Could it be, will it be, could it be dead? The company that operates Transit TV, the noisy, scam-peddling TV system on the Milwaukee County bus system, has filed for bankruptcy. The only good thing it did was to announce forthcoming stops. I know that my friend James Godsil has recently asked MCTS why the damn thing exists, and why it shouts at the bus riders. Then, just as now, a transit spokesperson said that no one complained about it, and in fact, “many riders do like the ‘stop announcement system.” [JSOnline] Perhaps what she meant by saying “the service was improving” was that it had less annoying two-minute “shows,” such as that atrocious cooking segment that I shall not name lest its creators try to take credit.
You know, in Madison, the bus driver would often call out the stops and intersections the bus was approaching. Milwaukee bus drivers could do that too — assuming they could be heard over the noise of the aging bus. (I bet they couldn’t find anyone who said they actually liked that infernal system to interview for the article, so they got the official line from MCTS. But there are plenty of people who loved to hate it, myself included.)
Speaking of transit, the September 2008 numbers from the Kenosha street car system are tantalizing. Why can’t we have something similar in Milwaukee? No reason, aside from the obstructionist county executive. According to Uppity Wisconsin,
“Kenosha Transit boarded 8,000 weekday riders average, an increase of 25.59% on the quarter and 11.15% on the Year To Date. The streetcars were up 26.86% on the quarter and 16.13% on the Year To Date.”
So far this semester, I’ve taken the bus more than I’ve driven to campus. It’s been great not to have to drive, and I don’t mind the short walk to campus. And, amazingly, I’ve not missed a bus or been made to wait in the cold due to a missed connection. Hopefully by April, I will do nothing but ride my bike or take the bus to school. It’ll be worth it.
Update: Ah, of course, bankruptcy != going out of business. Direct Transit TV still is on the buses.
Update 2: Yes, but, it now appears to be blessedly silent aside from announcing major stops! That’s quite all right with me. I just hope MCTS can update the system as routes are changed.