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Old June 7th, 2010, 04:23 PM   #61
tampasteve
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Except your "prediction" gave a 500 rider leeway. I am not saying you are wrong, but that is a big window to be right in when we are talking a system that comfortably handles about 2,000 riders a day, with a predicted ridership around 1,000 in the start. Effectively Cap Metro is off about 200 riders from what they were desiring at the start.

Your blog is correct though, express bus service will need to be dropped eventually, also extended service such as weekend and the mid day will have to be added to increase the systems use to people other than commuters.

In the end though, for this line to be a success it needs to be a part of an overall transit picture that includes bicycle lanes, light rail, and another commuter line going where more people live. A 9 stop system without an effective DT distribution system will always be limited.

Steve
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Last edited by tampasteve; June 7th, 2010 at 04:29 PM.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 09:38 PM   #62
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Good news for Cap Metro riders and the Red Line:
Quote:
Cap Metro tweaks Red Line services
Agency hopes to lure additional rail riders


The first changes are coming to the Kramer Lane station, which is situated in close proximity to the Braker and Lamar corridors. There are several destinations nearby, such as The Domain, National Instruments and IBM, but they are a good walking distance away.

Starting in August, Cap Metro will add coordinated bus transfers to those destinations.


Cap Metro will also tweak other train and bus times. When their new budget year begins in October, Cap Metro will also consider adding mid-day rail runs and weekend service.
Full article can be found here:http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/cap-met...-line-services

Steve
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Old June 29th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #63
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I hate to say it, but Austin really screwed this one up badly. A streetcar system or a light-rail system like those in Portland (Ore.), San Diego, or Dallas (for an example closer to home) would have been better than a baby diesel-powered commuter train with 1,000 riders a day.

Dallas and Houston, two other Texas cities ostensibly (no pun intended) less transit-friendly than Austin both have interurban rail lines with more passengers than Austin's 30+ mile line.

It would have been better had Austin built three or four shorter lines (preferably streetcar or light rail) serving the city center first (and then expanded outward from there), but as is all too often the case in North American rail development, emphasis is usually put on the building of lines out to far-flung suburbs (this is an outgrowth of land use patterns, tax demographics, and the notion that trains if they exist at all should primarily serve to move people from the suburbs into the city center and than back out in the evening).

The worst part is that Capital MetroRail's underperformance may sour people on rail in general in Austin, and make any future programs difficult or impossible.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #64
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The fact that this system is an improvement is depressing and shows how Texas is in the last millenium in terms of public transportation.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 10:17 PM   #65
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True, but Cap metro built this without federal dollars IIRC. It is a great step for the city and state, at least Texas is doing something, which is more than can be said for a lot of states and cities.

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Old June 30th, 2010, 02:54 PM   #66
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It is early for any assessment. Relevant assessments on transit systems are after 3 years of using.

Changes are very possible not only year to year, sometimes mounth to mounth. For example, Belgrade in Serbia have suburban railways "Beovoz". First suburban line started service 1984. In next years system develope, and in 1995. was opened underground downtown stop. Top ridership was 1997., when there was 80.000 riders/day, whith 9 trainsets with capacity 300 seating and 300 standing places. Of course, that was all day service. It was evry 1h10min on 3 lines, but that was 3 brunches line with lines Brunch A - Brunch B, Brunch A Brunch C and Brunch B - Brunch C with 35 min interval on busier 2 of 3 brunches.

What happened in 1998? Crashing system with one mouth pass for all systems. The most of riders of suburban railways need transfers, and when they need 2 mouth passes if they want to use railway they choose public bus with 1 mounth pass. By only this change ridership droped to 40.000 riders/day. Today in 2010 this system is neglected, onlu 10.000 riders/day. There is strong bus loby, bus/troleybus/tramway operater have 100m$/year subsidaries, and pocket money to railways (maybe 300.000$/year for painting stations).

Good questions are:
- Structure of riders in all public transport in Austin (students%, workers%, pensioners% etc)
- Which part of bus system is high quality (<=7min interval) and which part is medium quality (between 8 and 15 min interval) by frequency? I think on all working day frequency.
- Which stations are downtown stations? What is there position from downtown?
- Does Matrorail use rented freight line (like the most of USA commuter rails) or railtrucks are city property?
- Is it possible to move from Austin downtown rail stations to other parts of downtown with high quality bus services? With one ticket bought on suburban rail station.
- Are there bus lines on direction of new rail line? How many riders had bus lines on this direction before starting rail service?
- Are there free parking lots near suburban stations? Does riders use them?
- How much is difference between rail travel time and driving time? How much is difference between rail and driving cost?
- New rail line is new product. What is about advertisement?
- Are there other raillines possibly useful for commeter rail?
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Old June 30th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
Good questions are:
- Structure of riders in all public transport in Austin (students%, workers%, pensioners% etc)
Good question, I am not sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Which part of bus system is high quality (<=7min interval) and which part is medium quality (between 8 and 15 min interval) by frequency? I think on all working day frequency.
I do not think any of the Cap metro routes are high quality by that definition. There are a few medium quality. In the USA most routes in medium and small cities are only once an hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Which stations are downtown stations? What is there position from downtown?
There is technically only one Metro station in Down Town, one is close (Plaza Saltillo), within 1.0 miles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Does Matrorail use rented freight line (like the most of USA commuter rails) or railtrucks are city property?
Metro owns the tracks but shares it with their freight operations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Is it possible to move from Austin downtown rail stations to other parts of downtown with high quality bus services? With one ticket bought on suburban rail station.
One ticket, yes. The buses are/will be timed with train arrivals, but other than that there are not "high quality" bus lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Are there bus lines on direction of new rail line? How many riders had bus lines on this direction before starting rail service?
Yes, there are parallel (mostly) bus routes to the rail service. Currently they are stealing rail ridership, but there are rumors that the bus service will be cut or eliminated, but Cap Metro denies this claim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Are there free parking lots near suburban stations? Does riders use them?
Yes, the suburban stations have parking lots, most riders from these stations use the parking. I believe it is free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- How much is difference between rail travel time and driving time? How much is difference between rail and driving cost?
Depends on traffic on the roadways on any given day. Rail often takes longer than driving though, but the convenience of the train and not paying for parking in down town helps offset the time lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- New rail line is new product. What is about advertisement?
I do not know as I actually live there yet so I cannot comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail_Serbia View Post
- Are there other raillines possibly useful for commeter rail?
Yes there are two possible rail lines that could be used for commuter service. Both are currently being studied for rail service in the future.

Steve
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Last edited by tampasteve; June 30th, 2010 at 08:37 PM.
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 04:05 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tampasteve View Post
Except your "prediction" gave a 500 rider leeway. I am not saying you are wrong, but that is a big window to be right in when we are talking a system that comfortably handles about 2,000 riders a day, with a predicted ridership around 1,000 in the start. Effectively Cap Metro is off about 200 riders from what they were desiring at the start.
Wrong. Cap Metro predicted standing-room only trains from the very start, unofficially (officially they said they expected AVERAGE ridership over the first year of 1700 boardings, BTW). Email me if you need links (or check their own blog for the kerfluffle about limiting bike traffic; or their effort to use stimulus $ to go buy more trains because the need was urgent for more capacity).

Down to 779 boardings now.
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 04:46 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Wrong. Cap Metro predicted standing-room only trains from the very start, unofficially (officially they said they expected AVERAGE ridership over the first year of 1700 boardings, BTW). Email me if you need links (or check their own blog for the kerfluffle about limiting bike traffic; or their effort to use stimulus $ to go buy more trains because the need was urgent for more capacity).

Down to 779 boardings now.
I will take your word for it I suppose.

No doubt that ridership needs to increase, hopefully the increased frequency (mid day, weekends) will add a segment that is not served.

Steve
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Old October 5th, 2010, 10:24 PM   #70
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Capital Metro has proposed some scheduling changes to MetroRail service beginning in January 2011.

The highlights:
  • Every peak trip (southbound in the morning, northbound in the afternoon) would serve all nine stations.
  • Reverse trips (northbound in the morning, southbound in the afternoon) would serve all stations between Kramer and Downtown, with one trip in the morning and afternoon serving all stations.
  • Time adjustments allow for a later morning arrival (9:30 a.m.) to Downtown.
  • Service would be provided to all stations between Lakeline and Downtown between 9:19 a.m. and 4:02 p.m.
http://capmetroblog.com/

Basically mid-day and early evening service. There is still talk of adding weekend and later evening service.

Steve
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Old October 5th, 2010, 10:29 PM   #71
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Maybe this system could be electrified if ridership increases to such a point.
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Old October 5th, 2010, 10:40 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manrush View Post
Maybe this system could be electrified if ridership increases to such a point.
Perhaps, but before they spend money on new vehicles, catenary, etc. they would spend that money on double tracking the whole line and expanding to a second line. As far as I am aware there are no plans to electrify the line, plus that would not help too much for capacity compared to getting more trainsets or coupling more cars together for a larger train. That combined with the LR or street car lines they would like to build pretty much means this line will stay diesel for quite a while.

Steve
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 08:12 AM   #73
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Since the city of Austin only has a single commuter rail line currently, does it even need an actual light rail transit system like Dallas and Houston have, only not a very large one? If not, can it be essentially stuck with only the commuter rail system?
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 02:20 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim856796 View Post
Since the city of Austin only has a single commuter rail line currently, does it even need an actual light rail transit system like Dallas and Houston have, only not a very large one? If not, can it be essentially stuck with only the commuter rail system?
Austin is planning a light rail line to go to voter approval in the next few years. It would have a close connection to the current commuter rail line, but not direct. Light rail would be great for Austin, it is the next step in the evolution of transit in Austin.

Steve
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Old February 4th, 2012, 07:36 PM   #75
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Quote:
It would have been better had Austin built three or four shorter lines (preferably streetcar or light rail) serving the city center first (and then expanded outward from there), but as is all too often the case in North American rail development, emphasis is usually put on the building of lines out to far-flung suburbs (this is an outgrowth of land use patterns, tax demographics, and the notion that trains if they exist at all should primarily serve to move people from the suburbs into the city center and than back out in the evening).

The worst part is that Capital MetroRail's underperformance may sour people on rail in general in Austin, and make any future programs difficult or impossible.
I agree MetroRail is a huge disappointment, but disagree with the reasons you give. The problem starts with the route. Using an existing freight line is causing all kinds of problems. Freight lines are built through low-density, low-land value parts of town. They don't go through the top employment districts or suburbs because freight lines are noisy and lower property values. Then it screws with the train schedule, preventing frequent running and running during nights and weekends. I recall one of the selling points was public safety, that the MetroRail could get people to and from the bars late at night. Well if the bars close at 2 AM, yet the train stops running in the early evening, or even on weekends, such a goal is not going to happen.

The declining numbers are not surprising as the novelty of the train wears off and people make rational decisions.

You say the problem is that it was designed as commuter rail, and should instead be to help move urban residents around the city core. I disagree. Austin's core isn't that big, and buses do a good job of that now. Traffic downtown really isn't a problem. Traffic on I-35, Mopac, and Ben White, the major freeways and commuter routes is a huge problem, and that's what MetroRail was designed to mitigate.

In-street trams are a horrible idea and no advantages over buses. Trams have no route flexibility, buses do. Trams get stuck in traffic just like buses. Trams are more expensive than buses because of the costs of installing tracks into the streets. Trams might be able to carry more people, but that's really not a problem with Austin buses (Austin is not Shanghai), and more bus frequency/articulated buses would solve that problem.

My solution: build an elevated line. It would be grade-separated and could take almost any route. I'm an Austin resident and don't think the aesthetics would bad at all. Looking over the city from the hill country west of Austin (looking east over the city), if the rail line were on the east side of town most West Austin residents would barely see it. And East Austin residents would benefit the most from having the line in their part of town. Getting the route right and provide fast, convenient service seven days a week is the key to attracting riders.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:08 PM   #76
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Friday and Saturday service will start on a regular schedule March 23rd. This is in addition to the special event schedule for March. Friday evenings hourly from 7pm-12am. Saturday every 35min from 4pm-12am.

http://capmetroblog.com/2012/03/01/w...ning-march-23/
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 09:13 AM   #77
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That's great, it should be open more often. Maybe they should electrify the line so it runs more frequently. I wish I was more enthusiastic about this line. I'm really disappointed with it. Every time I've seen a train go by (when I'm in my car) the train looks almost empty. Plus when looking at the ticket machine it has two fare zones. I say get rid of the fare zones so it's less confusing to buy a ticket. If they left the line open until say 3 am I wouldn't mind taking it downtown and back while I'm full of alcohol.

Anyway, my dream would be to see a metro line next to Interstate 35 from Georgetown south to Slaiughter Ln, one up and down Burnet Rd as well as Lamar, then a line from downtown to the airport. That would be awesome.

Last edited by FM 2258; March 3rd, 2012 at 09:20 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:26 AM   #78
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I'm not surprised that people are having trouble classifying it. DMU stock is extremely rare in North America, with the only examples I'm aware of outside of Austin being the single commuter line in greater Portland, the Ottawa Otrain, and a light rail line is greater Philly. Most of the commuter rail services in NA are push/pull diesel locomotives (which DMUs are even a step up from), with a small number of EMUs and electric locos.

What I am surprised by, however, is all the talk about disappointment. I mean, having a non-typical train doesn't make this line any less commuter rail. It's routing and scheduling are fairly typical of commuter rail in the NA context, as there are very few commuter lines with high frequency service here. Even in larger cities line Seattle, Toronto, Minneapolis, the commuter lines tend to have very low frequency often having gaps of an hour or more throughout the day or having most services only in the peak direction.

Sure the ridership could be higher, but it's just a new service, and at least they don't have to worry about funding huge and thirsty locomotives. For what it is - a new commuter rail service in a smallish sunbelt city - the system honestly seems perfectly fine to me. Or even somewhat encouraging.

As for the talk of electrification, that may be a bit far-fetched. I mean, there are far larger cities with far busier commuter lines that are still on diesel. For most routes, commuter rail just doesn't garner enough traffic or revenue to make the huge investment worth while.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #79
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US Rail suffers from the same bullshit: Low Frequencies and sharing track with freight trains. The latter is mostly what causes the former.

Honestly, this line is such a waste. It only runs from 6am to 6 pm at 30-60 minute headways? No wonder nobody uses this line.

Seriously, I can easily pull this kind of ridership from an express bus line, at 1/1,000,000th the price.

I think NCTD's "Sprinter" is an of example of a successful similarly designed line. It's DMU, runs on freight ROW, and has 30 minute frequency. Difference is it replaced a high-ridership bus line, so the market was already there. It runs constantly every 30 minutes from 4am-9pm with high weekend service and 7,000-8,000 riders. It even has late night til 11:30 trains on Friday and Saturday nights.

Last edited by State of the Union; March 5th, 2012 at 07:55 AM.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 12:01 PM   #80
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One thing I like about rail vs. bus is that you pretty much know the route will not change. I've been on buses in many cities and several time I'd be on the wrong bus and it would take me down some streets I've never planned on being on. With rail, I see the track and know it's not going to veer off that path.

Anyway Capital MetroRail extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays to midnight.

http://www.capmetro.org/metrorail/
[IMG]http://i43.************/v7v95t.jpg[/IMG]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geography View Post
In-street trams are a horrible idea and no advantages over buses. Trams have no route flexibility, buses do. Trams get stuck in traffic just like buses. Trams are more expensive than buses because of the costs of installing tracks into the streets. Trams might be able to carry more people, but that's really not a problem with Austin buses (Austin is not Shanghai), and more bus frequency/articulated buses would solve that problem.
Just saw your post, like mentioned above I think trams are great because they don't veer from their routes. I hate getting on a bus and not being 100% sure it's going on the route I intended to be on. I hope Austin gets their in street rail system going.

Last edited by FM 2258; April 16th, 2012 at 12:13 PM.
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