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Old 08-09-2018, 04:59 PM
 
1,953 posts, read 2,567,139 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbowes80 View Post
My main complaint about my experience with the system is that the stops on many routes are too infrequent to be convenient. For example, on Sunday afternoon I was downtown and rode the Waterfront Line (partly just for kicks.) In both directions, the frequency was 30 minutes between train arrivals... even from Tower City. The CSU line has similarly bad frequency outside of rush hour.

In order not to seem like a pain in the arse, I don't ever want to wait more than 15 minutes for a bus/train, especially on a major route. For anyone who has the option to drive, this is probably the maximum level of wait-inconvenience beyond which you won't bother. On the other hand, perhaps the system is there primarily for people who have no other choice, and thus must schedule carefully. But it'd be great if the system became more widely used by those with options who just want to save gas or don't want to have to find parking.
I couldn't agree more. 30-minute "frequencies" suck. If you arrive, say, via the Red Line or just walk over from Public Square, and just miss a train, you can walk to the Flats faster. Also this infrequency kills any flexibility. Better times are likely ahead. For one thing, it is very possible Ohio could get Dem. Richard Cordray in the Ohio Statehouse who, unlike John Kasich, would likely be more pro transit and likely to push for increasing Ohio's paltry transit funding. Also Joe Calabrese has been forced out as RTA's GM -- Calabrese is not a huge rail fan based on his 18 years on the job, and was particularly rough on the Waterfront Line -- the least little budget hiccup, WFL service was first on the chopping block. Third, and most importantly, Flats East Bank and North Coast Harbor development is taking off, FEB even more importantly. Phase III was recently unvieled, including an 11-story apartment-retail mixed-use development on top of the current surface parking in between FEB Phases I and II ... which, btw, sit directly adjacent to WFL's FEB rail station.

I'm hoping, given these factors, not only will all-day service be restored in the not-too-distant future, but also 15-minute frequencies throughout most of the day. I won't hold my breath, but ...
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:15 PM
 
6,978 posts, read 4,050,906 times
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In all fairness to RTA, when I last rode the Waterfront Line (last summer) on a weekday afternoon, I was one of four passengers from Tower City to the East 9th station, and the only passenger on the return trip.

My hunch is that passenger traffic on the Waterfront Line is very poor.

RTA should consider replacing the Waterfront Line on weekdays with a bus trolley (even if fee-based) that goes from Tower City through the entire East Flats, to Lakeside Ave. and the convention center, and directly to the Rock Hall and perhaps even to the U.S.S. Cod, Great Lakes Science Center (Steamship Mather) and the International Women Air & Space Museum at Lakefront Airport. Heck, I would like to see RTA run a couple fee-based point-to-point vans in downtown. All fees should be included in day pass.

The Waterfront Line could be used during special events and, perhaps for big attendance events, supplemented by additional bus shuttles (perhaps running through both the East Flats and the Warehouse District to First Energy Stadium during football game days).

Here's the problem, however. On several occasions I've talked to convention goers and tourists about RTA. Most know nothing about the free bus trolley system, let alone day passes. When I pointed out to a group of convention goers standing at the free bus trolley stop across East 17th St. from the Connor Palace Theatre that they could take the free bus trolley directly to their hotel, they weren't interested. They had already called for an Uber and were very happy about that choice; I wasn't certain that they would have taken the bus trolley even if familiar with it.

I just heard this morning that NYC is restricting Uber/Lyft licenses. They hope this will reduced downtown congestion, encourage more use of the subways and buses, and raise salaries of Uber/Lyft drivers. My point is that many Americans today are very willing to pay a premium for point-to-point service using a very convenient app.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/n...uncil-cap.html
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,684 posts, read 3,204,770 times
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As a visiting observer and transit buff...

The good:

- Good price for one day pass

- Friendly staff

- Never too crowded unless before, during, and after major events (maybe with exception of Health Line)

- Red Line Serves the airport

- Rail connects University Circle with Downtown, Rock Hall, Airport, Waterfront, and Shaker Square

The bad:

- Infrequent service compared to East Coast cities

- Rail system not extensive enough

- Health Line can get crowded

- Sometimes vehicles can be dirty (though in my experience, East Coast transit is still dirtier)

Things to improve on:

- Ridership is still too low for a city the size of Cleveland - encourage people to use it more

- Increase frequency on major lines including bus lines but definitely the rail lines

- More promotion to college kids and visitors needed or else Uber and Lyft will win the day
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:01 PM
 
1,953 posts, read 2,567,139 times
Reputation: 1562
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post
In all fairness to RTA, when I last rode the Waterfront Line (last summer) on a weekday afternoon, I was one of four passengers from Tower City to the East 9th station, and the only passenger on the return trip.

My hunch is that passenger traffic on the Waterfront Line is very poor.

RTA should consider replacing the Waterfront Line on weekdays with a bus trolley (even if fee-based) that goes from Tower City through the entire East Flats, to Lakeside Ave. and the convention center, and directly to the Rock Hall and perhaps even to the U.S.S. Cod, Great Lakes Science Center (Steamship Mather) and the International Women Air & Space Museum at Lakefront Airport. Heck, I would like to see RTA run a couple fee-based point-to-point vans in downtown. All fees should be included in day pass.

The Waterfront Line could be used during special events and, perhaps for big attendance events, supplemented by additional bus shuttles (perhaps running through both the East Flats and the Warehouse District to First Energy Stadium during football game days).

Here's the problem, however. On several occasions I've talked to convention goers and tourists about RTA. Most know nothing about the free bus trolley system, let alone day passes. When I pointed out to a group of convention goers standing at the free bus trolley stop across East 17th St. from the Connor Palace Theatre that they could take the free bus trolley directly to their hotel, they weren't interested. They had already called for an Uber and were very happy about that choice; I wasn't certain that they would have taken the bus trolley even if familiar with it.

I just heard this morning that NYC is restricting Uber/Lyft licenses. They hope this will reduced downtown congestion, encourage more use of the subways and buses, and raise salaries of Uber/Lyft drivers. My point is that many Americans today are very willing to pay a premium for point-to-point service using a very convenient app.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/n...uncil-cap.html
I disagree. I would not replace the WFL with the Trolleys. The 2 systems should work in tandem.

I'll admit WFL ridership has not been strong, but RTA has weakened service just when the Flats East Bank is taking off and growing. It limited service to ending at 7p then went to that ridiculous 30 minute service, while running Trolleys in competition with it. That makes no sense. Flats traffic is only going to get stronger and every time there's a special event, like the Taste of Spring, the WFL trains get a workout and folks coming in from the suburbs by train to get to the Flats during such times prefer the trains over the buses (called Trolleys). And when Phase 3 gets built on the surface parking lot drawing more activity and limiting parking, WFL trains should be a no brainer because, hopefully once Phase 3 is built, the Flats East Bank will be like a special event all the time.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:43 PM
 
6,978 posts, read 4,050,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
It limited service to ending at 7p then went to that ridiculous 30 minute service, while running Trolleys in competition with it. That makes no sense. Flats traffic is only going to get stronger and every time there's a special event, like the Taste of Spring, the WFL trains get a workout and folks coming in from the suburbs by train to get to the Flats during such times prefer the trains over the buses (called Trolleys).
Only the C-line (evenings after 7 p.m., weekends) free trolley currently runs to the East Flats, and only during summer months. There is NO daytime free trolley service during weekdays.

http://www.riderta.com/sites/default...p_Trolleys.pdf

I don't know what the Waterfront Line ridership is like during commuting hours. Perhaps during commuting hours and on weekends, the Waterfront Line has adequate ridership; I don't know, but, in my experience, its weekday, non-commuting hour ridership is pathetically bad.

I would agree, as I mentioned, that Waterfront Line capacity should be beefed up during special events in the Flats, events at First Energy Field, etc.

RTA should not be cutting back or eliminating IMO well-used bus lines to beef up the Waterfront Line given RTA's current budget crisis.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH USA / formerly Chicago for 20 years
3,536 posts, read 5,509,245 times
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You've all already heard my complaints about too-infrequent service, missed connections due to buses' lateness or not showing up at all, passengers behaving badly (loud music, etc.) with drivers doing nothing about it...

Here's something on my wish list: Bring back the Community Circulators! In particular, the Lakewood one. I found it very convenient for getting from one part of Lakewood to another.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:26 AM
 
5,610 posts, read 6,479,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post
RTA should consider replacing the Waterfront Line on weekdays with a bus trolley
Given that the tracks and trains already exist, is there a significant cost difference between operating a bus vs. light rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbowes80 View Post
In order not to seem like a pain in the arse, I don't ever want to wait more than 15 minutes for a bus/train, especially on a major route. For anyone who has the option to drive, this is probably the maximum level of wait-inconvenience beyond which you won't bother. On the other hand, perhaps the system is there primarily for people who have no other choice, and thus must schedule carefully. But it'd be great if the system became more widely used by those with options who just want to save gas or don't want to have to find parking.
Underfunded transit systems have had to perform a delicate balancing act for the past decade or two, maybe longer. They are the lifeline for the poorest citizens, but they need to serve a wide enough area with frequent enough and long enough service to retain political support and be a positive thing for people and businesses considering moving to the region.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:10 PM
 
6,978 posts, read 4,050,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferraris View Post
Given that the tracks and trains already exist, is there a significant cost difference between operating a bus vs. light rail?
The advantage of a bus trolley route over the Waterfront Line is that when traffic is light, such as during weekday non-rush hours (and it is very, very light on the fixed, Waterfront Line route), a bus trolley route could cover the hotel districts, Warehouse District, and go directly to North Coast attractions (including the U.S.S. Cod with a turnaround there or at Burke Lakefront Airport), thereby providing better service and hopefully much greater ridership, especially if the hotels promote the service.

On a hot, muggy summer day, many tourists would appreciate an air-conditioned ride to the U.S.S. Cod as opposed to even the short walk from the Rock Hall. And some tourists would be much more interested in the Cod while not even visiting the Rock Hall. This bus trolley, just as with the other bus trolleys, provide good sight-seeing tours, which would be even better if a GPS-linked recording actually provided a discussion of attractions along the trolley routes.

In a low population density environment, such as downtown Cleveland, flexible route bus trolleys offer many advantages. E.g., during rush hours, the bus trolley could offer modified service to fill the needs of East Flats residents, while serving tourists at other hours. Consider that unless you work at Tower City or very nearby, the Waterfront Line to Tower City or even the East Ninth St. station just north of Route 2 (big uphill hike to the Federal and other East 9th St. office buildings) isn't very convenient comparted to a rush hour route that could be offered by bus trolleys.

Again, the Waterfront Line could still be used for special events in the East Flats or elsewhere along its route. Unlike others, I doubt that the density of population along the Waterfront Line will ever justify robust service throughout much of the day. I also personally enjoy the existing free bus trolleys more than the rail rapid cars of the Waterfront Line.

However, again, many tourists may just prefer point-to-point Uber service....

Until RTA can offer point-to-point, autonomous service, it must carefully maximize its services to most efficiently provide service to its customers on a cost efficient basis.

Last edited by WRnative; 08-10-2018 at 03:19 PM..
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:31 AM
 
1,953 posts, read 2,567,139 times
Reputation: 1562
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew61 View Post
You've all already heard my complaints about too-infrequent service, missed connections due to buses' lateness or not showing up at all, passengers behaving badly (loud music, etc.) with drivers doing nothing about it...

Here's something on my wish list: Bring back the Community Circulators! In particular, the Lakewood one. I found it very convenient for getting from one part of Lakewood to another.
The Circulators were excellent... and popular. RTA under Calabrese never gave them a chance.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:58 AM
 
1,953 posts, read 2,567,139 times
Reputation: 1562
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post
The advantage of a bus trolley route over the Waterfront Line is that when traffic is light, such as during weekday non-rush hours (and it is very, very light on the fixed, Waterfront Line route), a bus trolley route could cover the hotel districts, Warehouse District, and go directly to North Coast attractions (including the U.S.S. Cod with a turnaround there or at Burke Lakefront Airport), thereby providing better service and hopefully much greater ridership, especially if the hotels promote the service.

On a hot, muggy summer day, many tourists would appreciate an air-conditioned ride to the U.S.S. Cod as opposed to even the short walk from the Rock Hall. And some tourists would be much more interested in the Cod while not even visiting the Rock Hall. This bus trolley, just as with the other bus trolleys, provide good sight-seeing tours, which would be even better if a GPS-linked recording actually provided a discussion of attractions along the trolley routes.

In a low population density environment, such as downtown Cleveland, flexible route bus trolleys offer many advantages. E.g., during rush hours, the bus trolley could offer modified service to fill the needs of East Flats residents, while serving tourists at other hours. Consider that unless you work at Tower City or very nearby, the Waterfront Line to Tower City or even the East Ninth St. station just north of Route 2 (big uphill hike to the Federal and other East 9th St. office buildings) isn't very convenient comparted to a rush hour route that could be offered by bus trolleys.

Again, the Waterfront Line could still be used for special events in the East Flats or elsewhere along its route. Unlike others, I doubt that the density of population along the Waterfront Line will ever justify robust service throughout much of the day. I also personally enjoy the existing free bus trolleys more than the rail rapid cars of the Waterfront Line.

However, again, many tourists may just prefer point-to-point Uber service....

Until RTA can offer point-to-point, autonomous service, it must carefully maximize its services to most efficiently provide service to its customers on a cost efficient basis.
My argument for running the Waterfront Line frequently and all day is that, even with light traffic, if you kill off any potential by taking the service away. Besides this fact, I find it hard to believe running the extra service hit RTA that hard in the pocketbook. It's a 2.2 mile extension -- very short, and during the day, esp before rush hours, many LRTs are dead-headed over the Red Line's long bridge over the Cuyahoga River which is an additional .5 to .7 miles... When RTA cut WFL service to just weekends back in 2010, the only dollar savings I heard quoted by RTA was about $300K per years -- that's a drop in the bucket for a large, complex transit system which, I'm sure, could find other more redundant services to save -- like the several transit cops who hang around Tower City, RTA's safest station, during slack hours...

I think the biggest factor in cutting WFL service is psychological -- City and RTA officials saw the empty/near empty trains was embarrassing to locals. And yet I've witnessed and ridden on many empty Trolleys, but no one thinks this is a bad look and, besides, corporations are subsidizing the Trolleys.

You also mention the C-Line as the only line serving FEB. That's true and it comes at an inconvenience. First, when its really crowded on weekends, these bus-trolleys get stuck in traffic unlike WFL trains which run on private right-of-ways and have signal/gate protected street crossings. In addition, while the C-Line takes passengers to the front of Tower City (with a layover before the next trip), they do not directly serve the Flats from Tower City. Passengers must walk 2 blocks north to St. Clair and try and hail a Flats-bound trolley from near the Ontario intersection (one evening we were passed by, by an oblivious trolley driver ... we ended up walking down. Otherwise, if a Rapid passenger disembarking at Tower City doesn't feel like walking, he/she can sit and wait for the next C-Line run heading in the opposite direction, heading out Euclid, to E. 9th, to Prospect, to Playhouse Sq and CSU before looping back along St. Clair ... if you don't mind spending all that time.

Yeah, I know the C-Line circulates through downtown nicely -- I get that. But this serves only the folks already down there -- tourist, downtown workers or the 16K downtown residents. But what about the folks riding in on the Rapid? Wouldn't it be simpler to just stay on the train (in the case of inbound Shaker riders) or a simply level transfer at track level from the Red Line, which is essentially a cross-platform transfer?

Also you state downtown is low density, but I think this is misleading. With the growing activity level and interest in the Flats, as well as its growth, it is becoming a serious choke point for traffic, given its small area, narrow access roads and the physical isolation being down the steep hills into the Flats. It's no doubt why RTA ran regular buses down there prior to the WFL's construction in 1996. I don't think your idea of "special events" services is logical for such a major rail instillation and running rubber-tired trolleys to compete with it... other cities with thriving waterfronts, like Baltimore, would love a service like WFL so intimately serving the prime destinations... Only in Cleveland would we blow off such a service.
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