Tuesday, September 05, 2006

BART's tendency to under-estimate delay time

There were delays this morning for all trains heading to SF. Official BART announcements repeated said to expect a 10-15 minute delay, but I knew that is too good to be true. As it turns out, the delay was more like 20-25 minutes for my train. I was too tired to care...besides, by being just over 5 minutes late, I was already going to miss my company shuttle anyways.

By the time my train arrived at Civic Center, 23 minutes later, I had only 1.5 minute to catch the next arriving shuttle. I didn't have flats on today, and instead wore these slight heels that weren't the easiest for running up the stairs. I knew to make it up to the shuttle pick-up in time would be a near-impossible task. I turned up the volume on my iPod, tuned into a song with a very ast dance beat as motivational, and dashed as quickly as I could. Luckily, I pulled up right before the shuttle driver closed the doors.

Why does BART always tend to under-estimate the delay time? I've come to expect it...but why do they do it? To give us a false sense of hope and impression of near on-time arrival?


Anonymous said...

You really should consider wearing tennis shoes to work and then changing in the van or at work. I know it looks funny, but my wife does it all the time. Saves wear and tear on you heels and allows for running when needed and your feet will feel, much better at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

It's called cascading delays. Perhaps the first train behind the delay will be 15 minutes late, but then a bottleneck develops at the tube, and in the stations downtown, which makes every other train behind even later. In terms of your question, I'm thinking they are either clueless, using an average or just being blatantly deceptive. Take your pick.

bartmusings said...

it probably is because of cascading delays. but i hope they would adjust their delay estimate accordingly...if the bottleneck is adding 15 minutes more to the delay time, then say so!

Anonymous said...

cascading delays? more like bad plumbing where once there's a problem, everything just backs up. i understand that, after 25 or so years, they are finally building more side-tracks so that problem trains can get out of the way and not disrupt the flow of other trains. one has to wonder why it has taken so long.