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View Diary: Yglesias: Taking the Bus to a Public Transport Stimulus (35 comments)

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  •  Buses are, indeed, a good rail systems BFF ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, NoMoreLies, bruised toes

    ... and conversely, a good rail system is a buses BFF.

    Perth did a good job of that, using short bus routes passing by train stations, with coordinated schedules and ticketing, to achieve substantial success for its re-introduced rail system, and substantial increase in bus patronage.

    And integrating with a rail system overcomes the buses greatest shortcoming.

    Ordinarily, buses have flexible route structures, which interferes with transit oriented development ... which, of course, under current transport mode splits, is responsible for a majority of the CO2 emissions gains of an effective rail system.

    A short bus loop integrated to a rail system gains leverage from the proximity to a dedicated transport corridor.

    •  your comment is relevant to what I said but (0+ / 0-)

      only where there is the critical mass for rail to begin with.

      In some places it is a mistake to start by focusing on rail. In my state that was tried, was an utter failure, which some of us knew it would be, and in my opinion set the mindset for transit back a few years/

      This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

      by itzik shpitzik on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  critical mass for rail (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In my opinion is BS, given the vast network of rail that served the nation when we only had 100 million people.

        It's an excuse not to build.

        Yes it's expensive, but at one time, you could get anywhere in the US by rail. Same with intercity bus which suffers from the same mindset.

        For commuter rail, you may have a point. people are silly and won't drive to the park and ride to spend another hour on the train when they can just drive themselves the hour or so to their workplace (plus we're dispersed too). But for a national rail system, the critical mass excuse is just that.

        Bah HUMBUG! I pop in when I feel like it(0.12, -3.33)

        by terrypinder on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:03:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is, for example, an example of alternative . (0+ / 0-)

          ... projects overlooked. A regional stopping train service can work under conditions where a commuter rail system will not, and will still be a benefit to a local bus system with scheduling integrated with the rail services.

          Some failed projects are over-ambitious ... the Ohio HSR proposal several decades back was a grossly over-ambitious project, and set rail back a good long way by getting the idea entrenched on how expensive a statewide passenger rail system would have to be.

          If it had been along the lines of the Ohio Hub, it may well have got through in the first attempt, and would in any event have had a much better chance of getting through on second try before President Clinton signed NAFTA and shot the state's budget all to hell and back.

        •  Build it and they will come? (0+ / 0-)

          I understand and am well aware of where rail once served in the rural area where I am. Also that rail works in rural areas of other countries, but because they never ripped up their infrastructure.

          Critical mass is not an excuse. You have to have a business plan with ridership estimates including price, route location and schedule elasticity. In a place where there is no transit mindset, you build a system and it will fail and then you're worse off than before.

          The diary is about transit, not long distance rail really, and that's what I'm mostly talking about too.

          There is no worse thing for the long term future of rail than expensive infrastructure with empty trains.

          This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

          by itzik shpitzik on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:15:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  right, i recognize that you're talking about (0+ / 0-)


            getting people out of their cars and into transit is indeed a problem here, because of the way we've dispersed across the nation. I recognize the critical mass argument there. I meant on the national level, I see it as an excuse not to build (or in our case, expand, since so much of the network is shared with freight which slows down times and causes long-range trains to lose their cost competiveness with everything.)

            but i'm also a guy who would definately move out of the city IF there was mass transit support (streetcars, light rail, even a commuter rail) to the suburbs where I live like they had up till the 50s.

            Bah HUMBUG! I pop in when I feel like it(0.12, -3.33)

            by terrypinder on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:18:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This diary is about energy saving transport ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... whether local transit, mass transit, regional transport, interregional transport ... I don't really care. We can't spend $600b over two years on a stimulus bill that does not reduce our total oil dependency ... we have a massive structural current account deficit, and we have to start closing the gap and increasing our ability to survive an external accounts crisis if one should occur.

            But maybe because the first time I lived where there was mediocre public transport that I relied on to get to work, I ended up catching a bus to catch a train ... I don't see the two as deadly rivals.

      •  I don't know what your state is, ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... don't know what project you are referring to, don't know what alternatives were overlooked, and so can only reply in sweeping generalities or in dueling ad hocceries.

        Ah well, I guess that's the All New and Improved Daily Kos, now with No Linkies.

        •  VT (0+ / 0-)

          commuter rail attempt linking Burlington with points south

          This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

          by itzik shpitzik on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:16:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't know Vermont, but I can't imagine ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... that it has a big subsidiary public transport network to act as feeders for a Boston bound commuter.

            But there are examples of re-establishing regional stopping trains which would, at the same time, build up that network. A two-train DMU service can provide quite a substantial backbone, and with integrated schedules with buses can shorten average bus routes, allowing bus services to operate with greater frequency ...

            ... and who knows ... with enough strengthening of the public transport feeder system, could support a commuter train.

            Was this the project before the Vermonter? The service that was about to get a massive upgrade in terms of units with much lower cost of operation, and then the governor pulled out of the deal in some political grand-stand stunt?

            •  No the state's been subsidizing... (0+ / 0-)

              ...the 2 Amtrak routes for a number of years. This was actually a Howard Dean stunt (sorry, but it was done for show without much thought), but it was discontinued under Gov. Douglas.

              This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

              by itzik shpitzik on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:30:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Without much thought suggests that there ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... probably wasn't much work in integrating the existing public transport services to provide best possible access to the service.

                Of course, a lot of the successful efforts to start up passenger rail services have been in other countries, and we Americans would sometimes prefer borrowing an inappropriate plan from elsewhere in the US to learning from the experience of people in other countries.

                Its final week, so with grading and all I don't know when I can read up on that episode, but I'll try to get around to it this weekend.

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