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Ghost Buses

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I was watching a particular bus a little while ago, to determine just how long it would take to go from Clark/Devon to Clark/Irving Park. Now I've ridden this hundreds of times before & had a really good idea to give myself 30 minutes, but something weird happened.

I was watching 4340 going south at 10:52 AM & after it passed Foster, it disappeared. Most likely, there was a driver change. But since there's a new protocol that requires a driver to login in order to put a bus into gear, exactly why didn't the bus show up anymore?

There's a remote possibility of a breakdown or a police problem, but I doubt that.

So if I'm correct & I'm also not sure of that, do the drivers have some sort of control over showing up on Bustracker? I've also noticed, that when I'm on a bus, that after a driver change, the Clever Device screen with the stop names & time often stops working. Does they way they login have something to do with that?

If this is why we have so many ghost buses, then CTA needs some software changes to prevent it from happening anymore.

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CTA supervision seems to be on the ball with operators and Bustracker. I saw one come up to a bus and ask the operator about his login/ghost bus status. But they have buses out here that are exclusive ghost buses like #1187. That bus has never showed up yet since it was rehabbed.

If I had one complaint to give it would be that the service gets too bunched up and wide gaps lead to long waits. This seems to be happening more lately or I'm noticing it. It sometimes requires you to reroute. People are savvy though. They recently closed Cortland between Elston and Clybourn and were rerouting the #73's to North ave. This has made both of those routes (#72, #73) really poor service wise. #72 had about 7 or 8 buses in 10 minutes going west and EB had no service for 45 minutes on Friday 5 in the afternoon.. You know I didn't see one rider wait at North/Ashland EB until about 5 minutes before he came. So Bustracker will help you if you use it. They really need an express system like the "L" or MTA buses do. That might be possible once everyone goes online with the new Clever Device system.

FYI, the #90 has been a bear this week also as they have closed the railroad crossing at Harlem/Grand. The #90 is wildly unpredictable. I saw 4 buses go NB one day in a bunch, that's like half the routes buses at one location. I never saw that before. Those are the 3 routes I would avoid right now #73, #72 and #90.

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CTA supervision seems to be on the ball with operators and Bustracker. I saw one come up to a bus and ask the operator about his login/ghost bus status. But they have buses out here that are exclusive ghost buses like #1187. That bus has never showed up yet since it was rehabbed.

If I had one complaint to give it would be that the service gets too bunched up and wide gaps lead to long waits. This seems to be happening more lately or I'm noticing it. It sometimes requires you to reroute. People are savvy though. They recently closed Cortland between Elston and Clybourn and were rerouting the #73's to North ave. This has made both of those routes (#72, #73) really poor service wise. #72 had about 7 or 8 buses in 10 minutes going west and EB had no service for 45 minutes on Friday 5 in the afternoon.. You know I didn't see one rider wait at North/Ashland EB until about 5 minutes before he came. So Bustracker will help you if you use it. They really need an express system like the "L" or MTA buses do. That might be possible once everyone goes online with the new Clever Device system.

FYI, the #90 has been a bear this week also as they have closed the railroad crossing at Harlem/Grand. The #90 is wildly unpredictable. I saw 4 buses go NB one day in a bunch, that's like half the routes buses at one location. I never saw that before. Those are the 3 routes I would avoid right now #73, #72 and #90.

​While some supervisors may be going after some driver about their login, how is a 4300 series bus able to change drivers & then get into gear without a proper login? Because almost all CTA buses require that to get in gear & I've been on two of them that couldn't get into gear because the touch screen was so faded, they had an almost impossible time reading it. It took two drivers over five minutes to manage to login the replacement on bus 800 on the 157.

I was checking for a NB Clark at Irving Park an hour ago, saw that it was 23 minutes for the next bus, so I stayed inside, only to see two ghost buses pass less than five minutes later. One was a 4300 series & the other was a 1000 series NF.

I have a terrible feeling that someone has figured out how to login & not be on Bustracker & some drivers are doing just that. Otherwise, how do you explain the 4340 problem I mentioned in the first post?

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Actually, very easy. You log in with badge and PIN. That unlocks the transmission, so you can move. You don't do the next screen, garage and run number. Bus moves just fine, but has no idea what run is out there. Not supposed to do that, but let's be real, it is done. Second thing - every now and then, for some reason the screen does not show the ahead or late time. This means the bus has lost contact with the sattelites, and is now untrackable. Sometimes this happens as soon as you log in, other times all of a sudden in the middle of a trip. In these cases the stop announcements and sign changes seem to still work (albeit sometimes the stop announcements get a it ahead or behind the actual location) as this stuff is controlled by simply measuring distance, after so many feet the next announcement is made. Plus it appears that GPS locating and bustracker are NOT the same. You can have GPS but still be a ghost, you just don't have schedule data.

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Actually, very easy. You log in with badge and PIN. That unlocks the transmission, so you can move. You don't do the next screen, garage and run number. Bus moves just fine, but has no idea what run is out there. Not supposed to do that, but let's be real, it is done. Second thing - every now and then, for some reason the screen does not show the ahead or late time. This means the bus has lost contact with the sattelites, and is now untrackable. Sometimes this happens as soon as you log in, other times all of a sudden in the middle of a trip. In these cases the stop announcements and sign changes seem to still work (albeit sometimes the stop announcements get a it ahead or behind the actual location) as this stuff is controlled by simply measuring distance, after so many feet the next announcement is made. Plus it appears that GPS locating and bustracker are NOT the same. You can have GPS but still be a ghost, you just don't have schedule data.

​Sure doesn't sound like the new Clever Devices dispatching system is going to be able to do the job if there are so many ways of defeating getting the location and schedule info for a particular bus.

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Actually, very easy. You log in with badge and PIN. That unlocks the transmission, so you can move. You don't do the next screen, garage and run number. Bus moves just fine, but has no idea what run is out there. Not supposed to do that, but let's be real, it is done. Second thing - every now and then, for some reason the screen does not show the ahead or late time. This means the bus has lost contact with the sattelites, and is now untrackable. Sometimes this happens as soon as you log in, other times all of a sudden in the middle of a trip. In these cases the stop announcements and sign changes seem to still work (albeit sometimes the stop announcements get a it ahead or behind the actual location) as this stuff is controlled by simply measuring distance, after so many feet the next announcement is made. Plus it appears that GPS locating and bustracker are NOT the same. You can have GPS but still be a ghost, you just don't have schedule data.

​Now we know why & how it happens, so it's up to the CTA to change the software to require them to use the next screen with the garage & run number.

The super secret control center could do that by setting it up to see when a bus goes offline & contact the driver & tell him/her to re login or else!

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I say some of this equipment is faulty. Why else would #1187 never show up. #1250 was doing that and suddenly it's starts showing up. (fixed)

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​Now we know why & how it happens, so it's up to the CTA to change the software to require them to use the next screen with the garage & run number.

The super secret control center could do that by setting it up to see when a bus goes offline & contact the driver & tell him/her to re login or else!

​Agreed. I ride the #22 a lot as well as the #9, and both those routes can be notorious for ghost buses. On the #22 I notice it a lot with buses leaving Howard Terminal, which I live 10 to 15 minutes south from depending on traffic and time of day. It happens a lot with buses leaving early morning or evening times. So during those times I tend to track for buses one or two or head of the bus I actually need to be sure I keep myself on time for my destinations. With the #9 it seems to happen a lot with the Smart buses on the route though New Flyers can also quite guilty of being a ghost bus.

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Does anyone know why theres always a row of buses parked alongside CTAs distribution center on Division st??  Every time I pass there theres a row of parked buses on the sidestreet

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1 hour ago, CTA5750 said:

Does anyone know why theres always a row of buses parked alongside CTAs distribution center on Division st??  Every time I pass there theres a row of parked buses on the sidestreet

Midday storage of rush hour buses rather than returning them to garages.

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1 hour ago, busfan2847 said:

Midday storage of rush hour buses rather than returning them to garages.

Interesting!!! Thanks!!!

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4 hours ago, CTA5750 said:

Does anyone know why theres always a row of buses parked alongside CTAs distribution center on Division st??  Every time I pass there theres a row of parked buses on the sidestreet

 

3 hours ago, busfan2847 said:

Midday storage of rush hour buses rather than returning them to garages.

If possible,  check the bus numbers for see what garages they are from

   My guesses would be C,for routes like 66, 70, and 72.  77th might have some 8 Halsted buses there.

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2 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

 

If possible,  check the bus numbers for see what garages they are from

   My guesses would be C,for routes like 66, 70, and 72.  77th might have some 8 Halsted buses there.

I dont know  But by judging the line they seem to be all NFs and 7900 Novas  So its anyones guess!!!  

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9 minutes ago, CTA5750 said:

I dont know  But by judging the line they seem to be all NFs and 7900 Novas  So its anyones guess!!!  

Both C and 7 have both makes in their fleet.  103rd and 7's downtown routes use lower Randolph for midday storage.

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7 hours ago, CTA5750 said:

Does anyone know why theres always a row of buses parked alongside CTAs distribution center on Division st??  Every time I pass there theres a row of parked buses on the sidestreet

All of them are from off the 8 Halsted. They even do some reliefs at division.

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2 hours ago, artthouwill said:

 

If possible,  check the bus numbers for see what garages they are from

   My guesses would be C,for routes like 66, 70, and 72.  77th might have some 8 Halsted buses there.

 

9 minutes ago, Bus fanatic30 said:

All of them are from off the 8 Halsted. They even do some reliefs at division.

Halsted was one of my guesses.   The reliefs at Division, tthough plausible, don't seem to make sense unless the relief runs are only going SB to Root/Halsted.  It would seem like the drivers going to lunch would be able to keep their buses and lunch themselves before going back in service .  The buses stored at Division could fill in runs to 79th then head to garage.

It would seem that the Division buses would be split shifts and are to help the heavier loading on the north side of the route. 

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On 8/23/2019 at 4:12 PM, artthouwill said:

 

Halsted was one of my guesses.   The reliefs at Division, tthough plausible, don't seem to make sense unless the relief runs are only going SB to Root/Halsted.  It would seem like the drivers going to lunch would be able to keep their buses and lunch themselves before going back in service .  The buses stored at Division could fill in runs to 79th then head to garage.

It would seem that the Division buses would be split shifts and are to help the heavier loading on the north side of the route. 

If you look at maths22 tracker the buses at Division are for the 8 Halsted and at one point up to 8 were stored there midday. These are buses for split shifts. If you look during the rush hours these are the ones that have Block ID starting SH.

Other ones used are SR (lower Randolph), SN (Navy Pier) and SS (South Shops)

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7 minutes ago, busfan2847 said:

If you look at maths22 tracker the buses at Division are for the 8 Halsted and at one point up to 8 were stored there midday. These are buses for split shifts. If you look during the rush hours these are the ones that have Block ID starting SH.

Other ones used are SR (lower Randolph), SN (Navy Pier) and SS (South Shops)

I believe that those buses are split shifts.  What I was responding to was the statement that some of those buses or drivers were relief drivers.  That didn't make sense to me. 

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Here's another weird ghost bus problem.  I often wait for a SB 151 at Clark/Devon or a SB 147 at Devon/Broadway/Sheridan.  The Ventra phone app will show one of them arriving in say 3 minutes, with a follower in 10-15 minutes.  At each stop, that 3 minute bus disappears & only the followers are listed.  Where is that first bus going?  If it never existed, then why is it there?  Also, many SB 151s at the Clark/Arthur terminal are often listed as "Delayed" on the CTA Bustracker map online on my home computer.  What's with that?

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1 hour ago, strictures said:

Here's another weird ghost bus problem.  I often wait for a SB 151 at Clark/Devon or a SB 147 at Devon/Broadway/Sheridan.  The Ventra phone app will show one of them arriving in say 3 minutes, with a follower in 10-15 minutes.  At each stop, that 3 minute bus disappears & only the followers are listed.  Where is that first bus going?  If it never existed, then why is it there?  Also, many SB 151s at the Clark/Arthur terminal are often listed as "Delayed" on the CTA Bustracker map online on my home computer.  What's with that?

That's why I never use the Ventra tracker.  The problem is that it's VERY inaccurate.  I use an app called "Ride Chicago" for android and it gives me accurate arrivals straight out of CTA and Pace's data.  I've compared both that app and Ventra before and I saw that the Ride Chicago is the most accurate.  

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7 hours ago, strictures said:

Here's another weird ghost bus problem.  I often wait for a SB 151 at Clark/Devon or a SB 147 at Devon/Broadway/Sheridan.  The Ventra phone app will show one of them arriving in say 3 minutes, with a follower in 10-15 minutes.  At each stop, that 3 minute bus disappears & only the followers are listed.  Where is that first bus going?  If it never existed, then why is it there?  Also, many SB 151s at the Clark/Arthur terminal are often listed as "Delayed" on the CTA Bustracker map online on my home computer.  What's with that?

I have noticed that too that they a disappear like a MF 

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6 hours ago, chicagocubs6323 said:

That's why I never use the Ventra tracker.  The problem is that it's VERY inaccurate.  I use an app called "Ride Chicago" for android and it gives me accurate arrivals straight out of CTA and Pace's data.  I've compared both that app and Ventra before and I saw that the Ride Chicago is the most accurate.  

I also use Ride Chicago for Android.

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15 hours ago, chicagocubs6323 said:

That's why I never use the Ventra tracker.  The problem is that it's VERY inaccurate.  I use an app called "Ride Chicago" for android and it gives me accurate arrivals straight out of CTA and Pace's data.  I've compared both that app and Ventra before and I saw that the Ride Chicago is the most accurate.  

Exactly, where do you think Ventra is getting its CTA data?    Why they're getting direct from the CTA!

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19 hours ago, chicagocubs6323 said:

That's why I never use the Ventra tracker.  The problem is that it's VERY inaccurate.  I use an app called "Ride Chicago" for android and it gives me accurate arrivals straight out of CTA and Pace's data.  I've compared both that app and Ventra before and I saw that the Ride Chicago is the most accurate.  

 

13 hours ago, ChicagoNova said:

I also use Ride Chicago for Android.

I personally use Transit, available for both Android & iPhone and its always been accurate for me

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21 hours ago, chicagocubs6323 said:

That's why I never use the Ventra tracker.  The problem is that it's VERY inaccurate.  I use an app called "Ride Chicago" for android and it gives me accurate arrivals straight out of CTA and Pace's data.  I've compared both that app and Ventra before and I saw that the Ride Chicago is the most accurate.  

How you going to say ventra is inaccurate when Ventra gets very accurate data STRAIGHT FROM CTA AND PACE 

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