Tuesday, July 11, 2006

CATS: Better Signs Coming

When last I blogged, I recounted my travails trying to find Bus 14 at the uptown Transportation Center, so I could ride it home one recent hot afternoon. Read it below.

Or here’s a short version: The sign said Bus 14 was at Bay Q, which was under construction. A temporary sign at Bay Q directed me vaguely to “Trade Street.” A customer service attendant sent me to “Bay A.” I knew where Bay A was because Bus 14 used to leave from there. The spot that used to be Bay A had no sign identifying itself. But once I found Bus 14 the ride was just dandy: clean and efficient.

Why not post maps of the whole system to help would-be bus-riders, I also asked. And I whined about a bad pedestrian connection from Fourth Street, where a sidewalk is missing due to construction. I hoped CATS had beat up on the city about that.

I offered to seek a response from Ron Tober, Charlotte Area Transit System CEO. And then I went on vacation for two weeks.

Tober, whom I had alerted but who was busy that day, later read the blog and readers’ comments. He even tried to add his response, but had computer difficulties. (Some of you have had the same problem, you tell me. My apologies.) Here’s what he told me today:

He has talked to his staff about the sign errors. “The person who’s responsible admitted they had messed up and not changed the electronic signage.” He said he believes the sign has been corrected. He said he was sorry to hear of my difficulties and apologized on behalf of CATS.

And he said CATS is investing in a new signage system, due to the light rail line, planned to open in fall 2007, which will have a major stop at the Transportation Center.

The new signs will show “real time” information, he said. The buses now have automatic locators, so you’ll be able to look at the signs and see when your bus is expected and at what bay.

Also, the customer service area will move to what’s now the supervisors’ booth in the middle of the center, and its hours will expand. In addition, a lot more bus schedule racks will be available.

He said they’ve been hesitant to post permanent system maps because they’ve made so many bus route changes over the past four-five years. “The question is what kind of map we can put up that will have some durability,” he said.

As to the Fourth Street sidewalk, he said, CATS had talked to the city Department of Transportation about the problem but CDOT didn’t think it was enough of a problem to provide a temporary sidewalk on that side of the street.

“I’m trying,” Tober told me, “not to criticize my fellow city department. Too much.”


Mike said...

What CATS and the city need to work on is building sidewalks by bus stations. I have seen so many bus stops (just the stops with the signs) in the middle of the grass. Tell me, who is going to use it? Who is going to walk through a bunch of grass (especially on a rainy day) to get to a bus stop?

David said...

It would be great if CATS would publish the locations of the busses online - see Seattle Metro's Busview System for just one example.

Anonymous said...

OK, he did what was predictable. Temporary problem. Circumstances. The electonic sign should be fine now.

Great. Now, try it again MAry. Make the saem trip with the same assumptions you had last time, and let us know if anythings has changed.

Is the electronic sign correct?

Is bay A actually marked (shouldn't take big expensive new signage, although he seemed to allude to the fact that it might.)

Anonymous said...

So he "believes" the signage is corrected? Has he ever actually been to the transportation center???

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