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Old 08-16-2012, 09:09 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by YetanotherMouseFan View Post
I would just like for the busses to return to being busses,with actual seats, and not "cattle cars". I really want to start mooing when I'm in a crowd being herded into one of the new buses, with barely any seats, and lots of standing room with nothing close to hold on to. Does Disney realize that many small children also have to ride standing, and there is nothing at their level to hold on to? Someday, there is going to be a suit from somebody being seriously injured in a sudden stop when the whole darn crowd falls down....
I agree with your points here and have always thought about the fact that children have nothing to hold on to. It's something that I have experienced as I can't reach the handles and there haven't been poles nearby to grab. Similarly, what about all of the adults who hold children while standing? That's a huge safety issue, IMO.

I'm really enjoying everyone's thoughts here. Keep them coming.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:12 AM   #17
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I saw another family of 3 ECVs and 10 people pull up to a bus stop when the bus arrived. Because only 2 ECVS could fit on the bus the other one argued with the driver because they couldn't ride on the same bus. While the argument continued every one else but the family members had to wait to board the bus. And then guess who was left behind.. the one ECV still complaining to anyone who would listed and about 10 of us who were denied access on to the bus because it was now too full.
The next bus came about 10 minutes later with the ECV rider still telling the story. I don't know if he expected them to change the bus to hold 3 ECVs or something...
I don't think the problem lies with the bus system, but more the inconsiderate folks that ride it.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:53 AM   #18
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When it comes to abuse of the wheelchair and GAC systems, I don't pretend to be able to tell who is legit and who is abusing the system, so I don't try. Given the legal risk, I don't really expect Disney to do much about it either.

As for the original topic, I do appreciate the complexity of the WDW transportation system. But at the same time, Disney has tremendous advantages over any public system in terms of funding and control, so there really is no excuse for the problems that exist. WDW maybe larger than the island of Manhattan, but the complexity of the two systems isn't even in the same universe. There are over 1.5 MILLION people living on Manhattan and the number that commute into the city everyday is also in the millions.

And, as so many are so quick to remind us, Disney is a business. They do not use public funding to provide a service to the taxpayers. They reap tremendous profits from the WDW resort, and the transportation system is critical to making that happen for them.

So yes, I do appreciate the complexity, but Disney has more than enough resources to handle the issue. They do not need our sympathy.

I agree that the busses are probably the biggest issue, but at the same time all aspects of the transportation system affect each other. For example, one reason the need for busses is so great is Disney has not either expanded the monorail or implemented another large system in areas not served by the monorail. Would such an expansion or system be expensive? Certainly, but no one can seriously argue that Disney took any less of a leap when they built the DL and WDW monorails so many years ago. In fact, taking such leaps was a key component of the Disney philosophy at one time, and without that kind of thinking certainly the Disney of today would be a far less grand entity.

So first and foremost, the WDW transportation issue is not likely to truly be resolved until they are willing to get back to the ideas and philosophies that the company was founded and built upon.

Since that isn't likely to happen, we are left to try to make the best of what is there. With that in mind, there still is no excuse for many of the problems with the bus service in particular. Twice on a recent trip it took members of our party over 2 hours to get from one resort to another using the busses. The horror stories are plentiful.

When going from a resort to a theme park or water park (except for the MK) you can sometimes save over an hour a day by driving. That is huge when you are talking about limited vacation time.

There really is no excuse for these issues. What can Disney do, if they are not willing to make a major investment in new transportation systems or monorail expansion? The bus system needs to become more flexible. I can't count how many times I've seen two, three and even four busses in a row arrive at a resort all going to the same destination. We watch the 2nd bus, completely empty, wait for the 1st bus to load/unload, then it just follows the 1st bus along the route, never picking up or dropping off a single passenger. The 3rd bus follows, doing the same. We saw this several times on a recent stay at the BWV. Empty busses following along from the BW, to the Swan, to the Dolphin, and then on to the water/theme parks with only the 1st bus actually carrying passengers. Other times the gap between busses can be the quoted 20 minutes, or even longer.

This is a problem that is going to arise, busses get delayed when loading/unloading wheelchairs for example. But when it does, there needs to be a proactive dispatch system that re-routes the empty busses, or has them hold in position.

Of course another solution is to just throw more busses into the system, but that might not be the most efficient solution. They could also utilize a larger number of smaller busses, giving them greater flexibility.

Is it simple? Of course not, but we are talking about a corporation that makes billions in profits, they can handle it, if they choose to do so.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lylone View Post
I don't think the problem lies with the bus system, but more the inconsiderate folks that ride it.
I think this really explains a lot of frustration people have. It seems the problem is just as much, if not more so the guests rather than Disney itself or the CMs who transport.

As a CM who loads groups of 600 at a time, there are things sometimes beyond our control. When things get frustrating, I always take a step back and remind myself that I'm part of a very large organization and I can't fix or control everything. All I can do is try to get people to their destination as safely and quickly as possible(in that order).

This thread is a bit of an eye opener for me regarding the buses. Perhaps I need to do some investigation to find out more about their operation and why things happen. Not so I can defend them, but just because it interests me.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:18 AM   #20
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I always wonder whether our expectations about transit are realistic. Do we want to be ushered from park to park on our own air-conditioned bus, lest we rub elbows or brush shoulders with our fellow traveler? Are we so pressed for time that we can't sit, or stand for 13 minutes while the bus takes us to our destination?

I'm not claiming the transit system is perfect, but I think that we feel especially entitled when we come to Disney and that it's possible that our expectations exceed reality. It's a bus system. It's going to be slower than we'd like. At peak times it's going to be more crowded than we'd like.

Yes Disney has more control than, say, NY or Chicago, but to me, those systems work pretty well too. But we all have to get used to giving up a little personal space and control when we ride buses.

If in one week I spend a total of an hour or so (7 trips home from parks at peak times) in a crowded bus, I'm kinda fine with that. I may get a little cranky, but that doesn't last long.

What do we really want/expect?
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:30 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raidermatt View Post
When it comes to abuse of the wheelchair and GAC systems, I don't pretend to be able to tell who is legit and who is abusing the system, so I don't try. Given the legal risk, I don't really expect Disney to do much about it either.

As for the original topic, I do appreciate the complexity of the WDW transportation system. But at the same time, Disney has tremendous advantages over any public system in terms of funding and control, so there really is no excuse for the problems that exist. WDW maybe larger than the island of Manhattan, but the complexity of the two systems isn't even in the same universe. There are over 1.5 MILLION people living on Manhattan and the number that commute into the city everyday is also in the millions.

And, as so many are so quick to remind us, Disney is a business. They do not use public funding to provide a service to the taxpayers. They reap tremendous profits from the WDW resort, and the transportation system is critical to making that happen for them.

So yes, I do appreciate the complexity, but Disney has more than enough resources to handle the issue. They do not need our sympathy.

I agree that the busses are probably the biggest issue, but at the same time all aspects of the transportation system affect each other. For example, one reason the need for busses is so great is Disney has not either expanded the monorail or implemented another large system in areas not served by the monorail. Would such an expansion or system be expensive? Certainly, but no one can seriously argue that Disney took any less of a leap when they built the DL and WDW monorails so many years ago. In fact, taking such leaps was a key component of the Disney philosophy at one time, and without that kind of thinking certainly the Disney of today would be a far less grand entity.

So first and foremost, the WDW transportation issue is not likely to truly be resolved until they are willing to get back to the ideas and philosophies that the company was founded and built upon.

Since that isn't likely to happen, we are left to try to make the best of what is there. With that in mind, there still is no excuse for many of the problems with the bus service in particular. Twice on a recent trip it took members of our party over 2 hours to get from one resort to another using the busses. The horror stories are plentiful.

When going from a resort to a theme park or water park (except for the MK) you can sometimes save over an hour a day by driving. That is huge when you are talking about limited vacation time.

There really is no excuse for these issues. What can Disney do, if they are not willing to make a major investment in new transportation systems or monorail expansion? The bus system needs to become more flexible. I can't count how many times I've seen two, three and even four busses in a row arrive at a resort all going to the same destination. We watch the 2nd bus, completely empty, wait for the 1st bus to load/unload, then it just follows the 1st bus along the route, never picking up or dropping off a single passenger. The 3rd bus follows, doing the same. We saw this several times on a recent stay at the BWV. Empty busses following along from the BW, to the Swan, to the Dolphin, and then on to the water/theme parks with only the 1st bus actually carrying passengers. Other times the gap between busses can be the quoted 20 minutes, or even longer.

This is a problem that is going to arise, busses get delayed when loading/unloading wheelchairs for example. But when it does, there needs to be a proactive dispatch system that re-routes the empty busses, or has them hold in position.

Of course another solution is to just throw more busses into the system, but that might not be the most efficient solution. They could also utilize a larger number of smaller busses, giving them greater flexibility.

Is it simple? Of course not, but we are talking about a corporation that makes billions in profits, they can handle it, if they choose to do so.
Remember that public transportation is a fixed route, not dynamic. WDW buses are dynamic, deployed using a combination of computer software and human intervention.

Also regarding monorails, see my post on page 1 about any expansion. They need to fix what they have and monorails are not the end all be all of transportation because one issue will stop an entire route. Buses and watercraft are both much more capable of handling obstacles to the operation.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:49 AM   #22
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I think one of the biggest things to remember is that the transportation system generates no revenue. When you look and the P & L, Transportation is a loss. Parking, is a P, because it generates revenue. Anytime you have a portion of your company that is in the L side, that portion is often the first to see cuts. Even though the busses, Monorails, and boats take people places, the people that spend $$$, the transportation is really just an optional perk. I get the best service from a Taxi, mainly because I am having to pay for it. If the Taxi was free, The quality of service would be nowhere near the same.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:58 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkistan View Post
I always wonder whether our expectations about transit are realistic. Do we want to be ushered from park to park on our own air-conditioned bus, lest we rub elbows or brush shoulders with our fellow traveler? Are we so pressed for time that we can't sit, or stand for 13 minutes while the bus takes us to our destination?

I'm not claiming the transit system is perfect, but I think that we feel especially entitled when we come to Disney and that it's possible that our expectations exceed reality. It's a bus system. It's going to be slower than we'd like. At peak times it's going to be more crowded than we'd like.

Yes Disney has more control than, say, NY or Chicago, but to me, those systems work pretty well too. But we all have to get used to giving up a little personal space and control when we ride buses.

If in one week I spend a total of an hour or so (7 trips home from parks at peak times) in a crowded bus, I'm kinda fine with that. I may get a little cranky, but that doesn't last long.

What do we really want/expect?
My expectations are definitely not to be ushered park to park in a cushioned reality. However, when people are literally squished into a bus as show in the pictures in my blog, it causes me to wonder how much of a perk this "free" service really is. As for sense of entitlement, I don't think asking for safe transport is being entitled.

Now, don't get me wrong. I plan wholeheartedly on using the transportation system on my trips in the future, but it seems like there is a lack of increasing buses when new resorts open and during peak times. It was never this bad in the past, and I've been going to WDW for over 20 years.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zulemara View Post
Remember that public transportation is a fixed route, not dynamic. WDW buses are dynamic, deployed using a combination of computer software and human intervention.

Also regarding monorails, see my post on page 1 about any expansion. They need to fix what they have and monorails are not the end all be all of transportation because one issue will stop an entire route. Buses and watercraft are both much more capable of handling obstacles to the operation.
Yes, WDW is a dynamic system with ample resources available to make it work. That's exactly why it SHOULD work much better than it does. The ability to adapt on the fly is a huge advantage and they should be able to leverage that to mitigate many of the current issues.

A public, fixed system generally lacks that ability and cannot adapt to issues that arise. Ironically, similar to the argument against monorails.

Regarding monorails, I went out of my way to not say monorail expansion is the be all end all. I understand the drawbacks, but there is a reason fixed rail systems are a big part of most large transportation systems.

But again, part of the reasoning behind Disney's original use of the monorail was not simply efficiency, it was also part of the "show". That is the concept that has been lost over the years. Yes, Disney's transportation system needs to efficiently move people from place to place, but it also should be something the guests look forward to experiencing. A well-maintained monorail does both, but if Disney chose to instead invest in a newer form, that would be fine as well. This would also take pressure off the busses (and boats), allowing them to more easily do their job.

But if they aren't going to make the investment, they at least need to find a way to improve the current systems.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:46 PM   #25
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I think one of the biggest things to remember is that the transportation system generates no revenue. When you look and the P & L, Transportation is a loss. Parking, is a P, because it generates revenue. Anytime you a have a portion of your company that is in the L side, that portion is often the first to see cuts. Even though the busses, Monorails, and boats take people places, the people that spend $$$, the transportation is really just an optional perk. I get the best service from a Taxi, mainly because I am having to pay for it. If the Taxi was free, The quality of service would be nowhere near the same.
I agree Disney's transportation system generates no direct revenue but it plays a major role in maintaining Disney's revenue stream nonetheless. Start with Magical Express, which also generates no revenue but is cost-justified because it plays a major role in keeping guests on property so that they will spend on property. The extensive Disney transportation system plays a very similar role in keeping guest spending on property. Of course, it has other roles, most of which have been mentioned.

Now I agree that these kind of costs are the first ones cut. I view these cuts as short-sided. Reductions that frustrate guests (long delays for buses, crowded buses etc.) to the point that they decide to drive rather than use Disney transportation will reduce Disney's income. Folks like me will go off site for food, lodging and other entertainment.

But I suspect that, like it does with other things (such as its food and resort prices) Disney will push the envelope as much as it can.

I love mass transportation. I use it as often as I can whenever I travel. I've just decided that it doesn't work for me (and my intolerably low patience quotient) to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a Disney bus to arrive to take me to a theme park.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:47 PM   #26
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DH and I park our car at the airport and almost exclusively use Disney Transportation--especially buses at AKV. We have found ourselves taking a taxi twice on our last two trips because we were too fat and lazy to stand and wait after eating at Bluezoo and Cali Grill. It was worth the $20 at that point to sit and vegetate.

We do not have public transportation to speak of where we live. I am fascinated with the system at Disney and more so with the people riding it. I sit back, relax and allow the "drama" to unfold in front of me. In the 13 trips we have made those shows are almost as comical as watching a Disney Movie. The comments, attitudes, irritation, impatience and lack of courtesy of fellow guests are priceless. The oohhh and ahhhs when the lights come on after a 20 minute ride from MK to AKL tickle my funny bone--I alwayse wonder if the experienced folks like me are mentally preparing themselves for strike to the eyes while newbies are left blinded for a second or two. ( maybe this later part of my posts makes me a crazy sicko--but I think like that--and I am trying to be honest.)

Ultimately my feeling when I am waiting on a bus to get to a prized ADRs...and time is ticking slowly by while bus after bus pulls up and no one boards and it is not our bus--is I live in the United States of America, where I have a decent job to pay my bills and can afford a trip to a world class destination once or twice a year, my legs work and I see children smiling and laughing (usually) in anticipation of seeing a favorite character.

I am not in Africa watching my child starve or having to walk 10 miles to a school in shambles....in a world that is not perfect, the bus system at Disney is not perfect--but at least they offer it and it is free. I enjoy the green grass and signage as we ride along--I think Disney World is about as close to a perfect world as I will ever see...I am so lucky
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:53 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k5jmh View Post
I think one of the biggest things to remember is that the transportation system generates no revenue. When you look and the P & L, Transportation is a loss. Parking, is a P, because it generates revenue. Anytime you have a portion of your company that is in the L side, that portion is often the first to see cuts. Even though the busses, Monorails, and boats take people places, the people that spend $$$, the transportation is really just an optional perk. I get the best service from a Taxi, mainly because I am having to pay for it. If the Taxi was free, The quality of service would be nowhere near the same.
But it does generate revenue, it's just that it is indirect.

Look at it this way... if Disney had no internal transportation system, do you think they would still be able to charge the same prices for park tickets and rooms? Of course not.

Conversely, if Disney had a better system, wouldn't they be able to charge more for rooms/tickets? Of course.

The system most definitely generates revenue, it's just that the revenue comes in through different streams. You are right that a lot of companies lose sight of concepts like this and do cut in areas that do not DIRECTLY generate revenue, but it's also often a mistake.

It's like any other perk/service Disney offers but does not charge for. Transportation, Fastpass (for now), package delivery, etc. They all generate revenue and it would be a mistake to simply view them as a cost that can be cut/controlled.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:54 PM   #28
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Can WDW add LED screens to their Bus stops, that tell guests the destination and approximately wait time until the next bus arrives? If this can be done in horrendously unpredictable traffic cities like San Francisco, you'd think it'd be possible at WDW. See it on the top of this image:



Cell phone apps would soon follow.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:31 PM   #29
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Vacation is to relax. What is the hurry?

There is nothing to say that you have to immediately leave the park after the fireworks. Stop and have an ice cream. Get a pickle or buy something in one of the shops. I am on vacation and I would think most everyone else visiting the parks are also on vacation. Relax, stop and smell the flowers, look at the sights or just think about the show you just saw. We like to sit and discuss what we liked the most that day. What are we going to do the next day. On our first visit, we also rushed back to our resort and sat around and talked. Now we find that it just as easy to sit in which every park we are in and enjoy the atmosphere.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:33 PM   #30
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To answer the original question, I do think the deficiencies are worth it. DH loves that his vacation starts when he boards ME. We plan for long waits and sometimes we even have them, but for the most part our experience has been reasonable waits for transportation with just an occasional longer-than-expected wait. Granted, we usually go in September when things are a bit slower. Of course there is room for improvement, but for the question posted, I say yes, absolutely the good outweighs the bad!
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