Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From the Driver's Seat: Service Changes

Every now and then, Jason Eames, one of our HART Operators will give insight From the Driver's Seat, on a number of things pertaining to HART.

HART services are reviewed for efficiency three times a year
If you’ve been a public transit user for any length of time, you no doubt have noticed that every few months there are modifications to bus routes and schedules you’ve become accustomed to.  These modifications may result in other changes -- a different person behind the wheel or perhaps your bus stop was relocated.

I’m pretty certain you’ve asked yourself, “Why does this happen?”  This time period is what is known as a markup. Bus schedule and route modifications brought on by a markup may seem a bit confusing as you at first, but rest assured it’s all done in the name of improving the overall bus system. And, believe it or not, bus drivers also have a little getting used to.

Many of you have grown accustomed to a familiar face every week or every day, and now that face may change. And I can tell you that from the driver’s seat, I become friends with many of my “regulars.” But please know the operator that will be taking over for the next few months is just as reliable and helpful.  After the operators have made their selections for their new routes they have a two week time period that they use to familiarize themselves with routes that are new to them and to old routes they may not have driven in a while.

The purpose of these markups are to implement patron and operator suggestions to make the existing service better and to better meet the needs of you, the patron.  No matter what city you have lived in or may live in in the future these markups happen at least three times in a year’s time. 

The impact that a markup has on an operator is a refreshing one in my opinion. At most jobs that you might work, you tend to do the same thing day in and out for your entire tenure. Bus operators on the other hand, get to change their daily jobs every four months.  While the actual job of driving the bus and serving the passengers does not change, the scenery and the roads we see each day do..  While this may sound minor, it can have a big impact on an operator.  There are some operators that do grow attached to the people they serve and getting used to not seeing those same faces can be tough on them.  Then you have your operators that choose to be an extra board operator.  These drivers come in every day not knowing which route(s) they will be driving that day and that means they have to know each route before they wake up that morning. 
Schedule books are available at HART sales outlets

Make sure to pick up a summary of the route and schedule changes distributed on all buses a few weeks before changes take effect. Updated Route Schedule Books will also be available for purchase for $2 – I personally recommend getting one of these!  When a new markup begins and you aren’t 100% sure if your normal commute has changed you can always the HART Trip Planner, an awesome tool powered by Google.  You can plan your entire commute with easy access on the go. You can also use this tool on your smart phone or tablet when you are in transit to a new destination. And, of course, when in doubt, call HART Customer Service, open seven days a week at (813) 254-4278.

I hope this better explains what a markup is.  Say hi to your new operator!

Mr. Eames has been with HART for one year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments to this blog are moderated by HART staff. Constructive comments are welcome; any obscene, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate comments will be deleted before posting. Questions about specific service ("is my bus on time?") cannot be answered here, and should be directed to the HARTinfo Line at (813) 254-HART (4278). General questions may be addressed in future posts.