What We Need
To better measure reliability, we need the outdated bus locator hardware to be replaced by modern GPS units, a step that MTA is actively working on. However, better data is just the beginning for improving how we measure and report reliability in our public transportation system.
Cut Runs Count
MTA should count its cut runs when measuring and reporting reliability. When runs are cut, riders have to wait for the next scheduled bus. From the experience of the rider, this is the same as if their scheduled bus is very late. If the next bus comes exactly on time, the rider who's bus is cut has waited 10, 20, 30 minutes or more for their scheduled bus, and for reliability statistics to ignore that rider experience does everyone a disservice.
Data for Each Route
The way MTA currently reports real-time data is to give aggregate numbers. The quarterly report it publishes provides a single on-time performance number for all bus service. In the BaltimoreLink 100 Day Report, MTA released a single on-time performance number for CityLink buses only.
By contrast, when the Baltimore Metropolitan Council issued its report, "The Transit Question," it was able to obtain from MTA a summary table of on-time performance by route (see Appendix I of the report).