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Old 03-10-2014, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,248 posts, read 26,214,003 times
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Thoughts?

Why People Don't Use Mass Transit
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,161,233 times
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Biggest issue for me is time cost. Depending on factors such as departure and destination points, mode of travel (train vs bus), number of transfers, availability of free or near-free parking at my destination, etc., it is usually much less time-consuming and more convenient to just drive. As an extreme example it once took me 40 minutes to get somewhere by bus that I could have driven to in less than 15. And this was in the middle of the day, not at 2am when they operate a skeleton system.

Notable exception is heading downtown where parking is stupid-expensive. Even during off-peak hours the 24-hour enforcement of ridiculously expensive meters whose prices make sense during peak demand but aren't adjusted downward during off-peak times makes it pricey to park downtown nearly any time of day. There are precious few spots where parking is free and unrestricted (that is, no resident parking permit required) or where meters aren't enforced 24/7, but the fact that they are enforced 24/7 in much of downtown means the few free spots are roughly 100% occupied roughly 100% of the time. During rush hour, getting downtown by train can be just as quick or quicker than by driving, particularly if you happen to live near an L or Metra station, which thankfully I do on both counts.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:04 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,554,265 times
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There seem to be fewer people who don't use mass transit these days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/us...port.html?_r=0
Quote:
PHILADELPHIA — More Americans used buses, trains and subways in 2013 than in any year since 1956 as service improved, local economies grew and travelers increasingly sought alternatives to the automobile for trips within metropolitan areas, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report released on Monday. The trade group said in its annual report that 10.65 billion passenger trips were taken on transit systems during the year, surpassing the post-1950s peak of 10.59 billion in 2008, when gas prices rose to $4 to $5 a gallon. The ridership in 2013, when gas prices were lower than in 2008, undermines the conventional wisdom that transit use rises when those prices exceed a certain threshold, and suggests that other forces are bolstering enthusiasm for public transportation, said Michael Melaniphy, the president of the association.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,323,056 times
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I live in a small city in a largely rural county where mass transit is so limited it might as well not exist.

However, for 20 years I lived in a large city with a decent mass transit system, and for another 10 years I lived in the suburbs of a medium sized city with decent mass transit. I cannot disagree with the author of the article. My time was and is much too valuable to me to waste it waiting for a bus, riding in a crowded bus, arranging my work hours to fit a bus schedule, etc. I found that unless I wanted to go from home to downtown or vice versa, I couldn't "get there from here" in any reasonable amount of time.

OTOH, taking the train from Albany to NYC and back was always an enjoyable experience because it was convenient and it was comfortable.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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I don't think transit works for all trips, but I don't also buy this author premise completely either:

Quote:
I live eight miles from campus. At a dollar a mile by car, it costs $16 to commute. It takes about 20 minutes each way, so figuring my salary at $25 an hour, the cost comes to about $33. Occasionally I bicycle. It takes 45 minutes each way. The cost of bicycling alone is only $2 a day, but the time cost is $37. It costs $39 a day to commute by bicycle. By mass transit, I have to walk to the bus stop, go downtown, transfer, and travel a winding route to campus. Total fare is $2.50, and counting time walking to and waiting at the bus stop at either end, it takes at least 45 minutes to make the trip by bus, bringing the total cost to around $40.
So for his bike riding example. He has it as "expensive" because it takes 45 minutes. But that doesn't factor in the 2 birds with one stone idea. If spending 90 minutes on your bike means you don't spend an hour at the gym. You come out ahead right.

So lets say the time used for commuting and going to the gym is 40 minutes for the commute, 60 minutes to exercise, and 10 minutes each way to get to the gym. So we've got 2 hours for time at the gym and getting to work via car.

And biking to work/no gym: 90 minutes. So technically, he earns $12.50 and gets 30 minutes back.

I have a multiplier for transit. It is generally ok, if the time expediter is 50-75% more than driving. Because the positive effect of being able to multi-task by reading, emailing, or slacking off is worth it for me. Not if it takes 2X, then it is too long. There is a transit bonus if I can add in a little extra activity (and it makes sense for the rest of the stuff I have planned).

Now if the transit stop is 2 miles away and it only runs 1x and hour, then the transit math doesn't work out.

They key thing on if transit will work is proximity and frequency. If you are missing one of those, then transit doesn't make sense.

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.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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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. 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.
Last year, I had to take my car in for repair, and it ended up taking several days because they needed to order a part. My insurance pays for a one day rental as a loaner, so I could have got the rental loaner, and then paid for the rental for the rest of the time. But my neighborhood is pretty transit friendly, so I declined, and used their courtesy shuttle to take the train home. And managed just fine with out my car for 4 days. I took the train to work (at a client's office), the bus to the grocery store and my other errands. There were options and alternatives for me to et around without my car.

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."
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:18 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Last year, I had to take my car in for repair, and it ended up taking several days because they needed to order a part. My insurance pays for a one day rental as a loaner, so I could have got the rental loaner, and then paid for the rental for the rest of the time. But my neighborhood is pretty transit friendly, so I declined, and used their courtesy shuttle to take the train home. And managed just fine with out my car for 4 days. I took the train to work (at a client's office), the bus to the grocery store and my other errands. There were options and alternatives for me to et around without my car.

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."
You know, I was with you, including the quoted post of yours that won't show up here, until those last two sentences.

Good grief, stop with the damn conspiracy theories! All these bazillions being spent on light rail benefit commuters, many of whom of are quite well off. In Colorado, and I believe in your state of California as well, all taxes have to be voted on by the public. There would be NO light rail in metro Denver if the much maligned conservatives in the burbs hadn't voted in favor of it.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
You know, I was with you, including the quoted post of yours that won't show up here, until those last two sentences.

Good grief, stop with the damn conspiracy theories! All these bazillions being spent on light rail benefit commuters, many of whom of are quite well off. In Colorado, and I believe in your state of California as well, all taxes have to be voted on by the public. There would be NO light rail in metro Denver if the much maligned conservatives in the burbs hadn't voted in favor of it.
I am being tongue in cheek here (this is sort of an american value here, comments about the expansion of transit always seem to imply criminals come too).

But I'll just say, here in CA, our MTC (the transportation commission) has a favored agency....BART which mostly serves the suburbs. When they did the math on both representation and funding priorities, the agency had higher representative for the communities who use transit less, and also spent more money on the agencies that benefited the suburban areas. Aka the choice riders. We prioritize the needs of the choice riders in general.....

Last edited by jade408; 03-10-2014 at 03:36 PM..
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,248 posts, read 26,214,003 times
Reputation: 11701
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
So for his bike riding example. He has it as "expensive" because it takes 45 minutes. But that doesn't factor in the 2 birds with one stone idea. If spending 90 minutes on your bike means you don't spend an hour at the gym. You come out ahead right.
What if my workout routine consists of the following:

Benchpress
Squats
Lunges
Lat Pulls
Calf raises
Full court basketball
Swimming
A set of tennis
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
Reputation: 26642
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
What if my workout routine consists of the following:

Benchpress
Squats
Lunges
Lat Pulls
Calf raises
Full court basketball
Swimming
A set of tennis
Yup then maybe that bike ride is your warmup.

It depends....but if you lets say have a goal of being "active" for 2 hours adding activity to your commute cuts off one item on your to do list.

I try to schedule in transit time (since i can multi-task) before my board meetings. It is a great time to read the 20-30 page docs I have to review instead of devoting time in the evening. And i can't do it on my drive to work. I do the same before book club. It is like a free 45 minutes!
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