Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Use data to better manage the bus services

I have posted several posts about the erratic schedule of the buses, e.g. bunching of buses.

In some cases, they are caused by traffic conditions. But in other cases, they are caused by human behavior.

For example, some drivers do not observe punctuality. They start late and bunch with the following bus.

Technology allows the management to know the underlying cause.

The movement of the buses are captured at the time of leaving the terminal and all along the journey. It is possible to write a script to identify the buses that are "not conforming". The supervisor can explain what happened.

If the supervisor has to explain, you can be sure that they will pay attention to prevent the erratic scheduling due to "driver behavior".

But if the management does not bother, the supervisors and the drivers will not bother.

There is another fault. I have observed that some of the buses do not appear on the "arriving bus" app. I suspect that the tracking device on the bus is not working.

This non-working device must have been happening for several years. I suspect that nobody looks into the data to see the buses with failed tracking devices.

It is rather sad that the technology allows these kinds of problems to be identified and for the supervisor to take remedial action.

But if nobody bothers, then nothing is done.

I have written to the Land Transport Authority and the Ministry of Transport on a few past occasions to tell them about the value of analyzing the data and use the results for better management.

Often, I do not get any acknowledgement. Sometimes, they acknowledge, promise to do something, and nothing gets done.

The indifferent attitude is now quite common in Singapore. Our high standard of the past has now disappeared.

Tan Kin Lian

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