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Old 10-02-2016, 02:59 PM
 
29,352 posts, read 26,300,848 times
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Iíve been thinking about why public transit is popular with some folks and not with others.

How about this as an idea? Say a war breaks out. Do you want your army to be stuck waiting on the bus or a train, or to have the immediate mobility and flexibility of their own wheels?

Obviously Iím not suggesting weíre about to have a war, but it may be an element of human nature to want to be prepared, capable and independent. So this could subtly (or even subconsciously) affect peopleís attitudes.

Just thinking outside the box.
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:29 PM
 
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Of course a lot of it has to do with independence. Most of the people I know who live near MARTA never take it, and when I lived within walking distance of a MARTA station, I also rarely used it.

Why?

Because by the time you walk to a station (or drive there and park), wait for a train, get on a train, then walk to wherever you are going from the destination train station, you almost always could have long been there if you went out to the garage and got in your car at the exact moment you were ready to.

That's why most of the pro-transit people are pretty much by necessity anti-personal vehicle. The only way for mass transit to achieve critical mass is to artificially make it seem more efficient by making automobile transit less efficient. I'm pro-transit, but I'm for making it more efficient without forcing inefficiency on vehicular traffic.

It's also cumbersome for me...since I was raised correctly, I will always give up my seat to a woman or elderly person on the train. That pretty much means I'm forced to stand the entire time, which isn't that enjoyable. Maybe I need to get over that?

Incidentally, it's a bit of an irony because MARTA only goes where most of the time, driving yourself would be faster. If it came to the suburbs, where it would organically be more efficient than driving most of the time, it would achieve its needed efficiency. So....where it needs to go, it isn't.
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Old 10-02-2016, 04:26 PM
 
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Atlanta's MARTA system sucks so most of the time, it's far more convenient to just drive. If you live in say NYC, DC or Chicago where transit is somewhat decent, it's far more convenient to take a train because the traffic during rush hour is just hell. At least on a train especially if it's above ground, you can be on your phone or getting work done while not having to constantly pay attention to the road while you move ever so slowly in your car.

That's what the dream of transit is supposed to achieve. I'm not surprised many people in the Atlanta area are anti-transit. It's just inconvenient because the coverage is just so bad and people aren't willing to pay for it.

At some point, Atlanta's going to choke itself to stagnation when traffic becomes unbearable. You can't continue to grow at 1m persons a decade in the region and not improve either the highway system or the transit system. Nothing is happening. No improvement or progress in terms of transportation. It's sad.

Think about it. Nearly all of the 10+ million person metros in the world have a comprehensive transit system. You have to. That many people can't use the same roads. There's a strange backward mentality in America. Independence is fine, but everyone can't be independent because roads can't handle it and no one wants a million highways cutting through their neighborhoods, then you still have poor people who rely on transit.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:04 PM
 
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Atlanta and the rest the south just hasn't had the need nor the want to invest in public transit. The use of public transit in the south is associated with class. It has much less to do with war and more to do with class perception, again in the southern US. I suggest to my coworkers to use MARTA when going into Atlanta's city center and they often counter with horror stories. Public transit has to be looked at differently. It should be looked at from more a accessibility point of view. Transit allows people to move. It allows people to get to work and school when they can't get a personal vehicle. If Atlanta's road system weren't so underwhelming it could maybe get away with having the limitations MARTA has. But public transit accessibility is lacking, housing is getting incredibly expensive, AND the road system does not move people efficiently. Atlanta wants to be world class. It needs to start investing like it is.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Vinings
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Everyone I've ever known in this metro, ever talked to over the years about it, is always like, "I'd ride transit to work if I could/if it was a half decent option". And that sums it up. Assuming where you work is even accessible by transit, it takes hours, and multiple indirect connections of slow buses and long waits. So, as frustrating as congestion can be, people drive.

I've never heard of anyone, ever, who for example, lives at Lindbergh Center and works at the Airport, and refuses to ride MARTA to work because they prefer to drive. And I doubt anyone in their right mind would not make use of MARTA for that particular daily rush hour commute, if you could both walk out your front door to the train, and walk from the train to your job. Transit ridership would be the majority over cars, if everyone had the option to do that. See: NYC. Same homo sapiens live here as there, and we'd act the same if the circumstances were the same. We'd all ride MARTA everyday and not own cars.

So again, that sums it up. If transit was a better option, I'd happily take transit. But I'm not going to ride Cobb County's bus-in-traffic to Midtown, then transfer to a train that only goes to Sandy Springs, then transfer to another bus to get to my job in Alpharetta. Just for starters, it's a long walk to the Cumberland Transfer Center, and ridiculously, they don't offer park-n-ride. I could drive to Lindbergh and park there, but that would also be out of the way and totally pointless.

So until the situation of comprehensive and convenient commuter transit ever gets fixed (not holding my breath), I'm primarily reliant on cars.

With that said though, cars can be Uber. They can be Uber pools. I suggest we get some commuter rail and I would love that option, and I am all for transit, but for now, since everything's built for cars, let's pack more people into them.

How about... 2 or 3 HOV-only lanes on the highway, instead of the one lane. 285 and 400 don't even have any.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:38 PM
 
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Maybe the independence thing is tied in with convenience. Let's say you took MARTA somewhere and made all the connections, etc.

What if you had to be somewhere else fast? Say you're at work and a customer says I need you to meet me at the job site right now. Or your kid get sick or hurt. Or an old friend comes into town and wants you to meet him for a beer after work?

Things come up.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Vinings
6,332 posts, read 3,413,664 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
Maybe the independence thing is tied in with convenience. Let's say you took MARTA somewhere and made all the connections, etc.

What if you had to be somewhere else fast? Say you're at work and a customer says I need you to meet me at the job site right now. Or your kid get sick or hurt. Or an old friend comes into town and wants you to meet him for a beer after work?

Things come up.
Uber.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Vinings
6,332 posts, read 3,413,664 times
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Cars have the inherent advantage of being able to go anywhere, since everything is connected by roads. Cars are not fixed to a rail, and are not fixed to a route like traditional transit buses. Which means they can not only always get you there, but usually get you there as directly as possible. It's always an express, from exactly where you are to where you're going.

For this same exact reason (it being a personal transportation vehicle), cars have the inherent disadvantage of being far less space efficient for moving mass amounts people in dense urban areas. That leads to congestion which hurts the experience of the car.

So, both cars and transit have their place, and should be balanced in a metropolitan transportation system. Can't rely completely on either.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:33 PM
bu2
 
9,972 posts, read 6,425,543 times
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People are rational. If transit is faster and cheaper, lots will take it.

Now some want to make it faster by making it more difficult to drive. You can read people in the transit industry actually saying that, not just on this board. That just hurts the economy, because we will always have the majority of people driving.

But we really need to get cooperation from the major business centers to make employees directly pay the cost of parking rather than hiding that cost by the employers paying it.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
5,286 posts, read 4,027,622 times
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It's also one of reliability. My OTP on MARTA was 80% or less. My OTP since driving has been 100%, and less than half the time transit takes despite passing the two stations I'd use. Yes, for the latter I had to shift my schedule, but only slightly.
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