Walk or wait?Posted: 26 January 2008
Overhead this on the radio last night, and found this article through Google news search:
Sod’s law dictates that if you set off walking, one or possibly two buses will zoom past within minutes.
Now scientists claim to have shown why it is a mistake to abandon your wait at a bus stop.
The dilemma of whether to walk or trust the bus timetable will be familiar to all those who use public transport over short distances.
Mathematicians, who have pondered the conundrum, say they have cracked the problem – and the solution is to be lazy and wait for the bus to arrive.
The article then continues with the multiple variables involved and how the wait-vs-walk conundrum can be readily solved if you just need to get to the next stop. I’m sure complex physics and/or calculus would be needed for additional bus stops.
I actually experienced this phenomenon today. I was at Burrard and Davie, intending to go to Robson. I was all ready to walk, but I felt the pang of laziness kicked in (or maybe I saw an eastbound bus on Davie instead). In any case, my original intended bus (going northbound Burrard) showed up, so problem solved. Most of the time I’m downtown and I need to go a few blocks, a good walk trumps the wait for the next bus.
The same principle (I think) can sometimes apply on Broadway or Granville, where the local trolley and a B-Line overlap service. If, for example, I’m going from Cambie to Commercial, and I just missed the 99 B-Line, but the 9 is right there, I’d just jump on the trolley. Chances are that there is little, if any, time gained in waiting for the B-Line to travel that distance, but some people are deluded into thinking that because the B-Line is limited-stop, it would get them to their destination faster, even though the trolley is right there, and the next B-Line is not for another 10 minutes. By the time it does arrive, that trolley would have arrived at your intended destination.