Bus scheduling sees improvement

Photo by Jerod Ray

Recently this semester, an increasing number of students have had concerns that the Stinger buses have been unreliable or inconsistent, expressing their frustrations on social media sites such as  Yik Yak and Reddit.

Most of the underlying causes of this inconsistency have been fixed according to Torise Young, Communications Officer for Parking and Transportation. Particularly, delays because of some problems with the NextBus system have been fixed, says Young.

“NextBus is a third-party company that operates the prediction system,” Young said.

The app informs users of the availability of buses that are on a certain route and headed in a certain direction. It also provides predictions on when the next bus will arrive at any given stop.

Since the start of this Fall semester, “the predictions [made by the app] have been inaccurate due to a technical issue”, according to Young, and thus occasionally unreliable

According to Young, Parking staff has been in contact with NextBus since the start of the semester to try to resolve this issue. The exact reason for the inaccuracies is not completely clear.

“There is nothing significant that has changed from last year to this year with regards to GT bus service levels or schedules,” said David Crites, Transportation Operations Manager “And, the Stingers and Midnight Rambler are back to their standard routes, stops, and schedules.”

That being said, according to Crites, the system is dependable for most stops and bus routes, but cannot be expected to be completely accurate all the time.

Another possible issue is that there has been an ongoing construction project since April at Ferst Drive and Cherry Street. To accommodate for this, temporary stops were created on Tech Parkway and North Avenue.

The construction which was scheduled to complete in October was completed early on September 17. As a result, the routes for the Stinger buses have returned back to normal as of Sept. 18.

“Regarding the Red and Blue Stingers, there are 4 of each in service during most of the day between 7:21 a.m. to 5:26 p.m. to be precise,
Crites said.

“The planned frequencies are, respectively, six and seven minute which are all subject to variation based on passenger volumes, traffic congestion, traffic signalization, driver breaks, and more,” continued Crites.

The only issue that needs to be resolved, as of now, is the inaccuracies in the prediction system for NextBus.

NextBus is a nationwide website and mobile app that gives bus information to users from cities and universities locations ranging from San Fransisco to University of Iowa to Thunder Bay.