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Old 04-01-2014, 01:01 PM
 
333 posts, read 326,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
I was reading about farebox recovery ratios and it seems like few public transit systems can really get by without subsidy but I was wondering if there were any that do get a net profit. I don't think many American transit systems are private, but for the public ones that earn a net profit, if they do, where does it usually go (or where would it go)?

It seems like all of the ones I've read about in cities that earn enough money from fares to pay for themselves are examples from cities not in the US. Then again, you can also earn from other sources like ads, not just fares.

Would any American ones do? Which US cities' systems do you think would get a net profit?
I think Chicago area transport can if they didn't have 40+ board members over 3 agencies. Also it's hard unless you have a lot of riders, like you see in Japan. There is a reason that Japan has like 18 out of 20 of the world's busiest train stations, and they have the traffic to support the best rail system in the world. In the US, you don't have many people taking public transit. And only a few areas can support it. If more people took the train like they did in 1920, then I can see them being more profitable. Otherwise, the lack of commuters makes it hard to support an expensive rail line.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
It's important to note that most of that bus ridership happens in the big cities that also have rail systems and that those bus riders are also rail riders and vice versa.

It's also important to point out that the benefit of transit isn't just in JTW trips or the transit mode share for all trips. It's in how much having a good transit system can also divert trips to walking or cycling.

% mode share - walking/cycling/transit/car

Indy - 2/1/2/92
Dallas - 2/0/4/89
Phoenix - 2/1/3/88
LA - 3/1/11/78

Portland - 6/6/12/70

Seattle - 8/3/20/63
Philadelphia - 9/2/25/60
San Francisco - 10/3/32/46
DC - 11/2/27/43
Boston - 14/2/25/45
Look at LA and Portland. While Portland is the poster child and Los Angeles the whipping boy, transit is actually very similar. Identical, or near enough with LA beating Portland by a whisker, transit scores, similar utilization of transit. Portland just has a culture of bicycling and walking that most of LA does not. Walkable really tends to help transit since you have to walk if you use transit, which isn't really the case with bicycle.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:38 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Look at LA and Portland. While Portland is the poster child and Los Angeles the whipping boy, transit is actually very similar. Identical, or near enough with LA beating Portland by a whisker, transit scores, similar utilization of transit. Portland just has a culture of bicycling and walking that most of LA does not. Walkable really tends to help transit since you have to walk if you use transit, which isn't really the case with bicycle.
However, Los Angeles is much denser than Portland, so you could argue that it underforms in non-car transport than what one might expect. I think attractive walking environments get more "urbanist" attention or whatever you want to call it. From my visit, somehow Portland seemed like a really nice city from a pedestrian perspective, especially given it's not that dense. It was obviously mostly car-dependent despite the hype that it's not, but the areas around downtown were good walking neighborhoods and probably some of the little subcenters east of the river.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:48 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,284 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Look at LA and Portland. While Portland is the poster child and Los Angeles the whipping boy, transit is actually very similar. Identical, or near enough with LA beating Portland by a whisker, transit scores, similar utilization of transit. Portland just has a culture of bicycling and walking that most of LA does not. Walkable really tends to help transit since you have to walk if you use transit, which isn't really the case with bicycle.
There are obviously other factors at play - most notably climate and the geographic size of a city - but there's still a pretty clear and strong correlation between higher transit use and higher walking mode share.

In places like LA where a regional transit system is relatively new, transit mode share grows quickly but then at a certain point you start to see walking grow faster. That walking mode share wouldn't be possible if not for those transit systems. LA is a large city with a massive population - Portland can reach its tipping point (towards more walking) faster because more of the potential origin/destination pairs are within walking distance. As transit and bike/ped infrastructure in LA gets built out we'll probably see the splits there evolve to something like 8/4/20/68

When people drive everywhere they drive everywhere. If you drive to work you probably drive to lunch. If you have to run an errand on the way home from work you're going to drive there because you're already in your car. If I use transit regularly I not going to drive to the Rite-Aid because I'm going to walk past one on my way home. I'm not going to drive to pick up a birthday present for my sister, i'll walk somewhere while I'm on my lunch break.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:00 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
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The Portland / LA difference partly disappears once you look at the entire metro:

Transit/walk/bike commute modal shares for selected Metros/Cities - 2011 - SkyscraperPage Forum

Victoria sticks out: average transit use, but the highest walk mode share in North America, size is probably the explanation. Splitting cities up will show a larger transit/walk difference. City centers tend to have the highest walk mode, while no higher transit share than districts right outside. Brooklyn is 61% transit, 9% walked; Manhattan 58% transit, 21% walked. Comparing European cities, you can find a lot with similar car mode share, but varying walk/bike/transit splits. NYC (city proper only) is similar in car mode share, but with higher transit and lower walking/biking. Again, perhaps size, but greater centralization might also be why.

Old Urbanist: Bikes, Transit and Traditional Urbanism
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
When people drive everywhere they drive everywhere. If you drive to work you probably drive to lunch. If you have to run an errand on the way home from work you're going to drive there because you're already in your car. If I use transit regularly I not going to drive to the Rite-Aid because I'm going to walk past one on my way home. I'm not going to drive to pick up a birthday present for my sister, i'll walk somewhere while I'm on my lunch break.
I think when you have decided that walkability is an important amenity for you, it will also weigh in on your job location too. I worked for a few years in a completely un-walkable office park. There was no hope for transit. I think it would have requires like 1 bus - train - 2 buss connection. And the bus closest to the office only ran 1x an hour, ended at 6-7. The nearest food options were a taco truck in the next parking lot, a horrible deli 2 strip malls down and a Jack in the Box 1.5 miles away. If you wanted to do any errand or wanted remotely tasty food you need to drive 3-5 miles. I told myself never again. The next job with in a CBD. And the one after was work from home. As I was ready to transition this time, I had a short list of 3 contenders:
1. transit accessible, but in a neighborhood I don't particularly like. Around an hour on transit each way (with 1-2 connections, depending), and driving wouldn't have worked (traffic + lack of parking)
2. driving commute, office park area
3. driving commute, mid-sized city downtown

I chose option 3. Even thought i have to drive to work, there are a zillion things in walking distance from the office, to make lunch time errands really easy. Like yesterday I stopped at radio shack, went to the bank and picked up takeout: 20 minutes door to door. I have fit in errands at the post office

If I worked in the more suburban office park (option 2 is in the same city), I wouldn't have the same flexibility. You have to drive to everything, and it was more spread out than where I work now. So simple lunch time errands would take 60-90 minutes. For me, location is important, and the density of stuff around the location is critical. I don't want to have to get in my car to go to lunch or take a coffee break.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Paris
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Kinda off topic, but I was surprised to see that Amtrak isn't profitable. Do railway companies pay for railroad maintenance in the US or are these costs covered by another entity so different companies can run trains on the same tracks and to which said companies pay a toll?
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:42 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
There are obviously other factors at play - most notably climate and the geographic size of a city - but there's still a pretty clear and strong correlation between higher transit use and higher walking mode share.

In places like LA where a regional transit system is relatively new, transit mode share grows quickly but then at a certain point you start to see walking grow faster. That walking mode share wouldn't be possible if not for those transit systems. LA is a large city with a massive population - Portland can reach its tipping point (towards more walking) faster because more of the potential origin/destination pairs are within walking distance. As transit and bike/ped infrastructure in LA gets built out we'll probably see the splits there evolve to something like 8/4/20/68

When people drive everywhere they drive everywhere. If you drive to work you probably drive to lunch. If you have to run an errand on the way home from work you're going to drive there because you're already in your car. If I use transit regularly I not going to drive to the Rite-Aid because I'm going to walk past one on my way home. I'm not going to drive to pick up a birthday present for my sister, i'll walk somewhere while I'm on my lunch break.
That's fine if you have a Rite-Aid to walk by on your way home. Many people live in residential neighborhoods and when they get off the bus they have nowhere to go but home. If you work downtown, why wouldn't you walk somewhere at lunch?
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:44 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
45,990 posts, read 41,989,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
That's fine if you have a Rite-Aid to walk by on your way home. Many people live in residential neighborhoods and when they get off the bus they have nowhere to go but home.
I've repeated this before, but I never got what you mean by "residential neighborhood". No stores whatsoever? Buses usually run on commercial streets. 5 or 10 minutes away it might be all residences. So get off bus, stores then home. I was going to say the same about downtown...
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:46 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,897 posts, read 42,143,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rozenn View Post
Kinda off topic, but I was surprised to see that Amtrak isn't profitable. Do railway companies pay for railroad maintenance in the US or are these costs covered by another entity so different companies can run trains on the same tracks and to which said companies pay a toll?
Amtrak was formed from the bankrupt wreckage of passenger railroads. They, obviously, weren't profitable either.
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