.
You moved the stop going down to Albany, so now it is located across Central Ave, by the dry cleaner's. It's well lit, which is great, but the problem there is you have to cross both the entrance and exits to Northway Mall. Which, might I remind you, has shops in it that people will be going to, doing their holiday shopping. Large amounts of pedestrians in an unregulated driveway + large amounts of traffic + buses = problems.
2) It is NOVEMBER. And there is no shelter at the bus stops. Sure, most bus stops don't have shelters. But they also don't have a lot of people using those stops. And it's cold. Today's weather is the perfect example. The wind was outrageous, the rain was drenching, and there is no shelter for these people who are waiting for their buses. There are parents with small children who are exposed to the elements here.
Wait til it starts snowing. Class act.
3) Okay, I kinda combined 1 and 3. My point remains that it is a ridiculous time to redo this stop. I am really irritated by this. Especially as the later hours the mall has, the fewer buses run. So you have more crowded buses, more really cold people waiting to go home, and it's not a good scene. I just cannot imagine how this stop wasn't redone in August or September instead of now.
One other thing: I was quite fortunate to have, the night before they tore the shelters down, to have seen a sign tacked up in the shelter explaining that starting the next day, 14 November, they would be redoing the stops. Having been there at that same stop the day before, I distinctly do not remember seeing the sign. Great way of communicating something that important, CDTA.