Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MetroTedium

MetroTedium

The new temporary MetroLink schedule is a real pain both for passengers and for light-rail operators.

Posted signs indicate the westbound schedule was not supposed to change. In reality, both eastbound and westbound are all goofed up. Sometimes, eastbound trains come within about 2 minutes of each other; including last night.

This morning, I boarded a westbound train at 9:05 at Civic Center. It arrived at Forest Park at 9:24. The schedule indicates this trip should only take 11 minutes, not 19!

It's all because the trains haven't been sequenced very well, I guess. So despite the operators' best efforts, central control doesn't seem to have set this up very well. That westbound train waited a little while at Grand; and then even longer in the middle of the block between Newstead and Taylor, waiting for the eastbound to leave CWE station.

Eventually, we passed through CWE station, but even then, they have to operate at a significantly lower speed than normally. The section from CWE to Forest Park has a number of blind curves, so they have to be especially careful when operating single-track.

Anyway, I just have to make sure I leave 15 minutes earlier for the next couple weeks.

Safety comes first, of course; but this is increasingly inconvenient. I hope the connection to Cross County is completed ASAP!

3 comments:

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

Although this sounds rather frustrating (And I have to take Metrolink for the first time in weeks today [I'm a bus gal these days], so I'll get to experience it firsthand), it really strikes me as amazing that in St. Louis, we generally can actually expect our transit to run pretty much on schedule.

For everyone in StL's informed or uninformed praise of Chicago public transit, it was running off schedule just as often as not. It was not at all uncommon to see two or three trains or buses from the same route travelling in a little clump, indicating a big gap in service somewhere else along the line. And when you are on the El, hearing "BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP! We are experiencing a delay. We regret this inconvenience. We expect to be moving shortly." is also very, very common.

Yay Metro! You kinda did something right!

Michael M. said...

Have you seen NextBus? I heard about it in Orwell’s Wolf Is Back: Tracking Kids, Dogs, Old People, and Everybody In Between yesterday at the AAAS Annual Meeting. Many transit systems use GPS and communication systems to avoid irregular service, and they offer riders the added benefit of knowing how buses and trains are running. Imagine using a computer or mobile phone to make plans. Imagine stops with screens that let the waiting riders know. Metro ought to use it or develop a similar program.

I rode the train the last few days for the conference. This construction schedule is a pain. I saw two eastbound trains go by within a few minutes of each other while my westbound train waited at a standstill. Yet another Mardi Gras with the trains running poorly is hard to understand.

Colleen said...

I too have been completely frustrated with the "schedule" that has been in force the past couple of weeks. The "10:39" train was at least 5 minutes late this morning at the delmar station and while that may not seem like a lot, getting to class on time has become an increasing challenge. I'd love to give myself more time to make sure I catch a train on time, but most people coming from work and then going straight to school just don't have too much flexibility. It will be such a relief when this construction is all over!