Friday, October 02, 2009

Another one rides the bus

I was driving into work today on the "superslab," i.e., the downtown connector, and happened to be next to one of Boise's buses. For those of you not familiar with them, they are the standard city-type bus like the one below.

Anyway, I counted 8 people; 7 passengers and a driver. And one bicycle in the front carrier. That is pretty much the usual passenger load that I see on any given bus on any given day. There are some buses coming in from Nampa the are full, but the Boise area busses aren't.

I don't understand why Boise uses such large buses for such small passenger loads. Anybody have any idea?


Sisyphus said...

Don't you answer your question in the first paragraph? "standard city type buses"

wolf21m said...

The challenge is that most routes do have one time of the day when they are quite full. Most of those times coincide with each other. For example, the #8 Chinden bus is full for one to two trips in the morning and full when school gets out. The State Street bus is the same.
Another factor is that laws require wheelchair access. Getting enough seats and space for two wheelchairs in a smaller bus is not that practical.
Having spent a lot of time in the number 8 bus (about 4 years), they seem like incredibly inefficient vehicles. Lots of wasted space. Maybe a creative designer should work on that. I don't know what the solution is.

ericn1300 said...

Wolf21m is right. Most routes are full a couple of times a day only and so is the freeway, but reducing the size of busses for off peak hours is about as difficult as reducing the number of lanes on the freeway after the rush hour is over.

At a million dollars a lane per mile on flat land, and a heck of a lot more for the "superslab”, maybe you'd want to figure your cost per mile vs. the bus riders.

If we were to reduce this to an absolut minimum it would be:

Alan driving alone: cost per mile a million dollars ($1,000,000)

Bus with 8 people: cost per mile 125K ($125,000)