Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The (absence of) bus stops

I'm thankful for the CATBus, because it's a free bus service (CAT stands for Clemson Area Transit). However, there is room for improvement.

The photo above shows the Hendrix bus stop at Clemson University. It was taken during a very hot summer day 40º C (104º F). Buses stop at 30 minute intervals on weekdays and every hour on weekends. Since the bus was late, people were baking under the sun. Note also the number of people waiting versus the only available bench. Most of the stops have no shade (imagine if it rains).

Within the university, bus stops are marked with small, hardly noticeable signs. Outside of the university, the signs are less prominent and sometimes absent.

To visitors, the bus stops seem random. And on occasion, the stops are arbitrary. At Greenville, I missed the Greenlink bus (a shuttle that links to the CAT Bus), because I waited at a different spot. It turned out the afternoon bus driver stopped at a different spot from where the morning driver stopped. I asked people at Clemson in Greenville, but nobody knew the right bus stop. There were no signs either.

I called the Greenville station and their advise was to wait where I was dropped off -- which is what I did and why I missed the afternoon bus in the first place. So the morning driver stopped at a different location than the afternoon driver, and no one knew, not even the folks at the terminal. So I had to wait 2 hours for the hourly shuttle. The Greenlink bus is not a free service.

The CATBus offers a free handout of the schedules and the stops -- but the publication and information it contains are not designed to help people unfamiliar with the territory. I am trying to come up with a redesign of the handout, but that's for another day.

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See also: Why the CATBus schedule handout is confusing

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