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Old November 20th, 2007, 02:55 AM   #1561
greg_christine
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One thing that I like about Sound Transit is that they keep a large library of documents on-line. When I look at the issues of cost and ridership, I always try to use the numbers provided by the transit agency rather than by critics, so I appreciate that Sound Transit provides so much documentation.

The September 2007 Sound Transit report at the following link provides the capital costs for Sounder:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...Rail_10-07.pdf

Capital Costs for Sounder
Lifetime Budget: $1,215 million
Commitment to Date: $950 million
Incurred to Date: $892 million

A similar September 2007 report for the Express Bus service can be found at the following link:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...ress_10-07.pdf

Capital Costs for ST Express Bus
Lifetime Budget: $785 million
Commitment to Date: $586 million
Incurred to Date: $505 million

To the best of my knowledge, the reports cover only Sound Move (ST1) and subsequent projects but not ST2 projects.

The ridership numbers for Sounder and the ST Express Bus services for the third quarter of 2007 are reported in the document at the following link:

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

Average Weekday Boardings
Sounder: 8,333
ST Express Bus: 37,689

If you divide the capital cost numbers by the average weekday boardings, you get the following:

September 2007 Incurred to Date Capital Cost/Third Quarter 2007 Average Weekday Boardings
Sounder: $107,000 per boarding
ST Express Bus: $13,400 per boarding

As I have noted in previous postings, the year-to-date operating costs as of the third quarter of 2007 are as follows:

Sounder: $11.18 per boarding
ST Express Bus: $6.40 per boarding

The numbers show that on a cost per boarding basis, the Sounder commuter train service was more expensive to develop and is more expensive to operate than the ST Express Bus service.

The complaint will be made that the capital costs for the ST Express Bus service do not include the costs to build the roads; however, the roads were not paid for by Sound Transit and the roads would have been built regardless of whether the ST Express Bus service had been created.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 03:37 AM   #1562
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The complaint will be made that the capital costs for the ST Express Bus service do not include the costs to build the roads; however, the roads were not paid for by Sound Transit and the roads would have been built regardless of whether the ST Express Bus service had been created.
So you're saying all those direct-access ramps, new park & rides, various local street improvements and so on would have been built even if ST Express wasn't instituted? I really doubt WSDOT even had the faintest interest in building direct-access ramps, or local cities make local street improvements with the funding they have (which is really low).

Just curious: when was the last time you were in Seattle?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 04:09 AM   #1563
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Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
So you're saying all those direct-access ramps, new park & rides, various local street improvements and so on would have been built even if ST Express wasn't instituted? I really doubt WSDOT even had the faintest interest in building direct-access ramps, or local cities make local street improvements with the funding they have (which is really low).

Just curious: when was the last time you were in Seattle?
1. I was speaking of the traffic lanes when I noted that Sound Transit did not pay to build the roads. You are correct that Sound Transit paid for the access ramps and parking areas. This is likely the largest part of the capital expenditures for the ST Express Bus service.

2. I am originally from Seattle and that is why I pay attention to Seattle transit issues though I have not lived there for many years. I still have friends in Seattle with whom I visited in September. When was the last time you were in Seattle?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 04:13 AM   #1564
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
When was the last time you were in Seattle?
Yesterday; I live in Everett; in fact if you want to know about Seattle, click on the link in my signature.
___________________________________________________________________________________

Here's a piece from "Getting There" in the Seattle P-I that might indicate why Sounder costs are the way they are (but I wouldn't know):

Question: Mike Davison, boarding a Sounder train from Everett to an Oct. 14 Seahawks game in Seattle, was startled to see how many riders didn't appear to be buying tickets and said nobody checked to see who paid to get on.

"I only saw half the people at the Edmonds station buying tickets at the electronic kiosk. It became apparent why when we boarded the train: No one took anyone's tickets, or even checked to see if they had one," he said.

An announcement asked non-payers to get a ticket in Seattle, but "no one checked when we arrived to ensure that the people without tickets were doing this. The same scenario was repeated for the return trip after the game."

Given the number of round trips on the trains, "I don't think I would be exaggerating to say that a bunch of the riders did not pay. I don't want to fund a system with my hard-earned tax dollars when they don't even attempt to take the fares from the riders."

Answer: Not everyone gets checked on every trip. Your columnist took two trips between Everett and Seattle last week and was asked to produce a ticket once. Sound Transit said it doesn't have enough train staff to check all riders all the time, but the Oct. 14 instance was not typical.

Sound Transit spokeswoman Linda Robson said the agency experienced the "very unusual" circumstance of having just one of three ticket vending machines working that day at the Everett station. To stay on schedule and be fair to all riders along the line, she said, staffers decided not to check tickets for that event but to ask people to buy tickets in Seattle, as Davison heard.

The number of riders "was so high it was not feasible or safe for the staff to strictly enforce ticket purchases at King Street Station," Robson said, and staff decided that day to "resolve the issue in the customers' favor." The ticket-machine problem has since been fixed.

Robson said some of the riders Davison saw may have had passes, and therefore wouldn't need to buy tickets at the station. She said staffers check for tickets randomly, avoiding predictable patterns, and four times a year hire consultants to check every rider for fare evasion. She estimates that "less than 3 percent" of riders get on without tickets or after paying the wrong fare.

Everett trains are staffed by an engineer, a conductor and security officers; trains to Tacoma carry two conductors, she said. Staffers waiting for trains, Robson said, don't collect fares as riders board because it's not their job or they have other duties. Turnstiles like those at state ferry terminals couldn't be justified given fare losses in the hundreds of dollars, she said.

"It's possible someone could ride (free) once or twice, but if they make a habit of it ... they're going to get caught," Robson said. When they are, they're asked to buy their ticket at a subsequent stop, their name is logged and "if their name is found ... on the list for the second time, they may be issued a citation."
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #1565
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I don't understand this old-fashioned way of checking tickets on the train. Why don't we just do what most modern systems do and use ticket gates? DC, Chicago, Japan... you don't pay the fare, you don't get onto the train. I don't see what's so hard about that.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:55 AM   #1566
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citruspastels View Post
I don't understand this old-fashioned way of checking tickets on the train. Why don't we just do what most modern systems do and use ticket gates? DC, Chicago, Japan... you don't pay the fare, you don't get onto the train. I don't see what's so hard about that.
Apparently it's costlier to install ticket gates (never really got that though). I think they should be installed anyway.

On another note: does anyone know when the ORCA Card will be implemented? I'm just dying for a card I can use on any transit agency; beats finding change and what not.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #1567
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
Apparently it's costlier to install ticket gates (never really got that though). I think they should be installed anyway.

On another note: does anyone know when the ORCA Card will be implemented? I'm just dying for a card I can use on any transit agency; beats finding change and what not.
Would come in handy if that Starbucks card worked for transit as well :P Either way, it'll either buy you 6 cups of coffee or two dozen trips. Whichever one you prefer.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:04 AM   #1568
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Would come in handy if that Starbucks card worked for transit as well :P Either way, it'll either buy you 6 cups of coffee or two dozen trips. Whichever one you prefer.
Suica/Pasumo cards (Radio Frequency) can be used at variety of shops in and around Tokyo. The card is interchangable with all transit companies around Tokyo so you only need one card to ride all. Right now they are changing the money collect machines in buses so this card can be used as well.
It is simple to use, you deposit money into the card via electronic KIOSK or be charged later through credit and it is great, no more loose change if this system is thoroughly implemented.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #1569
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I never really used Suica cards in Japan. Found it easier to just purchase single JR tickets.

Not to be rude, I think most of use here know how to use some sort of pre-paid transit card [EDIT: that you can continually use, like a Starbucks gift card]. I prefer Taipei's card, you just scan and go; it's even better now that they upgraded the ticket gates.

Last edited by taiwanesedrummer36; November 20th, 2007 at 08:58 AM. Reason: Clarification....
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #1570
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
I never really used Suica cards in Japan. Found it easier to just purchase single JR tickets.

Not to be rude, I think most of use here know how to use some sort of pre-paid transit card. I prefer Taipei's card, you just scan and go; it's even better now that they upgraded the ticket gates.
Please read closely, Suica/Pasumo is a radio frequency card like the one used for ID clearance, that balance the deposit within the card through touching the card on a panel it is not a pre-paid single use type.
The great thing about this system is that with the cross-transferable contract by all transit companies making this card to be used at ALL transit system in the greater Kanto region as well as various convenience shops, coffee shops and Kiosk also participating quickly making Tokyo a coin free society.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:56 AM   #1571
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Huh? From what i'm reading, we're pretty much talking about the same thing. A transit card (or in your case, a gift card?) that is either pre-paid or like a credit card you can continually use and reuse for paying fares for participating transit agencies. In Seattle's case, the ORCA card would be acceptable on Metro Transit, Sound Transit (Sounder, Link, ST Express), Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Everett Transit, maybe the SLUT (?), and ferries. Maybe you should read closely ....
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Old November 20th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #1572
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He is talking about a transit pass that is the same technology as the ORCA pass, and is accepted on all transit services in the whole Kanto region. In Tokyo so many people use public transport that stores have decided to accept the pass as payment. It is a good idea, that your bus pass can also be how you buy your next sandwich or magazine.

If the ORCA is ever implemented it would most likely be on: KCM, CT, PT, ET, ST Exp, KT(?), LINK, Sounder, Waterfront Streetcar, SLUT, Seattle Center Monorail (?). So it has good coverage. It would be nice to have it on the Olympia Express.

In Minneapolis we have the Go-To card that was supposed to be the first smart transit card in the US, but we spent $50 million on it. It was supposed to work in 2001 (I think), and it finally opened to the public earlier this year. The $50 million could have been spent better elsewhere, like avoiding the 10% service cut in 2001/2002, or the cuts in 2003, or the 10% cuts in 2005.

Quote:
2. I am originally from Seattle and that is why I pay attention to Seattle transit issues though I have not lived there for many years. I still have friends in Seattle with whom I visited in September. When was the last time you were in Seattle?
I haven't lived in Seattle since I was 5. I was always exited about buses as a kid, and so I have a fairly good memory of Metro. It is interesting to talk about LINK, although I probably won't be riding it on opening day.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #1573
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Yeah, Japan is making great strides with the radio frequency ID technology.(I think it is called Felica here in Japan)
Some of the mobile phones have the chips imbedded within them so the mobile acts as a card and payment can be handled through the monthly phone bill.
A super market chain, Aeon also accept the card so we can pick up groccery with the card as well.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:32 PM   #1574
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
One thing that I like about Sound Transit is that they keep a large library of documents on-line. When I look at the issues of cost and ridership, I always try to use the numbers provided by the transit agency rather than by critics, so I appreciate that Sound Transit provides so much documentation.

The September 2007 Sound Transit report at the following link provides the capital costs for Sounder:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...Rail_10-07.pdf

Capital Costs for Sounder
Lifetime Budget: $1,215 million
Commitment to Date: $950 million
Incurred to Date: $892 million

A similar September 2007 report for the Express Bus service can be found at the following link:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Document...ress_10-07.pdf

Capital Costs for ST Express Bus
Lifetime Budget: $785 million
Commitment to Date: $586 million
Incurred to Date: $505 million

To the best of my knowledge, the reports cover only Sound Move (ST1) and subsequent projects but not ST2 projects.

The ridership numbers for Sounder and the ST Express Bus services for the third quarter of 2007 are reported in the document at the following link:

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

Average Weekday Boardings
Sounder: 8,333
ST Express Bus: 37,689

If you divide the capital cost numbers by the average weekday boardings, you get the following:

September 2007 Incurred to Date Capital Cost/Third Quarter 2007 Average Weekday Boardings
Sounder: $107,000 per boarding
ST Express Bus: $13,400 per boarding

As I have noted in previous postings, the year-to-date operating costs as of the third quarter of 2007 are as follows:

Sounder: $11.18 per boarding
ST Express Bus: $6.40 per boarding

The numbers show that on a cost per boarding basis, the Sounder commuter train service was more expensive to develop and is more expensive to operate than the ST Express Bus service.

The complaint will be made that the capital costs for the ST Express Bus service do not include the costs to build the roads; however, the roads were not paid for by Sound Transit and the roads would have been built regardless of whether the ST Express Bus service had been created.
Your numbers only show that you don't understand amortization. Sorry.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:24 AM   #1575
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
I never really used Suica cards in Japan. Found it easier to just purchase single JR tickets.

Not to be rude, I think most of use here know how to use some sort of pre-paid transit card [EDIT: that you can continually use, like a Starbucks gift card]. I prefer Taipei's card, you just scan and go; it's even better now that they upgraded the ticket gates.
From what I read, it's basically a limited debit card without the bank. You can do anything with it, shop, ride transit, use transit services, buy coffee, etc. Basically a gift card you can continually add money into and use for any of the services stated above.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 01:27 AM   #1576
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Your numbers only show that you don't understand amortization. Sorry.
On a per boarding basis, Sounder has both a much higher capital cost and a much higher operating cost than the ST Express Bus service. Even if you were to apply a zero interest rate and an infinite period of payments to the capital costs, the total annualized cost of Sounder would be much higher than the ST Express Bus service. Based on your snippy response, I can only assume that you have given up debating the point and are now focused on being annoying.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:07 AM   #1577
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
On a per boarding basis, Sounder has both a much higher capital cost and a much higher operating cost than the ST Express Bus service. Even if you were to apply a zero interest rate and an infinite period of payments to the capital costs, the total annualized cost of Sounder would be much higher than the ST Express Bus service. Based on your snippy response, I can only assume that you have given up debating the point and are now focused on being annoying.
No, you're just completely wrong.

-ST Express HOV ramps and lanes do cost money and some will cost Sound Transit money to replace in the future (the ones they're responsible for), but all of them will cost taxpayers money to replace in the future. You're also ignoring the fact that roadway funding is broken in WA right now - ST Express capital costs don't factor in the full cost of their HOV lanes, but they likely will in the future when we build sustainable funding sources to replace the MVET loss. You can't just ignore the real costs here because we have a problem - that problem will be fixed in the future; you can't just pretend your roads are free.

-You don't know what Sounder operating costs will look like in the future as service increases, because you stick your fingers in your ears when it's pointed out to you that those costs are dropping like a stone while ST Express operating costs are rising.

Your arguments against those points so far just haven't existed, but they're huge gaping holes in your assertions. You can't look at a system with costs that change every year and make absolute arguments based on a single point in time. The fact that you keep doing it makes it clear that you're pushing an agenda. Calling me annoying doesn't change the fact that you're cherry-picking costs to make your agenda look better.

Last edited by UrbanBen; November 21st, 2007 at 02:24 AM.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 03:50 AM   #1578
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Hmmm.....maybe UrbanBen was right all along (?). greg_christine only focuses mainly on the 2007 3rd Q report and the past instead of looking towards the future. Sounder costs will decrease. One reason I can think off the top of my head right now is new transit-oriented development. Let's start: Downtown Everett is adding new condos everyday with many more planned, plus the UW Everett. And with the transit connections at Everett Station, people from all over the county who work in Seattle might take Sounder to work assuming gas prices rise outrageously and I-5 traffic gets even worse. The new Mukilteo Station will be able to serve passengers coming off the ferry (who go to work in Seattle), and don't forget the new condos to be added on Mukilteo's waterfront. Downtown Edmonds is in the midst of planning and rezoning to add condos and new mixed-use development. And with the Edmonds Crossing project, passengers from buses and ferries will be able to transfer onto Sounder. So just in the North Line, new development(s) will certainly add passengers to Sounder.

Tacoma should be going through a redevelopment phase, with the Tacoma Link and several urban renewal projects. Sounder is going to be extended south to large residential communities of S. Tacoma and Lakewood. Imagine the thousands of people parking their cars (from Tacoma, Fort Lewis and maybe even Olympia) there instead of clogging I-5 (which is going into construction for HOV lanes in the next 20 years or so). New suburban developments in the Puyallup and Sumner/Bonney Lake area will add passengers to Sounder because those new residents would probably not want to drive on clogged SR 167/I-5/I-405. That also applies with the Auburn and Kent stations. And don't forget a proposed North Sumner station, only a stone's throw away from Lake Tapps and mainly the Lakeland Hills development. The Kent Station development is also adding residents/shoppers into downtown and the Sounder station, therefore promoting usage of Sounder. As for Tukwila, the new station (to be built ???) will serve new passengers from the redevelopments of (Downtown) Tukwila/Southcenter and Downtown Renton.

Can you imagine all those people piling onto Sounder in the next year or twenty years? I'm excited already!


Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
From what I read, it's basically a limited debit card without the bank. You can do anything with it, shop, ride transit, use transit services, buy coffee, etc. Basically a gift card you can continually add money into and use for any of the services stated above.
My GOD! YES!! It's that simple. I don't know why everyone can't understand that....

Last edited by taiwanesedrummer36; November 21st, 2007 at 04:07 AM.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 07:13 AM   #1579
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Yeah, the information we really need is the marginal cost of additional riders on each system, instead of the average cost.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 11:06 AM   #1580
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Holy crap, mr. Drummer and mr. UrbanBen agreeing on something? Should I start looking for the 4 horsemen?
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