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Old 04-04-2014, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The thing is, not that rail isn't useful, in the rush to get rail riders (read this as wealthy white people) the people who need the system most lose service.
How bizarre! First, wealthy people are a vanishingly small percentage of all people (white or not), so how could they (as a group) furnish any significant numbers of rail riders, or users of any other mode of public transit for that matter?

Second, since when do any significant percentage of even the tiny group of wealthy people take rail transit? What is your source for that?

What in the world did you mean by the sentence I quoted? It just boggles the mind. The only way I can make sense out of it is to think you lapsed into hyperbole and called potential middle class rail riders "wealthy".
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Those Who Squirm View Post
The difficulty with that argument is that it's often the more urbanized districts where you need rapid transit, regardless of whether city residents in other neighborhoods perceive it as fair or not. You can't solve urban mobility problems by throwing more buses on the street, however much you want to tweak the traffic lights.

I don't know whether I can defend the BART extension to San Jose, however willing I am to approve and applaud transit projects in general, but there's no question that it's a vital part of the local transit system in Oakland and the relatively small segment of SF proper through which it passes (the Muni obviously being much more important in the City).

Here in L.A., no Metrorail line came anywhere near me until recently, but I think the agency acted properly in beginning the system downtown; after all what other likely starting point would they have used? And, in fairness, the Blue Line between Long Beach and DTLA goes through some of the poorest and roughest areas in greater L.A. (less so now than in 1990), and it was inaugurated at almost its entire length years before the Red Line opened.
The problem is two fold. In general,we don't want to fund upkeep of existing systems. Minneapolis is busy building light rail to the places where no one rides transit. Meanwhile they don't have bus shelters in most places,evenly along heavily trafficked routes. We are building BART to San Jose, because BART is MTCs favorite child, but more people would be impacted by prioritizing muni upgrades immediately. Often times our transit funding priorities are illogical.
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:08 PM
 
900 posts, read 793,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The problem is two fold. In general,we don't want to fund upkeep of existing systems. Minneapolis is busy building light rail to the places where no one rides transit. Meanwhile they don't have bus shelters in most places,evenly along heavily trafficked routes. We are building BART to San Jose, because BART is MTCs favorite child, but more people would be impacted by prioritizing muni upgrades immediately. Often times our transit funding priorities are illogical.
Considering how Muni and BART share a few stations in the City, albeit not the same tracks, I would think that judicious improvements to Muni in that area would be very beneficial to both locals and suburbanite riders of the BART system.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:00 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
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
What in the world did you mean by the sentence I quoted? It just boggles the mind. The only way I can make sense out of it is to think you lapsed into hyperbole and called potential middle class rail riders "wealthy".
I think you both are using different definitions of wealthy. About half of DC subway riders have a six-figure household income:

http://www.cbsoutdoor.com/Tools/Rese...%20Profile.pdf

and just over half of LIRR riders:

http://www.cbsoutdoor.com/Tools/Rese...20Profile.pdfT
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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I came across this video when looking for stats on Capital Bikeshare (DC). While not related to rail, it plays on the theme of tax dollars being used to fund the lifestyle of a few.


Washington, DC's Capital Bikeshare: Tax $$$ for Rich, Educated, White Riders - YouTube
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I came across this video when looking for stats on Capital Bikeshare (DC). While not related to rail, it plays on the theme of tax dollars being used to fund the lifestyle of a few.


Washington, DC's Capital Bikeshare: Tax $$$ for Rich, Educated, White Riders - YouTube
Our bike share is screwed up too. They are doing a pilot in San Francisco and select Silicon Valley cities. FYI the bike share wasn't placed in the few Silicon Valley places where biking is a populate commute choice (Palo Alto and Mountain View), but in areas with no bike infrastructure and would be scary places to ride.

It has been 8 months now and 90% of the rides have been in SF. Literally, but I don't have the stats handy.

Meanwhile my part of the Bay Area did not got bike share in places with high bike ridership and infrastructure. (Ahem in Berkeley and Oakland which we all know are places with wide reputations for being hippy hipster and green and have lots of bike riders).

Anyway, they did the math, and more of the bike share members live in my county, it is 2nd place after San Francisco, and we don't even have stations. The counties with stations (San Mateo and Santa Clara county) have lower numbers of annual memberships than people in my county, Alameda. #smh

Bay Area Bike Share May Expand to Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville | KQED News Fix

*the east side (where Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and Fremont are the large cities) of the Bay Area is considered the "poor part of town"
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:54 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,723,738 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I think you both are using different definitions of wealthy. About half of DC subway riders have a six-figure household income:

http://www.cbsoutdoor.com/Tools/Rese...%20Profile.pdf

and just over half of LIRR riders:

http://www.cbsoutdoor.com/Tools/Rese...20Profile.pdfT
Well, yes, we were obviously using different definitions of wealthy. Assuming that LIRR stands for something like Long Island Rail Road, people with six-figure incomes in places like DC and Long Island are most decidedly not wealthy, although they could be called upper middle class. Wealthy means people who are rich, who have gobs of money, who could drive a Rolls Royce if they wanted to. Upper middle class people are financially comfortable, have nice housing and nice cars, but are NOT wealthy. It's like calling a hill a mountain.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:44 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,952,939 times
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[quote=jade408;34217747]Not exactly. In places where transit usage is higher, they are finding an increase in off-peak ridership as well.
Far Beyond Rush Hour: The Incredible Rise of Off-Peak Public Transportation - Eric Jaffe - The Atlantic Cities

Let's use the commuter example. Let's say your commuter bus ends at 6 every day. And you know that some days during the week (or many) you don't wrap up till 6 or 6:15. And it happens to be unpredictable. If the last bus comes at 6, you don't want to be worried about missing it. So you decide, screw it I am going to drive so I don't have to worry about going to happy hour after work or whatever.

Now let's say, you know there are plenty of options after 6, when the commuter bus is done. And it is easy for you to get home until let's say 9pm. It is much easier for you to choose transit, because you aren't particularly worried about missing the last commuter bus. You have options.[quote]

This re-affirms my points.


Quote:
The students were like 5-7% of the riders and seniors were a tiny bit more. I could have the ratios reversed, and I don't have the link handy. But they weren't the primary audience. Most people were working adults.
People under 24 and over 65 make up about 25% of ridership. 28% of riders aren't working for one reason or another. 34% are making less than $29k/yr. To complicate that further - roughly half of all riders live in 1 or 2 person households. The exact % may vary but this sort of pattern plays out fairly consistently in other OECD countries. (i've adjusted for inflation. 2007 was a while ago.)

My point was that simply stating household income isn't very helpful. There are a lot of other important variables and if you can't sort by other characteristics you really don't know much about your riders.

Quote:
I disagree, people at the lower end of the income scales spend all of the money they have (no matter how much it is). Basically every dollar in is a dollar out. This pattern doesn't change till quite a bit higher on the income scale. Likely 120% of the median or so. Those people start saving more, since they have more wiggle room. And they have different things to spend on. Poor people spend a higher percentage of income on necessities and food. Money spent on movie theaters is less, but money spent on things like groceries and sundries is high and pretty equivalent to others. Eating out budget is much smaller.
we're not talking about spending money per se. we're talking about how it relates to travel. Anywhere from 35-60% of transit trips are JTW (depending on the survey). Anywhere from 20-45% of trips are discretionary (social, shopping, etc). Assuming that we're somewhere in the middle that's pretty significant. It's also important to note that 26% of riders use transit 3 days a week or fewer and that number goes up to 35% for 4 days a week or less.

Poor people in cities with access to transit don't travel for shopping or to socialize on a regular basis. I've lived in neighborhoods well below the median for most of my life and, well, first of all, people are spending most of their income on rent and utilities. When people need food or other supplies its the corner store or walgreens. They walk. Same thing when they want to socialize. My anecdotes aside there have been volumes written recently on food deserts precisely because people won't travel for better (and usually cheaper) food. You can also find the same data in the ACS. Sure, my neighbors make the occasional trip to Wal-Mart or Old Navy on the bus but not in big numbers to go to work and definitely not to go to a bar, the movies, or for many other entertainment or social functions.

Quote:
Transit users are typically the "bottom 50%" of Americans. Why do we keep trying to make transit for the top 20% who doesn't really care.
You have roughly equal thirds of riders coming from households making more than $65k or less than $28k. But again, the relative wealth of these households is concealed by household size. The other 1/3 is in the middle . . . but it isn't about making transit for the top 20% or the bottom 20% but the middle 60% who have travel patterns and needs that are more similar than they are different.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:54 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,952,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The problem is two fold. In general,we don't want to fund upkeep of existing systems. Minneapolis is busy building light rail to the places where no one rides transit.
I've talked about this before but the criteria for rail are (generally) where it's practicable (where it's feasible and where the ridership exists) and where the political will exists. It would've been great if the first line went from Minneapolis to St. Paul but you can't make a neighboring county raise the money to do it and if they don't then you go with the 2nd best option. (see: Norfolk/Virginia Beach)

Quote:
We are building BART to San Jose, because BART is MTCs favorite child, but more people would be impacted by prioritizing muni upgrades immediately. Often times our transit funding priorities are illogical.
I've agreed many times that "BART around the Bay" is dumb but the reason it's done is because when counties contribute to your transit funding mechanism they expect to get something back for their money (see: Denver).
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:00 AM
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
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Well, yes, we were obviously using different definitions of wealthy. Assuming that LIRR stands for something like Long Island Rail Road, people with six-figure incomes in places like DC and Long Island are most decidedly not wealthy, although they could be called upper middle class. Wealthy means people who are rich, who have gobs of money, who could drive a Rolls Royce if they wanted to. Upper middle class people are financially comfortable, have nice housing and nice cars, but are NOT wealthy. It's like calling a hill a mountain.
Well-off would have been the better word. A household making $250k/year even in DC or NYC suburbs is definitely privileged and has access to things most people don't have. Could they drive a Rolls Royce? Maybe, but their income is still low enough it's a waste of disposable income. Btw, a number of inner NYC suburbs (though not most of them), mainly in southern Westchester have a median household income of about $250k/year but rather high transit ridership, mainly because they take the train to high paying Manhattan jobs. Not coincidentally, those towns have rather convenient rail access.

Anyhow, for both of those metros, rail has a slightly wealthier skew as it's used by workers of center city jobs that tend to pay better.
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