adrian is rad


crowded bus, civilized bus

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:30 pm

I remember discussing differences in traffic density with with Colin a few years ago. Apparently not a lot of difference in number of cars can make a big difference in traffic and congestion. Basically, it’s a pretty non-linear scale, Colin was saying.

It seems that people-density on buses wouldn’t be this–on a bus with a 100 person limit, 20 less people would be quite a bit less crowded.

This week on #902 was very odd, however. Monday I literally couldn’t get on the bus it was so crowded. Tuesday I was scrunching in every time the doors opened to not be hit by them. Yesterday was quite comfortable and today I got a seat from the beginning–something that has literally never happened in over three months of riding this bus. What can make such a difference? For your reference, there aren’t any holidays right now, nor coming up; the weather was approximately similar all days this week and I got on the bus close to the same time every day. It seems odd that the bus can have a 50+ person swing based on, apparently, nothing.

3 Responses to “crowded bus, civilized bus”

  1. andy (andyl) Says:

    If the spacing of multiple buses gets messed up, the bus after the hole will be crowded. The same thing happens with trains, but buses are worse since they’re subject to traffic conditions.

    Once you’re delayed a little bit and start getting crowded, you get delayed more since things slow down when the bus is full.

  2. Colin Says:

    The #1 bus in Cambridge/Boston is like that. The more crowded it gets, the slower it gets. This means that at a given stop there is more time for people to accumulate, exacerbating the problem. The saving grace, however, is that the next bus often arrives at the stops a short time after the first bus, so very few people have had the chance to accumulate at the stop. Fewer people getting on and off enables the 2nd bus to “slipstream” the first one. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen the 2nd bus pass the first one at the MIT stop. This type of leapfrogging behavior is usually not possible with trains.

    Perhaps your experience could be chalked up to chaos. Tiny, random variations that, due to the nature of the system, get propagated and magnified, producing large observable variations.

  3. shawn_c Says:

    I live in Yungho, Taipei… and this only happened on certain bus routes to me. However, noting that there are different bus companies running different routes (you’ll notice if you can read Chinese, or just look at the color-scheme of each bus), some companies are always on schedule and the bus rides are mostly similar in passenger density. Other companies, however, are crazy!

    To end the madness… I bought myself a scooter!

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