This past Sunday, I went to visit a friend who works at the Cross County Mall in Yonkers. He was scheduled to work until 8:30. We grabbed dinner at a restaurant in the mall (where workers were eagerly trying to leave), and then decided to catch the 9:14 Route 20 bus back to the Bronx.
My friend lamented that this 9:14 bus was the last bus to service the mall directly, and subsequent trips would require a long and somewhat unsafe walk across Central Avenue to southbound buses. We were lucky to catch it, but this bus was totally jam-packed! I was surprised, considering that this was a Sunday night.
Things got more intense as the bus reached the Empire City casino. The articulated models typically found on Route 20 have lots of room, but people don't always wish to travel to the back of the bus. As a result, there was a lot of tension and arguments amongst passengers trying to make their way to the back, being blocked by the more stubborn riders.
In addition, the shuffling of passengers onto a packed bus set us to delay at the casino stop for several minutes. I would imagine that this has a drastic effect on the route's efficiency.
As I've mentioned before, I'm working on a GIS based analysis of Bee-Line service to see which routes are deserving of 24 hour service. Perhaps if there was less pressure to run for this bus, with others on the way, it would not be as tightly packed.
But most importantly, actually getting out there and seeing the way things really work is an interesting experience. It makes the project that much more worthwhile. :)