Feels like the bus is taking forever? There’s science for that

Nova-buses-Harry-Hine-blvd

Everyone who rides buses, whether it be on DART or elsewhere, knows the feeling: The bus is taking forever to get here.

But did you know there’s a scientific explanation for that feeling on waiting? It comes down to many factors outlined in the scholarly article, “The Psychology of Waiting Lines by David H. Maister, Ph.D., a former Harvard Business School professor.

Whether it be at the bus stop, on the phone waiting for customer service, or in the doctor’s office, waits can feel twice as long as they actually are because of feelings of anxiousness, uncertainty and even boredom.

Ever watch a microwave count down? It’s being “attentive to the passage of time itself” which causes time to seem longer.

So what’s the solution?

For DART, we try to empower the user with technology and tools to help ease the wait.

1) Digital signs at DART Rail stations inform passenger of when the next arriving train is coming and display alerts.

2) Digital tools like Where’s My Bus?®, which is available on DART’s mobile site, m.DART.org, and GoPass℠ app, give passengers real-time estimates of bus and train arrivals and show the bus’s exact location on a map.

3) A robust Stop ID system where all of DART’s 12,500 bus and rail stops are assigned unique identifying numbers that can be used for Where’s My Bus?® and DART’s 41411 text message alerts.

4) An operations communications team, who are available most of DART’s operating hours, answers questions on social media and proactively informs customers of possible delays.

While we know we can’t beat the psychological affects of waiting, we’re certainly trying to do everything in our power to help. Share your suggestions for how DART can help with the wait in the comments below.

How to Make Waiting for the Bus Feel Much, Much Shorter [The Atlantic]

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