Ask Joe: Why are electronic bus signs not working?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 11/25/2013 9:24 pm

Question:
From the Ask Joe file one of our viewers has a question about the new bus stations in town.
Ken wrote in asking why, after RTC spent all the money on the RAPID system's new bus stops have they failed to repair the electronic timers that display the next arrival at 6 of the 14 stops ?
Ken says it seems like they just wasted a lot of taxpayer money .

Answer:
The RTC RAPID is a limited stop bus service that launched in 2009.  And RTC says they are aware of this concern our viewer has brought up.
Michael Moreno at the Regional Transportation Commission says some of the smaller RAPID stations have solar panels that charge a battery used to operate the signs.   During the winter...Those panels do not get enough sun to charge sufficiently.
   RTC is working to resolve the issue  through either bigger batteries or by installing timers to shut the system off late at night to save energy.
  If that doesn't work they will have to wire them directly to a power meter.   Moreno says that would be expensive, so they're hoping to avoid that option.
  But they hope to have the situation resolved by the end of the year.
As a reminder, there is a smartphone app for this. It's called Nextbus Realtime Bus Tracker.   The app is programmed to tell you when the next bus arrives.
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sosudden - 12/13/2013 3:59 AM
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First of all, many of the monitors didn't work in the summertime either, contradicting Mr. Moreno's explanation. And why didn't RTC do any homework before purchasing these devices? Now, despite RTC's awareness of the problem, why do they refuse to place relatively inexpensive but long-lasting laminated placards with arrival times at these stops to facilitate travel until the problem is solved? In addition, there are stops all over town without any monitors, placards, bus schedule vending machines, or any other information available to advise riders of when -- or if -- the next bus is coming. At first glance, the bus system is impressive with its massive Fourth Street Station, the $100,000 Flying Bus, the costly method employed to combat pigeons, and its fleet of buses but upon closer examination,
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