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Old 04-06-2012, 11:36 PM
 
3,669 posts, read 2,696,177 times
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LRT has an endless list of advantages over buses, and here's another one: they are far superior at handling mobility devices. Notice how simple, quick and easy it is for elderly and disabled passengers to board on and off with their mobility devices:


Modern Streetcar and Mobility Devices - YouTube




Compared to bus boarding, which is torturously cumbersome and time-consuming:


Wheelchair Accessibility - YouTube

Notice how once on board, the bus driver has to wheel the passenger into place so the mobility device can be safely restrained. When the passenger wants to get off the bus, the driver again has to get up, remove the restraints from the mobility device and once again wheel the passenger and the mobility device onto the lift for off-boarding. The procedure is laughably cumbersome, especially for the other passengers on the bus who are forced to wait on it. It's almost comical.

With light rail, no special attention from the train operator is required. Unlike buses, LRT cars are so smooth that mobility devices do not need to be strapped in or specially restrained. Whereas buses are moving and stopping in such a harsh manner that mobility devices must be properly restrained, lest the passenger be thrown from his mobility device during acceleration and braking.

Boarding and exiting is also very cumbersome for passengers who are using a cane or a walker because they have to walk up several steps to get up into the passenger compartment. Then walk down several more steps to get off again. Which is very awkward and slow when you're using a walker or a cane. And potentially dangerous.

But with light rail, the boarding platform is approximately level with the passenger compartment, so the stairs are eliminated. Boarding and exiting is much easier, faster, simpler.

Bicycles

For cyclists, LRT is also a vast improvement:


Modern Streetcars and Bikes - YouTube




Noise and air pollution

Like cars, buses run on conventional combustion engines. So they create a great deal of noise pollution everywhere they go. Not to mention more air pollution. But LRT runs on electricity making it a lot cleaner and quieter.

Portland Modern Streetcar next to Sidewalk Cafe - YouTube

This streetcar in Portland is so quiet it runs through a pedestrian area within inches of a sidewalk cafe, making hardly a peep. Without disturbing the customers sitting at the tables as it moves past them. If that were a bus, you would hear that thing coming from a mile away due to the racket made by the big diesel engine, as well as getting a face full of exhaust fumes to go with your morning latte.

Economic development

LRT is known for revitalizing urban areas around the country. The same can't be said for buses.


In Portland's Pearl District, a run-down industrial area consisting mostly of abandoned warehouses, a $57 million investment in light rail generated 100 new projects worth $2.3 billion in new mixed-use development, including over 7,000 new housing units and 4.6 million square feet of office and retail space.

This pattern is repeated in other cities that have built light rail or streetcar lines.

- Wall Street Journal



Sex appeal

Streetcars are sleek and pleasing to look at. And much more pleasant to ride in. Compared to big, boxy awkward-looking buses which are an eyesore (and ear-sore).




Last edited by cisco kid; 04-06-2012 at 11:46 PM..
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:36 AM
 
Location: USA
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Tempe,AZ is getting a street car

Tempe Streetcar
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Bicycle hooks on the Portland MAX



I've put my bicycle on rapid transit and commuter rail.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
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Bike racks are pretty painless. I can slap a bike on a bike rack on a bus in a few seconds. On the new Orion VII's, the ramp deploys in less than five seconds. It does take a bit of time (30 seconds) to get a wheelchair tied down... but in either case, you can't really take off until wheelchair passengers are situated, unless you want to do passenger bowling.

Streetcars run about 3-4 million a pop vs the fancy diesel-electric buses running $400-500k. Streetcars run on rail, buses on streets. LRT are louder than anything but diesel buses... CNG and modern diesel-hybrids are quieter since a lot of them can run in electric only.
Edmonton Trolley Coalition
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
LRT are louder than anything but diesel buses... CNG and modern diesel-hybrids are quieter since a lot of them can run in electric only.
Are you sure about that?

Here's an MTA hybrid electric in NYC picking up passengers.
At 1:25 the 'clean hybrid electric' logo can be seen on the side of the bus.


MaBSTOA Bus: East Side Bound Orion 7 Next Gen. M16 / M34 at 9th / 23rd Street - YouTube


Judging by the video, I'm not impressed. When stopped and idling at the bus stop, the darn thing sounds like a lawnmower. And is even louder as it departing. I don't know how much of the electric part this bus actually uses but judging by the tractor-like sounds it is producing, I would guess very little. As you can hear from the video, it sounds every bit as loud as any of the old city buses that ran on 100% diesel.

From what I've seen, the concept of the 'clean and quiet' hybrid electric bus is more hype and marketing than reality.


Experiencing a CNG bus as a passenger


MTA Long Island Bus : On Board Orion V CNG #1635 on the N24 - YouTube

Good Lord that thing is loud, from the inside as well. Imagine riding in one. That engine is rumbling and shaking so hard, you are going to feel every last bit of the jaw-rattling vibration through those hard plastic seats. Whether CNG or hybrid-electric, these buses still have to use transmissions so again you must put up with the jarring shifting, knocking the passengers around like bowling pins.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
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Yup. Thing people don't realize with trams/streetcars is they're really loud too. Trams depend on condition of the rail, on some of the lines in Prague it was comfortable others not so much. Metal on metal screaming and clattering, tossed around on in the seats whine of the electric generator, and they use the same pneumatic doors that buses do. As loud as an old diesel bus, no, put still over twice as loud as a car.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Yup. Thing people don't realize with trams/streetcars is they're really loud too.
Not true at all. And previously you said hybrid electrics and CNG buses were comparable to LRT and streetcars in noise levels. Which I proved to be false. But here you are again making another dubious statement. Do you work for the auto or oil industry? Or have stock in them?



Riding in LRT/streetcars:


Portland Streetcar - YouTube


Riding Vancouver's Bombardier Flexity Streetcar! - YouTube




Notice how the passengers on-board are conversing in a nice, normal tone of voice as the trains are moving. Which is impossible to do on a running bus without having to shout at the top of your lungs. Note how dead silent the trains are while at a stop. In contrast to the NYC hybrid buses that sounded like leaf-blowers while idling at the bus stop...they're about as quiet as a semi-truck tractor trailer.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
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If you can't tell the difference in noise level between an idling bus and a leaf blower, there's no way in hell you could tell the difference between a tram and a bus. They're both loud, a diesel bus is louder than a tram, but neither come anywhere close to that of a leaf blower. So, I agree... you've proved that you obviously can't tell the difference in noise levels.

Like any normal person, I can hold a conversation on a bus. I don't know what kind of buses you've been on, but they sound like fun. The only time I haven't been able to hold a conversation on a bus was a college ski/snowboard bus. Keg plus 40 college students on a bus = loud. Cadillac quite? No, but then neither is a tram. In all of those videos you posted the trams are noisy, you can't hear the cars at all over the racket of the trams. Maybe all those selfish noise polluters should get a car and stop making so much noise. That would clearly be a much better choice than trams or buses.

Streetfilms | L.A.’s Orange Line: Bus Rapid Transit (plus bike path!)
I mean look at this old coot shouting to be heard. They had to to station him like a whole ten feet away from an idling bus and really have him talk in a normal voice to be heard. And then oo, wee, look at him shouting to be heard as the bus just roars on down the road. Yup.

Last edited by Malloric; 04-07-2012 at 05:46 PM..
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,752 posts, read 12,480,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Notice how the passengers on-board are conversing in a nice, normal tone of voice as the trains are moving. Which is impossible to do on a running bus without having to shout at the top of your lungs. Note how dead silent the trains are while at a stop. In contrast to the NYC hybrid buses that sounded like leaf-blowers while idling at the bus stop...they're about as quiet as a semi-truck tractor trailer.
I'd say that depends on the bus. The ones in my town aren't especially loud on the inside, even if you're sitting in the rear just ahead of the engine. I mean, they're certainly nowhere near as quiet as, say, a modern sedan, but people can easily have conversations at normal speaking volumes. I see them do it all the time.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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BTW here's a video of a Seattle street car, also showing a bus at the beginning of the video. It's kind of hard to compare the noise levels, though, because the bus was filmed much closer and a car drives by at one point when you see the street car. I mean, the street car is obviously quieter, but it's hard to tell exactly how much. I was in Seattle last weekend and wanted to get a closer look at the street cars but never did. I saw them from a distance, though. I like them.


King County Metro 27 and Seattle Streetcar-South Lake Union line at Westlake & Thomas - YouTube
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