In his recent Maine Voices column (“Metro Diaries: Five things I learned about the bus, the city and myself,” May 23), Thomas C. McLaughlin eloquently described the experience of traveling by bus.

During his six months using public transit to get to work, he found inspiration in the poetry printed on panels inside the bus. Being a passenger enabled him to notice intriguing businesses he would have missed in a car.

With time to reflect, he was humbled one wintry day when he forgot his mittens. He realized that another passenger wore open-toed shoes and a thin jacket, not because she forgot her winter clothes, but because she wore the warmest clothes she had.

I appreciate Mr. McLaughlin’s reflections in general, but his statements about bus timeliness need explanation.

It is highly unusual for a bus to be 40 minutes late. That happens in the rare instance of an equipment failure, for example. Unfortunately, some routes are scheduled to run only every 40 to 60 minutes, so if a passenger misses the first bus, it’s a long wait for the next one. Improving frequency is one of Metro’s top priorities.

Passengers are encouraged to get to the bus stop five minutes early, but there is no policy to allow buses to leave a stop early. Metro never wants to leave a passenger behind.

Bus riders can expect many improvements in the future. Most immediate: an electronic system that lets a rider check a cellphone to see when the bus will arrive. Metro is also planning to revamp bus stops, scheduling and routes to improve on-time performance. Finally, the region is looking hard at merging the region’s three bus providers so we can stretch tax dollars further and improve service to riders.

We encourage Mr. McLaughlin to ride the bus next winter and see what’s in store.

Bonny Rodden

president, Metro Board of Directors