U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 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.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 04-26-2013, 07:16 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,560 times
Reputation: 2924

Advertisements

Why does the author limit the debate to streetcars and buses? They are called light rail in most places, and are not the same thing as streetcars. Get with the times! The author's ignorance and lack of knowledge of the subject is revealing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-26-2013, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,920,328 times
Reputation: 10536
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Why does the author limit the debate to streetcars and buses? They are called light rail in most places, and are not the same thing as streetcars. Get with the times! The author's ignorance and lack of knowledge of the subject is revealing.
I would guess because he's responding to a proposal in Minneapolis to add streetcars.

You're right, he says nothing about light or heavy rail. He could be opposed to them, or in support. But the point of his column is only that streetcars are not superior to busses if you have to invest capital in setting up a system (obviously maintaining/upgrading a system on existing lines may be cheaper).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-26-2013, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,732 posts, read 9,843,323 times
Reputation: 9846
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Except the roads are already there and funded so they require much less additional government subsidy than streetcars.... How is that relevant to the infrastructure exisiting today?
In the short term, irrelevant. In the long term, very relevant.

There are rails that were laid in the 1870s still in use (date stamps, etc).
Paved roads last 3 - 7 years before needing repaving.

Rolling stock for railroads can last decades - some trams built in the 1890s are still in use.
Buses (and their engines) certainly are not that robust and durable.

If one checks all the costs and had the choice between expending resources for the paved road / automobile / petroleum system versus electric traction rail, rail would win just about in every category but one : convenience of door to door service - which a bus doesn't provide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Many streetcars were dismantled by transit agencies themselves rather the National City lines.
As to the article, the only major disagreement I have is with environmental impact. Not looking up the source now, by energy via electricity even from dirty, coal sources has much less emissions than from a diesel engine. And yes, an electric bus would be the same as a steetcar.
I suggest viewing this. Though it is biased in favor of urban rail, it shows the many ways it was deliberately destroyed by its competitors who used every trick including corruption in government to achieve their goal.
Taken for a Ride (documentary)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xg8h9kPfaQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
You'd want private business to build and mantain roads?!
Would it surprise you to find that most of the nation's infrastructure WAS privately owned and operated?
Private business did build and operate (toll) roads, bridges, ferries, railroads,etc, before the rise of the Progressives, who "took over" the infrastructure, starting in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (And we can see how well that's going. No one to blame, and anything that goes wrong, the taxpayer is stuck with the bill.)
In 1908, free to cross river - Times Leader
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
The high capacity of electric rail is great if there's demand for it, but for many routes there isn't so the advantage is irrevelant.
You miss the point. Rail based transit can scale with growing populations, unlike the automobile / bus. Look at the current traffic congestion. Building more superhighways and expanding roads is NOT the long term solution.
Rail is.
A robust urban rail system that might support multicar trains can also link to single track spurs where it would be cost effective to run a single car service to outlying areas.
Most, if not all cities, in the 1890s-1920s had electric streetcars serving them. Many towns and suburbs were laid out to accommodate them. If you find a main street with a curious odd number of lanes, it may have been laid out with a single track down the middle.

If the U.S. had responded to the Arab Oil Embargo, in 1973, with a national initiative to restore electric traction rail, we would not be in the sad shape we are today - hostage to our automobiles and stuck in Asian unWars.

But that was scuttled by "our friends" in the petroleum / pavement / automobile cartel.
Ray Bradbury Would've Crisscrossed LA With Monorails - Obits - Curbed LA
In 1963, Alweg proposed to the city of Los Angeles a monorail system that would be designed, built, operated and maintained by Alweg. Alweg promised to take all financial risk from the construction, and the system would be repaid through fares collected. The City Council rejected the proposal in favor of no transit at all. (thanks to Standard Oil)
LA's Worst Transit Decision

Rail is the Winner:
http://www.city-data.com/forum/24878438-post109.html
http://www.city-data.com/forum/28527533-post99.html

Last edited by jetgraphics; 04-26-2013 at 08:39 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-26-2013, 08:08 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,560 times
Reputation: 2924
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I would guess because he's responding to a proposal in Minneapolis to add streetcars.

You're right, he says nothing about light or heavy rail. He could be opposed to them, or in support. But the point of his column is only that streetcars are not superior to busses if you have to invest capital in setting up a system (obviously maintaining/upgrading a system on existing lines may be cheaper).

He claims that streetcars are obsolete around the world. Which is misleading and wrong, because they have largely been replaced by light rail in many US cities. And streetcars are certainly not obsolete in European cities.

And his argument is based on another fallacy, that buses are the 'more logical' choice. But therein lies the fallacy. What he fails to understand about basic human behavior is that people are not logical. They are not robots. They don't want to just get from Point A to Point B. They want to get to Point B in comfort and quiet. That's why they prefer to drive (when they have that option).

So if you want to get people out of their cars and using transit you have to offer them something that can compete with their nice quiet comfortable automobiles. Buses cannot do that because unlike silent electric streetcars they are neither comfortable nor quiet. Hence you're not going to get very many, if any, choice riders to give up their Beemers and Benzes by offering them the bus.

Yeah buses are cheaper but so are Geo Metros and Ford Pintos. You get what you pay for. But people want a little more than basic crude transportation. And rail transit can offer more. People want first world transportation not third world, otherwise they will stick to their cars.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-27-2013, 08:37 AM
 
1,429 posts, read 1,794,717 times
Reputation: 2201
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
The error of his argument is exposed when you realize that buses are only economical because of pervasive subsidy by the taxpayer.
The problem with government funding of rail - it's equally bad.
Your argument depends on the value judgement packed into one loaded word: 'economical".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-27-2013, 08:44 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,987 posts, read 41,947,535 times
Reputation: 14804
This French streetcar is cool looking:



But it's not comparable to the streetcars mentioned in the OP; it's running in its own right of way.

Montpellier tramway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-27-2013, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
11,265 posts, read 13,155,180 times
Reputation: 13459
^^^I like Toronto's new streetcars as well. I like the old ones better though.





Another thing that streetcar companies can do.....although I'm not sure if they do anymore, is move freight!

Back in the day here in Windsor, the W.E.&L.S. used to do it all the time.


They used these to pull boxcars on city streets:



and these as well, probably for fast interurban stuff:

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-27-2013, 05:05 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,560 times
Reputation: 2924
One of the things I like about modern streetcars and light rail are the separate cabins that physically isolates the operator from the passengers. Allowing the driver to operate the train free from distractions from passengers, greatly improving safety. Passengers can board anywhere, front or rear of the train because they buy a ticket before boarding. The operator never has to deal with passengers and fares and can focus solely on operating the train.

Edit: This also greatly improves your travel times because you can board immediately without standing in a long line in front of the bus waiting for everybody to put their money in the machine.

But on a bus passengers have to board the front of the bus so the driver can collect fares from everyone getting on. Which can and does result in disputes and conflicts between driver and passengers about not having the right transfer, not enough money, passengers who may refuse to pay, etc. Bus drivers have to deal with all kinds of problematic passengers on a daily basis which raises their stress level making them more prone to accidents because they are facing constant distractions from their driving duties. They not only drive the bus but also have to act as fare collector, customer service agent and security guard all at once. If someone doesn't want to pay they have to kick them off the bus and they may not want to get off. Bus drivers are vulnerable to physical assault at anytime since there is no physical barrier between them and the passengers. I'm guessing it must be a fairly high turn-over occupation.

Last edited by cisco kid; 04-27-2013 at 05:50 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-27-2013, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,371 posts, read 59,817,368 times
Reputation: 54016
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
Trolley buses, sometimes called "trackless trolleys" were quite a bit more common when I was a kid in the Fifties, but cities like Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre eventually gave up on them because of the high cost of maintaining the caternary (overhead wiring). To the best of my knowledge, only Seattle, San Francisco and Dayton(?) still have them
Dayton still has them. It's nice to not get a face full of diesel exhaust as the bus pulls away from the curb after dropping you off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
But therein lies the fallacy. What he fails to understand about basic human behavior is that people are not logical. They are not robots. They don't want to just get from Point A to Point B. They want to get to Point B in comfort and quiet. That's why they prefer to drive (when they have that option).
And in the least amount of time, with the least hassle possible. There are very few places where public transit of any kind fills those wants.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-27-2013, 05:18 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,659 posts, read 74,604,692 times
Reputation: 48167
not only street cars but all rail is hidiously expensive. bus lines are rapidly replacing train as the favored means of transport in japan, bus lines are easy to set up and easy to subcontract. a charter bus from kyoto to narit (tokyo) cost approx 1/3 of the cost of the train.
mexico has relied primarily on buses for my entire life.
our current promoted policies of new rail system building is nothing but a pork barrel by bankrupt governments and municipalities.
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:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

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, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top