David Harrison on his blog has brought up the question of route signs on Durham Region Transit buses. I was going to leave my comment on his blog but I decided to turn it into a full fledge post.
First of all note that the photos show that only the Pickering routes display the route number.
The codes for the Luminator signs (electronic sign) are not easy to remember. In fact, they are so difficult that DRT west has to post a sheet with the codes in every bus. The same problem exists with the old roller destination signs. The drivers cannot
read the sign from the inside of the bus. They crank the sign until they see a number in the little peephole. The number has nothing to do with the route number. There has to be a sheet posted in the bus with the codes. If you are working the same runs every day, you get used to codes. Now, added to the confusion, bus number 8012, 8013, 8016, or 8017 (I hope I have these numbers right) have different set of codes for the Luminator. These buses have been around for a number of years and have an older type of program. That makes three different types of codes that have have to be remembered or in this case posted into the correct bus.
After reading David’s post on Friday I wanted to check the New Flyers. I was at Pickering base on that day and there is only one Flyer there. At the present time, in the afternoon it is used on the Ontario Power Generation Employees route. I looked at the code list and found that the Audley South route and the Audley North route were not listed on the sheet. It turns out that all New Flyers are the same. What gives?
If a driver has been assigned to one of theses buses they would assume without checking that the list is up to date and the Luminator is fully programmed. Maybe after driving the bus for a few hour there is switch to another route. The code sheet is checked for the number to punch in and oops it’s not on the list and the Luminator has not been programed. The operator then has to improvise.
When the TTC had only roller type destination signs in their buses the number that the driver had to crank in was the same as the route number. They were also in order. Then the TTC started to to install Luminator signs. They also went through the same problems that DRT has now. TTC started off with a complicated set off codes. The operator had to carry a sheet with all of the codes printed out. Someone suggested that the codes could be simplified by using codes that matched the route numbers. Problem solved.
These Luminators are easy to reprogram. A hand held device with all the route information is plugged into the bus and the information download to the memory of the Luminator. Simply eh!
Those who ignore history are condemned TO REPEAT IT!