I was reading some of the comments in response to the new bus routes on Cap Metro’s Facebook page. On the bright side, there really aren’t that many comments. But the overwhelmingly majority of those who did leave comments weren’t happy. It’s a great display of what every reporter and umpire already knows: people only pay attention to your mistakes. And more specifically, they only pay attention to the mistakes that hurt them.
Here’s a sampling:
“The 335 has not supplied better service West of Mopac than the 21/22. It has added a 15 minute more walk to my commute each day.”
“Give us back the routes you took from us! This is way too cruel!”
“What have you geniuses done to the 20? It doesn’t kick around Oltorf and back to Riverside?”
“I used to take a 10 minuet ride on the 240 to work. Now I walk over a mile in weather that’s only going to become worse!”
“Prior to remap I got off the 240 at Burnet/Palm and walked 3-5 minutes. Now I have to walk from the Domain and it’s like 15 minutes. The same difference in the evening. Instead of 3-5 minutes I’m looking at 15 minutes.”
I do not mean to suggest that these people’s pain is not real. If there is anything that is clear from the comments, it’s that many of those complaining are in fact transit-dependent riders who have financial and/or physical limitations that make the location of the bus stop much more important to them than it is to, say, me.
What’s frustrating, however, is how none of the commenters ever seem to consider that a route change that annoys them may be helping others. People cite the increased distance between their home and the bus stop and/or their job and the bus stop as evidence that the new system sucks. It never seems to occur to them that there are other people who are now closer to a stop as a result of the changes.
For instance, this person (the only positive comment I saw):
I love this new route no. 10; From my home to work downtown, grocery shopping in between, to doctors office at south 1st. All in one bus #10!
Thank you, thank you, and thank you #capmetro.
Although complaints from some people about longer walks would inevitably follow any route changes, it’s worth pointing out that “longer walks for more people” was one of the Ryan Young’s main takeaways in his otherwise optimistic analysis of Cap Remap.
So far, all we’ve got are anecdotes. And again, people don’t go online to praise. They go online to complain. We’ll have to wait for the ridership figures to come out in a few months to see whether the increased frequency and increased service delivered.