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Old 11-08-2013, 02:49 PM
 
991 posts, read 922,550 times
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In our city we are installing a Streetcar line after a couple failed LRT proposals. I know Streetcars have also been discussed and are being built in other cities. I am confused as to why investing lots of money into LRT and/or streetcars makes more sense than investing in buses and BRT routes. Some of my arguments in favor of investment in buses are:

1) Buses/BRT lines are a lot more flexible - they can be rerouted a lot easier. Articulated buses provide as much capacity as light rail and/or streetcar vehicles.

2) Buses can be clean - hybrid technology, CNG buses, even electric bus lines can be environmentally friendly for much less capital intensive costs.

3) Buses can be easily placed into service to meet customer demand. LRT and Streetcars require a lot of initial planning and upfront capital investment - and then demand has to meet capacity. Buses can be purchased and pressed into service much more incrementally as demand allows - thus reducing wasted capacity.

The main arguments I have heard against buses are as follows:

1) People don't associate LRT and Streetcars with "lower class", whereas buses are. Why is this? I am a CPA, and I make a good living, and would love to take the bus to work if it were offered. I like to see the people get on and off at the stops and maybe meet some "route regulars". Are we that afraid of coming into contact with people of different socioeconomic backgrounds on a bus, and if so, why not then on a subway, LRT, or Streetcar?

2) Bus routes are confusing. I imagine that bus routes can be simplified into lines or segments that would be a lot more easily understood. Maybe switching route numbers for colors. I lived in Boston and the green line had 5 different trunks...and yet it was easy to keep it straight (I was on the E Line).

3) Streetcars are "icons". OK. But can't buses be as well....the bus has played a role in some of the most pivotal moments in American history.

Why is it that buses are seen as inferior to LRT and Streetcars?
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
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Rail is the Winner:
http://www.city-data.com/forum/28527533-post99.html
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:10 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,438 posts, read 18,355,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Sleuth View Post
Why is it that buses are seen as inferior to LRT and Streetcars?
-They seem like a 1950's mode of transport
-They stop more frequently
-They have less dedicated routes and are subject to the same traffic congestion (usually) as most other vehicles
-Most of us rode on busses as kids to get to school, don't feel like doing that again.
-Most cosmopolitan large cities have rail, urbanites simply prefer it
-Urban vibrancy and new infill development are usually condusive to rail and street car lines, busses definitely do not have this advantage
-It's easier (especially for visitors/tourists) to get familiar with rail and streetcar routes in cities, busses not so much.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:22 PM
 
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Smoother ride. Possibility of leaving the street and going on a private right-of-way to avoid congestion. Feeling of permanence with tracks and catenary. In some countries there is even food service on board. Amazing contrast with the US where hefty fines are levied on any riders eating or drinking.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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Buses & street cars have to share the road with cars which means they are bogged down in traffic unless they have their own dedicated separate right of way.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:36 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,992 posts, read 42,026,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
Smoother ride. Possibility of leaving the street and going on a private right-of-way to avoid congestion. Feeling of permanence with tracks and catenary. In some countries there is even food service on board. Amazing contrast with the US where hefty fines are levied on any riders eating or drinking.
Depends on where. No one seems to care if I eat on the local buses here. I think all commuter rail allows food or drink. LIRR allows alcohol, or at least tolerates it. I think Boston's subway allows food and drink on the train, the NYC subway definitely does.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:56 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,017 posts, read 102,674,652 times
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To Get Around Town, Some Cities Take A Step Back In Time : NPR
**City officials say for every public dollar spent, they will get two to three times as much private investment. But David Levinson, who teaches transportation engineering and economics at the University of Minnesota, says there's no guarantee. He says cities are better served upgrading their bus service.

"There's a lot of money you're just putting into the ground. It doesn't provide any transportation benefit. It's basically a lot of embedded capital that is costly that doesn't make the system work any faster," he says.**

I agree.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:58 PM
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
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
"There's a lot of money you're just putting into the ground. It doesn't provide any transportation benefit. It's basically a lot of embedded capital that is costly that doesn't make the system work any faster," he says.**

I agree.
But rail [usually] doesn't get stuck in traffic, so it's faster.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:08 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,017 posts, read 102,674,652 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
But rail [usually] doesn't get stuck in traffic, so it's faster.
Money sunk in the ground is money wasted, IMO. Speed is not something one expects in the city, and speed is not something one expects from streetcars, either, with their multiple, multiple stops.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:14 PM
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
45,992 posts, read 42,026,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Money sunk in the ground is money wasted, IMO. Speed is not something one expects in the city, and speed is not something one expects from streetcars, either, with their multiple, multiple stops.
Why?

As to speed, I responding to the claim rail wouldn't be any faster.
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