Thursday, September 27, 2007

Commuter Confusion

Usually there are two buses I can take from my office to get home, the 101 and 201.

The 1o1 is an old rickety yellow bus whose gear box has gone through so many gear shifts it groans and grinds with frustration but shifts gears with resignation. In the summer it's hot because there's no air conditioning and makes you wish deodorant was a prerequisite for passengers.

The 201 has air conditioning, but if it's cool enough they open the windows instead which is fine, but is just as crowded. It's a more updated bus, that sometimes has a TV screen for bored commuters to stare at.

A few weeks ago these two buses started to veer off from the usual route. I asked a colleague about it and he said that maybe they were finishing their shift so they went another way. But during rush hour? They have to go home and eat, was the reply.

It happened a few times and I was tired of having to walk 20 minutes to get to the mall where I know which buses can take me home.

Then I realized by reading the Chinese on the bus stop sign that the 201 didn't go by my place anymore.

OK fine. So from now on I was sticking to the 101.

But then yesterday I waited for half an hour for the 1o1 before I realized it didn't stop in front of my office anymore. I couldn't find the bus stop sign for it.

So I had to wait for the 201 (which was crowded), took that for two stops and then got off and waited for the 101. Thankfully it came after a short wait.

Another coworker explained that it was because the two buses went to the same stops that they had to change it. And also a new subway line will begin service near our office soon so some bus routes have been diverted to service this area, and perhaps that's what happened to bus 101.

But for me, now my commute home is more complicated.... I can either take two buses or walk over 10 minutes to get to the 101 bus stop.

What really kills me is that there was no notification on any of the signs that the routes had changed or that there was now no 101 bus stopping in front of my office.

Did I miss something?

The city is trying hard to get commuters to take more public transit for environmental and traffic congestion reasons. But when they keep changing routes without telling people, how are they going to know where to take it?


ks said...

perhaps announcements may have been made in chinese language newspapers which you dont read. or there are posters around the bus terminus. in a big and sprawling city like beijing these type of things happen. hopefully one day the subway system may help commuters more.

Beijing Calling said...

I am not the only one who missed the announcement of the bus route change. Some people at the bus stop and even on the bus were surprised to find out the change too.