Compared with Metro's buses, Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus system is cheaper (50 cents) and often cleaner and less crowded. Regardless, BBB director Ed King spoke at last week's city council meeting and eviscerated his own system, the Santa Monica Daily Press reports. Buses are on time only two-thirds of the time, they break down too much, and drivers and other staff are absent way more than average, King pointed out. While the industry average has buses arriving on time about 85 percent of the time, the BBB only manages that for 67 percent of trips. LA-area traffic makes 85 percent too high a threshold, but King still wants to get his numbers up to 75 or 80 percent by spacing out buses properly so they don't bunch up in traffic; he also wants to add real-time arrival monitors to a smattering of bus stops. Another idea involves rejiggering the popular lines on Lincoln and Pico. BBB is also working on replacing their aging fleet--broken buses add to the slowdowns. Finally, the system's high absentee rate--with drivers averaging 18 percent of their work hours away from the wheel because of illness, injury, or other circumstances--is getting addressed, with a new wellness team and attendance program.
· Big Blue Bus needs big changes, director says [SMDP]