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BusHunter

Coming Soon: Prepaid Boarding at Belmont/Blue WB only

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So I came across this at Belmont and said WTH?? Belmont's going to start prepaid boarding next week June 6th for a six month experiment. Here's some pictures

prepaid bus boarding gates and sign 6-1-16.PNG

bus signs at top of escalator 6-1-16.PNG

bus signs and gates 6-1-16.PNG

gate full 6-1-16.PNG

belmont outdoor ventra machine 6-1-16.PNG

They are even going to have a street level Ventra machine. A bus I was on had a handout sheet talking about it so I grabbed one and scanned it over for you guys so you can read about what they want to do here. This doesn't seem to have a press release yet, unless Google's asleep at the wheel!!

belmont handout.jpg

belmont handout 2.jpg

Do you guys think all these bus transplants to FG could be for this? I mean it's embarrassing to run such old slow buses and have prepaid boarding. I wonder if maybe the #77 is going to go all NF's and #8200's.

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Idk but I remember a poster for a similar test at 79th Station that just disappeared and was never heard of again 

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5 hours ago, BusHunter said:

So I came across this at Belmont and said WTH?? Belmont's going to start prepaid boarding next week June 6th for a six month experiment. Here's some pictures

prepaid bus boarding gates and sign 6-1-16.PNG

bus signs at top of escalator 6-1-16.PNG

bus signs and gates 6-1-16.PNG

gate full 6-1-16.PNG

belmont outdoor ventra machine 6-1-16.PNG

They are even going to have a street level Ventra machine. A bus I was on had a handout sheet talking about it so I grabbed one and scanned it over for you guys so you can read about what they want to do here. This doesn't seem to have a press release yet, unless Google's asleep at the wheel!!

belmont handout.jpg

belmont handout 2.jpg

Do you guys think all these bus transplants to FG could be for this? I mean it's embarrassing to run such old slow buses and have prepaid boarding. I wonder if maybe the #77 is going to go all NF's and #8200's.

Hmmm, doesn't seem like the loans are necessarily for this since we're only talking about a relative few buses weighed against the entire FG fleet and the buses were already spotted on other routes rather than 77. FG's NF count was brought up to only 46 with these loans. So I'd say the loans are more likely for older buses that gave out faster than 8200 and up can get placed into service than for specific use on 77 for a test pilot at just one WB bus stop out of a bunch. At least we see one possible way they could have made prepay boarding work at designated Loop Link stations had they not delayed implementation. 

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9 hours ago, Sam92 said:

Idk but I remember a poster for a similar test at 79th Station that just disappeared and was never heard of again 

There was a test at 69th St (there isn't any bus terminal at 79th). Difference this time is that you have to use Ventra to get through.

The other notable thing in the Press Release is that the bus area will have, in effect, a Customer Assistant.

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39 minutes ago, Busjack said:

There was a test at 69th St (there isn't any bus terminal at 79th). Difference this time is that you have to use Ventra to get through.

The other notablce thing in the Press Release is that the bus area will have, in effect, a Customer Assistant.

The other thing that just popped to mind is that this is a potential improvement, if it works, that is tied to part of the north side. Maybe there's someone on here who somehow got word to Da Mare that he's too focused on the south side when it's not something for downtown. xD

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It will be interesting to see how they will enforce this. I mean anyone can walk up from the sb side via Kimball and just enter the platform. They do claim it will have a CA, so I'm assuming that will be part of their job. Another thing is buses travel in packs alot to the station, the 2nd bus usually boards on the east side of the island. I wonder if that will still be possible with the gates. It also slows down the bus if they board one at a time. The handout indicates the prepaid area will be weather protected like it might have a canopy. So will they extend the canopy to cover the whole south portion of the island? Because you have to figure in the rain, people will not want to stand out in it and that area has no canopy. Just by the glass station wall.

The #77 could really use tsp, because it has tons of traffic, road and customer. I think the lateness is due more to that. My operator last night said she was late, so I'm assuming most operators are on the #77 because that is like the 6th busiest route. It needs faster buses too that would help it.

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10 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

The #77 could really use tsp, because it has tons of traffic, road and customer

The problem is that Belmont (at least in Lakeview) is too narrow to get around traffic, and the bunching is apparently east of Kimball, i.e. in Lakeview.

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24 minutes ago, Busjack said:

The problem is that Belmont (at least in Lakeview) is too narrow to get around traffic, and the bunching is apparently east of Kimball, i.e. in Lakeview.

Yeah TSP won't be as efficient on Belmont with it having only one traffic lane per direction for much of its length within the city. Western and Ashland are good candidates because they have two traffic lanes in each direction. And construction to reconfigure the intersection at Western/Belmont and for the construction of the residential tower at Clark/Belmont has had Belmont traffic really screwed up. Though the Western/Belmont construction has just opened Belmont back up to WB traffic this past week or so. 

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6 minutes ago, jajuan said:

And construction to reconfigure the intersection at Western/Belmont and for the construction of the residential tower at Clark/Belmont has had Belmont traffic really screwed up

Which also brings up the problem of all the 5 and 6 way intersections in that part of town.

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1 hour ago, Busjack said:

There was a test at 69th St (there isn't any bus terminal at 79th). Difference this time is that you have to use Ventra to get through.

The other notable thing in the Press Release is that the bus area will have, in effect, a Customer Assistant.

Hmm... I don't recall the one at 69th but now that I recall the test at 79th might have been for back door boarding or something but I do know this took place at 79th and if I'm not mistaken was to test the feasibility of it for BRT purposes back when 79th was a candidate 

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1 hour ago, Busjack said:

The problem is that Belmont (at least in Lakeview) is too narrow to get around traffic, and the bunching is apparently east of Kimball, i.e. in Lakeview.

The bunching is pretty much on the entire route. Belmont/Red line has alot of traffic too but how would you implement prepaid boarding on a public sidewalk if it ever did get it? Belmont has alot of different factors that make it late. I'm afraid this blue line plan is not going to remedy the lateness, but it may appear so. Being as it coincides with new bus arrivals, the new buses will run faster and that's really what they need. What do they expect giving Fg the oldest buses and sending them on the 6th busiest route in the system. They will fail. it would be like making 77th all #6400's and we know that would fail.

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8 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

but how would you implement prepaid boarding on a public sidewalk if it ever did get it?

As indicated with 69th, a bus terminal seems essential. As Sam suggested and I saw at stations like Loyola, the alternative is having a fare collection person at the back door. However, in the old days, he would have a punch for transfers and maybe a coin changer, while today some sort of Ventra reader would be necessary. Maybe it could be done with a smart phone.

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35 minutes ago, Juniorz said:

Official Belmont Prepaid Page http://www.transitchicago.com/belmontprepaid/

I'm not sure I saw that before, but the new thing I saw was that if you want to pay cash, the employee will give you a special Ventra card and tell you to load it. Doesn't seem to be the b.s.about the $3 Ventra ticket or $5 deposit. In fact, doing that saves 25 cents from the cash fare dropped into the farebox.

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9 hours ago, Busjack said:

I'm not sure I saw that before, but the new thing I saw was that if you want to pay cash, the employee will give you a special Ventra card and tell you to load it. Doesn't seem to be the b.s.about the $3 Ventra ticket or $5 deposit. In fact, doing that saves 25 cents from the cash fare dropped into the farebox.

I noticed that too. I wonder if there's some disposable element to these cards as the lack of $5 deposit seems to suggest that these cards won't have the registration and thus tracking or other online elements of regular Ventra cards.

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Tried this out today as I was bushunting. They had a supervisor right at the gate where you pay your fare. They had other guys from hq, one of which I recognized was the same guy that had the clipboard before in the surveyors at Belmont thread. They had other guys from hq on the exit gates. What they were doing was lining up two rows of people one for the front door, one for the back, but the lines were pretty much to the glass. They have so many people boarding here is really mind blowing. If they ever get a 20-30 minute gap they are going to run out of room on that small island, then what? I saw two guys running to the bus and they went around the gates (I don't think they intended to fare evade, they were just in a hurry) but they were caught by our familiar hq person. I don't see how they can keep there eyes on everyone. Some people were paying at the portable ventra reader and on the bus. When a bus pack showed up what they did was allow them to stop at the east end of the island and board (front door only) but then they made them do the service stop again by the public information sign. So no more passing buses at Belmont as the 2nd bus was doing that before. It took 4 guys to effectively manage this today, it will be interesting when it goes down to one or two people.

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12 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

When a bus pack showed up what they did was allow them to stop at the east end of the island and board (front door only) but then they made them do the service stop again by the public information sign. So no more passing buses at Belmont as the 2nd bus was doing that before. It took 4 guys to effectively manage this today, it will be interesting when it goes down to one or two people.

Which reinforces what I said above that this is an experiment to see if it works, not an instant cure with new buses.

The only way this works in places like Boston (Harvard Station) and Toronto is if the bus pulls into the paid area of the train station, which isn't happening here.

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12 minutes ago, Busjack said:

Which reinforces what I said above that this is an experiment to see if it works, not an instant cure with new buses.

The only way this works in places like Boston (Harvard Station) and Toronto is if the bus pulls into the paid area of the train station, which isn't happening here.

I don't know how you cure bus bunching on #77. It's like #79. It's impossible. CTA must think new buses will make a difference or it wouldn't be running them on the #77. 9 assignments in 3 days on belmont now, 4 or 5 on Diversey which interlines with #77. I just hope we don't have to wait for 20-30 buses to show up before they go to other FG routes.

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21 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

I don't know how you cure bus bunching on #77. It's like #79. It's impossible.

They made claims about computer aided dispatch. Again, it hasn't proved anything, but as you indicated, the Blue Line station isn't some stop they can just skip.

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I've always thought prepaid boarding would benefit the Metra. I can consistently get a free ride depending on where I board and where I sit on the UP-W line when I get on at Oak Park. Relying on conductors to collect the proper fare is probably why Metra is in such a big financial crisis.
 

Also, apparently they don't proofread these infographics...

NUANDdH.png

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The basic problem is simply that Belmont is grossly overloaded, both by traffic and by passengers, during rush hours. I can't see how this will help much, unless they are willing to have three or four "watchers" there every single day. However, this will certainly work better than at 69th, where there was no effective way to keep anybody from simply walking in from State or Lafayette (and many, many did). At least on the NW side, people seem more willing to obey the rules...

Realistically, there is one thing that would help (but CTA would gag at the thought). And it would also work on 79th. Namely, add a whole bunch of running time, basically down to almost walking speed. Hey, that is realistically how fast buses move along much of that street already, so why not just accept reality? Most people who ride buses would much rather have a slow bus show up on a predictable interval than a whole slew of "fast" buses show up together every now and then. CTA's biggest problem is not capacity, but delays leading to horrendous overcrowding of the first (and often second and third bus) in the caravan. By personal experience, I will categorically state that the vast majority of bus schedules are simply too fast for current traffic conditions. It would be better to schedule a bus show up every 10 minutes, and actually have one show up every 10 minutes, then schedule one every 5 and in reality three or four show up every 15-20 minutes.

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6 hours ago, andrethebusman said:

Realistically, there is one thing that would help (but CTA would gag at the thought). And it would also work on 79th. Namely, add a whole bunch of running time, basically down to almost walking speed. Hey,

That's essentially what Pace does already. The schedules have recovery time (the bus may not go through a time point early) and they use the IBS to measure schedule adherence. That's the source of all the "we adjusted the running time"  schedule change passenger alerts, like the current one for 272 that Golf Mill is 4 minutes later, as well as the IBS passenger counter to determine that certain segments "are not productive."

Using recovery time in this manner would also mean that if there wasn't the predicted amount of congestion, a bus  could be sitting at Ashland for 4 minutes. I don't know if CTA passengers would tolerate that.

But, by definition, if Pace does it, CTA won't.

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13 hours ago, Busjack said:

That's essentially what Pace does already. The schedules have recovery time (the bus may not go through a time point early) and they use the IBS to measure schedule adherence. That's the source of all the "we adjusted the running time"  schedule change passenger alerts, like the current one for 272 that Golf Mill is 4 minutes later, as well as the IBS passenger counter to determine that certain segments "are not productive."

Using recovery time in this manner would also mean that if there wasn't the predicted amount of congestion, a bus  could be sitting at Ashland for 4 minutes. I don't know if CTA passengers would tolerate that.

But, by definition, if Pace does it, CTA won't.

CTA already has this procedure in place for all routes. A bus may not leave certain times points early along a route and an operator has to wait. If he/she doesn't, they face an operational violation write up. Also this holds true for the terminals at each end of the route. The operator is not allowed to leave the terminal early or late.

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