Riding the Bus (Tyler Transit)

Last week I started riding the city bus again. I used to depend on the bus several decades ago when I lived in Iowa Illinois and California. In those places I could walk out the front door up to the next corner and wait a few minutes for a ride. At that time it was my only transportation other than the soles of my shoes. While I do have a choice now the choice is between grumbling gas-guzzlers with over 100 000 miles and the bus I have to walk about a mile to catch. That mile is a nice bit of exercise so I don't mind so much. It makes working out at the gym a little less urgent.

Do Stuff One of the nice things about riding the bus is I can do stuff. I can review some notes open the mail or read. Or I can watch other people riding the bus. Riding the bus is just another way to meet people make friends sightsee. I did notice some problems with the experience though so this is now my analysis of Tyler Transit.

Analysis I prepared myself by getting a schedule and showed up at the stop with minutes to spare. The first time went well. The second time I noticed that the bus was at least five minutes early. The third time it was also early but since I was a block from the stop I missed it. I watched it go by and caught the next one thirty minutes later. I don't ever remember missing the bus in the other towns because it was 5-10 minutes early.

The schedule The first thought might be to look at the driver but after a little study I concluded that the problem was with the schedule. At different times of the day the stops were spaced at different times. For example on one trip it takes 20 minutes to get between stops and then 12 minutes on the next trip then 20 minutes alternating throughout the day. There doesn't appear to be any logic to this anomaly. On some of the other lines there are occasional variances but they may be due to "rush hour" considerations.

Transfer Point Another thing I noticed was the amount of spent waiting at the transfer point and the short routes. Depending on the route the bus waits at the transfer point 5-10 minutes every trip with the trips only about 40 minutes apart. With a little research and planning the waits could be shortened and the coverage area widened. The main transfer point is also a bit impractical. Instead of the transfer point being closer to the populated center of town it was next to an old shopping center Bergfeld. Now that is just my observation of that one transfer point. There are three other minor transfer points all relatively close to each other and even a stretch between two of them where two routes overlap and I don't know what they are like.

Short Routes But back on the subject of short routes it makes no sense to me why they have separate buses for Red North and Red South. If each driver traveled the entire Red route riders wouldn't have to get off one bus and get on another in order to go from south Tyler to downtown. There may be some logic behind designing it that way but it seems like flawed logic to me. In all I think the routes could be redesigned to improve service and make the most of the federal dollars that are probably dished out to the city to have a transit system.

Bus Stop Then there is the idea of the bus stop. On buses I've ridden before unless you were on a major road without traffic lights every intersection was a bus stop. On my first trip I tried to get off at one such intersection where the bus was stopped for a traffic light and the driver said I had to wait until the next bus stop which was past the next traffic light. In contrast on the bus that I missed the driver told me I should have waved and he would have stopped so to him any potential passenger was a bus stop.

30 Day Pass One of the nice things that Tyler Transit makes available is the 30 day pass for $30. Of course if all you use it for is to get back and forth to work at 75c a trip or 1.50 a day with 20 workdays you're not saving anything. The goofy thing about that is I drove down to the main office to get the thing. One of the buses probably goes by there but it's not at the main transfer point as it was in other cities.

Improve! Now don't get me wrong. I think it's great to HAVE a transit system and I appreciate it. But it is in my nature to find things wrong with most anything. I look at them as things that could be improved and there are several areas where it can be improved. But then there are also some pet peeves I have. One of them is the signage. If I were to have my way I would like to see the graphics improved both inside the bus and without. The paper signs posted inside the bus are ragged and sometimes illegible. On the outside on one of the buses the name of the bus route is scribbled on a piece of paper and placed in the front window. In a city that is so interested in beautification that kind of stuff stands out.

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