Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nailbiter transfers (Sept. 6, 2007)

A transit topic, for a change. I use the term "nailbiter" when referring to a connection between buses that is not supposed to be doable. The reference, of course, is to the nervous habit of biting one's fingernails when worrying whether something is about to happen -- like missing a much needed bus connection.

I am writing a little blurb for an upcoming transit event for which I am developing some sample bus schedule formats. To explain the terminology therein, I wrote the following. Please look it over and tell me what you think. Is it clear enough to understand? Is it too wordy? Too technical? What would you change, and why?

Thank you for your suggestions.
Nailbiters explained. The timepoints given for the West View termini of the 11C Perry Highway, the 11D Perrysville, and the 500, are all in West View Park Shopping Plaza. All, however, must circulate through the plaza and 1/2 mile of West View Park Drive. The inbound 11C crosses the path of the 500 headed Downtown about two to three minutes prior to the West View Plaza timepoint, and correspondingly the 500 gets to that same spot about two to three minutes after leaving the plaza.

Therefore, even when as many as five minutes separate the two -- e.g., 11C not due until 12:49, but the 500 left at 12:47 -- it is often possible to make the transfer. However, if either one is off schedule by more than a minute or two, you may miss the connection, or have to run to make it. Practice and luck, therefore, play large roles.

So while on one hand you can save a lot of time with nailbiters, OTOH they are inherently not reliable.

* * * End original post * * *
* * * Original comments from 2007 * * *

Pittsburgh Storm
I remember this issue occurred alot with the 44L Library Shuttle with the 47S. All transfer points have to be timed and should have at least four minutes between arrival and discharge to facilitate a bus potentially being late.

Stuart Strickland
Less a matter of timed transfers, rather that the transfer point is upstream of the time point. More accurately, the *most upstream transfer point* is upstream of the time point. They usually do overlap some, but sometimes it's possible to make a connection that would not be possible if you went by the time points alone.

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