So background, I work as a transit planner for my teeny country's bus company/only real form of public transportation (aka most useless transit network in the world). Since things are shite right now, we're running on a teeny, inadequate fleet. On most suburban routes out of the capital, we've only got one or two buses. So this particular route has two buses running, leaving main terminus in the capital every 45 mins. I figure to take this bus today because it passes by the mall and I want to do some shopping.
So I get down on the platform at 4:50 to catch the 5:00. Which, as long as this service has been running (about 6 weeks) has been late. I haven't been thrilled about that, but I've been quietly noting and putting things in writing to lay out. So I wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. At about 5:15, staring down the platform, I notice that the other bus on this route is parked in the offload bay. I realise it's been parked there for some time. A coworker, waiting for the same bus, mentions that she's no idea what the hold up is, since she saw that bus' operator sitting around doing nothing. The bus is not parked in running repairs, so it's obviously functioning. It's just sitting there. I wonder, I marvel, I call a dispatcher. The dispatcher tells me 'yeah, that's leaving at 5:45. I wonder...why? It's sitting there doing nothing.
By now it's 5:25, riders are starting to complain. To me, since I'm still wearing my ID tag. I quiz the dispatcher, and finally get a reason. For some reason known only to the gods (probably heinous traffic), the bus that was scheduled to leave at 5 has not yet returned to terminus. My response: 'and?' The dispatcher goes 'well that's the 5:45 bus, it's not scheduled to leave until 5:45, so tell the customers that.' I go 'but we have a bus, and a driver. Sitting right there. Been sitting there since before 5. Why, when you noticed that the 5PM bus wasn't in, did you not dispatch the bus and operator that were sitting there chilling? 'Well that's the 5:45 bus.' I give up and tell them to dispatch the damn bus. They finally do so at 5:55. Worst service? The 5pm depart still hasn't arrived.
Work with me people. It's simple. The bus is there. The operator is there. The riders are waiting, some of them since missing the last bus at 4:15. Dispatch the damn bus! If the 5PM is late, and you've got a bus there at 5pm, send it! The 5pm is likely to turn up before the next scheduled departure 45 MINS LATER, though in this case, more like not (although I was informed that it did turn up at 6, in which case, this service is even MORE terrible, since the 5pm riders waited over an hour whereas the 5:45 riders would only have been waiting 15 mins.)
I've been itching for a reason to lay out the operators and dispatchers. Tomorrow's a hol, but come Thursday morning...