Wednesday, January 24, 2007

LTD's on-time rules gives it's new EmX a black eye

Eugene OR - A story in the News-Review tells of a problem I knew was going to happen on Lane Transit District's (LTD) new EmX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

The tight schedules the LTD has for their EmX line simply don't allow for any type of delay. Well, what happened on Tuesday, January 25th on the EmX line shows that they need to rethink their schedule.

A father took his young kids on a ride on the new EmX line and while departing the bus, the doors closed and his 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter were on the outside while he was on the inside. Even through pleas of the father and other riders, the driver followed the rules and refused to stop and let the father off until the next stop which is 2 blocks away.

The driver is getting the bulk of the blame in this mess however, the LTD should be where the bulk of the blame is directed at. If the driver did what common sense called for, he would have risked his job for failing to obey the rules and delaying the precisely timed route.

The issue in this is the precision timing of the route that does not allow for any delays. You also have the fact that many of the stops along the line are left hand station stops along a busy road median strip and once you pull out of the station, it is unsafe to discharge anyone.

The LTD needs to allow for delays in service. The situation that happened on Tuesday should not be allowed to happen again because the drivers have to meet a strict schedule. I called this problem of not allowing for delays in an earlier Laurels & Lances column.

The LTD needs to remember that delays happen and drivers need to be allowed to be able to make judgement calls without fear of any reprimand being placed in his employee file.

At least both kids were safely reunited with the father so there is a good ending to that part.

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