5. Comprehensive Mass Transportation System Schedules & Information Database

One single comprehensive database (i.e., website) should exist for people to get detailed information about route maps and schedules, current mass transport vehicle location and virtually all other questions people may have regarding any aspect of the mass transportation system.

Mass Transportation System Vehicle Schedules

All mass transportation vehicles (buses, trains, etc.) should operate on the same daily schedule, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without exception. For example, if a bus normally passes by a given bus stop every 15 minutes during normal business hours, it should be required to pass by once every 15 minutes regardless of what time of day it is or what day of the year it is. This restriction is intended as a minimum guarantee only. Operators are free to run buses or trains more frequently than the scheduled 15 minutes in this example, but they cannot run any less frequently than 15 minutes. Such a requirement is essential for the public to have the necessary level of confidence in the continuous reliability of such a system. If any vehicle takes longer than this minimum time to service a scheduled stop location, all riders at that stop location should be entitled to a free ride. Instead of running big, 40-foot buses at 2 AM with very few or no riders, smaller mini-buses or vans could be used. In addition, these smaller vehicles could also be placed on certain routes to supplement the larger vehicles during times of extraordinary passenger demand or could just regularly be used to more accurately meet the needed capacity on bus routes.

Mass Transportation System Vehicle Schedule Enforcement and Real-Time Tracking

Mass transportation vehicles should compile and permanently record highly accurate records of the exact times that they have arrived at scheduled stop locations. This information should be continuously fed into a central location which integrates similar information from all other vehicles into one large comprehensive database which system managers and individual vehicle operators could refer to check up on the system-wide mass transportation scheduling performance. System managers could divert vehicles (especially buses which are easier to transfer) from one line to another to better meet demands. Individual vehicle operators would be able to use this system to find out exactly how long it has been since a mass transportation vehicle last visited any given stop. This way, vehicle operators would better know whether they should understand or dismiss rider complaints about late arrival times.

This information should be made available to the public so that as they are walking to a bus stop, for example, they could check in to this database to find out roughly (or exactly) where a bus is and they could better determine whether they need to run to the bus stop or not.

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