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Educate me on Public Transportation!

Discussion in 'The Dungeon' started by Hawk518, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. Hawk518

    Hawk518 Resident Alien

    I need your assistance. I need further education on public transportation.

    Here is my current opinion(s):

    In theory, I am pro-public transportation. I believe that is works in some areas/cities but it is not an end-all solution for the US. The geographical coverage and design of the majority of the US cities makes it impractical to adopt such mechanism as a replacement for private transportation.

    I guess what I am trying to get to, the understanding, is what is driving the surge of people pushing for public transportation (even suggesting that it should be free).

    I fail to see what the end game is here.

    I have worked on feasibility studies of a fast rail system, and worked on several foundation works for mass transit. Most of the systems that I have first hand knowledge of (via utilization or part of design team) are heavily subsidized.

    I like the idea of public tranportation but where they exist in the US, it challenges the users. The question remains, then what? What happens when you get to your terminal or last terminal? A system that leaves you dependent on private sector (Taxis) for completing your travels is not what I would call viable.

    Rail system that is dependent on bus lines (private or public) in my experience require significant additonal travel time since the connection are likely to be missed.

    The idea that we are a lesser country because we don't have a bullet train is a joke. Just wanted to put that out there since it is one of the reasons that I hear for pushing forward with new projects.
  2. Dave K

    Dave K DaveK ├╝ber alles!

    It's a scam. Like climate change, hybrid cars, corn gas and the 60s hippie movement.
  3. 600 dbl are

    600 dbl are Shake Zoola the mic rula

    This is the biggest factor IMO.

    In Central Florida they implemented the Sun-Rail. While I'm sure it works out well for the people that work near the stopping locations, it is all around a bust IMO. To top it off, it doesn't run 24 hours a day, otherwise we would use it to travel to downtown on the weekends for the night life. The greater Orlando area is spread out so far it makes public transportation almost impossible. As an example, my wife's one way drive to work is 31 miles, no with access to the Sun Rail to get where she works. Most people that live here are in the same boat.
  4. ianjoub

    ianjoub Well-Known Member

    Most public mass transit systems are pushed to make people rich, not get people to work.
  5. BigBird

    BigBird blah


    Public transportation does a heck of a job here in NYC getting people to work and everywhere else. When the system is down, the city basically comes to a halt.

    Public transportation is a viable and much better option when it is faster than the alternative, i.e. most other parts of the world. Locally it could be a great thing if it beats the car.
  6. jase

    jase Your kind makes me sick!!

    How about NYC mass transit. You guys dont see that as a good thing?

    Hawk and others, just because it doesn't work in your area, doesn't mean it doesn't work in others.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  7. jase

    jase Your kind makes me sick!!

  8. Hawk518

    Hawk518 Resident Alien

    In South FL, Metro Rail is an viable alternative for some, if one is going downtown or shopping at Dadeland.

    Tri-Rail (Miami Airport to North West Palm Beach - connection to airport) works for some but it does not meet the demand of commuters.

    One still has to deal with the what then?

    I worked briefly in the original pproposal for the train from Miami to Orlando back in the 1998-99.

    I think this proposal is back on line. However, the what then, remains an question that will challenge most, other than your tourist that are less time dependent.
  9. Hawk518

    Hawk518 Resident Alien

    Did you read my original post?

    I am pro transit where it is a viable option. NYC is a good example. Hell, it is a viable system up through CT too.

    I am not opposed to mass transit.

    I don't have an agenda on this. So, if the system has merit, I am all good for it.

    However, even the System in the Northeast would be challenge for some if they did not have a private transportation to connect to the mainline. There are no feeders outside NYC.
  10. jase

    jase Your kind makes me sick!!

    What do you mean there are not feeders system outside NYC? You mean taking your car to and from the the train station from your home?
  11. beac83

    beac83 "My safeword is bananna"

    This same conundrum happens with the heavily subsidized private travel system - i.e. airlines. it seems to me that if a system efficiently moves folks from point A to point B and there is a need for local transport services at either end, the market will provide, whether that is private individual transit such as cabs, or mass transit, such as buses/subways.

    Our transit system has been a political football for the last century or so, and has not benefited from any actual consistent planning.

    In the early 1900's there were large electric and non-electric inter-urban rail systems. One such system operated locally here from the edge of Chicago (where it connected to the Chicago street car system) to Kankakee, IL. From there other systems connected farther south and east. Another system connected Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Springfield and Jacksonville, IL. Most of these systems were either privately held, or subsidized in various ways by the towns they served. You could travel the electric interurban rail systems pretty much throughout the northern half of IL, and get fairly close to where you wanted to end up. In addition, the railroads serving the area had passenger service, both to support commuters from the suburbs into the city center, as well as inter-city passenger services on a regional and statewide level.

    By the end of WWII, the auto industry was well established. A well documented alliance between auto-makers, tire manufacturers and oil companies worked to lobby states and cities to eliminate street cars, electric bus lines, and interurban rail (to make room on the streets that these services shared for more private cars). This was combined with the heavy marketing of personal automobiles, and the efforts at the federal level to both build the Interstate Highway system, and through both building the Interstates and adding additional regulation on railroads, advance trucking transport over rail transport (arguably as a policy response to the national rail strike in the late 1940's, and the railroads iron grip on long-haul transport of goods and the fees charged for that service). At the same time, we were building publically-funded airports like crazy, and the evolution of air travel into modern jet aircraft made long-haul passenger service unprofitable for railroads.

    The political back story is pretty cool, if you ever have time to research it.

    The bottom line is that as Americans made more money in the post-war economic boom, they bought cars. They moved to suburban areas not served by current transit systems. The auto/tire/oil industry worked to eliminate mass-transit. And the result was the financial crippling of these mass transit systems, most of which either were publicized or shut down in the period of 1946-1965.

    Here in the Chicago area, there were 3 electric interurbans that connected Aurora and Elgin (the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin), Milwaukee, WI (The North Shore Line) and South Bend, IN (the South Shore Line) to the Chicago elevated and street car system. The CA&E was shut down in 1958 (and provided right of way to Interstate 90, now I-290), the North Shore in 1963. Street Cars (running on rails) were shutdown in the late 1948-9, and electric buses on cantenary wires were eliminated in 1967 (I remember electric buses on the streets of Chicago). The privately held elevated and street transit lines were bought by the city and consolidated in 1946. Similar things happened in New York City, Los Angeles, and most other cities. The South Shore Line is the only remaining electric interurban in the entire US. It, like pretty much all commuter rail in the US, is now owned by a local government supported regional transit authority.

    After that, public transit became a political football, and was seen as the mode of transportation of poor and racial minorities, and thus, as undesirable, even if necessary to get low wage workers to their jobs.

    We've only begun to re-evaluate our overall transit policies in the last decade or so, as we realize we can never build/maintain enough roads to handle all the cars and trucks we have placed on them.

    That's the short story from my perspective. The history of mass-transit in the US is pretty fascinating. You can pick any big city in the country and research the century-plus political intrigue and financial chicanery behind how we got to where we are today.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  12. ianjoub

    ianjoub Well-Known Member


    In certain big cities, they have reasonably effective mass transport systems.
  13. 600 dbl are

    600 dbl are Shake Zoola the mic rula

    To what end is the purpose of this rail system? Other than attracting tourists who fly into Orlando, I don't see it as a viable mode of transportation. Even if this system can get you from Orlando to Miami in an hour, who is going to flip the bill for this and how much is it going to cost to ride?

    I'm all for public transit as long is it is not a burden on the tax payers to prop it up and keep it alive. If it is not viable on its own, it has to go.
  14. The subway system in NYC is amazing. Here in Pittsburgh, public transit is convenient for some, and not as much for others, depending on where you live. I can get to downtown really easily and quickly on public transportation, but I live right next to the busway. Many also use bicycles as a viable option for transportation around the city.
  15. Hawk518

    Hawk518 Resident Alien

    Yes. My point is that a true publice transit system is hard to implement free of support from the private sector (individual tranpostation and/or private fare).

    I don't drive into NYC. I don't drive into Boston. I don't drive into Washington DC.

    If I am not on business, I don't drive into Downtown Miami.

    I take the train whenever possible in US travels which actually means nearly never becaused of restricted schedule and connections.

    Even on business travel, I often drive over flying because of the afforded flexibility.

    I live as near as I can my workplace. And, I generally rent in location that opposes traffic flow.

    Starting next Friday, I will be walking to work (less than one block). Unless, I am headed to the field site my vehicle should see limited use.

    I have friends in Houston that try to take public transit into work but they generally don't do it because it interfere with deliverables. If you are not working on a factorily line or on a 9-5 job, the end of your day is never a certain thing.
  16. BigBird

    BigBird blah

    Public transportation also goes along with city planning. If a city is planned in a way that public transportation is a efficient and potentially cheaper, then it will work. If it is just a public works project that is kind of just built because they have funding to build something/anything, that will not be successful.

    I remember planning a trip to Spain to see MotoGP, and was going to drive from wherever I was planning to be to one of the tracks, and getting there by public transportation was almost 2 hours faster than driving by car. That's where public transportation really shines.

    or this throwback TG Bullet Train vs. GT-R
  17. Hawk518

    Hawk518 Resident Alien

    Info here:


    The water is murky on the overall financial needs of the system.

    The train will not be the bullet train approved in the late 90's. I will be routed throught West Palm Beach.

    It will take about three hours.

    A flight is one-hour.

    If the train moves forwards as a viable alternative, the State will suffer due to loss of revenue along is most highly ROI's the FL Turnpike.
  18. R Acree

    R Acree Banned

    Mobility is freedom. Public transit limits, or at least has the potential to limit, freedom.
  19. fastfreddie

    fastfreddie Midnight Oil Garage

    The model to follow is ESWE, in Germany. Runs like a Swiss clock, goes nearly anywhere within walking distance of your destination...which is prolly a far cry farther than some of our populace is willing to negotiate.

    My wife and her sister would walk to work in NYC, about 25 blocks, when the majority of the walk was down Park Ave.
    Now, not so much. Their office moved to another building making most of the walk 2nd Ave...real horror show.
  20. Hawk518

    Hawk518 Resident Alien

    Germany has a good system but most of Germany (Europe) is build around the wagon wheel concept.

    The grid square design and geospatial density remains key/challenge to making it viable/practial in this Country. Again, not to say that it does not provide for some reasonable alternative in some areas/cities.

    The last time that I looked at living in Houston, I was going to rent downtown or along the rail line. I don't mind walking.

    I don't mind driving 24 hours straight but I opt out of stop and go traffic whenever possible. I try to miss big cities when I drive. Any time loss due to distance is easily made up with constant movement.

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