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Old January 31st, 2009, 07:40 AM   #601
hkskyline
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Ridership on MA transit system sets record in 2008
30 January 2009

BOSTON (AP) - Boston-area commuters took to trains, trolleys and buses in record numbers last year.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency says the transit system recorded an average 1.28 million passenger trips on weekdays in 2008, the highest ridership total ever and a 4.3 percent increase over the previous year.

But there were signs of the upward trend reversing as the year came to a close.

In December, average weekday ridership declined 1.5 percent from the same month in 2007. Officials said the likeliest factors were falling gasoline prices and rising unemployment as the economy faltered.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:39 AM   #602
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Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
I agree, build it as soon as possible but as ridership build so should frequency. There also has to be a minimum standard of service level. Rapid transit must be comparable with car travel for the same trip or people won't take it and that includes waiting for the train.
If governments are committed to really developing pro-transit strategies, they need to start thinking about what can be done to replicate or allow the conditions that promote transit use to evolve once a transit system is well on its way (ie comprehensive network, frequency are all there). Congestion is one of them.

Many here can agree that the reason that all sorts of people (regardless of financial circumstance) use the subway in New York is because the traffic doesn't move fast enough - it is too congested. No amount of money can buy time, so even those who can afford to drive in New York will take the subway. If there were no congestion in New York people wouldn't use the subway nearly as much.

So how do you create congestion? Well what if you use part of an existing freeway or main road ROW for your mass transit? Commuter rail, LRT, BRT. If the system is an underground one, then expand bicycle services and create fully separated bike lanes on the ROW of major roads a that serve the same corridor. It is a carrot and stick -At the same time as you put in a network of clean desirable transportation, you are in fact taking away car-space, you get congestion. Once car-traffic starts to move that much more slowly than transit, many of the drivers will make the switch. You do need a comprehensive network tho...

OR (and this one would probably be more politically palatable although it won't help boost ridership as effectively) maybe when you put in the mass transit, any kind of roadway expansion is permanently suspended along the same corridor.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:45 AM   #603
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Originally Posted by Somnifor View Post
I think there is a lot of truth to this, in the older parts of US cities that were built for pedestrians or along streetcar lines mass transit tends to work pretty well. It is when you get to the more spread out areas built after WWII where transit has difficulty providing good services.
Imho, Cities and governments are much better off putting in comprehensive high quality transit in the inner and core areas of cities where there are rehabilitated traditional neighbourhoods, infill development and brownfield development. There is simply no way to expect high ridership (justify) providing expensive transit (ie rails) and stations to areas with suburban densities and - you'd only have maybe 20 houses within a 5 minute walk of stations and the rest would have to drive to the stations... kinda defeats the idea of transit-orientation.

Encourageing people to move back to a more central places where they are more likely to be able to walk to work, shopping, restaurants etc, or do them in short bike or transit ride has many other benefits. Extending costly quality transit to neighbourhoods and areas where only 20 houses may be in walking distance of a station just doesn't make sense, and tells people that "hey you make an inefficient housing choice, but we'll still subsidize your commuting so you can feel good about living far away from anything".
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Last edited by adrimm; February 1st, 2009 at 03:51 AM.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 11:56 AM   #604
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We need to connect our major metropolitan hubs with HSR like the Japanese! Don't make me post my graph on intercontinental air travel in the US!
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Old February 1st, 2009, 08:10 PM   #605
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Those high speed rail lines can carry people in high population corridors like BosNYWash. They are great for ribbon cutting ceremonies but generally aren't worth it. Those thing cost massive amounts of money and produce very little ridership as opposed to using those funds for urban transit. They also do little for the enviornment. Yes you might take a few thousand cars off the road but those are freeway cras as opposed to transit which takes the stop & go traffic of the cities which is where the overwhelming amount of pollution comes from.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 11:31 PM   #606
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What we need to do for rail transit to become popular is make it a competitive service against the car. We need to level the playing field. We will make the service as attractive as possible, but also institute congestion charging and tax gasoline. I mean if the Saudis are going to make money off fuel, why can't we? Congestion Charging will solve most transportation authorities' debt.

Of course, this will only happen if Obama is for it, if the people are for it and if the government is for it. There's many auto and oil companies out there that are for taxing gas more.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 01:30 AM   #607
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Originally Posted by davsot View Post
What we need to do for rail transit to become popular is make it a competitive service against the car. We need to level the playing field. We will make the service as attractive as possible, but also institute congestion charging and tax gasoline. I mean if the Saudis are going to make money off fuel, why can't we? Congestion Charging will solve most transportation authorities' debt.

Of course, this will only happen if Obama is for it, if the people are for it and if the government is for it. There's many auto and oil companies out there that are for taxing gas more.
The problem with congestion charging is that there are always people who can afford to pay... its is unfair because those who are less able to pay will bear the brunt of the cost - makes car-use a socio-econ characteristic

BUT is you create congestion by re-allocating lanes to non-car uses, then the cost to drivers is **time** and no amount of money can buy time.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 07:10 AM   #608
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
Those high speed rail lines can carry people in high population corridors like BosNYWash. They are great for ribbon cutting ceremonies but generally aren't worth it. Those thing cost massive amounts of money and produce very little ridership as opposed to using those funds for urban transit. They also do little for the enviornment. Yes you might take a few thousand cars off the road but those are freeway cras as opposed to transit which takes the stop & go traffic of the cities which is where the overwhelming amount of pollution comes from.
For starters, they could get rid of the thousands of short air shuttles every day, which emit huge amounts of pollution and waste space at congested airports. If high speed trains become a feeder system for airports, the airline industry will jump at such proposals.

You also imply that cars do not emit pollution when they travel at high speed, which anyone with high school physics education can tell you is completely false (the E = (1/2) m*v^2 thing).
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 11:47 PM   #609
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^I think you missed his point.

If massive public spending is to be spent on rail, it is usually more effective if it is spend on urban mass transit.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:57 PM   #610
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Stimulus bill may add highway, transit funds as plan advances to Senate floor
3 February 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Democrats plan to add a big increase in highway and mass transit funding to President Barack Obama's economic recovery program Tuesday, even as others in the president's party hope to rein in the plan's almost $1 trillion cost to taxpayers.

A move by Patty Murray, D-Wash., to add $25 billion in infrastructure projects is first in line as the Senate begins thrashing through dozens of proposed changes to the sprawling $885 billion measure.

Murray's plan would increase the money in the bill for highway projects by almost 50 percent, to $40 billion, reflecting complaints from lawmakers in both parties that Obama's plan doesn't do enough to relieve a backlog of unfinished projects. Mass transit programs would get a $5 billion boost, while water projects would get $7 billion more.

Republicans, for their part, readied a plan to lower mortgage costs to try to jolt the housing market out of its slump.

The $885 billion Senate economic plan faces assaults from both Democrats and Republicans during debate this week, as lawmakers in both parties aim to kill ideas that won't jolt the economy right away.

"The goal is to shape a package that is more targeted, that would be smaller in size and that would be truly focused on saving or creating jobs and turning the economy around," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. She said ideas like $870 million to combat bird flu should be dumped.

Others, such as Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have complained about items such as health research being in the bill. But Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. -- a moderate whose vote is sought by Obama -- is instead proposing to add $6.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health.

Democrats already are under pressure from moderates in their own party to scale back spending in the $885 billion bill, and Obama met with party leaders at the White House late Monday to discuss strategy.

"What we can't do is let very modest differences get in the way" of swift enactment of the legislation, Obama said several hours earlier as new layoffs rippled through the economy and the Commerce Department reported an unexpectedly large sixth straight drop in personal spending.

In the Capitol, Republicans said their goal was to change the bill, not to block it. "Nobody that I know of is trying to keep a package from passing," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

"We need to fix housing first," he said. Republicans are expected to seek a vote on their proposals this week as part of the debate on the overall stimulus measure.

Officials said the GOP was uniting behind a proposal designed to give banks an incentive to make loans at rates currently estimated at 4 percent to 4.5 percent. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were seized by the federal government in September, would be required to purchase the mortgages once banks have made them to consumers.

Officials said loans to creditworthy borrowers on primary residences with a mortgage of up to $625,000 would qualify, including those seeking to refinance their current loans.

Separately, Republican officials said they intended to press for a $15,000 tax credit for home buyers through the end of the year. Current law permits a $7,500 tax break and limits it to first-time home buyers.

Nineteen Democratic and Republican governors, meanwhile, cited frozen credit markets and rising unemployment in urging lawmakers to resolve their differences and asking Obama to sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk. The governors said the money it provides for public education, health care and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure will create and preserve jobs while making a sound investment in the country's long-term economic interests.

"While we all believe in the importance of free markets, we believe that the markets today need stimulating," the governors told Obama in a letter dated Monday. Among the signers are Democrats Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Charlie Crist of Florida.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #611
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Suburban areas can be serviced by commuter rail.

There are plenty of commercial clusters dense enough to support rail transit in the suburbs.

Tyson's Corner in NoVa is a great example.

All good public transit systems include commuter rail. Imagine Chicago without the Metra, or New York City with the LIRR or Metro North?
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Old February 5th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #612
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Upcoming problem:

Quote:
ST. LOUIS — Buses will no longer stop at some 2,300 stops in and around this city at the end of next month because, despite rising ridership, the struggling transit system plans to balance its books with layoffs and drastic service cuts.....

The Washington Metro set a record on Inauguration Day last month when people made 1.5 million trips on it to see the swearing-in of President Obama, but its $176 million budget gap means that it is planning to cut service and eliminate 900 jobs. Chicago had its biggest gain in riders in three decades last year, but was forced to raise fares. Charlotte, N.C., whose new light-rail system is the envy of transit planners around the country, and which is enjoying its biggest ridership levels since “the days of streetcars,” according to Keith Parker, the transit system’s chief executive, will be running its new trains less frequently, raising fares and cutting back on bus service.

In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering steep fare increases and its deepest service cuts in years to help close a $1.2 billion deficit. In addition to considering a 23 percent increase in fares and tolls, the authority is weighing plans to eliminate more than two dozen city bus routes and two subway lines, reduce off-peak service and even close some subway stations at night....

Big systems in Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco, and smaller ones across the nation, find themselves weighing cuts or fare increases that they fear could erode the gains they have made in attracting new riders. Beverly A. Scott, general manger of Marta, the Atlanta system, said as the sales tax revenue continued to drop, she was weighing everything from fare increases to service cuts to even selling the naming rights to stations — but she still hopes for more state support.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #613
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Thank God Chicago just raised fares and restructured how the system gets funding - as opposed to cutting service.

The last service cuts in Chicago were 12 years ago, and they were horrible. One of the MAIN things that drives transit usage over a car is frequency. Raising fares will deter some riders, but not as much as taking your train from a 5 minute headway to a 9 minute headway. Especially with record ridership! Can you imagine the furious people trying to pack onto already crowded trains/buses.

Luckly Chicago has been adding service almost every year now, and although it has to raise fares, it hasn't cut back on anything.

They threatened to cut back on service, and even elimiate 56 bus routes, but people said no way, and they found another solution.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 05:05 AM   #614
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And in light of the funding problems facing America's mass transit systems:

******* Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats caved in to the far right GOPpers and cut $3.4 billion in funding for mass transit from the stimulus bill. Unbelievable.

The greatest to America is Republicans!!
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Old February 7th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #615
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Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
And in light of the funding problems facing America's mass transit systems:

******* Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats caved in to the far right GOPpers and cut $3.4 billion in funding for mass transit from the stimulus bill. Unbelievable.

The greatest to America is Republicans!!
They didn't just cave in, they lost there nuts to a bunch of GOP whiners Why can't we accuse them all of fraud?
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Old February 7th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #616
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Public transport in the US always seems to be 1 step forward, two steps back.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:24 AM   #617
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Public transport in the US always seems to be 1 step forward, two steps back.
I know.

Hopefully the Transportation Bill that comes up for re-authorization later this year has lots of money for mass transit.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #618
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http://http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLIT...inners.losers/

From CNN.com on the final stimulus bill.
High-speed and inner-city rail: Went from $300 million in House bill to $2.25 billion in Senate to $8 billion in final version. There also is a $6.9 billion provision for public transit.

Amtrak: Picked up $500 million from both House and Senate versions to total $1.3 billion. The bill stipulates that no more than 60 percent can go to the Northeast Corridor.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #619
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The US is / was in the mentality of the UK back in the 1960s with all the car is king business...
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Old February 14th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #620
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Canadian cities could only dream of getting the kind of financial assistance US cities already do for public transit. The cities get small amounts for transit infastructure and no money from the federal government for operational costs.
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