Does anyone follow "the rules?"

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cburch
Participant
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hey bill, check your pms. if you dont have one from me send me one i can reply to.


Mick
Participant
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@edmonds

“Purple belt with pink shoes OK?”

Oh, hell yes, but that’s double black diamond expert territory if you can pull it off.

It’s what I’d put on today if I were hiking for Appalachian Trail, for sure.


edmonds59
Participant
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cburch, just did.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Here’s what I know about bus GPS.

1) Most of the buses can receive GPS signals. This is what allows the in-bus display to tell you the name of the next stop.

2) I do not know if there is a mechanism for sending positioning data to HQ. I have had conflicting reports on this. One says it does not exist. Another says it exists but is not enabled. A third says it is physically possible but that monetary restrictions prevent their use because it really relies on using positioning data from cell towers, which is private data for commercial use, which involves money, which means no.

3) As to there being a clause in the labor contract prohibiting use of that data (or enabling the mechanism), this too is not known for sure.

4) The new fareboxes are supposed to be able to collect positioning data, but that is more for being able to count the number of riders getting on and off at a stop.

Frankly I do not know who to believe. I do know, though, that this was off-the-shelf equipment and software 10 years ago, and if the problem is money, I’d rather see fewer buses on the street and more ability to actually use what is there.

Having live GPS data for each bus in hand, they could provide lots better service in a dozen ways, which I will not elaborate on here.


edmonds59
Participant
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Is there any highly technological GPS way to prevent 2, or 3, G2 buses from going by a stop 15 feet apart and 60 seconds before I get to the stop? That would be super awesome. That happens to me at least once a week.


salty
Participant
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I would probably ride the bus a lot more if I could get real-time tracking data. I really hate standing there at the stop (just happened to me this morning) not knowing if the bus was early and I missed it, or if it’s just late. It’s definitely enough to tip the balance in favor of riding my bike almost every time. I went from having a bus pass to riding the bus once or twice a month.


Lyle
Participant
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ditto salty. Also, there might be two or three different options for me for a bus route, and having some idea which one is on time would help me choose which one to commit to. Waiting 20 minutes for a 10-minute bus ride is ridiculous.


Mick
Participant
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@ stu

As to there being a clause in the labor contract prohibiting use of that data (or enabling the mechanism), this too is not known for sure.

I’m puzzled.

Is the contract not public? Is there some clause in it that may (or may not) be interpreted to include real-time tracking?

Thank you Stu, for providing us so much information on transit.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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20 years I’ve been riding buses, through about six contract cycles and a strike, and I have never once seen even an old copy of the ATU85 contract. I’ve been able to get my hands on an amazing amount of usually not seen data, but that ain’t one of them.

I do know that the cameras on all the buses cannot be used for disciplining drivers. They are primarily used in proceedings against passengers who commit crimes on buses, from vandalism to assault.

There’s a CMU project underway for providing real-time data streaming of bus locations having nothing to do with PAT data or the lack of same. It’s smartphone based. I have details, just not handy.

What salty & edmonds59 refer to are two of the couple dozen items I mentioned above. I’ve been after PAT since the mid-1990s to get and implement this stuff. If someone would please hand me $100K, I’d develop that for them, but meanwhile I need to eat, so I’ve pursued other employment.


ieverhart
Participant
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I have a SmarTrip card I use when I am (semi-frequently) in Washington, D.C., and using their transit system. You can recharge your farecard online and track your balance. You can also check your archived usage, both on the Metrorail and Metrobus systems. The following shows two trips, one on the Circulator and another coming in from Upper Northwest on the bus and transferring to the subway to come into downtown.

I had thought it tagged what bus stop you got on with GPS data, but it seems it doesn’t (thought it does log your Metrorail entry/exit stations). That would have been cool.

# Date & Time ? Desc. Operator Entry Location/

Bus Route Exit

Location Product Change

(+/-) Balance

10 12/29/10

01:10 PM Entry DC Circulator 60001:E-W:601:East-West StoredValue FF -1.00 2.95

11 12/30/10

10:19 AM Entry Metrobus D6 – SIBLEY-STAD ARM D1 D3 D6 StoredValue FF -1.50 1.45

12 12/30/10

11:03 AM Transfer Metrorail Dupont Circle N StoredValue FF 0.00 1.45

13 12/30/10

11:24 AM Exit Metrorail Fed Center SW StoredValue FF -1.10 0.35

I think I’m remembering right that many bus shelters (high volume) have GPS-enabled boards announcing when buses are coming. They obviously have a different system setup and funding structures, but I hope that some of these “best practices” can be imported to Pittsburgh.


thehistorian
Participant
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Thanks for the comments on riding in and around Pittsburgh. I was concerned after some bad experiences riding in urban areas.


fungicyclist
Participant
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edmonds59:

You rule for posting your rules. Seeking clarification: black shoes/black belt with Whites (once Summer begins of course)? Blue suit/brown accoutrements? Really?

For the sake of those reading these, I shortened my rule to “Don’t Die”. The unabridged version is “Try Not To Die”.

Worry? What, me? Newman, Alfred E.


edmonds59
Participant
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I don’t own a thing white, so, I’m outa rules.


fungicyclist
Participant
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What fashion of wheelman are you then???

(If it is not abundantly apparent, then let me be most explicit, this line of mine is intended entirely for amusement.)

“Karl Kron (Lyman Hotchkiss Bagg, 1846-1911), writing in “10,000 Miles on a Bicycle,” in 1887, devotes a chapter to “White Flannel and Nickel Plate.” His contention is that white must be kept clean and is more impressive. “As regards the solitary rider, the sheen of his plush jacket in cold weather, like the whiteness of his flannel shirt and breeches in summer, gives an ‘object lesson’ to everyone he meets, for it plainly proves that he has not been tumbled into the mud … It shows, therefore, that the bicycle is a safe vehicle and a clean one … The glittering spokes of an all- bright bicycle enlighten the stupidest landlord (that the rider is) … a man of substance … to be treated with deference.” There is an old account of a meet at which they voted a tall handsome man in white, mounted on a full nickel machine, as the best appearing rider.” from “The Bicycle Uniform from Head to Foot” at http://www.thewheelmen.org/sections/publications/pdf/05.pdf


sprite
Participant
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As the second bike on the bus (twice today! Up from “once *ever*”), I’d be happy if people just followed “the rules” for which rack to use. It is somewhat less fun putting a bike on the rack closest to the bus when there is a bike on the rack farthest from the bus (also twice today; wtf?!)


Ahlir
Participant
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[catching up; boy this is one long thread]

Some random comments:

— In Canada, the rolling stop is called an “American stop”

— Riding on the sidewalk in Pittsburgh is unnecessary, unless you’re on the Ft. {Pitt, Duquesne} Bridge, or on Liberty during rush hour (no peds, no cars… nice and relaxing).

— never, ever, trust a car driver; especially if they have a turn signal on.


Steven
Participant
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Maybe PAT should turn its Rack’n’roll demo card (PDF) into a sticker and stick one on the front of each bus. Some people may just not remember some of the finer points (use the rack closest to the bus, put the support arm over the tire but not the fender). (A specialized sticker with just a few points like those might work even better.)


salty
Participant
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What if the person with the bike closest to the bus gets off first? I assume moving the other person’s bike is bad etiquette, but not moving it leads to the “bad” situation described above.

I never knew the fender rule, although doing a quick test on my bike I don’t think it makes a difference. The fender is close to the tire and it doesn’t take much pressure to just bend it to touch the tire, and it’s certainly flexible enough.


fungicyclist
Participant
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Yeah, you know salty, I was thinking the same thing when I read the card.

And sprite, it’s probably “somewhat less fun” to have to pull the inside bike out if one gets off first.

There’s no apparent way in my mind to “rule” a solution to this conundrum.

However, if a social convention is advanced and adopted within the bike-bus community, perhaps this issue can be resolved amicably?

The “rules” stipulate once one loads their ride, they should occupy a position in the front of the bus. Maybe PAT showed some foresight with this rule? If whomever has their bike in a slot, (any slot), sees someone preparing to load their bike onto the rack, gets off and inquires as to that rider’s disembarkation, the two can work out reasonably which bike should go in which slot. Who knows, perhaps each could help the other rack and unrack the rides? Loaded commuting pedalcycles can be unwieldy.

This solution requires consideration, altruism and civility, so I’ve no illusion it is in any way workable.

But I’ve been wrong before.

(I realize I’m coming off cynical. Sorry, cranky. Actually, bottom brackety. Think the notion’s decent enough to get it out despite my “bad attitude”(toads be coming out my mouth tonight), so I hope whomever can regard the idea sans snark.)


Steven
Participant
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I think it’s easier to get a bike off the rear rack (the one closest to the bus) around an occupied front rack than to get it on. Gravity and all.

But in any case, if you load your bike in the rear rack, there’s a problem only if (a) somebody else loads a bike, AND (b) you get off before they do. Whereas if you load in the front, there’s a problem any time (a) somebody else loads a bike, and sometimes an additional problem if (b) they get off before you do. As a first approximation, you have a problem three times as often:

A loads in rear rack

A on, B on, A off, B off (problem unloading)

A on, B on, B off, A off

A loads in front rack

A on, B on (problem loading), A off, B off

A on, B on (problem loading), B off (problem unloading), A off

If whomever has their bike in a slot, (any slot), sees someone preparing to load their bike onto the rack, gets off and inquires as to that rider’s disembarkation, the two can work out reasonably which bike should go in which slot.

If your bike is in the rear slot, there’s never any advantage to fighting your way off the bus, negotiating whose destination is closer, and then (half the time) swapping positions. It’s always quicker to wait for the other cyclist to board, then decide if swapping is even appropriate while the bus is moving. (But there’s little reason to bother, since unloading from either position is pretty easy.)

On the other hand, if you’ve been forced by a prior Cyclist A to use the front rack, Cyclist A has left, and cyclist C now wants to board, he’d have to use the rear rack and reach over your bike to load his. That’s harder. Then it might be appropriate to offer to unload your bike and negotiate your destinations prior to reloading (especially if it looks like he’s having trouble). But I expect such 3+ cyclist scenarios are still rare. The simple “rear rack first” rule works pretty well almost all the time.


salty
Participant
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That is undoubtedly the most detailed analysis of bus/bike loading ever carried out… well, maybe undoubtedly is too strong – these are the internets.

Anyways, my point was that sprite might have been “cyclist C”, so her frustration may have been misplaced. Maybe it’s unlikely, but possible…


fungicyclist
Participant
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There is no “rear rack first rule”, while there is a “ride in the front of the bus rule”, precluding “…fighting your way off the bus…”

If “unloading from either position is pretty easy” then there is not a “problem three times as often”, is there, as what, two out of three of those “problem” scenarios involve unloading?

The only “problem”, given your assumptions and logic, is the one sprite experienced, where the front rack is already occupied. If this in fact true, then a “rear rack first rule” does indeed solve all the problems and I’m sure sprite’s employer can effect such a rule.

I, for one, welcome our new Googooglian overlords.

Pardon me for arguing for civility rather then more laws, rules and regulations?

(For what it’s worth, I’ll always place my bike in the rear rack, nearest the bus.)


fungicyclist
Participant
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Given Tuesday’s miserable weather, the “rarity” of scenario “C” is questionable. salty’s point has merit.


Steven
Participant
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Anyways, my point was that sprite might have been “cyclist C”, so her frustration may have been misplaced.

Fair enough. Personally, should I find myself in such a predicament, I fully intend now to interview the cyclist with the inconveniently located bike, and only then decide whether said cyclist is deserving of a glare and appropriate muttering. (Or maybe I’ll just mutter and glare nondirectionally. Yeah, that sounds easier.)

There is no “rear rack first rule”, while there is a “ride in the front of the bus rule”, precluding “…fighting your way off the bus…”

The rear rack first rule is on the PAT card I linked to. It’s also in their video on how to use the racks, where it flashes on screen for almost one entire second. Can’t understand how people could miss it. :-)

And sitting in the closest open seat to the front doesn’t mean you can just jump off the bus. The closest open seat isn’t always very close. There are often people standing near the driver even when there are seats farther back. And you have people getting on and off the bus to get past. Plus you may have to explain to the driver why you’re getting off the bus without paying a fare. I’m guessing often Cyclist C will have her bike all loaded by the time you can make it off the bus.

If “unloading from either position is pretty easy” then there is not a “problem three times as often”, is there, as what, two out of three of those “problem” scenarios involve unloading?

People who intentionally use the front rack instead of the rear rack not only cause problems to happen three times as often, but the additional problems are loading ones. So it’s worse than “three times as often” would indicate.

(For what it’s worth, I’ll always place my bike in the rear rack, nearest the bus.)

Then you’ll get no glaring and muttering from me. :-)


fungicyclist
Participant
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I’ll grant you it does appear in the video for almost a second, and does state on the card that the rear open position is to be taken. My bad; there is a “rear rack rule”.

I had to ride around town on various errands for a few hours before during and after the evening rush and did notice two buses with a brace of racked bikes, which was encouraging, but may have led to “C” and sprite’s unfortunate circumstance.

There is “front of the bus” guidance on the card. It’s pure conjecture how easy or difficult it might be in any given circumstance for a biker to disembark from a bus. Experience and time will tell how this plays out, if anyone’s paying attention.

People who intentionally use the front rack can only cause problems three times as often if one assumes removing the bike is a problem, and your assertion is that unloading from either position is pretty easy.” If loading the front slot causes one problem and loading the rear causes zero, then loading the front rack intentionally causes infinitely more problems, which is not exactly a helpful statistic for decision making.

Accusation, interrogation, glaring and muttering on the other hand can be nothing but helpful in building a rational and reasonable social contract and bond between pedalcyclists. Heck, under the “Castle Law”, you’d probably be justified in blowing their ass away for loading up on the front rack.

I for one am glad Manson has taken to glaring and muttering against global warming.

Sorry to suggest rationality and civility might be an approach to the issue, especially when it’s so evidently lacking in my own efforts.

Sticker in the window’s a fine idea and likely easily accomplished.


sprite
Participant
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Given how very very rarely I’ve encountered other people racking on that route, naturally my first assumption didn’t include more people racking on that route ;) But of course it’s possible and makes me feel better in all ways so thanks for hypothesizing.

I was also first-off on the first bus and can confirm that off was easier than on.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I just make sure that I talk with the person getting on after me (or who’s already on) to verify who’s getting off first.


Steven
Participant
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I’m all for rationality and civility, when every other option has been exhausted. :-)

They also make 3-bike bus racks, and I think Stu’s mentioned before that one PAT bus has a 3-bike rack. Maybe someday demand will force PAT to get more. That would exacerbate this issue, but what a great problem to have!


Pseudacris
Participant
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Seattle’s King County Metro has the three-bike racks and they get a lot of use.

Their video covers multi-bike loading and unloading on the web site and in a video.

:::edit:::

and — thanks Portland — here’s a nifty video showing our same racks with a technique for the second bike being loaded and unloaded to the inside position.


Steven
Participant
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I think the racks in that video from Portland (Maine) are a little different from ours. One of the wheel slots is open on one side, for instance, and it looks like their racks are mounted lower. But the technique looks like it would work for ours too. Thanks for posting the links!


ejwme
Participant
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perhaps a seperate issue, but if one is to put the bar over the wheel not the fender, and one has lovely full fenders… where does the bar go? My fenders cover enough of my wheel that putting it only on the wheel ensures it is not high enough to capture the wheel (almost had a bike bounce out of the rack that way). Not sure about putting it over the fender. Getting on/off the bus with the bike often here that tense Jeopardy Final Question Music urging me to hurry, for some reason, so I think I’m missing something. Shy of following Stu’s advice to find a bus waiting with a rack somewhere… What am I missing?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I have a couple of fendered bikes, and have had no problems with putting the J-hook up on the fender rather than trying to fit it under. So far, I have had no trouble. I just make sure the hook is as close to the stem as I can get it.

The 3-bike rack was on bus 2600, which I haven’t seen in years. All the 2600s and 2700s are almost 15 years old and will be retired soon.

They are recycling racks, I’m happy to report. Bus 2756 once had a rack and has breathed its last, as this photo aptly shows.

Bus 2756, scrapped

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