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Old September 23rd, 2008, 05:06 AM   #501
Chicagoago
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Interesting, that's pretty much the norm in many of the bigger US cities. BTW, speaking of capacity, have the platform extension on he CTA Ravenswood rapid transit line (NW Side) been completed?
Yes, the platforms are extended and they started running trains that were 33% longer in late June.

Although with all the new people turning to mass transit, that extra capacity was utilized immediately and you can't really tell a difference. Today I had to wait for 2 trains to pass before I squeezed onto a Brown Line. When I went to transfer from the Brown Line to the Red Line all the trains were jam packed and there were masses of people all over the station trying to get on trains.


It will get a little better (I hope) when they return the north main corridor to a full 4 tracks instead of 3 as they rebuild a few large stations. Right now the trains have to funnel down into 1 track going towards downtown from the north side because they're working on the 2nd track and completely replacing the entire structure. This tends to bottle-neck things in the morning, and they're going to run more trains when they get the extra track back in service.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 05:12 AM   #502
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I know in Chicago they're also starting to run trains that start at different points along the route and shuttle people to downtown. In the morning it got to the point where stations closer to downtown on the Brown Line and the Red Line would have so many full trains come through that you could sit on the platform for 30 minutes and possibly not find a train with any room to squeeze. They're running empty trains that pick up from only those few packed stations close to downtown and then run those people into the city center.



I was talking with a friend who takes the commuter train to work as well, and she happened to bring up the fact that her trains have gotten VERY crowded lately. She said they're putting more trains on the schedule, but it went from people almost always getting a seat on their trip into the city, to having trains that are jam packed with standing room only, and people spilling out into the stairwells and main aisles of the double decker cars.

Last edited by Chicagoago; September 23rd, 2008 at 05:30 AM.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #503
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Where are why going and why I am in this handbasket?
Huh?
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Old September 25th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #504
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Creativity Helps Rochester 's Transit System Turn a Profit
New York Times, The (NY) - September 15, 2008
Author: WILLIAM NEUMAN

At a time when public transportation systems around the country are struggling with soaring fuel costs and pinched budgets, the bus system in Rochester has done something that few others would contemplate: This month, it lowered its single-ride fare.

Rochester 's Regional Transit Service is no behemoth. It carries 15 million riders a year, as many as the New York City transit system carries in two days. But as economic hard times have reduced tax revenues and increased demand for government transit subsidies, its experiences may provide valuable lessons for larger cities that are planning fare increases, like New York, Minneapolis and Cleveland.

The Rochester system, which expects to run a surplus for the third year in a row, has been able to reduce its one-ride fare in part by eliminating some low-trafficked routes, avoiding debt and aggressively raising revenues from other sources. The fare fell to $1 from $1.25 on Sept. 1.

It has, for instance, reached agreements with the local public school district, colleges and private businesses to help subsidize its operations, warning in some cases that certain routes might be cut if ridership did not increase or a local business did not help cover the cost. In recent years, income from these agreements has equaled or exceeded the income from regular passenger fares.

All the while, ridership has increased by 7.4 percent over the last two years in an area where the population has remained stable. And while only about 1 out of 6 customers pays the single-ride fare (the majority use daily, weekly or monthly passes), the transit service expects further ridership gains now with the fare cut in place.

"With gas prices at record highs, there is no better way to convince people who are beginning to look at public transportation," said Mark R. Aesch, the chief executive of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, which runs the bus system.

Bus riders in interviews last week were generally pleased with the fare reduction, although some were upset that it did not extend to the multitrip passes.

"It's the best thing that's happened in a long time," said Eric Johnson, 25, a construction worker who rides the bus several times a week and pays the single-trip fare. "With everything going up in price, for once something's going down."

Rochester 's successes seem all the more noteworthy given the trend in public transit fares around the country. In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority raised subway and bus fares for most riders last March, and it has proposed another increase that would take effect in July and a third in 2011. In Minneapolis, bus and light-rail fares are scheduled to go up next month, and in Cleveland, transit officials are considering both a fare increase and service cuts that would take place in November.

Any comparisons between Rochester 's transit system and its larger cousins must take into account the vast difference in scale. The Rochester system has 265 buses and an annual budget of $62 million. New York City Transit owns more than 4,500 buses and 6,200 subway cars, and it spends more than $6 billion a year to run them.

Still, the accomplishments in Rochester are notable. Efficiency has improved, with buses driving fewer miles, carrying more passengers and generating more revenue in fares. The transit agency has installed a satellite locator system in its buses to track whether they are on schedule. Next year, it will install electronic signs in some bus stops to tell riders when the next bus will arrive.

New York has struggled for years to make similar technologies work with its fleet, with only limited success.

And the Rochester authority has no debt, while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the buses and subways in New York City, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, is one of the biggest debtors in the nation, owing about $24 billion.

Just four years ago, the Rochester authority was in financial straits and facing large deficits. Since then, it has lobbied successfully for increases in state aid, receiving $32.8 million this year, up from $16 million four years ago. It helps that a local assemblyman, David F. Gantt, is chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

The authority has banked its surpluses and now has $19 million in cash reserves. New York, the authority is projecting a budget shortfall of close to $1 billion next year.

The Rochester authority has also helped itself by working out subsidy agreements with local businesses and educational institutions.

One of the most important is with the Rochester City School District, which uses the Regional Transit Service as the primary bus system for nearly all of its students in the 7th through 12th grades. Several years ago, the school district paid the equivalent of a regular fare for each student rider, according to Mr. Aesch. But about three years ago, with the transit system facing a financial crisis, he began discussions with the district about radically altering the arrangement.

Mr. Aesch told school officials that the money they were paying to transport students only partly covered the cost and that the system could no longer afford the service without a significant increase in payments. The school district agreed to an increase, and it now pays about $2.22 for each student ride.

Even by paying a premium, the school district believes it is getting a good deal, said Jean-Claude Brizard, the superintendent. He said that during the current school year, the district will pay the Regional Transit Service about $10 million for student bus travel. But the district estimated that it if it contracted with a private company for the same service, the cost would be more than $2 million higher.

"We've saved a ton of money," Mr. Brizard said.

The arrangement is one that transit officials in New York City could only dream of. The subway and bus system in New York City now provides millions of rides a year to students using free or half-fare passes. In turn, it receives a total of $90 million from the city and state. But according to the authority, that accounts for only half the value of the lost fares.

In Rochester , the transit system has also formed agreements with private businesses and colleges. It runs shuttle buses on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology and provides special weekend service to the campus, for which it receives about $1 million a year. The developer of an apartment complex in suburban Brighton pays $1,200 a year to ensure that a bus line runs by the property.

And last week, the Rochester authority announced a new agreement with Bryant & Stratton College, which has two campuses in the area. Under the deal, the college will pay $17,700 in exchange for 350 bus passes that it can distribute at a discount to students. In exchange, transit officials have agreed to continue service on a little-used section of a bus route that goes to the college's campus in the suburb of Greece, and to run a bus there later in the day for students taking evening classes.

"They recognized that with gas prices high, and trying to attract students to the campus, they needed to keep that service in place in order to attract students to the school," Mr. Aesch said, referring to the college's officials.

Marc Ambrosi, a campus director for Bryant & Stratton, said, "On both sides there's benefits."

Expressing deep concern about the potential for future fare hikes in New York City, Gov. David A. Paterson created a commission in the spring to recommend long-term solutions to the New York authority's deepening financial problems. But it is not clear how many of the lessons fromRochester might apply.

Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the authority, said that while he was not familiar with the arrangements in Rochester , the authority in New York had not pursued similar arrangements with private companies, and there were no bus routes with ridership so low that they could be discontinued.

But he said the two systems faced similar challenges.

"Even though we operate at a completely different scale," Mr. Soffin said, "the commonality is that we both have to think creatively to fund the system where the fare doesn't cover the cost of providing the ride."
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Old October 25th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #505
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Who says Americans won't ride mass transit?
With gas prices through the roof, our car-crazy nation showed the love for buses and trains. But there's a glitch.

http://www.salon.com/env/feature/200...ica/index.html

great article. I can personally relate to the BART reference. 12 ten-car trains an hour to Pittsburg during rush and its still ridiculously packed to the gills.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #506
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Like mass transit systems across the country, BART has experienced record ridership this year. In 2007, Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation, the highest number since the Model T and its progeny took over the nation. In the second quarter of 2008, commuters from New York to Los Angeles took almost 140 million trips by buses, trains and streetcars, an increase of 5 percent over the same period in 2007, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
So??
In Tokyo there are approx. 24 million daily traveling through Shinjuku station alone.
Multiply that by 260 and you get an idea of ridership here in Tokyo.

If you don't have enough room make more by adding carts and increasing the frequency. If you don't have the money place ads within every place possible.
Build Kiosks at every corner.
Develop station real estate to attract lessee. Introduce RFID chips for commuter passes and expand usage by providing convienience.
Exploit any and everything possible to create funds.

Bottom line study what Japan is doing and exploit those ideas to the end.
Reason why?
Japan commuter transit DO NOT need government FUNDING for operation and most makes PROFIT through overall operation.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 06:17 PM   #507
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Originally Posted by mr_storms View Post
great article. I can personally relate to the BART reference. 12 ten-car trains an hour to Pittsburg during rush and its still ridiculously packed to the gills.
They aren't all ten-car trains. There are eight- and nine-car trains in the mix. And they're not "packed to the gills." There's still plenty of standee room on these trains, but as the article says, everyone likes to stand right in front of the doors, even though there's plenty of space at the ends and middle of the cars. The cars towards the end of the train tend to have plenty of room, but few of the passengers want to use those for some reason.

If BART is having such a "doomsday" scenario as the article suggests, then they need to start planning and operating more efficiently:
  • express/limited services
  • three-door cars
  • transverse seating
  • more bars for standees
But instead of trying to address the critical capacity issues, we have the BART board bickering over whether or not to allow coffee on board. This, despite the fact that there are already plenty of people who bring coffee on board now.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 11:09 AM   #508
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A sum up of all 10 rail transit proposals that were voted on this past Tuesday:

http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_lrt_2008-11c.htm

Seattle, LA, and Honolulu seem to be the biggest winners with huge extensions or completely new systems starting up (Cali will have the first dedicated bullet train in the US).

Edit: LRN! also leads you to a list of all general transit proposals and how they fared:
http://www.cfte.org/success/2006BallotMeasures.asp
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Old November 7th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #509
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
So??
In Tokyo there are approx. 24 million daily traveling through Shinjuku station alone.
Multiply that by 260 and you get an idea of ridership here in Tokyo.

If you don't have enough room make more by adding carts and increasing the frequency. If you don't have the money place ads within every place possible.
Build Kiosks at every corner.
Develop station real estate to attract lessee. Introduce RFID chips for commuter passes and expand usage by providing convienience.
Exploit any and everything possible to create funds.

Bottom line study what Japan is doing and exploit those ideas to the end.
Reason why?
Japan commuter transit DO NOT need government FUNDING for operation and most makes PROFIT through overall operation.
First: I live in Tokyo and that number quoted for Shinjuku station is very wrong. It is more in the 3-4 million passengers/daily range. I believe that number includes transfer. Also, many people return home the same way they came, so passengers are double counted on round trips. I believe Wikipedia and other internet sources can verify those numbers.

It is also not true that government money and intervention is not used, although there are numerous private railroads in Tokyo and Japan and both private and semi-private/public railroads/subways all operate at profits. This has a lot to do with high population density, favorable law and public opinion and history. High population density is the key though. There are almost twice as many people in metro Tokyo then metro NYC, yet metro Tokyo is 40% smaller geographically.

I said this before, I'd be more impressed if the US approached a similar ratio of mass transit use compared to 50 years ago. There are almost 100 million more people living in the US compared to then, it's not really surprising that they've finally surpassed total ridership. It's also funny that many 'users' of US mass transit get to stations via car, so their commute is a hybrid use of mass transit/car which isn't reflected in statistics. This is probably a small number of users compared to the whole however.

I used to live in Philadelphia and that train line Sen. Spector is promoting to Reading existed for over 100 year before it was closed down in the 1980s. It is very difficult to convert this line to use. First, the line is owned by CSX outside of SEPTAs current track usage. And I think we all know about what it's like to have passenger and freight lines share trackage (*cough AMTRAK). Second, all 13 of SEPTA's regional rail lines are 100% electrified. The currently unused portion of the Reading line is not electrified. The cost of electrification is probably cost prohibitive. They could use diesel trains, but all regional rail lines run underground in Center City Philadelphia. It would be impossible to run diesel trains underground; the stations and tunnels weren't made to handle the exhaust. Third, Reading is very important in railway history. You may recognize the name from Monopoly. It's sad that despite the history, no passenger rail service goes there today.

That list of rail line propositions is interesting. Many votes were close. I know in Honolulu there has been some pretty stiff opposition; the line is mostly elevated and doesn't go to the airport (a big flaw in my opinion). It is sad the Metrolink extension in St. Louis wasn't approved, but what a close vote! 52 nay to 48 yay. Metrolink is another one of those systems that takes people from the suburbs to the city; everyone drives to the station. The one near my cousin's house had a squalid dirt parking lot; was kind of strange. That San Jose vote is rubbish. It's too bad they needed a 2/3 approval. They "only" got 66.27%. I hope there is a way to still move that forward.

There seems to be a lot happening the west coast. However, I have to take a page out of the opposition's book and express my concern over the fact that states like California aren't built around mass transit use. It's great that they got little street cars running in some cities, but it doesn't affect most people who live in the endless low density suburbs where it's impossible to implement effective mass transit. Those people have no choice but to use cars to go anywhere. 10 billion dollars spent on the maglev is 10 billion dollars that could have been spent on raising fuel economy for the majority of people who drive or other mass transit projects, etc. I'm not arguing in favor of anything, I'm not from California, so I won't pretend to know what's up. But it remains to be seen if the right decision was made.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 06:23 PM   #510
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people keep forgetting that as of right now the government does not own the auto industry.... dear leader plans to change that though
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Old November 21st, 2008, 08:41 AM   #511
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoulderGrad View Post
A sum up of all 10 rail transit proposals that were voted on this past Tuesday:

http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_lrt_2008-11c.htm

Seattle, LA, and Honolulu seem to be the biggest winners with huge extensions or completely new systems starting up (Cali will have the first dedicated bullet train in the US).

Edit: LRN! also leads you to a list of all general transit proposals and how they fared:
http://www.cfte.org/success/2006BallotMeasures.asp
A quick update. It seems as tho BART's extension to San Jose is now going to pass. After Nov 4th, the count showed a loss of just 0.4% (66.24%), but after counting absentee ballots, it appears to have pulled ahead and is now passing by just under 0.1%

http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_11026562
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Old November 21st, 2008, 10:52 AM   #512
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Wow that's so extremely close! A lot of people think the BART extension is a bit of a waste of money and the gap should be covered by other public transport means. Does anyone local have an opinion?
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Old November 21st, 2008, 12:26 PM   #513
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Waste of money.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 01:51 PM   #514
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Waste of money.
what he said
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Old November 21st, 2008, 05:29 PM   #515
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I don't know any of the details around the BART expansion, but as a recent visitor to SF, will admit I was very grateful that there is a line to the airport. I was also amazed at the trolley buses going up such steep hills.

One thing I heard (I stopped in DC as well), was that their metro has seen alot higher traffic this year.. and my experience using it made it appear fairly well used. I was very impressed by the quality, ammenities & cleanliness of the system, love how the metro stations pick up on interior ceiling design of union station. (and by DC in general, nice city).
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 06:38 AM   #516
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US transit leaders seek help from Congress
18 November 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - Leaders from 11 U.S. transit agencies pleaded with Congress for help Tuesday as long-term financing deals with investors collapse amid the global credit crisis.

The officials warned that 31 of the largest U.S. transit systems could face at least $2 billion in payments in the coming months if hundreds of the deals go bad. The fallout could cripple rail and bus systems at a time when ridership is soaring.

"Time is not our friend," said Beverly Scott, general manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. "The innocent victims will be the millions of riders who rely on public transit every day."

Insurers such as American International Group Inc. had backed the long-term deals, but downgrades of AIG's credit have put many of the arrangements in default. That has triggered a clause allowing banks to demand early termination fees and other penalties.

Transit officials want lawmakers to request the U.S. Treasury to guarantee the deals instead. They say such an arrangement would put the federal government at little risk.

The Treasury Department has said it is aware of the problem, but declined further comment. Several members of Congress have been pressing for a solution in recent weeks.

"I made the point that it would be wrong to ride to the rescue of private Wall Street firms and then leave public transit agencies out in the cold," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told The Associated Press last month.

General managers and other officials from transit agencies in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, St. Louis, Chicago and Boston were among those who gathered in Washington to lobby lawmakers.

Roger Snoble, chief of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said Tuesday's meetings gave congressional staffers a better understanding of the problem. Snoble also said he was "cautiously optimistic" that help would be forthcoming.

Still, he noted lawmakers are juggling many requests for assistance -- especially from U.S. automakers, which are seeking a $25 million lifeline from Congress.

"This is something they can fix and fix easily," Snoble said of the troubled financing deals. "They don't have to reach into the Treasury and pull out gobs of money for us. We're just asking for a guarantee."

In a once-common practice, many transit agencies entered into arrangements in which they sold rail cars and other equipment to banks, then leased them back at a discount.

Both sides benefited. The transit agencies were given a large sum of money up front, which could pay for various infrastructure upgrades. And the banks were able to rely on frequent lease payments while writing off taxes on the depreciating property.

The IRS ended such leasing arrangements in 2004 and is pressuring banks to stop the tax shelters by the end of the year.

Metro, the Washington area's transit system, agreed last week with a Belgian bank immediately seeking $43 million from one such financing deal following talks overseen by a federal judge. Terms were not disclosed on the judge's instructions.

Metro general manager John Catoe noted Tuesday that Metro still faces 14 similar financing deals. He said having to settle all of them in court would lead to hefty legal costs and other expenses.

The other three agencies seeking government help are in Sacramento and San Jose in California and New Jersey Transit.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 07:51 AM   #517
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San Jose??? The VTA is a complete joke on how they run their transit. If they want money, I want to see a lovely business plan before giving them dough and burning it. I am not sure about NJT or Sacramento but NJT has extensive commuter rail.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 05:05 PM   #518
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I went in August to US and the NY metro was better than I thought, I have heard very bad things about it, and the Washington Metro is fantastic, very european with a lot of quality.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:05 PM   #519
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Has mass transit usage plummeted along with petrol prices in the US?
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Old November 25th, 2008, 01:24 AM   #520
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Has mass transit usage plummeted along with petrol prices in the US?
nope:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...-driving_N.htm

Even tho prices are lower, we're now just too poor to afford it
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