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Old 06-21-2007, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,548 posts, read 14,713,156 times
Reputation: 2730

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casden wrote:

> > > Hopefully regional traffic planning and public transportation
> > > proposals (like a light rail system) will become realities ...

Mortimer responded:

> > I hope not. Light rail, IMO, is just a very expensive bus on a
> > horrendously expensive road that sucks tax dollars that could
> > be used to expand and improve the 'normal' bus system and/or
> > in the case of bigger cities prevent and slow the development
> > of rapid rail.

> > For some reason, if it has metal 'tires' people assume it's better.

abqsunport said:

> Yeah I agree...light rail doesn't seem all that fascinating to me
> because it still takes up a lot of land. However it would still
> ease trafic more than a bus would--because a bus is still
> part of traffic. I am more for a monorail, maglev, or subway
> type solution. However any of the three I just mentioned
> would be BIG $$$.

I like the subway idea for *really* congested places.

There is nothing a lightrail can do that a bus cannot do.
A bus does not have to be part of traffic.

I have seen lightrail run above the street, on the street, in between
the lanes (ie. N and S - bound lanes) and in the middle of farm fields.
There is no reason that a bus cannot be run in those same locations.

The benefit is that the bus can be diverted to the normal lanes
of traffic at no cost whilst the 'track' is being repaired. The difference
is the bus costs, what? $100k? The same capacity in a railcar?
Probably ten times that.

I've seen cost quotes for lightrail line up to $250k per foot.

Lightrail is for those who can't do math.
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:04 PM
_yb
 
Location: Central New Mexico
1,120 posts, read 4,902,139 times
Reputation: 836
NM will not even be able to afford to finish the rail runner line in the next couple of years much less continue to operate it. The cost estimate are about 60 dollars for the taxpayer for each 3 dollar fare.

How in the heck will Marty be able to afford the estimated 700 million dollar price tag for a light rail system for Abq?
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Old 06-21-2007, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
3,690 posts, read 8,064,288 times
Reputation: 2956
NM has plenty of funds for the rail runner. Fed money is covering part of it. Tax revenues from huge natural gas revenues cover another part.

Look at the cost of adding 2 lanes to I-25 between Belen & Santa Fe, and compare with the cost of improvements and additions to the rail line. No comparison, rail runner wins out, particularly when you factor in the number of trains and passenger carfulls you can run on that track versus two lanes of interstate.

You don't have to take the rail runner to benefit from it. In front of you, on I-25, imagine that out-of-towner driving 55 in a rental from the airport to fulfill their dream of shopping in Santa Fe, holding you and the rest of the heavy traffic up. Now imagine them taking the rail runner instead.
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Old 06-21-2007, 08:24 PM
_yb
 
Location: Central New Mexico
1,120 posts, read 4,902,139 times
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State is still waiting on 75 million from the feds. That will probably never happen. The feds are already funding failing public transportation projects in much larger city's
State legislators are already concerned about were the revenue to run the RR will come from. They are just to scared to talk about it yet until you know who is gone.

I do use the RR some. It's a great bargain fo me at 3 dollars a day a cost to the taxpayer of nearly 60 bucks everytime I get on the thing. doh.
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:41 PM
 
4,405 posts, read 9,275,759 times
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Give it a chance, folks. Dallas' light rail is awesome. They purchased existing track right of way that wasn't being used by the regular railroads. Voters were initially opposed until the first leg went active. Funding has since been approved in multiple ballots for expansion. It can and does work, when planned properly.
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:18 PM
 
181 posts, read 655,359 times
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Here are my thoughts-

I would have to agree that the plausibility of a light rail will definitely hinge on the success of the rail runner in terms of sustaining itself without relying on federal monies. I wish both projects luck as they will definitely be necessary for the future of Abq and more, but the next 3 years will be crucial for the RR because it will make it or break it as I see it. The RR will benefit from rising gasoline prices, but they will probably have to reach the $5 or $6 per gallon mark before people really begin to change their transportation behavior en masse. I honestly do not see a light rail system being built for close to twenty years. Please feel free to bash me when reality proves me wrong...I'll still be happy that we achieved these goals sooner than expected.
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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Dallas' light rail started out in the red - state legislature was considering pulling the plug on DART right before the light rail opened. First 6 months ridership was so successful they lowered the fares. Houston light rail, on the other hand, was and still is a dismal failure. It's all in the planning and presentation to the public - not spin, just education.
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,548 posts, read 14,713,156 times
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Yukon observed:

> Dallas' light rail is awesome. They purchased existing track
> right of way that wasn't being used by the regular railroads.

From what I've observed in Dallas the DART system is reasonably
useful for many people. One of the reasons is that rather than
run along the streets and have lots of interference to and by the
automobile traffic, DART often runs above the streets like the
monorail mentioned by abqsunport.

My main complaint about such systems is that the right of way could
be used and the grade separations could still be built, but you could
run a normal city bus on asphalt 'tracks' instead of steel.

DART is a great deal for people who's jobs/homes/lives can accomodate
it. But like NM RR, the economics are probably terrible. I've not seen
the accounting, but it would not surprise me that the average cost per
ride is $20-30 (give or take) because it is not politically possible to
construct such a network without all the cool hardware.

Regular busses run at a loss, but at $1-2 per ride and at peak hours
actually can turn a profit. I bet you could FILL the DART every time
and still lose money.
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:21 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
16,849 posts, read 19,555,855 times
Reputation: 34947
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer View Post
There is nothing a lightrail can do that a bus cannot do.
How about attract riders?

I have never seen a more bus-averse population than Albuquerqueans. Having taken the 66 line dozens of times I can see why. While the other lines tend to be nicer (in terms of ridership) the Central line has a lot of ne'er-do-wells to put it nicely. This puts off a lot of people who would otherwise ride the bus.

ABQConvict
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,548 posts, read 14,713,156 times
Reputation: 2730
ABQconvict asked:

> > There is nothing a lightrail can do that a bus cannot do.

> How about attract riders?
> ... [ description of nasty conditions on Central Ave bus ] ...

So if 'they' ran a lightrail line from Tramway to 98th the ridership
would be different?

I say/ask this because people see a 'better' class of people on lightrail
and assume that it is because those people are riding the magic metal
tired bus on the metal road.

After they build a lightrail down central and once people try it, they
will stop riding it just as fast as they do now with the bus.

The problems that the busses have is the management of the system.

There is nothing inherent about the lightrail that makes it better. All
the bells and whistles on a lightrail line such as stations and
announcement signs could just as easily be implemented on a bus line.
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