>UPDATE: Readers from L.A. (Diane) and San Francisco (see Comments) tell me that one is beginning to see more of the electronic schedule boards in those towns, and that’s a great thing. Let’s hope they spread eastward.This is nothing more that a digital sign announcing when the next bus is coming through. They’re on holiday schedule today, which is why the next bus in coming in 12 minutes. Little Innsbruck (population roughly 128,000), like other Austrian cities, has them at all the heavily-used stops. I assume they rely on a GPS system which tracks the buses as they make their ways along their routes.
The first time I saw one of these was when I moved here in 2000, and soon afterward saw them put up in Salzburg too. They make taking the bus just that much more pleasant an experience. Of course there are delays when there is an accident or unusually bad weather, but the sign will let you know that so you can plan accordingly.
I have been told that something like this is not to be found in many (if any) American cities, and I have to wonder why. It can’t be tremendously expensive or prone to break downs, as ours seems to work just fine (I pass a few of these signs every day on my way to and from work, and I’d notice if they weren’t working.) Some have suggested they’d be prone to vandalism or theft. It seems that cities with a large bus ridership don’t have the funds, and cities that do don’t want to spend any money on bus riders, who tend to not be the more affluent citizens. This, to me, points to all sorts of topics about the growing divide between rich and poor in America, the disappearance of the middle-class, the reluctance to fund public transportation beyond the bare minimum. And don’t even get me started on the trains.
But I don’t want to get on a soap box, I just want to show that these things are not from the future and not unaffordable for a medium-sized state capital.
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