Disney Bus Transportation: Clever Devices Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)

rowrbazzle

Well-Known Member
It'd be great if one could log on the app before leaving the room or park and say where you'd like to go so there's some data *before* the bus stop itself. It's the difference between "reactionary" and "preventative" and would go a long way to decrease wait times and increase guest satisfaction scores to have the data to dispatch the extra bus before everyone queues at the stop.

This kind of existed for a time - ETA on buses getting to your resort. On my last trip I couldn't find it though. Not sure if I was looking in the wrong place (it was hard to find before) or if they removed it.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
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It’s both. There are obvious differences between the WDW bus system and many city bus systems.

This is not what you previously stated. You stated:

Maybe more ECVs at WDW, but other than that, I'm not seeing the major difference.

You cannot simultaneously state there are and are not differences.

But I still maintain that the differences between WDW and a typical city aren’t greater than the differences between one city and another.

Where did I say the differences were greater? I said there are differences between the bus transportation needs of WDW and a city. Therefore, it requires adjustments/configuration. You even admitted this when you said:

Any implementation of a tracking system would require adjustments in order to optimize performance, right?

Yes. It requires adjustments. We should move on from this because we are going in circles due to you contradicting yourself.

Some parts of a typical urban system run on a circuit with frequent stops. Other parts of those same systems (such as commuter express lines or those running form central hubs to airports or train stations) run more like Disney’s. WDW does not only run buses from resorts to parks when there are people waiting, so it’s not exactly like an on-demand shuttle service either.

Yes, there are similarities and differences between WDW and city bus transportation systems. I'm not sure what your point is here.

In both cities and at WDW, the goal is to collect data that allows the system to be more efficient, flexible, and reliable.

I never said the system couldn't learn or that it wasn't a goal to allow the system to learn.

Too many variables for you to learn how the system works (and why it’s currently not accurate) primarily though observation and interviews.

Continued observation of system operation, comparison of the how the system is used in different regions at WDW, many interviews with drivers and managers who use the system, and some Clever Devices ITS manufacturer research on the internet. You left out the last part and I've said it several times now. Are you dismissing these things as ways to obtain knowledge about a system?

Also, just because something has many variables doesn't mean you can't understand how a system works on some level. Do you have experience building analytic models with many variables? Are those analytic models incomprehensible to others who didn't build them?

Overcalculated wait times may simply be a trick in customer satisfaction, like the posted attraction wait times in the parks. As we’ve discussed, certain key features may not be functional just yet for a variety of reasons.

The picture in the original post is of the Transit Control Head (TCH) home screen. This display is for bus drivers only. Even though guests can technically see it when they pass by it, the TCH home screen is not intended to provide guests with bus transportation information. Posted attraction wait times in the parks are guest-facing. They provide information to the guest. This comparison is nonsensical.

No, but it sounds like this person might lose their job once the Clever Devices ITS is fully functional.

Right. You don't know what an upstream coordinator does. This may be a good example of your lack of knowledge about how the WDW bus transportation system is different from that of a city. How is this person possibly losing their job in the future relevant here?

I have no idea how that interface works. How do you know? The UI is obviously a touch screen. Did you touch it? Did you ask the bus driver?

I know how the interface works because I watched an instructional video that explained most if not all the functions of that screen. The instructional video was produced by a city using the system. It was not produced by Disney or Clever Devices.

It is a touch screen, you are correct. But, not every function requires human interaction. I did not touch it. I didn't need to touch it to learn something about it. I did not ask the bus driver to explain anything other than the bus stop countdown clock. Most if not all the other functions of that screen I learned about by watching and listening to someone explain them in the instructional video.

Guess what? Before I watched the video or spoke with a bus driver, I learned about the screen by looking at it and making observations about it.

Did you look at it closely? Did you notice that some parts of the UI have a bevel and some do not? What are the chances that those parts with a bevel respond to touch and those that don't have a bevel don't respond to touch? What are the chances the bus location when this picture was taken was the Polynesian Village Resort? What are the chances the bus is going to the Grand Floridian after leaving the Polynesian? Without knowing anything about the screen, can you figure out what to push in order to send a message?

The point I'm making is that you can learn how a system works by observation. It doesn't seem like you think this is possible.

Sorry I came across as pretentious, I generally try not to be a jerk. I’m glad you’re not offended.

From my perspective, I haven’t changed my argument. In fact, I’m not entirely clear what the argument is...

How can you know that you haven't changed your argument if not entirely sure what the argument is?

You recently recognized the argument of...

...whether the WDW bus system is or isn’t enough like a typical city’s bus system to warrant significant adjustments.

But, you previously said:

Any implementation of a tracking system would require adjustments in order to optimize performance, right?

You are contradicting yourself. The system either needs adjustment or it doesn't, in your opinion.

Honestly I’m not sure how I would have gone about it. Probably by reaching out to the developers or someone at Disney who knows about the implementation of the system.

Correct. I could speak with a system engineer or developer at Clever Devices or Disney about the system. I haven't ruled out those actions. But, those aren't the only people who know about the implementation of the system. The managers and drivers know about it and I've spoken to many of them. You can't simply dismiss the knowledge gained from doing so because it doesn't explain the entirety of the system.

It never would have occurred to me to ride the buses hundreds of times, record posted wait times, and note discrepancies. I would never have assumed that bus drivers (or their managers) would know anything at all about how the system works.

Yes, one can learn about buses by riding many buses. Yes, bus drivers and managers know something about the new system on the buses. I'm not sure how else to address your lack of thought about how to obtain knowledge about something. You can gain knowledge by doing and observing things in real life and by asking questions.

Again, I didn't record posted wait times. I noted the overcalculation of bus stop wait times displayed on the TCH home screen the driver has to follow unless there's a bus waiting for the load zone he/she is currently occupying.

That’s just me, and we all go about these things in our own ways. I’m really glad you’re doing it your way—you seem to enjoy it.

It's not my way. I learned about data collection, observation, analysis, and asking questions from years of as a spatial analyst. I learned this "way" from people with more experience than me. We all learned it from studying and testing the analysis methods of others. Many but not all methods required modification to better solve the problem at hand. Perhaps I'm biased since I'm used to building analytic models having hundreds of variables. I can tell you that many variables do not make something incomprehensible. Many variables simply make it more complex. The WDW bus transportation system is complex.

Where do you want to take it from here?
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
You cannot simultaneously state there are and are not differences.

Come on. I said major differences. I acknowledged there are differences, but that I don't think they're great enough to support your conclusion that implementing the ITS at WDW is some big challenge because it was designed for municipal applications.

Of course you can learn about things through observation! My point was that there is a limit to what you can learn about the ITS until you have certain insights that just can't be gathered outside IT, upper-level management, and developers.

I've seen the video from Ann Arbor Transit Authority. You're right that the wifi connection indicator on the TCH isn't a touch control. I'm not familiar with the system, I'm speculating about how it works.

Where do you want to take it from here?

I found the initial post interesting, but this isn't fun for me. You discount my input due to perceived inconsistencies, and that makes this interaction feel like a debate you're trying to win.

I truly wish you the best in your research into how the system works as they continue to roll it out across the resort. Thanks.
 
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Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
..your conclusion that implementing the ITS at WDW is some big challenge because it was designed for municipal applications.

My point was that there is a limit to what you can learn about the ITS until you have certain insights that just can't be gathered outside IT, upper-level management, and developers.

...because it was designed for municipal applications and will require adjustments to successfully manage WDW buses.

You don't think it's a big challenge. I hear you. I disagree. And, I disagree precisely because the ITS is designed for a city and Disney has not yet made the adjustments/configurations/modifications required for the ITS to successfully manage WDW buses at the resort which has different needs than a city.

We disagree. No big deal.

It's not a conclusion. It's just part of my current assessment which will change over time. It's also not just mine but one I share with many coordinators and drivers. Discussions with management and developers are very insightful too. If I speak with either of them, I'll be sure to post about it here.

I found the initial post interesting, but this isn't fun for me. You discount my input due to perceived inconsistencies, and that makes this interaction feel like a debate you'e trying to win.

I don't discount your input, but your inconsistencies are based on your statements - not my perception.

I'm just responding to your posts which challenged different statements I made. If you feel like this is a debate, then I'd suggest not only challenging my statements from a "you don't know/can't know everything" perspective. You could have asked me more questions about my experience. I think that may have been of more value to the other users here.

In the end, it's just an unnamed, self-initiated bus project I did. I learned a lot and thought I'd share what I learned. If anyone has any questions, I'm more than willing to answer them. In fact, I expected more questions than I received in this discussion forum. Maybe I'm in the wrong sub-forum? I'm new here so I really don't know if I posted this in the right place (now that I think about it.)

I have some more details I'll post separately.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
In the original post, I added: In the summer of 2019, the ITS was observed on the buses shuttling Cast Members going to/from the utilidor from West Clock parking lot.

I can't remember whether or not they were using it at the time though. I just remember having conversations with some of the West Clock bus drivers about it. One driver in particular used some very colorful words to describe what he thought of having the radios taken away. He picked up the old-style receiver from its cradle and shook it, saying something about having to use it in the year 2019. He wasn't very happy.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
Last night, I took a bus trip from the Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian Village Resort. I noticed the new Clever Devices ITS was turned on and the driver also had a timesheet. When I asked him, the driver confirmed he was using the new system but that he was from Fort Wilderness (drivers from other regions often "float" in other areas.) This wasn't surprising since Fort Wilderness was where the system is more successful given the resort's spatial condition and the circuit routes there.

I asked him if there were any problems with the new ITS at Fort Wilderness. As I expected, he said no. I asked him what they did about the bus stop timer overcalculations. He said they ignore that clock timer.

Animal Kingdom bus drivers were running out the clock back in February. However, AK bus drivers started using the new system that month. Fort Wilderness has been using the new system since last year. So, the reason why FTW bus drivers ignore the clock timer could simply be the passage of time and experience with the new system. The Fort Wilderness drivers may have learned to mitigate the bus stop clock timer overcalculation issue by ignoring it entirely.

There are likely other supporting factors, but I'll have to deal with those discoveries in spurts in the coming months. I only sporadically ride WDW buses right now during the slow, phased reopening of all Disney Resort hotels.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
This past weekend, I spoke with two Disney's Animal Kingdom bus drivers about the new ITS. I observed the new system in use on both buses. One bus driver at Disney's Animal Kingdom confirmed the use of the new system but he had to manually enter the route codes and was still using timesheets. The second driver I spoke with at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa stated that all buses were using the new system. This includes Magic Kingdom Park and Hollywood Studios buses which were not using the new system at the time of closure on March 15, 2020.

When asked whether or not the new ITS was in full operation, the driver said no since many drivers were driving the same, back-and-forth, shuttle-type routes. This type of route is different than common patterns where the same driver is dispatched to different resorts to shuttle guests to a particular park.

It seems Disney used the closure period to skip the remainder of the phased implementation of the new ITS, as all buses are reported to be using it. Also, until all (or most?) of the resorts are open, the new ITS might be operating in a limited or modified fashion depending on how many resorts are open.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
This past Saturday night, I spoke with a Hollywood Studios bus driver for an update on the current status of the Clever Devices ITS. The system is "on" the buses but they're still not using it. The drivers are still running the same shuttle-type routes as they were last month. At the beginning of each shift, a driver is assigned a resort for that shift. For example, if a Hollywood Studios bus driver gets assigned the Grand Floridian, they drive between Hollywood Studios and the Grand Floridian for the entire shift.

I'll check in with them about once a month until bus operations fully transition to using to the new system. Once they're using it for a while, I'll see if they resume dealing with the same problems they were dealing with earlier this year.

I have to say, I'm puzzled at the lack of reporting/interest on this issue. The primary form of Disney transportation gets a major system upgrade and there's zero reporting on it from Disney news websites. Before posting about it here, I contacted a well-known news website that routinely covers operational issues at Walt Disney World to see if they'd be interested in reporting it. No response.
 

techgeek

Well-Known Member
I have to say, I'm puzzled at the lack of reporting/interest on this issue. The primary form of Disney transportation gets a major system upgrade and there's zero reporting on it from Disney news websites. Before posting about it here, I contacted a well-known news website that routinely covers operational issues at Walt Disney World to see if they'd be interested in reporting it. No response.

I can think of two things that are contributing to the lack of response.

First, busses are.. honestly... just not that interesting... to the general public or even to your hyper-Disney fan. The target interest group for your material is the Venn diagram intersection between transit geeks and Disney fans, and even the transit geeks are going to gel first towards the much more unique transit modes on property. The WDW bus system could be the most state-of-the-art in the country, running on dedicated ROWs with a self-driving battery powered fleet and it would still. just. be. a. bus. To be honest, there wasn't even much in-depth reporting on the monorail system automation project, and we can talk till the cows come home around here about the intricate details of WDW monorail system. That project and this are very much 'nuts and bolts under the cover things' that don't significantly change the ridership experience of either system (even though this clearly has the potential to), and therefore are only of interest to systems engineer types. That being said, you're in the right place for that small crowd as this is by far the most technically leaning WDW forum.

The second relates to the nature of most WDW bloggers / news sites. Most are by necessity run by and contributed to by local annual pass holders... which is the exact demographic of Disney fan that may not ever actually step on a WDW bus. They aren't on their radar, because they never use them, and probably honestly have a negative opinion of them. You're back to "but, it's just a bus", and there's an uphill battle to find a story in it that relates to the average fan. Maybe when it's all up and working, but right now it could be years at the pace WDW typically tests and iterates before there's something to actually 'show' about how this is all coming together, and what it actually means for how a tourist interacts with the system.

You've clearly got passion for this project and I applaud that and personally find the updates interesting, although it stays academic for me since at the end of the day I'm a local AP myself. I think it's awesome that we have specialists hanging around here on pretty much any WDW sub-system you can think of. I don't say any of the above to be negative about it, just painting a reality as I see it. Niche subjects are really hard to take mainstream.
 

Doberge

Active Member
Is the ultimate goal of the system to improve guest experience (minimize wait times) or to lower bus system costs (by identify an acceptable wait time and manipulate minimum number of drivers to keep within set parameters at minimum costs)?

Short of people using a hypothetical app to say where they want to go, how is route demand determined for stops that service more than one destination, like a Kidani stop that might service a park + Disney Springs or a Saratoga stop that services everything?
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
That project and this are very much 'nuts and bolts under the cover things' that don't significantly change the ridership experience of either system (even though this clearly has the potential to)

Monorail automation changed the ridership experience. It made it safer. If you mean that its implementation and operational use wasn't easily observable by guests therefore not a change that was visually apparent, I agree.

The Clever Devices ITS has already reached its potential to change ridership experience. It was first implemented at Disney Springs, followed by Disney's Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. The bus arrival times for those areas using the new system were drastically out-of-sync with load zone arrival times compared to those areas that were not using the new system.

But, unlike like monorail automation, the presence of a new dispatch system is easily observable by guests. The reported arrival times displayed on the load zone screens are visibly incorrect and the drivers are no longer using radios. However, I recognize that the WDW guest population is very transient in nature with few locals who routinely take the bus (like you said), so it's slower to appear on guests' radar. I'm just pointing out that the bus system change is not exactly equivalent to the monorail system change.

That being said, you're in the right place for that small crowd as this is by far the most technically leaning WDW forum.

I assumed by reading posts here for while that this forum was the only place for this type of subject matter. I'm happy to hear my assumptions were correct. Thanks for confirming. Still, I'm surprised I didn't get more questions about it here other than the few who were just challenging the information I posted (not the same thing.)

.. which is the exact demographic of Disney fan that may not ever actually step on a WDW bus.

This is true, but I think it's only part of the reason Disney bus information is undereported.

You're back to "but, it's just a bus", and there's an uphill battle to find a story in it that relates to the average fan.

I agree that buses are a boring topic. However, they affect many guests - probably the majority of them. Based on my experience spending many hours at load zones earlier this year, I can tell you that buses are a hot topic when people are waiting in line for one and wondering when their bus will arrive. They are of interest to the average Disney guest when they realize they are forced to take the bus because the monorail, boats, or Skyliner is down which happens often. And, they are of interest when I tell someone they can save hours during their vacation by knowing the actual bus schedule. So, it's an easy sell on paper but not in practice, I guess.

You've clearly got passion for this project...

I'm only passionate about this project because it falls under my larger umbrella of interest which is all things spatial and temporal that affect the WDW guest experience. Disney transportation affects every single guest besides those exclusively using personal vehicles or rideshare. Therefore, it gets my attention. I have no interest in the buses themselves. I have the same passion for table locations at dining locations, so I study seating charts for Disney restaurants. Seating, like the food itself, affects the guest experience.

Besides locals not riding buses, another thing that I think is one of the reasons for this topic to go unreported is the inability of Disney news websites to investigate things. By "investigate" I simply mean ask questions. There are plenty of Disney news websites out there that publish a report every time a piece of lumber is nailed to a new structure, a building permit is submitted, the castle moat is drained for cleaning, the park pass availability calendar changes, and on and on. So, it's clearly not the niche aspect of the bus system that prevents it from being reported. It's the complexity of it. Complexity requires questions and answers. A drained castle moat does not require many questions. You can simply observe and report.

For example, the new Evolv Express security system is something I think most would agree affects all park guests. The guest experience has changed because you walk through them and don't have to have your bag manually searched. The time savings is easily observed. This has been reported by some Disney news websites. Is the new Evolv Express system effective at detecting weapons? Does the new system make park guests safer? This has not been reported or examined very much. Why? Because it requires closer examination. It requires asking questions. This is another issue I literally handed to a Disney news website and they did nothing with it. If I find the appropriate thread, I'll post more about this.

I'm sorry to say I've formed an opinion that Disney news websites don't report these things because they're lazy, bad at asking questions, not receptive to correction of their misinformation, and really only interested in website clicks. They observe and report the obvious or re-report official Disney announcements. Gee, thanks. If something is the least bit complex, then they either don't report it, report misinformation, or do not report it very comprehensively. As an example, have you read anything about needing to be physically inside Disney's Hollywood Studios to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group? That's wrong. But, one wouldn't know that unless one asked questions about it and sought answers. Again, the details about this probably belong in another thread.

I digress. I suppose that's the benefit of this forum. People can investigate Disney-type things of interest and share them here while not relying on Disney news websites or (gasp) Disney Facebook groups for their primary source of Disney information. This a good thing.
 

networkpro

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
Monorail automation changed the ridership experience. It made it safer. If you mean that its implementation and operational use wasn't easily observable by guests therefore not a change that was visually apparent, I agree.

The Clever Devices ITS has already reached its potential to change ridership experience. It was first implemented at Disney Springs, followed by Disney's Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. The bus arrival times for those areas using the new system were drastically out-of-sync with load zone arrival times compared to those areas that were not using the new system.

This is true, but I think it's only part of the reason Disney bus information is undereported.

I digress. I suppose that's the benefit of this forum. People can investigate Disney-type things of interest and share them here while not relying on Disney news websites or (gasp) Disney Facebook groups for their primary source of Disney information. This a good thing.

I believe that the use case for the ITS system "learning" patterns of ridership has significantly changed during this limited park experience period. There's data being generated, but the entire bus transit system (routes,riders, and hours of operation) isnt in use,running with normal bus capacity, or for normal hours. The system can solve for the current inputs, but that cant be accurately extrapolated for the system running at average capacity, routes, and hours.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
Is the ultimate goal of the system to improve guest experience (minimize wait times) or to lower bus system costs (by identify an acceptable wait time and manipulate minimum number of drivers to keep within set parameters at minimum costs)?

I only know of a few operational goals of the new Clever Devices ITS through observation and investigation. I'm not a Disney executive so I only know what I can observe and investigate by asking questions to many people.

Drivers and load zone coordinators no longer have radios. With the old system, there was bus dispatch radio communication for bus management. For example, one DHS bus driver's morning resort pickup schedule may look like the following (from the data I collected):

DateDeparture LocationDeparture TimeArrival LocationArrival Time
2020-02-28POLY6:40 AMDHS6:51 AM
2020-02-28DHS6:53 AMA-S SPORTS7:05 AM
2020-02-28A-S SPORTS7:10 AMDHS7:19 AM
2020-02-28DHS7:23 AMRIVIERA7:30 AM
2020-02-28RIVIERA7:32 AMDHS7:38 AM

The driver would be dispatched to another resort via radio communication after each DHS dropoff. Now, the new system (when it's in use) manages all of this for the driver. For the guest, the new system is supposed to further improve the accuracy and/or availability of arrival time information in the MDE app and on the bus stop (load zone) arrival time display screens. For parks using the new system earlier this year, the times were inaccurate. For parks using the old system (e.g., DHS), the arrival times were very accurate based on my routine observations.

I assume the new system will lower costs as it will take less people involved in bus management. Less people = less money. As I say, robots don't unionize...yet :)

Short of people using a hypothetical app to say where they want to go, how is route demand determined for stops that service more than one destination, like a Kidani stop that might service a park + Disney Springs or a Saratoga stop that services everything?

So, the app is not hypothetical. It's the My Disney Experience app right now for resort guests - maybe the Genie app eventually but I haven't seen that app yet. In calibrating the new system, route demand should be somewhat determined by using prior knowledge, much like they do with park attendance. Disney both estimates park attendance based on data from previous years and projects attendance based on any changes (e.g., new attractions). For Disney Cast Members needing this information, both figures are given each day.

I assumed Disney did this in calibrating the route times but observed them overcalculated.

Cameras at load zones also help determine demand. I spoke with the load zone coordinator at DHS and asked him, "If you are no longer here at the load zone how are they going to know there's a huge line of people waiting for a particular resort?" "Cameras," he said.

Regarding multiple stops, merged routes usually only occur during the day when everyone is at the parks. There's low demand for buses. All WDW resort regions have their own spatial conditions and can require different spatial reasoning. That's why the new system works well "out of the box" at Fort Wilderness and not Animal Kingdom. The more circuitous the route the better the system works, it seems.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
I believe that the use case for the ITS system "learning" patterns of ridership has significantly changed during this limited park experience period. There's data being generated, but the entire bus transit system (routes,riders, and hours of operation) isnt in use,running with normal bus capacity, or for normal hours. The system can solve for the current inputs, but that cant be accurately extrapolated for the system running at average capacity, routes, and hours.

Right. They're not using the new system right now but they did use the closure period to prep all the buses for it. Before closure, Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom were still using radios. No more radios. Now, each driver gets a specific resort for their shift (for DHS, at least. I'm assuming all the other parks are doing something similar). I expect this to continue until they fully resume normal bus operations.
 

jbolen2

Well-Known Member
We stayed at Caribbean beach last week and I noticed they didn’t have the bus wait times on the app or the monitor at the bus stations. At the stations it just said the times the busses ran that day.
 

cranbiz

New Member
Having been a bus driver during the initial implementation of the old MIMs system, it took almost 4 years before the full automation of dispatching took place. I left after being there 5 years (life changes) and we were only just starting to let the system fully route a bus. The issues then are not any different than the issues the new system has now. The old radio system was Nextel based and that's most likely why the radios are disappearing. The original IVN system was chosen due to it also integrating with the Nextel system which is why it was chosen in the first place.

The major change now is the drivers and coordinators losing the radio. In my opinion, that is a major mistake and a huge loss. Drivers are the eyes and ears of WDW. They are usually the first one to see and report an incident outside of the parks and resorts. The ability to reroute a bus based on an operational issue or guest demand on the fly is now, mostly lost. One example I can give (and I can give many others), I had a breakdown at the Swan one day with guests on the bus. Because I had a radio and could talk to the MK buses as well as the MK coordinators, the MK coordinator was able to reroute an empty MK bus on World Dr to my location and pick up my guests, with only a minor inconvenience to them. That can't happen now. The system will lose the fluidity that it once had. I'm sure there will be advantages to the new system (which is really an upgrade because WDW was already heavily invested in the Clever Devices IVN from the old system) but as it has been said already, you can't drop in a system built for a city system into WDW. The differences are more than you think. It took close to 5 years to get the original system fully operational and even with that experience, to think a couple of tweaks here will fix the new system, you are sadly mistaken.

I, for one, am extremely interested in how the new system works so please keep updating the thread.
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
In my opinion, that is a major mistake and a huge loss. Drivers are the eyes and ears of WDW. They are usually the first one to see and report an incident outside of the parks and resorts.

This point came up many times earlier this year during the discussions I had with the bus drivers. Without radios, it will be more challenging for drivers to maintain the flexibility needed to manage transportation issues that arise, like the one you described. They can use the system's handset to communicate but the bus has to be completely stopped before they can use it. It remains to be seen how well the handset will replace the radio but I imagine it won't be as useful.

This past Saturday, I spoke to a DAK bus driver about the loss of the radios. She stated that she liked not having them because it made driving the bus a more pleasant experience. She said she could now enjoy the music more without hearing the radio chatter. Also, she felt like she could concentrate better without having to pay attention to all the constant radio communications.

Yesterday, I asked an MK bus driver how she liked the new system overall. She complained she couldn't change the volume of the music. "They don't want us touching anything," she said about management of the new system.

Although I didn't note it being used earlier this year on all the buses, WiFi is available on the buses now.

IMG_7708.PNG


Minor detail: On the Transit Control Head, there is a WiFi indicator but I noticed it wasn't green like some of the other indicators (see original post.) Obviously, I expected the WiFi indicator to show that the bus's WiFi is connected and/or active. I asked the driver about it and she said it should show that it's active.
 
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RScottyL

Well-Known Member
Monorail, PeopleMover, self-driving pods, anything more “magical” than city busses. I understand the flexibility of a bus system, and the fact that these are outside the park transportation and not “attractions,” but I always prefer when Disney thinks outside the box (and into the future) a bit.

I agree! Once you get on buses, it isn't as magical anymore!
 

Mouse Transit

Active Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
I spoke with two bus drivers this past weekend: ST and DAK. I learned more about the music loop with the new system.

Based on my discussions with the drivers, the music loop is different with the new system in that it's not continuous like before. When the driver enters the route code into the TCH, the music loop resets according to the destination. For example, if the bus is going to OKW then OKW resort music plays. If the bus is headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios then DHS park music plays. So, in this case, the driver only hears the first 15 minutes or so of the music loop before they arrive and have to enter a new route code. Once the new code is entered, the system resets to the beginning of the music loop.

Saturday night, I asked the ST bus driver who drove me back to the Yacht Club how long the music loop was if it played all the way through. He said he thought it might be as long as three hours. But, he said it didn't matter how long the loop really is because he only hears the first ~15 minutes of it. It's a little comical until you realize how maddening it must be for the drivers to hear the same few songs repeatedly during their shift. It's only when a driver is "on visual" at the end of the night not having to enter route codes when they hear different music.
 
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