Winnipeg introduced its new code of conduct for transit riders on Jan. 18. You may have noticed the official sounding black and white document posted in French and English at the front of buses.
Myself, I prefer the old busology ads. #6 being my favorite: Roller Bladeus
The idea of rollerbladers trying to get on and off the bus and maneuvering around seats taken up with strollers while avoiding canes and shopping bags always makes me laugh. And what happens when there are no seats at the front of the bus?
After reading the new code of conduct, I admit I feel safer knowing there are cameras on Winnipeg Transit. And although we’re not sure what we think about cops riding along on our buses, Ottawa for one has had Special Constables on their buses for a few years; sworn peace officers working in conjunction with city police. No cameras yet though.
Other cities too have transit cops going by various names. It seems to be a common occurrence these days.
In Halifax, there were 3,979 calls to their 311 line with transit complaints between January and August of last year. That’s a lot. During the same time period, 5,164 people called our 311 line with transit complaints. That’s 1,185 more. On the plus side there were 809 commendations.
Transit is contentious. The grass is always greener elsewhere.
There is a mythical Canadian city where buses are always on time, people give up their seats for the elderly and transit riders don’t push or shove. Maybe it’s Edmonton. Check out the April 2015 Edmonton Transportation System ETS “cool” video.
Curiously it’s a takeoff of a video for Danish Public Transportation that won critical acclaim when it came out in 2012. Yet, it had little effect on increasing bus ridership in Copenhagen; in fact, ridership actually went down by 14% after the ad aired.
This YouTube version is subtitled so you can see they really are that excited about taking the bus. Now, the raptures they experience in the ad don’t bear much relation to most people’s feelings about taking transit here.
We tend to dwell on the unfortunate incidents instead of all the dull, humdrum, uneventful rides. We’re actually closer to being that mythical city with the perfect transit system than many other cities.
Despite the cool video promoting it, Edmonton’s Live To Go technology hasn’t worked perfectly. Last month, 58% of Edmonton’s buses were considered late partly because the monitoring equipment doesn’t use industry standard measurements.
In contrast, our ibus technology offering on board GPS tracking, a security camera system and automated schedule adherence monitoring is running smoothly. The data is relayed to passengers via BUStext, BUSgadget, BUSguide, twitter and the web.
On navut.com, Winnipeg came in 5th in their Top 5 Canadian Cities For Public Transit survey of Oct. 29, 2015. Toronto came in first followed by Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa then Winnipeg.
On the well regarded Walk Score report of Mar. 14, 2014, we came in even higher at 4th place among Canadian cities with a population over 500,000.
So, for all the complaining we do about our transit system, it seems we’re doing something right.