U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Pittsburgh
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
Old 04-11-2012, 01:14 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,747,988 times
Reputation: 2819
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
I'm mainly talking about off peak buses...which are probably the biggest money losers (in the short term).
Off peak buses definitely tend to spend the most in terms of labor and fuel per rider. On the other hand, you've already got the buses for use at peak, so it is not clear how much of those other cost categories you should really allocate to them.

In any event, that sort of bus service is mostly for the benefit of the elderly and other people who don't have the means or ability to drive. To the extent it is more costly, we are basically agreeing to pay those costs because of their need and lack of alternatives.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-11-2012, 01:15 PM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
3,290 posts, read 2,806,264 times
Reputation: 996
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
We've been through all this before. If you look at any given part of the state transportation system in isolation, then the vast majority of people in the state won't specifically care about that particular part. But most people understand that you need to look at the transportation system as a whole, not divide it up into a million pieces and try to hold a statewide referendum on each piece.
The difference is that you can still drive on a road with potholes but if a bus route is cut then you can't take a bus. So, people care more about the transportation funding problem in Allegheny County than the rest of the state because it is going to affect us first.

I would think that you might get a better result if people start asking for more money for roads and bridges as opposed to roads, bridges and public transportation. Again, the rest of the state does not care that bus routes are being cut. People in rural Pennsylvania do not think like intellectual liberal Pittsburghers.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 01:33 PM
 
4,619 posts, read 4,428,536 times
Reputation: 1956
Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
I would think that you might get a better result if people start asking for more money for roads and bridges as opposed to roads, bridges and public transportation. Again, the rest of the state does not care that bus routes are being cut. People in rural Pennsylvania do not think like intellectual liberal Pittsburghers.
So you mean Rural PA needs to see this happen:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
Before they'll be convenience about the Transportation Crisis?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 01:34 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,747,988 times
Reputation: 2819
Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
The difference is that you can still drive on a road with potholes but if a bus route is cut then you can't take a bus.
You can't drive over a bridge that has been closed (or fallen down), and eventually the road will disappear too without maintenance and repair.

So you are right there is a difference in terms of timing--when you cut funding for the operation of bus services, many people immediately lose their transportation, whereas with road funding the loss of transportation happens more gradually.

And that might have been enough to shield Corbett past the next election, except we have been underfunding roads for a long time too now, so the effects are showing up already (I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether there is an existential problem with Corbett being blamed for the poor policies of people who were kicking the can down the road in the past, when he is trying to kick the can down the road himself in the same way).

Quote:
I would think that you might get a better result if people start asking for more money for roads and bridges as opposed to roads, bridges and public transportation.
Actually, no. There is a reason why the state funding allocation looks the way it does: it represents a more or less stable outcome of the political process. In fact, if anything the balance should be shifting a bit more toward transit, as the large metros have been gaining population and economic share versus the rural areas.

Note there are some important quirks to how all this works. Allegheny County, for example, actually gets a lot less road money than it should from the state, and instead funds an unusual amount of its road expenditures locally. As Corbett's state transportation secretary admitted, this is generally true: the large metro counties are systematically contributing more to the road funds then they are getting back in spending, and vice-versa for the small rural counties.

A little knowledge of Pennsylvania electoral history indicates you can't actually win statewide elections or a majority of the state legislature with absolutely no help from the large metro counties (you don't need to actually win, say, the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but you do need to get a lot of votes from those metros). So why are the large metros consenting to being "robbed" in this fashion by the rural counties through state road funding?

Part of the answer, of course, is that the large metro counties get some of that money back in the form of transit funding. So, that helps level out the balance of transportation funding--not entirely, mind you, but enough so that the large metro counties don't completely revolt.

So if you propose eliminating transit funding but increasing road funding, that is the same thing as proposing to screw over the large metro counties a lot worse than they are already being screwed over. As a short term political strategy, who knows, maybe that could work (maybe it did in 2010, in fact, although I don't think people understood what was really going on). But it can't possibly work in the long term.

Incidentally, it would be very interesting if instead someone proposed something like this: the state will get out of transit funding, but it will then stop robbing the large metro counties so much through road funding, and let the large metro counties fund transit for themselves if they want to. That could actually be a deal worth taking for the large metro counties. Problem is, it could also be a terrible deal for the small rural counties, and so it might not be a viable plan either.

Quote:
People in rural Pennsylvania do not think like intellectual liberal Pittsburghers.
As an aside, I don't think you are giving those people quite enough credit. The truth is a bit more complicated, I believe: basically, they understand that the tide has been shifting in the state, and it is in fact likely that the large metros will increasingly assert their interests in these battles of funding allocation.

So, what we are seeing here is sort of the last gasps of a dying way of doing business in our state government. Unfortunately, thanks to a conjunction of circumstances that last gasp equated to real power after the 2010 elections, and there is no telling how much damage they could do in the short run before a stable political situation is restored.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Umbrosa Regio
1,334 posts, read 710,274 times
Reputation: 953
I think, generally, people have trouble recognizing a looming issue when the issue is only looming and not creating tangible, discernible problems. And it is that reluctance to deal with looming issues that may actually (HORRORS) cost money to fix that lead to disasters like the Minnesota Bridge Collapse.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Philly
8,670 posts, read 7,057,216 times
Reputation: 1979
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Off peak buses definitely tend to spend the most in terms of labor and fuel per rider. On the other hand, you've already got the buses for use at peak, so it is not clear how much of those other cost categories you should really allocate to them.

In any event, that sort of bus service is mostly for the benefit of the elderly and other people who don't have the means or ability to drive. To the extent it is more costly, we are basically agreeing to pay those costs because of their need and lack of alternatives.
that's why I noted short term. you can potentially save in labor and fuel immediately...in the long run, it's peak that's the most expensive since it requires the greatest amount of equipment. I bolded what i consider one of the issues in Pittsburgh, it's cultural. In NY, DC, and to a lesser extent, Philadelphia, people with means can and do take buses off peak. that said, perhaps not that many people in the city don't have the means to drive. in Philadelphia, for example, a good number of routes are crowded with retail workers and others who work off hours...at night, college kids crowd the late night buses to/from downtown. as you noted, the equipment is there already, do fares go towards labor and fuel. that's what's missing here. you get, "man, it's hard to get downtown on PAT." the bus runs every half hour, is reliable, and runs down a main thoroughfare at a decent clip..it's not hard! otoh, unlike those other places, parking is cheap and easy unless there's a big event on the north shore. PAT is $4.50 RT and parking is $5..in other places parking might be a lot more thus making transit a comparative bargain, not just the right thing to do if you're going to hit the bars.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 03:23 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,747,988 times
Reputation: 2819
I agree part of it is that driving is often cheap enough here to subtract a lot of potential demand off-peak, particularly when you can offset the costs of car ownership with cheaper housing. I also think our development patterns, which are a function of topography, can make it difficult to combine off-peak routing in a way that would be more efficient.

For good or ill, though, I think that demand balance is likely to shift as costs of driving go up, and more people living here put a premium on getting around without having to drive (even if they could afford to). So I do think there will be opportunities to attract more off-peak riders, if we can figure out how to give them an efficient system which makes sense.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
679 posts, read 354,713 times
Reputation: 475
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post

For good or ill, though, I think that demand balance is likely to shift as costs of driving go up, and more people living here put a premium on getting around without having to drive (even if they could afford to). So I do think there will be opportunities to attract more off-peak riders, if we can figure out how to give them an efficient system which makes sense.
I think a lot of people equate the cost of driving just to the cost of gas. Most people are going to complain, "Gas costs too much!" and not do anything to change and eventually we become complacent with the high price of gas. There will be a time in the near future where gas probably never goes below $4 a gallon. Remember when it hit $3 a gallon? Did it ever go back below that? We become complacent and complain. Some people adjust and get a better mileage car, take transit, carpool, etc. But if your carpool moves away and your transit route is cut, what can you do besides spending money on a new car?

They don't realize the costs of driving includes depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Philly
8,670 posts, read 7,057,216 times
Reputation: 1979
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
I agree part of it is that driving is often cheap enough here to subtract a lot of potential demand off-peak, particularly when you can offset the costs of car ownership with cheaper housing. I also think our development patterns, which are a function of topography, can make it difficult to combine off-peak routing in a way that would be more efficient.

For good or ill, though, I think that demand balance is likely to shift as costs of driving go up, and more people living here put a premium on getting around without having to drive (even if they could afford to). So I do think there will be opportunities to attract more off-peak riders, if we can figure out how to give them an efficient system which makes sense.
to be fair, it's easier to change development patterns than have two bus systems...one for work and an entirely different one for shopping or nightlife. there's a greater chance that nightlife will develop downtown than PAT will be able to accomodate lville to south side riders. it does not now appear that either will happen before the money runs out though.
I admit, I mostly have used routes off peak where geography works with them rather than against them (lville, bloomfield, east liberty to the strip/downtown especially).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2012, 03:47 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,747,988 times
Reputation: 2819
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmantz65 View Post
I think a lot of people equate the cost of driving just to the cost of gas.
I think parking, both at your destination and at home, will become a cost that people in the core area of Pittsburgh increasingly notice.

Then there is what might be called the opportunity cost of your time spent in transit. Young people are driving way less than they used to, and I think it is a good bet a good chunk of that is because young people would rather be doing something else with that time in transit. Specifically, a world in which almost everyone has a smartphone is a world in which time spent driving suddenly has a much higher opportunity cost.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Pittsburgh

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:10 PM.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top