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Jarrett, "Full buses" might be an oversimplification. I fear riding a bus that is so full that merely trying to enter/exit the bus can lead to physical altercations or hardship. I fear buses that are so full that they can't pick up all the riders at the stop, especially if there's no queuing system for waiting riders. Running at "ideal capacity" vs "maximum capacity" is important, especially when considering transfers. As to the Yogi-Berra fallacy: It's not quite that simple. We're talking about a system running at lower-than maximum capacity in the present. If the new system chases riders away toward other means of transport, then the final result will be an equally inefficient system, only fewer people will be using it. This can easily spiral downward as continued efforts to be efficient cut into total ridership.
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As someone who's relied on buses as primary daily transportation in a few different cities, I've got this to say: Transfers suck. Full buses are just as bad. A whole system of full buses will quickly lead every user who has the means to find alternate transportation. During rush hour transfers are the worst. You can't expect people to get off a full bus and hope/pray that the next bus they need to get onto will 1.) be on time and 2.) have room for new passengers. In my experience as a rider, this type of system has turned 30 minute commutes into 2 hour commutes, even when buses supposedly came every 7 minutes. I've seen fist fights break out over people trying to board/unload. I've seen drivers attacked. It's REALLY bad to run at full occupancy, and even worse to suggest transfers at the same time.
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Oct 11, 2012