Friday, June 5, 2009

Research, Interrputed

And that's a good thing, though my wife might disagree. I got an unexpected phone call this morning from, of all places, Riverside Transit Agency. It seems one of the folks in their planning department decided to give me a call and make sure I didn't have anything else to add to my comments on the proposed SRTP. He also mentioned that he took a look at my web site, including that little rail proposal of mine, and liked it enough he's taking the link home. Woot!

We also talked a little while about WHY I thought LRT on Magnolia would be such a good idea, and I brought up the fact, well-known to riders, that traffic causes Route 1 to bunch up really badly on weekday afternoons, towards the north end of the route. (My wife used to get on at RCC, and anything between 1500 and 1800 was a crapshoot.) Apparently the Board needs "reminded" of this from time to time. Go ahead and remind them, folks.

Anyway, I am continually surprised by the reach that this little blog has garnered, through little effort of my own. As I've said before, I never figured anyone else would read it once I started it, and now I've got myself a decent little following, to the point that people yell at me about not being thorough when proposing LRT. :D

Also, regular readers will know I was a cable TV technician for a little while. Given that experience, I know a thankless job when I see one. RTA planner? Thankless job. You guys are sitting over there, getting squeezed by the budget every time you try and throw the ridership a bone, and getting blasted by folks like me every time you try and keep your bosses in finance happy. So, for today, truce. I'll get back to blasting tomorrow. Thanks for all that you do, and please keep it up.

I will, however, make one suggestion. I don't know how often you guys do this, but I do know that you get free rides as a condition of employment, and with Furlough Friday becoming ever more popular, maybe it's time. Go ride the system for a little while. I'm not saying you should just aimlessly sit on buses all day (leave that to geeks like me), but when you're out and about and you have the time, take your own bus routes. Measures and metrics and GPS and such are all well and good, but there really is no substitute to first-hand knowledge of a large, organic entity like a transit system. If you're really interested, talk to the riders around you. Not everyone will go and start a blog about their RTA gripes, but I guarantee every single one of them has one story or another that involves egregious inconvenience because they take the bus. You might be surprised what you learn.

Thanks to all of my readership, especially the ones who have the power to get something done around here.

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