Skip to main content

View Diary: Regional Rapid Bus Transit Requires HOT Thinking (58 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Rail is always more efficient (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    Rail is always more economical and efficient to operate over time than buses. Overall, it's clear that buses wear out more quickly than rail vehicles, and steel wheels on steel rails outlast rubber tires.

    As a general rule, rail draws about 10% more passengers than a bus route from Day One. That is well established, though the reason for it is not. Could be that some people will never ride a bus, ever. Some riders take comfort to see the rail line stretching ahead of them, but fear that a bus is always just one turn from taking them off their desired route. Some people think rail cars are classy and elegant and Eurostyle, and buses aren't.

    I don't know anything about the relative construction costs of the line you refer to, but here's a linkto some sources on the operating cost comparisons elsewhere.

    In general Bus Rapid Transit seems to work well as an intermediate step, helping to develop the kind of transit ridership that justifies investing in rail. But note that Bus Rapid Transit was invented in Curitiba, Brazil, and then enthusiastically adopted in Bogota, Columbia. Now Curitiba is working on a rail system -- and so is Bogota. To carry really large numbers of passengers, nothing beats rail.

    •  Thanks for the response (0+ / 0-)

      In this specific case, the Geary line dead ends at the ocean, so it's the end of the line, and the entire length of the route is fully developed and doesn't include neighborhoods that need redevelopment, so the long-term benefits of rail (it can be extended, it encourages denser growth and redevelopment) are limited.

      As for relative operating costs, San Francisco muni runs almost all streetcar trains at one or two cars, so there is no operator savings.  The only maintenance difference for buses vs. traincars are the wheels--we'd be talking about electrified buses with regenerative breaking, already used throughout San Francisco.

      Last, trains have a very specific drawback: if there is damage to the tracks or an accident blocking the tracks, the route is completely disabled.  Our electric buses have batteries that allow them to drive short distances around damaged wires, accidents, or construction with only a minimal schedule delay.

      No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

      by steve04 on Tue May 05, 2009 at 02:52:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site