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Plan Your Trip with the RTA!

This is one of the suggested trips from the RTA Trip Planner to get me from Lawrence & Western to Lawrence & Broadway. There is a bus route along Lawrence; I just plugged it into the trip planner to get an estimate for how long the trip would take. (Note: Lawrence runs east-west.)

Next Itinerary – 4800 N WESTERN AVE to 4800 N BROADWAY AVE

Take CTA BUS # 49B NORTH WESTERN SOUTHBOUND
Depart
at 06:36 PM:
LAWRENCE & WESTERN
Arrive
at 06:37 PM:
WESTERN CTA BUS TERMINAL

Transfer

Take CTA BUS # 11 LINCOLN NORTHBOUND
Depart
at 06:39 PM:
WESTERN CTA BUS TERMINAL
Arrive
at 06:41 PM:
LAWRENCE & WESTERN

Transfer

Take CTA BUS # 81 LAWRENCE EASTBOUND
Depart
at 06:48 PM:
LAWRENCE & WESTERN
Arrive
at 07:00 PM:
LAWRENCE & BROADWAY

It is essentially telling me that I should take a bus one block south, then take another bus back north, and only then begin my journey east. I also note that this trip is the second result; it is followed by a third option that, while impractical, at least makes some minimal sense (for the locals: take the Brown Line to Belmont, then transfer and take the Red Line to Lawrence).

Apparently computers just aren’t up to the task of providing sensible public transit directions. I know that someone is going to say I should’ve used Google Maps or whatever that other one is, but they both suck equally badly. There must be some underlying computer-science problem here.

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September 25, 2008 - Posted by | public transit

4 Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting for someone to bring up this serious international problem. I believe an urgent research funding diversion is required to figure out the algorithm.

    The most bizarre offender must be Montreal azimuts. Démarrer to check out the insane “click on a map” methodology (to be fair, you can type in directions if you wish (though it’s extremely slow), but my real problem is figuring out why anyone would even have the crazy map system as an option in the first place).

    Transport for London and the Paris Metro thing are both good for figuring out metro-train trajectories — but let’s face it, those old-school light machines were perfectly up to that job. The real problem seems to be feet + buses…

    Comment by RobDP | September 25, 2008

  2. well, there’s at least an additional 50 cents that they could make off of that route.

    Comment by rachel | September 26, 2008

  3. 1) You could have walked from Western to Broadway in like 30 minutes. I’m just sayin.

    2) I one time plugged in a trip from Chinatown to Evanston that it estimated at 4 hours. I regret that I don’t remember the details …

    Comment by Liz | September 30, 2008

  4. [...] on trip-planning websites I have written before about the apparently incurable suckiness of public transit trip-planning websites and wondered [...]

    Pingback by Follow-up on trip-planning websites « The Weblog | December 3, 2008


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