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View Poll Results: What should the quality of public transportation be?
There shouldn't be public transportation 10 15.87%
Bare bones 0 0%
High enough to keep the people who truly need it using it 2 3.17%
Sufficient in a pinch 1 1.59%
Adequate 0 0%
Reliable 4 6.35%
Better than expected 1 1.59%
Good 8 12.70%
Excellent 22 34.92%
Meets all my standards, and exceeds them. 15 23.81%
Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-14-2013, 08:04 PM
 
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It depends what you want the transit system to do. Do you just want it to provide lifeline mobility for the "transit dependent?" That implies a pretty minimal system, as a great many American cities have. Do you want to get some "choice" or "discretionary" riders to use the system to commute to work and school? You need more service, but not necessarily that many hours of the day. An awful lot of suburban commuter rail and express bus service is set up this way.

But maybe you want to make it possible for people to live without cars, or at least live with fewer cars. Then you need a richer system--one where the lines run more frequently, are close enough to walk to, and run later into the night, if not all night. If you want to create transit-oriented development where people actually reduce their car ownership and use the transit system, you will need a good level of service. This is what you see in the cities with the best transit--New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington.

This question gets particularly interesting in cities that are trying to move their residents to a less auto-dependent travel pattern. I'd cite Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle as examples of that. They really face the question of what does it take to support change.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,079 posts, read 102,815,223 times
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I really think you have an overly optimistic view of Portland. A poster here talked about a Portland newspaper interviewing ten people who moved into a "no parking" building. Among them they had 10 bikes. . . and 11 cars.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:19 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,869,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I really think you have an overly optimistic view of Portland. A poster here talked about a Portland newspaper interviewing ten people who moved into a "no parking" building. Among them they had 10 bikes. . . and 11 cars.
LOL, In Chicago you can safely assume that an apartment building has no parking(some do but probably 80% do not). There is parking on the street but a couple of apartment buildings can easily use up all the on street parking.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:21 AM
 
12,320 posts, read 15,244,934 times
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It should be attractive to all riders, not just those forced to or determined to use it. Ideally faster than driving, quality equipment, courteous staff, free WiFi and power outlets, quiet riding. Well-funded (this goes without saying) all transit board members required to be regular riders and compensated based on quality of service. Good reach, to all ends of the district. Ample parking at outlying stations, not based on residence in that suburb. But higher fares for nonresidents of the transit district. 24-hour operation to airports.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:55 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,397,686 times
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What should be the quality be? It should be top quality, meeting and exceeding my expectations. I don't see why anyone would want it any other way. Since transit times aren't on the order of a first-class flight or anything, just the basics are necessary for good quality. In brief, squeaky-clean, maintained in mint condition (preferably a new train or bus), fast and efficient, always on time, and providing comfortable, ergonomic, and clean seats where you are not packed in like sardines and bumping up against riff-raff. Good seats should look something like this and this. For trains and subways wi-fi should be available, and routes and destinations should be clearly and understandably marked on a map. That's what separates the good public transit from the merely average or the horrific.

A horrific public transit system would probably be one where the bus's interior is very hot or very cold; at minimum, it should be equipped with heat and A/C that is set to around 70F. If the seats were ergonomic and adjustable, and could recline, then that would exceed my expectations. Another way to exceed my expectations would be to have the maps equipped with an indicator showing where the bus/train is now.

I haven't ridden on any public transportation in years, so I'm less knowledgeable than most here, but I do have some knowledge and experience, and I know what it takes to have a bus or subway that impresses me.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,585,793 times
Reputation: 1487
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
It should be attractive to all riders, not just those forced to or determined to use it. Ideally faster than driving, quality equipment, courteous staff, free WiFi and power outlets, quiet riding. Well-funded (this goes without saying) all transit board members required to be regular riders and compensated based on quality of service. Good reach, to all ends of the district. Ample parking at outlying stations, not based on residence in that suburb. But higher fares for nonresidents of the transit district. 24-hour operation to airports.
Would you say that public transit has to/should be somewhere between "adequate" and "better than expected"?
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:13 PM
 
12,320 posts, read 15,244,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
Would you say that public transit has to/should be somewhere between "adequate" and "better than expected"?
Actually I prefer it to be excellent. "Better than expected" is all right if you are expecting high quality service. But if you only expect beat up buses, no trains, no attention paid to the schedule, surly drivers and uncomfortable riding, no.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:17 PM
 
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The real question is "How much transit are you, as a taxpayer, willing to pay for?" No transit system in North America, not even New York, covers its operating costs, let alone its capital cost. So how much transit construction and operation are you willing to pay for?
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:38 PM
 
12,320 posts, read 15,244,934 times
Reputation: 8121
^^
More than you think. No non-tolled highway system, even in Houston, pays its operating and maintenance costs from gas and license taxes. A far better use of my tax dollars than a football stadium or ethanol subsidies. Many drivers who would rather do time in a traffic jam of three hours to get ten miles than set foot on a high-quality transit system (I nominate Washington DC and Montreal Que. as two of the finest) don't realize how much they benefit. They may complain about how traffic doesn't move, but imagine piling even half the transit riders onto the roads.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:58 PM
 
9,524 posts, read 14,889,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
(I nominate Washington DC and Montreal Que. as two of the finest)
The D.C. metro suffers badly from a lack of express lines. And it's a hub-and-spoke system in an area where a majority of commuting is rim-to-rim.
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