And while I'm being cranky: Was it really necessary for King County Metro to pull the plug on all real-time bus arrival information, regardless of whether or not a particular bus is on a snow reroute?

At this morning's city council briefing, Metro general manager Kevin Desmond said that with the entire system on reroute, the agency decided to shut off access to real-time data---the information sites like OneBusAway use to let riders know when their bus is arriving. (Metro buses aren't equipped with GPS; instead, each bus has a device that radios its current odometer reading to a server. OneBusAway uses this data to estimate when a bus will arrive at a stop. Metro buses are supposed to be equipped with GPS by next year). While pulling the plug may make sense on runs that have been completely rerouted, many of Metro's most heavily used routes (the 7, the 15, the 358) are only rerouted at their extreme north and south ends---in other words, more than 90 percent of many routes remains the same.

As Desmond noted this morning, during a snowstorm, "You may have to wait longer and your bus may be more crowded ... and you may have to walk a distance to your bus." Unfortunately, those are the exact circumstances when real-time bus arrival information would come in handy.
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