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View Poll Results: Which is better?
BART/MUNI (Bay Area) 11 47.83%
SkyTrain (Vancouver) 12 52.17%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 05-08-2014, 04:22 AM
 
112 posts, read 105,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DowntownDenizen View Post
Skytrain is WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY more frequent than BART. You don't even have to take my word for it. You can go to the respective websites and check the service frequencies for yourself.

BART is probably a little faster since the stops are so far apart on average. Skytrain is very fast for a rapid rail system though. Probably in the high 20s (MPH).

BART is much larger in terms of coverage. But it is really only useful where 2+ lines are running together (like through the city of S.F.). The parts where only 1 line runs at any given time (south of Daly City, blue line east of Bay Fair, yellow line north of MacArthur) have such poor frequency that they are more comparable to commuter rail lines (in terms of service levels) rather than "rapid rail". Maybe useful for commuting, but not for impromptu trips that require frequent service.

Both systems only have a few stops downtown, so they do a poor job in that regard.
Did ssp get to slow for you?
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:50 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
15,403 posts, read 25,047,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relegate View Post
This probably is more a function of the fact that the Central Core of the Bay Area (SF/Oakland/Berkeley) has a much more established built environment over a wider area than Vancouver, but I'd say that even just looking at BART, you have more stations in the middle of very dense urban nodes compared to SkyTrain.

BART has about a dozen very urban station areas: Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell Street, Civic Center, 16th St. Mission, 24 St. Mission, Oakland City Center, Lake Merrit, Rockridge, MacArthur, 19th Street Oakland, and Downtown Berkeley. I'd say SkyTrain has about 5 or 6 of that caliber at most. BART also has another tier of stations that are pretty urban as well (although, to be fair, so does Skytrain to a lesser extent).
Rockridge isn't not "very urban" at all and Macarthur is pretty questionable too, at least in comparison to everything else you listed. Both areas have a lot of single family homes in the area, Rockridge more so, and both have large parking lots/garages for the stations.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:57 AM
 
443 posts, read 710,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sav858 View Post
Rockridge isn't not "very urban" at all and Macarthur is pretty questionable too, at least in comparison to everything else you listed. Both areas have a lot of single family homes in the area, Rockridge more so, and both have large parking lots/garages for the stations.
Fair enough - you are probably right that those two aren't quite as urban as the others.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:02 PM
 
443 posts, read 710,932 times
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Also, is SkyTrain considered light rail or heavy rail? It's completely grade separated and functions like heavy rail but from what I understand the technology it uses is more like light rail.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:22 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relegate View Post
Also, is SkyTrain considered light rail or heavy rail? It's completely grade separated and functions like heavy rail but from what I understand the technology it uses is more like light rail.
I think it's just referred to as "rapid transit" or "light rapid transit". I think it has more in common with heavy rail as it either uses linear induction or third rail for power as opposed to overhead wires and is completely grade seperated. Kind of in between I guess though, the rail cars/train sets seems shorter like light rail.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:50 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,913 posts, read 41,152,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sav858 View Post
I think it's just referred to as "rapid transit" or "light rapid transit". I think it has more in common with heavy rail as it either uses linear induction or third rail for power as opposed to overhead wires and is completely grade seperated. Kind of in between I guess though, the rail cars/train sets seems shorter like light rail.
A term used for it is light metro, as uses shorter, often light rail sized trains, but is completely grade separated. It is lower capacity than typical heavy rail systems, but typical American rapid transit "heavy rail" systems aren't at their max capacity, so the ridership per mile is comparable. But there's no way Skytrain could handle the ridership per mile of the busier NYC subway lines or even Toronto's busiest. The shorter trains of Skytrain means that it must run at higher frequency for the same ridership: The shared Expo/Millenium Line segments has a peak frequency of every 2-3 minutes, comparable to NYC subway lines at peak.

TransLink - Transit Schedules

Here are some other light metro systems. They're common for new systems in smaller European cities. Honolulu is also building something similar:

Medium-capacity rail transport system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It looks the Expo/Millenium line usually uses four car trains, so it's not really that different from rapid transit. Two car and six car trains are also used sometimes, six mostly for rush hour. The Canada line uses two cars, similar to most MUNI trains. With six cars, the distinction with true rapid transit is minimal. JFK's Airtrain uses similar equipment.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:20 PM
 
443 posts, read 710,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
A term used for it is light metro, as uses shorter, often light rail sized trains, but is completely grade separated. It is lower capacity than typical heavy rail systems, but typical American rapid transit "heavy rail" systems aren't at their max capacity, so the ridership per mile is comparable. But there's no way Skytrain could handle the ridership per mile of the busier NYC subway lines or even Toronto's busiest. The shorter trains of Skytrain means that it must run at higher frequency for the same ridership: The shared Expo/Millenium Line segments has a peak frequency of every 2-3 minutes, comparable to NYC subway lines at peak.

TransLink - Transit Schedules

Here are some other light metro systems. They're common for new systems in smaller European cities. Honolulu is also building something similar:

Medium-capacity rail transport system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It looks the Expo/Millenium line usually uses four car trains, so it's not really that different from rapid transit. Two car and six car trains are also used sometimes, six mostly for rush hour. The Canada line uses two cars, similar to most MUNI trains. With six cars, the distinction with true rapid transit is minimal. JFK's Airtrain uses similar equipment.
Seems like a great technology - I wonder why more American cities don't use them. Does it cost less to build and operate these systems compared to heavy rail?

I feel like a lot of the traditional light rail systems in the US (e.g Portland, Denver) just aren't as effective because they have to deal with street traffic Downtown and in other denser areas. Seattle seems to be the one example of light rail where it's underground or grade separated through dense areas.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:37 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
15,403 posts, read 25,047,263 times
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I think Skytrain is driverless too, which I would imagine saves a lot of money in operating expenses. BART trains are automatically operated too but still have "train operators" to open and close the doors and they get paid like $70K+ a year for that.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:40 PM
 
273 posts, read 256,220 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snuggah View Post
Did ssp get to slow for you?
I don't post on SSP. Did you mean to respond to someone else?

If there's someone using the name "DowntownDenizen" on SSP, it's not me.
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Old Today, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
886 posts, read 1,460,308 times
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Having spent a lot of time on both systems, this is an easy win for Skytrain. Much better frequencies and better coverage of key parts of the metro area; also much better integration with TOD.
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