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Denis Pitcher

Did you know there are already a great many Bermudians and non-Bermudians who already car pool? They call it "dropping their kids off at school".

If something is really to be done about our traffic issues, the first step should be to provide dedicated school buses. Why? Well, very simply, what parent truly feels safe putting their 5 year old on a public bus?

If there were dedicated school buses, there would be less need for people to drop their kids off at school.

Allow me to explain why this would impact traffic density on our island.

Have you ever driven on a highway abroad? Well congestion often is created by the simple action of one person tapping their breaks on a busy highway. When one person taps their brakes, they cause the person behind them to do so as well. This causes a chain reaction that cascades to the point where, eventually, a couple miles back, cars stop entirely.

A different, yet similar, kind of congestion occurs on our roads. When a parent drives out of their way to drop their kids off, they are deviating from the most direct route they could take. This means they add extra congestion in other routes on their way to schools. When they add extra congestion, it is kind of like tapping brakes on a highway. This extra congestion causes a slowdown in those areas. These areas then create a spot where all the routes feeding into them also begin to have congestion. Before you know it, you've got cars far away from the actual school zones that have stopped to a standstill.

The moral of this story: we need dedicated school buses.

Out of respect for this blog and my post being slightly off the topic, I have recreated this post on my blog and would ask that you respond there. I have created a trackback link for this purpose

Devolver

School buses are a good point, part of the jigsaw of traffic. Not at all off topic. But you are spot on about parents worrying about five year olds on buses. Ina ddition to carpools and school buses there needs to added abother jigsaw piece - teleworking, flexible working, working from home. We've got the telecoms infrastructure to let people do some work at home early or late to stagger their journey times or even not come into the office some days.

Sandi

The points made above are great points. Coming from Southampton every day, you notice a remarkable reduction in traffic during the summer months when school is out and during school breaks. My grandson used to catch the bus everyday from the time he entered preschool. The bus drivers were very accomodating and make sure my grandson got off at the correct stops. Having designated school buses is a most. Companies should also be encouraged to give the option of flexible work hours and days. I am a person who doesn't have to work in the office. Everything I do at work, I can do at home on the computer. I only need to come into the office for meetings and client presentations which are very few. Carpooling is not an option for me because my grand daughter has to be dropped off to the babysitter each morning and has to be picked up before 5:30 every evening. Plus, I truely wouldn't like the idea of riding in every morning if I am being driven by a complete stranger in a stranger person's car. Plus there are times during the week I need my car to run errands that I am unable to do after work or on the weekends. If given a choice, I would love to work from home.

Wendy

Car pooling?!
Are you suggesting that the Bermudian public car pool when-:
1. non-bermudian workers are allowed to purchase cars and drive them the very next week that they arrive?
2. Insurance and licencing are sky high! Government wouldn't even suggest giving us a rebate if we car pool or catch the public transporation.

I think if you can take care of the above mentioned that would be a start to controlling the traffic problems.

Denis Pitcher

Previewing your Comment
I've decided to make another suggestion.

What we have is a bus system that doesn't travel the entire island, and at times can be inconvient. Most people avoid it because it is too rigid and inflexible.

Then we have a taxi system that continues to be unreliable. There are often times that you cannot get one for an hour or so, or worse, they don't show up at all. Even if you get a taxi, they can be very expensive.

What we need is to look towards the future and realise that public transport should combine the best of the two to create taxi-buses.

Take the best benefits of a bus - shared rides, and the best benefits of a taxi - door to door service without specific stops and combine each with computer technology, cellphones and GPS.

Worldchanging.org (the ultimate sustainable development website) wrote a great article on the concept: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004398.html

Imagine a taxi-bus that you called a service, and told them where you are, and where you are going. The operator then enters your departure and destination points into a computer. That computer's software then compares your route with all the other travellers routes. Then, depending on where you're going and where you're coming from, the computer updates taxi-bus drivers via GPS to give them directions on their overall route for picking up multiple passengers going to similar destinations.

This allows people to share taxi-buses efficiently with the driver's on-board systems being updated every 30 seconds or so with new optimized route information.

It's not as rigid as the present bus system with set schedules and stops, and it's not as expensive as riding in a taxi yourself. Essentially you split the costs amongst multiple riders by slightly increasing the distance that everyone has to travel rather then the direct route you'd have in a taxi.

Using technology, you could optimally recieve text messages to your cell phone on when the taxi-bus will arrive (via GPS calculations) and potentially even order it without the requirement of calling anyone, just enter the request into your phone.

Bermuda needs to start thinking outside the box to solve our problems.

Again, comments are available separately via my blog

Mark

Have you seen the very efficient way they do it in Cuba?

Rob

I have thought about car pooling and I really can not see this being a super hit or even practical in Bermuda. I agree that we can share rides but this is a daily decision for most people and not the life changing decision people will accept.

Car pooling is successful if the benifits out way the inconvenience. Take for instance big US cities. Car pooling means you can use the express lanes. This cuts your daily commute by hours. This is not an option in Bermuda as we have enough problems with bikes using the third lane. (centre line) What happens if your car pool buddies has other plans. What do you do if you have to stay late, attend childrens ballet classes, or attend appointments? Don't think about calling a Taxi if you need to be somewhere as they too are under strain. We must accept that car pooling is usually to assist the suburbs to commute to a city. Bermuda is more like living in a big city with it population densities and relative short travel distances.

My suggestion is to look at trying to promote people to leave their cars at home. Not to leave them at the ferry parking lot, but at home. This will only be done by the use of cheap public transport that is dependable and frequent. We should use the public buses to do dedicated runs to the ferries at peak times from designated community sites. I think the current buses are too small and if everyone that 'park and ride' the ferries opted to catch the bus, the current mini buses would not cope. We can still use the mini buses, but put on bigger buses that leave and stop at designated spots and have a published route.

I agree with schools having dedicated school buses. I believe they should be operated by the schools (preferred) or by using Govt buses.

Let me know what you think?

Rob

Denis Pitcher

Mark,

No, I havn't heard of how cuba operates. I was under the impression that we were going to donate our old busses there so I would have thought they're transport was less developed then ours. Can you describe it?

Rob,

I disagree regarding larger buses. The buses are already too big as is. We need smaller buses and more of them. They are packed at peak times, but at off times they are empty and burn alot of gas for hauling around 5 people.

Does what I suggested regarding a taxi-bus (GPS/Computer enabled mini-buses) sound like a workable solution?

Regarding school buses, I believe they should be the yellow kind like in North America with half sized ones that go down some of the harder to navigate areas. Exemplify that they have children in them so people drive carefully around them and parents feel safe placing their kids in them.

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