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Old 03-12-2015, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
Good mass transit is available in only a few metros, and even there not as comprehensive. Buses are horrible in most locations. The Cardinal of Chicago, upon being told that the new Pope used to ride the bus in Brazil, "Maybe the buses are reliable there." Rail is more attractive, but there are ways to improve buses: entertainment options, signal priority, special lanes where necessary. If the powers that be could be convinced to do so.
Is it really that the buses are horrible? Or is it more the case that sprawling, low density cities rely almost exclusively on buses, thereby reinforcing the association between buses and poor transit quality?
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Is it really that the buses are horrible? Or is it more the case that sprawling, low density cities rely almost exclusively on buses, thereby reinforcing the association between buses and poor transit quality?
I think it's just social stigma cause the poors ride the bus. After all, when buses were first introduced, they were considered to be high-class, and people couldn't wait to get off the noisy old streetcars. Now things have completely inverted.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Is it really that the buses are horrible? Or is it more the case that sprawling, low density cities rely almost exclusively on buses, thereby reinforcing the association between buses and poor transit quality?
Frankly, I find a good bus system *superior* to the "light rail" systems that all too often have replaced it. What was once a good commuter bus system to get me from my neighborhood to my work and back becomes a system that has me drive to a light rail station, park it, and ride into downtown--and that only is helpful if I work downtown.

In all too many cities, light rail systems were put in that cannibalized the existing bus system and transit ridership dropped as a percentage of population, and sometimes even in absolute terms!
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:14 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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I think light rail has an advantage when there are dense, heavily used corridors. Otherwise, a few lines will randomly get light rail instead of bus, and unless the old bus lines are kept, those not on the line have to take feeder buses or drive to a station.
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I think it's just social stigma cause the poors ride the bus. After all, when buses were first introduced, they were considered to be high-class, and people couldn't wait to get off the noisy old streetcars. Now things have completely inverted.
But the bus seems to have more of that stigma in sprawling metropolises like Atlanta where the average middle class resident owns a car. In fact, I wouldn't even say that stigma is necessarily limited to the bus. For a lot of Atlantans, I think MARTA rail has as much of a negative connotation as the buses. Riding either one suggests that you can't afford a car. And for a long time, that's how transit overall was viewed in the metro area. It was how the poor got around.

When people think of "the bus" in the United States, they likely think of exposed, open air stops in low density, poorly designed autocentric cities. When they think of rail, they likely think of dense, urban neighborhoods and everything that comes along with that.
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:45 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
But the bus seems to have more of that stigma in sprawling metropolises like Atlanta where the average middle class resident owns a car. In fact, I wouldn't even say that stigma is necessarily limited to the bus. For a lot of Atlantans, I think MARTA rail has as much of a negative connotation as the buses. Riding either one suggests that you can't afford a car. And for a long time, that's how transit overall was viewed in the metro area. It was how the poor got around.
Conversely, there isn't much of a bus stigma in Seattle. Regular bus riders live in households about 20% poorer than non-riders, not a huge difference.

http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/repor...der-survey.pdf

[page 26]
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Conversely, there isn't much of a bus stigma in Seattle. Regular bus riders live in households about 20% poorer than non-riders, not a huge difference.

http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/repor...der-survey.pdf

[page 26]
I think too much of a deal is made of bus stigma. I prefer to ride a train if given the choice between the two but that preference is not strong enough to govern my decision-making. If it's useful, I'll ride it, and I suspect most people will act similarly.

One of the many (and there are many) justifications for the DC streetcar is that it will attract transit riders who otherwise would not use transit. But why would someone who is now paying $20 per day to park in a central business district all of a sudden stop doing that? The fact that they're willing to pay such a high price for parking, imo, says more about their attachment to their private vehicle than it does about any distaste for a bus. In all likelihood, you're dealing with a person who has an aversion to any mode of public transit, not just the one on rubber wheels.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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The bus is not heavily stigmatized as a form of transit in Pittsburgh. This makes some sense, considering Pittsburgh only has a few light rail lines, and they don't go to the portion of the metro most people live in. Still, it's totally normal for a generic downtown office worker to take the bus to work here, which isn't the case in many (if any) other rust-belt cities.

Still, the example of Atlanta versus Seattle, and now thinking about Pittsburgh, makes me wonder if there is a racialized component of this as well. Buses (and mass transit more generally) tend to be viewed more negatively when there are more black people in a city.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,248 posts, read 26,214,003 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Still, the example of Atlanta versus Seattle, and now thinking about Pittsburgh, makes me wonder if there is a racialized component of this as well. Buses (and mass transit more generally) tend to be viewed more negatively when there are more black people in a city.
Washington, DC is as Black as Atlanta and the bus there doesn't have any stigma at all. It is true that the rail ridership is whiter, but it's also true that Metrorail serves the metro area at large, which is whiter than the city proper. If you go to any popular core neighborhood in the city, you will often see buses that are 80-85% White.

I just don't see the bus stigma in the real world. I think it's probably more of an issue in places where driving is a very real alternative to transit. But for many people in denser cities, it's not, which means they need to quickly get over any bus/rail snobbery. Land use and job concentration drive transit, not preferences.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
One of the many (and there are many) justifications for the DC streetcar is that it will attract transit riders who otherwise would not use transit. But why would someone who is now paying $20 per day to park in a central business district all of a sudden stop doing that? The fact that they're willing to pay such a high price for parking, imo, says more about their attachment to their private vehicle than it does about any distaste for a bus. In all likelihood, you're dealing with a person who has an aversion to any mode of public transit, not just the one on rubber wheels.
If the streetcar connection is more convenient than the metro stops, they may consider doing the park and ride. From the maps, it looks like it is designed in part to serve locations in between Metro stops. You can drive to a park-and-ride, but you generally only have your feet on the other end.

But it could also have something to do with park-and-ride parking fees and peak hour fares. Just looked it up, and Shady Grove parking is $5.10/day, which combined with round trip rush hour fares may not be saving much money compared to $20/day (if it's really this cheap?). Although if you get one of the monthly reserved spots ($45) you save more money and not have to waste time to look for a spot either. With fares it's difficult to save, since It looks like monthly rail passes for the DC metro are $237, which sounds pretty expensive! Also, any tolls would also factor in to all this.
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