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Old November 17th, 2007, 12:34 AM   #1541
UrbanBen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
Oh, I see what you're saying. I'm not talking about the entire I-405 plan. What I meant was just HOT lanes in general.

Assuming we (region) begin with a simple HOT lane system (such as with SR 167), the cost will be about $2 million per mile (in each direction). And then assuming we upgrade our HOT lane system to something similar to the California 91 HOT lane-express system, the cost will be about $13 million per mile (in each direction).
That's a ridiculous statement. Restriping 167 for HOT was $18m - but they restriped HOV. Where do you get the extra physical lanes you're talking about?
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Old November 17th, 2007, 12:35 AM   #1542
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By the way, for those still harping about Link ending "just before the airport", I have for you a pretty picture. Note the part at the top, trackway going from the "just before the airport" station (Tukwila International) to the airport itself.

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Old November 17th, 2007, 01:58 AM   #1543
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Quote:
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That's a ridiculous statement. Restriping 167 for HOT was $18m - but they restriped HOV. Where do you get the extra physical lanes you're talking about?
Don't judge so fast: I was assuming that the number of lanes stay the same on a certain highway and only restriping plus tolling equipment is added. That's all. And i'm not talking about I-405; i'm talking about highways in our region where HOT lanes (from restriped lanes) could reduce congestion the most efficiently and effectively.

Man, you're ridiculous....
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Old November 17th, 2007, 02:06 AM   #1544
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Wow, we're still talking about the Central Link?

Looks impressive no matter what.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 06:36 AM   #1545
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Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
Unless you have 3+ HOV lanes or HOT/HOT Express-Lanes system. I know WSDOT is considering that as part of the I-405 Corridor Program.
I was responding to this - 3+ HOV lanes on 405? There are places where all of 405 is still only 3 lanes, total (2 GP, 1 HOV).
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Old November 17th, 2007, 07:49 AM   #1546
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I was responding to this - 3+ HOV lanes on 405? There are places where all of 405 is still only 3 lanes, total (2 GP, 1 HOV).
OH! Okay, I meant changing the carpool lane restriction from 2 or more carpools (hence 2+) to 3 or more carpools (hence 3+). I remember reading in the I-405 Corridor Program FEIS that the restriction would be changed, potentially sometime around 2030. That's probably assuming no one takes mass transit along I-405 and drivers continue to clog our highways instead of giving up driving and wasting gas.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #1547
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Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
OH! Okay, I meant changing the carpool lane restriction from 2 or more carpools (hence 2+) to 3 or more carpools (hence 3+). I remember reading in the I-405 Corridor Program FEIS that the restriction would be changed, potentially sometime around 2030. That's probably assuming no one takes mass transit along I-405 and drivers continue to clog our highways instead of giving up driving and wasting gas.
I think we would need to change the restrictions faster than 2030...
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Old November 17th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #1548
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...that's because we aren't looking at long-term costs. Buses last about 12 years before major overhaul. Train cars generally last twice that. And where's your quality of service metric? You can't possibly think it's valid to blindly compare operating costs for different things.

One more cranky thing: Where's your alternative for moving the peak-hour riders in th 167/169 corridor? You CANNOT achieve that ridership with bus service without major capital improvements that would not last as long as the Sounder capital improvements (which are perpetual agreements with one-time payment).
Regarding the relative cost of the ST Express buses and the Sounder trains, estimates can be made based on the numbers from the 3rd quarter 2007 ridership report:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...ip_Q3_2007.pdf

The operating cost per boarding for the buses is $6.40. The operating cost per boarding for the trains is $11.18. The buses carry 28.48 boardings per trip on average. The average number of trips per day is not recorded. For a conservative estimate of the bus cost savings, I will assume that the buses make just two round trips per day or a total of four one-way trips. If the buses operate 250 days per year, the operating cost savings per bus are:

250 days/year x 4 trips/day x 28.48 boarding/trip x ($11.18 - $6.40) per boarding = $136,134 per year per bus

The Sound Transit website features a section about the trains and buses that are used for the various services:

http://www.soundtransit.org/x4270.xml

The cost of the buses varies between $329,178 for a 40' Gillig diesel to $729,928 for a 60' New Flyer diesel-hybrid. The coaches that serve the route between Tacoma and Seattle are 45' MCIs that cost $493,257. Based on these numbers, the operating cost savings of the buses pay for the buses in between three and six years. The result is that the buses would be cheaper to buy and operate even if Sound Transit could obtain the trains for free.

Regarding a "Quality of Service" metric, I am not aware of any such universal metric. If such a metric did exist, it would need to take into account the amount of time that the typical passenger spends waiting at the station. The high frequency of bus service relative to train service would provide the buses with a significant advantage.

Regarding the ability of the buses to meet peak demand in certain corridors, this is a legitimate concern. A study would need to be performed of the cost to add traffic lanes versus build rail lines. The buses might not be the winner in corridors where double-track rail lines already exist; however, such corridors seem to be in short supply in Seattle.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #1549
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanBen View Post
By the way, for those still harping about Link ending "just before the airport", I have for you a pretty picture. Note the part at the top, trackway going from the "just before the airport" station (Tukwila International) to the airport itself.

Omg... looks exactly like Lake-City Way station on the millennium Line in Vancouver. But looks good =D
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Old November 18th, 2007, 01:01 AM   #1550
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greg_christine, the operating costs for buses increase over time, and Sounder costs decrease over time. You're kidding yourself if you think you can look at a point on a line and make valid conclusions.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 05:47 AM   #1551
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The result is that the buses would be cheaper to buy and operate even if Sound Transit could obtain the trains for free.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanBen View Post
greg_christine, the operating costs for buses increase over time, and Sounder costs decrease over time. You're kidding yourself if you think you can look at a point on a line and make valid conclusions.
As much as i'm annoyed by UrbanBen, i'd have to agree. Let's say in simple terms: buses and Sounder trains all run on some form of gasoline. However, i'm assuming Sounder has better mileage than a bus (counting in factors such as speed, number of passengers, number of trains, etc.), and buses can get stuck in traffic, therefore buses travel at random speeds, and therefore reducing a bus's mileage. And let's not forget a Sounder train can carry many, many times more passengers than a bus and not affect a Sounder train's performance (just an assumption). I'm guessing if you crammed as much people on a single bus as you did with one Sounder car, the bus's performance (in terms of speed and reliability) would be dramatically reduced, and would require constant (more than average) maintainence, something i'm guessing Sounder doesn't really need.

So, though Sounder doesn't serve areas that most buses serve (another story for another time), it's still cheaper to use Sounder. Oh, and don't forget that Sound Transit leases a couple of Sounder trains to other transit agencies all over the nation, so we also make additional $$$ from such leases.


Quote:
Regarding a "Quality of Service" metric, I am not aware of any such universal metric. If such a metric did exist, it would need to take into account the amount of time that the typical passenger spends waiting at the station. The high frequency of bus service relative to train service would provide the buses with a significant advantage.
I think by "Quality of Service" metric he meant like an official report that documents some of the following to determine the effectiveness of a transit route (using numbers):
a) Operating costs
b) Daily number of passengers
c) Travel times
d) Travel speed
e) Number of obstructions
f) Time delay at stations
g) Time delay at traffic signals/rail crossings
h) Amount of shared traffic on roadway/railway

...and i'm sure there are many more factors, but i'm not a transit expert. I'm just a transit user. And how would the time waiting at a station affect the "quality of service"? If you're referring to the couple of seconds you wait for a bus, I really don't find that to be a factor; it's practically impossible to calculate that (assuming all our time-telling devices are different and a couple of seconds/minutes apart). And sure, SOME bus routes have a higher frequency, but are more slower and more uncomfortable (meaning crowdeness, bumpy road surfaces, etc.)


Quote:
Regarding the ability of the buses to meet peak demand in certain corridors, this is a legitimate concern. A study would need to be performed of the cost to add traffic lanes versus build rail lines. The buses might not be the winner in corridors where double-track rail lines already exist; however, such corridors seem to be in short supply in Seattle.
I'm sure most of the tracks Sounder runs on is double-tracked, except for some sections in Tacoma/Lakewood and the tunnel under Downtown Everett. And here's another thing to consider. In the time it takes for WSDOT to build HOV lanes in Tacoma to improve bus speeds (and relieve traffic), the entire Sounder route will travel on double-track sections.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 02:02 PM   #1552
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Based on fuel economy, staff requirements, and number of passengers carried, one might hope that the Sounder trains are more cost effective than the ST Express buses, but the 2007 3rd quarter ridership report < http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...ip_Q3_2007.pdf > tells a different story:

Cost per Boarding (Year-to-Date 2007 Actuals)
ST Express Bus: $6.40
Sounder: $11.18

The numbers are so far apart that it is unlikely that Sounder will become more cost effective than the ST Express buses even with planned increases in service.

If you want to understand the fundamental problem, take a look at the Sounder service schedules < http://www.soundtransit.org/x71.xml >. Most of the trains make one morning trip into Seattle and then sit there all day until they make one evening trip out of Seattle. With such poor utilization of equipment and crews, it is inevitable that the cost per boarding will be high.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 04:16 AM   #1553
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All that could be due to the problems of the Sounder North Line. The North Line hasn't gotten much "attention" since it began operating in 2003. But with track improvements, the new Mukilteo Station, Edmonds Crossing, and other stuff should improve the cost of Sounder (ANYWAY). And don't forget with all the increase in development in the Snohomish County area that will clog I-5 even more that people will get sick of it and take Sounder. And what about proposed improvements and an extension into S. Tacoma and Lakewood? Have you driven on I-5 through Tacoma? Even on a "good" day, I-5 traffic throughout Tacoma is horrendous, and local streets are even worse. And with no HOV lanes, buses are stuck in all that too. Sounder will just bypass all that crap.

Either way, I am POSITIVE that all improvements to Sounder will make Sounder more cost-effective.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanBen View Post
greg_christine, the operating costs for buses increase over time, and Sounder costs decrease over time.
Could you be a little more specific on the decrease of Sounder costs over time?
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Old November 19th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #1554
UrbanBen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Based on fuel economy, staff requirements, and number of passengers carried, one might hope that the Sounder trains are more cost effective than the ST Express buses, but the 2007 3rd quarter ridership report < http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...ip_Q3_2007.pdf > tells a different story:

Cost per Boarding (Year-to-Date 2007 Actuals)
ST Express Bus: $6.40
Sounder: $11.18

The numbers are so far apart that it is unlikely that Sounder will become more cost effective than the ST Express buses even with planned increases in service.

If you want to understand the fundamental problem, take a look at the Sounder service schedules < http://www.soundtransit.org/x71.xml >. Most of the trains make one morning trip into Seattle and then sit there all day until they make one evening trip out of Seattle. With such poor utilization of equipment and crews, it is inevitable that the cost per boarding will be high.
Really? The operating costs for Sounder in 2001 were $30/rider. And you're STILL looking at Sounder as a whole - why don't you find out what the difference in operating costs are between sounder south and sounder north? Sounder South is a lot closer to ST Express in operating costs, and Sounder North will be after the 4th round trip starts, Mukilteo opens, and Edmonds Crossing opens. Operating costs include station maintenance, and the more trips we run the lower those costs go per rider.

Your math is so bad it's astounding. How about the cost of HOV lane installation and maintenance versus our BNSF agreements? How about the cost of replacing buses on a 12 year schedule VERSUS replacing trains on a 30 year schedule? I wish you'd stop making half-assed attempts at pushing your agenda, because you just make life harder for the reality-based population when you wave around incomparable numbers.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 05:40 AM   #1555
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Yeah, that's what i've pretty much been saying in my last two posts. Thanks for repeating everything I said.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #1556
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Yeah, that's what i've pretty much been saying in my last two posts. Thanks for repeating everything I said.
For once we agree wholeheartedly.

You know, though, these arguments apply to Link as well.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #1557
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You know, though, these arguments apply to Link as well.
Yup, i'm aware of that as well.

Link should be even more cost-effective than Sounder or ST Express, assuming ridership is very high upon opening and that Link uses electricity (the type of energy used is still a contributing factor).
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:42 AM   #1558
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Yup, i'm aware of that as well.

Link should be even more cost-effective than Sounder or ST Express, assuming ridership is very high upon opening and that Link uses electricity (the type of energy used is still a contributing factor).
Sounder's not electric?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:43 AM   #1559
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Sounder's not electric?
nope, diesel locomotive
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:45 AM   #1560
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nope, diesel locomotive
I just noticed that it doesn't have a pantograph when I googled it. Wow that's a surprise. I thought commuter trains have gone electric in WA already. Guess not...How long has the sounder been running? The locomotives look pretty old-fashioned to me. Tall and bulky, not much aerodynamic design to it.
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