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 03-11-2014, 07:29 AM
 
Location: north central Ohio
8,422 posts, read 4,365,792 times
Reputation: 4976

Advertisements

jade408 wrote:"But the biggest problem with this perspective that "mass transit sucks, it is never better than a car," is that it assumes everyone has access to a car. Depending on how you calculate things, 20-30% of Americans cannot drive at any given time. If we only build infrastructure assuming everyone will have access to a car, then the people who are carless by choice, circumstance, ability or age are stuck without mobility".

Most of the issues the author outlined are problems of user experience. Removing the need for exact change, comfortable and clean seating... all of these things take some will on the part of the transit agency. But we don't want to invest in transit (as Americans) because we thing of transit as something only for poor people. And the last thing we want is to be associated with "those people."

"It would be a pretty hilarious sketch comedy though, if they showed criminals "commuting" for crime".

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-11-2014, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,247,479 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
But the biggest problem with this perspective that "mass transit sucks, it is never better than a car," is that it assumes everyone has access to a car.
I don't think the author assumes everyone has access to a car. I think he recognizes the reality that most Americans do have access to a car and then provides reasons for why those people may choose to drive rather than take mass transit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 08:03 AM
 
223 posts, read 341,871 times
Reputation: 233
In many American cities, safety/comfort is unfortunately a factor. I am a HUGE fan of public transit, I would be insanely happy to not have a car, and want to see American investment in both light and high-speed commuter rail go way up.

BUT, as a resident of Baltimore, I almost never take the bus or train anymore. I tried, for about a year, and got tired of the harassment, feeling unsafe, witnessing fights (in one case guns pulled), and just plain hostility from the lower classes, to put it bluntly. It's VERY unfortunate, and obviously the people causing problems are a small minority, but it's still a problem.

I actually find it preferable to walk or ride my bike than take transit, and that's how I cut down on my environmental impact. At least I do get exercise.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,334,259 times
Reputation: 3562
While the author makes some good points, like valuing time, I feel like his inexperience with mass transit leaves him seeming a bit naÔve. For example, he talks about value on time. I agree that it’s usually faster in most places in the US to drive vs. transit (except for large cities with good/extensive transit systems, and even then…). However, he ignores the fact that he’s already living someplace and wants the transit system to just work for him. What I mean by this is that when people buy a house or rent an apartment, they consider their commute. He’s always been driving and now he wants to switch to transit and is seemingly disappointed that he can’t walk out the door and find a direct route via transit directly to his workplace.

Now that’s a real factor and cars do have an advantage there, but not all the time. If I buy a house knowing my commute on transit (to a busy downtown), and then I want to switch to driving. I could say, “the downside of a car is that while it can take me to exactly where I want to go, I now have to pay for parking, tolls and traffic is terrible.” Those may be real issues, but the perspective that I would be complaining from would be very narrow, because there are lots of places where traffic isn’t bad and parking is free.

He also assumes that all transit commutes disallow you to use your time productively onboard. I can very honesty say that I value my time, and in doing so, I get some exercise and outdoor exposure (which are very valuable whether people realize it or not) while taking transit (or biking). I also don’t RUSH from place to place. I find that my health has been better now that I take a little more time to get to work enjoyably (yes, this is subjective). So, it’s not really as straight forward IMO.

Other things like “exact change” are stupid. He obviously has no logistical empathy for what it’s like to run a bus through a busy neighborhood and have a fare machine that’s going to break your $20. Imagine pennies, dimes, etc. pouring all over the floor while the bus pulls away (not all bus drivers wait for you to get seated). It takes a little planning to adjust to the fare system when starting to use transit, and it’s a ****load easier than buying a car, getting a driver’s license, registering a car, etc.

Cargo? Well, it may not work for everyone, but it takes a little planning too. I had to go out and buy a messenger bag (some choose briefcases, etc.) in order to transport my stuff comfortably back and forth. Some things I leave at work to make it easier. Obviously, you can’t expect it to work the same way on transit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
Reputation: 26666
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post

Other things like “exact change” are stupid. He obviously has no logistical empathy for what it’s like to run a bus through a busy neighborhood and have a fare machine that’s going to break your $20. Imagine pennies, dimes, etc. pouring all over the floor while the bus pulls away (not all bus drivers wait for you to get seated). It takes a little planning to adjust to the fare system when starting to use transit, and it’s a ****load easier than buying a car, getting a driver’s license, registering a car, etc.
We have a single card that works for all most all 20 of the Bay Areas transit agencies. (It works on the big ones, they are wrapping up the small ones now). The card is for both people with monthly passes and everyone else. You can load it with cash value, and tag on to the transit system. No change or cash required.

When they finally finished this card implementation, I took transit more. All I need to do is keep it loaded with some cash and I can use transit almost everywhere. It is worry free, even if I go to different city.

Quote:
Cargo? Well, it may not work for everyone, but it takes a little planning too. I had to go out and buy a messenger bag (some choose briefcases, etc.) in order to transport my stuff comfortably back and forth. Some things I leave at work to make it easier. Obviously, you can’t expect it to work the same way on transit.
It is pretty rare I find that I have any more than a reusable bags (and my purse) worth of stuff. I keep one with me all the time, and it is no problem.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,247,479 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
While the author makes some good points, like valuing time, I feel like his inexperience with mass transit leaves him seeming a bit naÔve. For example, he talks about value on time. I agree that it’s usually faster in most places in the US to drive vs. transit (except for large cities with good/extensive transit systems, and even then…). However, he ignores the fact that he’s already living someplace and wants the transit system to just work for him. What I mean by this is that when people buy a house or rent an apartment, they consider their commute. He’s always been driving and now he wants to switch to transit and is seemingly disappointed that he can’t walk out the door and find a direct route via transit directly to his workplace.
But I think that's part of his point. In all American metros, there are more people living like him (in suburbs that are not within walking distance of public transit). And you may very well account for your commute when you decide where to live (not sure how many people don't think about that at all), but transit still may not be a viable option even if your job is less than five miles away. I don't think it's so much the author "wanting" transit to work for him specifically as it is him saying why many people find transit useless.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,247,479 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
We have a single card that works for all most all 20 of the Bay Areas transit agencies. (It works on the big ones, they are wrapping up the small ones now). The card is for both people with monthly passes and everyone else. You can load it with cash value, and tag on to the transit system. No change or cash required.
That was his dumbest argument by far. Even if there are cities where you need exact change for fare, that's a very minorannoyance imo. That's typically not a big problem for commuters who are in the daily habit of getting their coins together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
It is pretty rare I find that I have any more than a reusable bags (and my purse) worth of stuff. I keep one with me all the time, and it is no problem.
The cargo thing is the second most powerful argument after time savings as I see it. It can be tough getting a Christmas tree or a bag of sheetrock home on a bus.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,334,259 times
Reputation: 3562
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
But I think that's part of his point. In all American metros, there are more people living like him (in suburbs that are not within walking distance of public transit). And you may very well account for your commute when you decide where to live (not sure how many people don't think about that at all), but transit still may not be a viable option even if your job is less than five miles away. I don't think it's so much the author "wanting" transit to work for him specifically as it is him saying why many people find transit useless.
Then that's fair, and it is true.

The issue overall is really complicated, because it's my impression that a good number of Americans that drive do not want transit. Because of that, enough money doesn't make it to most transit systems to keep coverage/quality of service high. Then when people try to use it in the suburbs (or city), it doesn't have good enough coverage/service quality, and then they say transit is useless...and then probably vote against it...and it remains underfunded.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,334,259 times
Reputation: 3562
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
The cargo thing is the second most powerful argument after time savings as I see it. It can be tough getting a Christmas tree or a bag of sheetrock home on a bus.
While true, I think the premise is that people would use transit more for less burdensome trips. It's doubtful that a suburban commuter, who's giving transit a try to get to work, is going to get rid of the car all together and then will be lugging a Xmas tree onto a train. Again, the premise of this article is a commute to work or a night out with people.

As someone who has only one car, there are only a very few instances throughout an entire year that we use the car to get big/heavy stuff. In that case, there are lots and lots of options, all of which are only relevant if you don't have a car in the first place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-11-2014, 09:24 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,859,930 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
While the author makes some good points, like valuing time, I feel like his inexperience with mass transit leaves him seeming a bit naÔve. For example, he talks about value on time. I agree that itís usually faster in most places in the US to drive vs. transit (except for large cities with good/extensive transit systems, and even thenÖ). However, he ignores the fact that heís already living someplace and wants the transit system to just work for him. What I mean by this is that when people buy a house or rent an apartment, they consider their commute. Heís always been driving and now he wants to switch to transit and is seemingly disappointed that he canít walk out the door and find a direct route via transit directly to his workplace.

I agree but the author fails to notice that a car has a direct route to just about anywhere. That would give it an edge over most forms of transit. In addition the OP doesn't seem to fully realize how limiting not being able to drive somewhere can be and that public transit can't go everywhere all the time.

Quote:
He also assumes that all transit commutes disallow you to use your time productively onboard. I can very honesty say that I value my time, and in doing so, I get some exercise and outdoor exposure (which are very valuable whether people realize it or not) while taking transit (or biking). I also donít RUSH from place to place. I find that my health has been better now that I take a little more time to get to work enjoyably (yes, this is subjective). So, itís not really as straight forward IMO.


Commuter rail yes there is space and a seat available. Buses and the EL, be prepared to stand for the whole ride packed in. If waiting for Metra in the City and outside of downtown be prepared for stations that have no heat lamps and very little protection from the elements and no where to sit. If for the EL weak heat lamps and varying degrees of protection from the elements/places to sit. If on bus or EL be prepared to deal with beggars, mentally ill people, rowdy people, et.

Quote:
Other things like ďexact changeĒ are stupid. He obviously has no logistical empathy for what itís like to run a bus through a busy neighborhood and have a fare machine thatís going to break your $20. Imagine pennies, dimes, etc. pouring all over the floor while the bus pulls away (not all bus drivers wait for you to get seated). It takes a little planning to adjust to the fare system when starting to use transit, and itís a ****load easier than buying a car, getting a driverís license, registering a car, etc.
Suburbanites sometimes don't have a lot of experience with public transit. I once read a comment in a blog(which I like) which caused me to laugh. The guy was taking his very young child on public transit and surprised to find that public transit isn't very accommodating to changing diapers. He complained about having to get off the bus ect, and attempted to list some things to help(that I didn't think would work). I guess he unlike me hadn't got the hint that way many mothers deal with diaper changes is to do it on the bus while the passengers choose not to look her way!


Quote:
Cargo? Well, it may not work for everyone, but it takes a little planning too. I had to go out and buy a messenger bag (some choose briefcases, etc.) in order to transport my stuff comfortably back and forth. Some things I leave at work to make it easier. Obviously, you canít expect it to work the same way on transit.
Small, lightweight amounts of cargo not a problem on public transit. It is more the heavy, bulky, or valuable stuff that you have to worry about.
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
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