The other day I tweeted my despair over the Translink texting service not working. This is because I personally think that texting the bus schedule to riders is one of the best things that ever happened to our transit system and when you’re given a drug that’s taken away you’re going to throw a fit when you really need a fix.
As you probably know, all you have to do is text your bus stop number to 33-333 and Translink sends you the next 5 buses scheduled to show up. This proves very beneficial to me because I live in a neighborhood where I can get three different buses to three different skytrain stations, it’s pretty sweet when I’m running late (and that would be every single time I have to meet someone). I’ve been known to stand on a corner and text the three various stops (all memorized at this point) to figure out which one will get me to which destination fastest. It’s an art at this point because I can tell not only which bus will come next, but I’m also able to weigh the pros and cons of taking which bus and where there is detours that will ruin my ETA.
Yep, I’m a pretty hardcore bus rider.
Last weekend I hit a snag. I would text for the bus times and it would take a minimum of 30 minutes to get the schedule, one time it actually sent the text 2 hours later. All this is very handy when I’m already at the destination. Other times my texts went unreturned. Talk about abusive boyfriend, not only was Translink pissing me off, but they were also not returning my texts? Geez, if I wanted this I’d get myself a real boyfriend. At least that way my friends would take me seriously when I complain about unreliablity.
Then I got to thinking… are we (and by we I mean me, but hoping everyone reading this is in agreement) so spoiled that we let a few unresponsive texts from an automated system ruin our day?
Because you give me the technology, I’m going to use it. I do understand that 5 years ago we were even more at the whim of Translink’s buses, because then we would sit out in the rain or the cold waiting. And waiting. Then waiting some more for a bus to show. Praying that it was only 5 more minutes. Now we’re given options to walk to another stop, walk to our destination or god-forbid, take a cab if the buses aren’t due to come. And of course the reliability isn’t always there either, but if you’ve been waiting at the stop for 10 minutes and the 8:37 bus doesn’t come on time, at least you know it should be there soon. Or hope that it will.
What do you think, does this texting of schedules spoil us or is it the best Translink invention ever? Are you the type who texts so you can anxiously await the next bus (and then curse it out when it doesn’t arrive on time) or would you rather be left in the dark and perhaps a little more zen in your state of ignorance?