What is your opinion on time


Trams are never on time

Do you sometimes ask yourself why the tram actually has a timetable? She comes when she wants and never when she should. Although I believe that the trams are mostly on time, there is enough evidence to suggest the opposite.

You will say: It's all just seconds. But that is exactly where the problem lies. Five seconds longer at the traffic lights means waiting 90 seconds for the next "free". Once a ticket was sold by the driver, once a defective electrical switch was set by hand and once waited for a passenger, a total of 4 1/2 minutes of delay. During my work on this homepage, I took line 11 several times. A colleague had seven ticket customers between Schkeuditz and Markkleeberg-Ost. A ticket is sold in about 1 minute. Due to a compromise between regulations and reality, the driver was only 3 minutes late in Markkleeberg-Ost.

In the following sections, I want to investigate the four main reasons for the unpunctuality of the tram:

1. Time difference
2. Driving operation
3. External influences
4. Driver and passengers


Time difference

By "time difference" I mean the rate deviation of watches. After all, not everyone has an atomic clock plugged in ;-) If you remember the last time it changed, you will probably know what I mean.

In all honesty, only 3 of my 14 watches were accurate. The radio clocks. But not everyone has a radio-controlled clock with them when they go to the tram. And the "LVB time" on the DFI indicators ... (see picture above). If your clock is only one minute behind, the punctual train is gone.

Incidentally, with the publication of this website, I started a small survey on the rate deviation of watches. Here you can see the results of the survey.

How much is a minute deviation? - Almost nothing, actually. How much confidence do you have in the punctuality of the tram that you walk so close to the stop? How much trust do you have in the railroad and the aircraft? It would not occur to anyone to show up at the train station just 5 minutes before departure or at the airport 5 minutes before departure. So the tram can't always run as late as is generally assumed, can it?

My advice: Do as the tram drivers do. Get to the stop at least 5 minutes earlier. As a result, the tram doesn't arrive more punctually, but the likelihood that you will reach your tram increases enormously.


Driving operation

What is meant here are all influences on punctuality that are associated with driving from one terminal to the other.

Timetable. Is there a possibility of being late due to the timetable? This is the case if, due to a tightening of the timetable, it is no longer possible to compensate for delays on the route. Or so much time is provided in the timetable that it will inevitably be premature.

Technology. Are the vehicles and rail systems able to cope with punctual rail operations? Doors that open and close slowly, the departure signal that has been set too long, non-functioning switches and slow-travel routes are just a few of the factors that make things difficult.

Service. Isn't service a matter of course? How can this then affect punctuality? Here is just one example: There is a service with the "wheelchair button" for the disabled. No problem in normal operation. But if a toddler with persevering patience presses this button at each stop, the driver must first check each time whether someone still wants to get out before he can separately close the door in question. The time adds up, the delay grows.


External influences

The external influences on punctuality are also the most serious. It is difficult or impossible for the traffic experts to foresee them. The tram drivers usually have no influence at all. But one could minimize these influences by taking suitable precautions.

Heavy traffic, poorly switched traffic lights, obstructions in the track area, traffic disruptions due to accidents, construction sites and much more influence the punctuality of the tram every day. The drivers can hardly compensate for this influence. So there will be more and more delays in tram traffic in the future. And if you can only see the taillights at the stop, your train is not about 5 minutes too early, but the previous 5 minutes too late.

My advice: Take a close look at the candidates in the next local elections. Ask them how they feel about local public transport and what means they want to use to promote it.


Driver and passengers

Every tram driver tries to get his tram from stop to stop on time. I have described in the previous sections that this is not always possible. Of course, the tram driver can still contribute a lot to punctuality. If all the traffic lights are on "free" and he arrives too early at a stop, he just needs to wait for his journey time. Technical defects are entered in the vehicle registration document by the driver. Then these can be repaired in due course. Damage to railway systems and traffic lights can also be reported by the driver. Thus it contributes to punctuality.

Passengers can also help with adherence to the timetable. Getting on and off quickly can prevent delays. You don't necessarily have to get in and out of the car quickly and hastily. Sometimes it is enough if all available doors are used. This works best in early business traffic. Furthermore, it would be nice if passengers could help each other with getting on and off. Elderly ferry passengers, the disabled and passengers with prams are especially grateful for any help. I am divided on two other issues: As a driver, I like to sell tickets and I also like to provide information. This is how I get into conversation with my passengers. Like in the old days. As a passenger, however, I see it very differently. I often miss my connecting train because some other passengers did not get their information and tickets before starting the journey. Or they come running to the tram late and the driver is still waiting for them. I will then only reach my destination after a delay of 10 minutes.


You might also be interested in:

Roland Frisch describes the subject of punctuality in detail at www.streckenkun.de.

Send me your thoughts on this page here

Printable version