Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Houston, may have a problem?

Expand Messages
  • Ronald Dawson
    Take a look at what I found in the Houston Chronicle. Dawson http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/787871 Jan. 5, 2001, 8:55PM Space City can do
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 7, 2001
      Take a look at what I found in the Houston Chronicle. Dawson
      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/787871

      Jan. 5, 2001, 8:55PM

      Space City can do better than a trolley line
      By COUNCILMAN ROB TODD and DAVID HUTZELMAN


      Houston deserves a modern, fast and flexible transit system. Unfortunately,
      the light-rail system being proposed for Main Street does not meet any of
      these criteria. It is 19th century technology, travels at an average speed
      of 15 mph, and its fixed route with limited stops and forced transfers, make
      it less friendly to transit-dependent commuters than our current bus system.

      The Metropolitan Transit Authority's study offering proof of the Main Street
      line's viability is equally oafish. That Clear Lake and First Colony
      residents will drive to the Fannin Park & Ride to catch an antiquated
      trolley system that will take them 30 minutes to get downtown is a laughable
      assumption.

      Houston does not deserve to fall prey to a vocal minority of Main Street
      real estate speculators, Dallas and New York City wannabes, and those at war
      with the internal combustion engine who see fixed rail as a hallmark of
      being world-class. Other cities are discovering that light rail is no
      panacea for traffic congestion. Both Dallas and Portland, Ore., have seen
      their traffic congestion index grow substantially since starting light-rail
      projects.

      We in Houston need to recognize and leverage our competitive advantage:
      space. Every native or transplanted Houstonian should be able to appreciate
      this unique asset. Space is what enables us to have some of the most
      desirable and affordable housing in the country; where a diversity of
      Houstonians can actually own their dream home.

      Our Space City nickname conveys much more than the presence of the National
      Aeronautics and Space Administration. Houstonians should not aspire to
      patterning our city after the obsolete models of Northern rust belt cities.
      Houston should realize that space and market dynamics are the keys to making
      this a great place to live and work.

      To the extent that Metro uses part of its sales tax revenue to fund the
      high-occupancy-vehicle system as well as street and highway improvements, it
      has helped Houston become the only major U.S. city, besides Phoenix, to
      actually reduce its traffic congestion index between 1982 and 1996 (the
      latest available data).

      The Houston Galveston Area Council 2020 Mobility Plan calls for 1,270 miles
      of new freeway, 3,285 miles of arterial streets, 226 miles of HOV lanes and
      spaces for 18,000 new Park & Ride commuters. This flexible automobile and
      bus-based strategy is a reasonable one for the Houston area, particularly in
      light of the same HGAC study which projects that over the next 20 years 96.4
      percent of all new jobs created will be outside the downtown business
      district.

      Even this HGAC plan can be improved with several low-cost innovations such
      as diamond lanes and truck-only lanes. With new technologies, mass transit
      does not have to pollute, as Metro has multiple options for low-emission- or
      electrified buses.

      The key to Houston's future will continue to be space. Historically, most
      commuters self-limit their commute times to less than 30 minutes, which has
      been the national average for many decades. Businesses respond by finding
      locations more convenient to employees in Katy, Kingwood, Missouri City, The
      Woodlands, and Clear Lake, or employees move inside The 610 Loop in order to
      minimize the drawbacks of a longer commute. The de-emphasis of a central
      business district as the only place to do business will be accelerated by
      the omnipresent Internet, fostering new patterns of commerce and urban
      development far different than those of the old economy.

      The transportation vision for Houston's future should not be a glorified
      amusement park shuttle to subsidize visits between the baseball, basketball
      and football kingdoms. We tore up the trolley tracks on Main Street in 1922.
      We've been there and done that.

      We should put light rail's fate in the hands of Houston's voters, not those
      of nine unelected Metro board members. Houston should look to the future,
      not the past.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ----
      Todd is in his third term representing Houston City Council District E.
      Hutzelman is director of the Business Committee Against Rail.
    • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
      ... Hallelujah. Has the penny (sorry, cent) finally dropped?
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 7, 2001
        > Take a look at what I found in the Houston Chronicle. Dawson
        > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/787871
        >
        > Jan. 5, 2001, 8:55PM
        >
        > Space City can do better than a trolley line
        > By COUNCILMAN ROB TODD and DAVID HUTZELMAN
        >
        >
        > Houston deserves a modern, fast and flexible transit system.
        > Unfortunately,
        > the light-rail system being proposed for Main Street does not meet any
        > of these criteria. .....Its fixed route with limited stops and forced
        > transfers, make it less friendly to transit-dependent commuters than our
        > current bus system.
        >
        Hallelujah. Has the penny (sorry, cent) finally dropped?
      • Ronald Dawson
        ... I don t know? The LRT project is practically just a drop in the bucket when compared to a city the size of Houston, but you have to start some where.
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 7, 2001
          philip@... wrote:
          >> Take a look at what I found in the Houston Chronicle. Dawson
          >> http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/787871
          >>
          >> Jan. 5, 2001, 8:55PM
          >>
          >> Space City can do better than a trolley line
          >> By COUNCILMAN ROB TODD and DAVID HUTZELMAN
          >>
          >>
          >> Houston deserves a modern, fast and flexible transit system.
          >> Unfortunately,
          >> the light-rail system being proposed for Main Street does not meet any
          >> of these criteria. .....Its fixed route with limited stops and forced
          >> transfers, make it less friendly to transit-dependent commuters than our
          >> current bus system.
          >>

          >Hallelujah. Has the penny (sorry, cent) finally dropped?

          I don't know? The LRT project is practically just a drop in the bucket when
          compared to a city the size of Houston, but you have to start some where.
          http://www.hou-metro.harris.tx.us/hov.htm
          http://www.hou-metro.harris.tx.us/lrt/railintro.htm Dawson
        • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
          ... Although cost is relevant, I was referring to the inflexibility of LRT. Actually, my argument has more weight in the UK than in the US (and most of
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 8, 2001
            > philip@... wrote:
            > >> Take a look at what I found in the Houston Chronicle. Dawson
            > >> http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/787871
            > >>
            > >> Jan. 5, 2001, 8:55PM
            > >>
            > >> Space City can do better than a trolley line
            > >> By COUNCILMAN ROB TODD and DAVID HUTZELMAN
            > >>
            > >>
            > >> Houston deserves a modern, fast and flexible transit system.
            > >> Unfortunately,
            > >> the light-rail system being proposed for Main Street does not meet
            > > any
            > >> of these criteria. .....Its fixed route with limited stops and forced
            > >> transfers, make it less friendly to transit-dependent commuters than
            > > our
            > >> current bus system.
            > >>
            >
            > >Hallelujah. Has the penny (sorry, cent) finally dropped?
            >
            > I don't know? The LRT project is practically just a drop in the bucket
            > when
            > compared to a city the size of Houston, but you have to start some
            > where.

            Although cost is relevant, I was referring to the inflexibility of LRT.
            Actually, my argument has more weight in the UK than in the US (and most
            of Europe), due to our comparatively low car ownership, the dangers of
            cycling, and competition with/revenue abstraction from commercial bus
            services. In other words, LRT mainly attracts motorists, but in small
            numbers. Arguably, the long term effect is actually detrimental to many
            people without cars.
            Manchester's "Metrolink" LRT system is regarded as a shining example of
            successful public transport in the UK - one of the few - but it has come
            at a cost.
            The original line runs from Bury to the north of Manchester, through the
            city centre, to Altrincham in the south, and became operational in 1992.
            Both towns are about 10 miles from the city, and the line runs through
            mixed, but comparatively affluent, neighbourhoods. Passenger sources are
            roughly equally split three ways between ex-private car journeys, ex bus
            journeys, and generated journeys.
            The effect has been slightly different on the two sides of the city:
            To the north, Peak hour bus routes have been cut, as have evening/Sunday
            services, but this is in line with the experience of the rest of Greater
            Manchester county anyway. More noticeable is that peak hour traffic levels
            are now back above 1992 figures, such that the closest parallel bus route
            (which has survived remarkably well) is now scheduled to take up to 57
            minutes to get from Bury to Manchester during the morning peak, compared
            to about 45 minutes immediately before the LRT line was opened.
            To the south, the parallel bus route ran up to 21 hours a day, seven days
            a week. It is now reduced to 14-6.
          • Ronald Dawson
            ... What kind of service frequency would you prefer? ... I m curious as to know why cycling conditions are so bad? Also when you say commercial bus services
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 8, 2001
              philip@... wrote:
              >> I don't know? The LRT project is practically just a drop in the bucket
              >> when
              >> compared to a city the size of Houston, but you have to start some
              >> where.

              >Although cost is relevant, I was referring to the inflexibility of LRT.

              What kind of service frequency would you prefer?

              >Actually, my argument has more weight in the UK than in the US (and most
              >of Europe), due to our comparatively low car ownership, the dangers of
              >cycling, and competition with/revenue abstraction from commercial bus
              >services.

              I'm curious as to know why cycling conditions are so bad? Also when you say
              "commercial bus services" do you mean private operators that decide what
              routes they want to run or by means of where the city has contracted out
              operations?

              >In other words, LRT mainly attracts motorists, but in small
              >numbers. Arguably, the long term effect is actually detrimental to many
              >people without cars.

              Sorry, but I don't comprehend the situation.

              >Manchester's "Metrolink" LRT system is regarded as a shining example of
              >successful public transport in the UK - one of the few - but it has come
              >at a cost.

              For what I've read about Manchester's "Metrolink" is that it's more like a
              interurban/commuter train type of operation, than that of a LRT.

              >The effect has been slightly different on the two sides of the city:
              >To the north, Peak hour bus routes have been cut, as have evening/Sunday
              >services, but this is in line with the experience of the rest of Greater
              >Manchester county anyway. More noticeable is that peak hour traffic levels
              >are now back above 1992 figures, such that the closest parallel bus route
              >(which has survived remarkably well) is now scheduled to take up to 57
              >minutes to get from Bury to Manchester during the morning peak, compared
              >to about 45 minutes immediately before the LRT line was opened.
              >To the south, the parallel bus route ran up to 21 hours a day, seven days
              >a week. It is now reduced to 14-6.

              I could understand changes being done to a system such as routing, but not
              cutting the hours of operation.
              Also being in Montreal and having never rode the transit system for
              Manchester, I honestly can't judge what is happening there. Dawson
            • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
              ... LRT. ... When I say inflexible. I mean; a. Fixed route with stations/halts far apart (typically about 1 mile/1.6km between each, once outside the city
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 9, 2001
                > philip@... wrote:
                >> >Although cost is relevant, I was referring to the inflexibility of
                LRT.
                >
                > What kind of service frequency would you prefer?

                When I say inflexible. I mean;
                a. Fixed route with stations/halts far apart (typically about 1 mile/1.6km
                between each, once outside the city centre).
                b. An electrical fault or any kind of interruption at one point of the
                route can bring the entire system to a halt - and often does.
                >
                > >Actually, my argument has more weight in the UK than in the US (and
                > most
                > >of Europe), due to our comparatively low car ownership, the dangers of
                > >cycling, and competition with/revenue abstraction from commercial bus
                > >services.
                >
                > I'm curious as to know why cycling conditions are so bad?
                As with other places; inconsiderate motorists. Also very few cycle lanes.

                Also when you
                > say "commercial bus services" do you mean private operators that decide
                > what routes they want to run or by means of where the city has
                > contracted out operations?

                The former. 85% of UK bus operations (outside London) and nearer 90% in
                Gtr. Manchester are Commercial. That means that the routes *and periods of
                operation* are determined solely by the Operator, in order to maximise
                their profits. The remainder are contracted by the local authorities, on
                competitive tender. There are tight budgets for contracted services.
                >
                > >In other words, LRT mainly attracts motorists, but in small
                > >numbers. Arguably, the long term effect is actually detrimental to many
                > >people without cars.
                >
                > Sorry, but I don't comprehend the situation.

                Back to inflexibility/abstraction. Most LRT passengers are motorists, or
                are dependant on drivers in their household, as the journey to the LRT
                station is "too far" to walk. Of course, the definition of "too far"
                depends on the individual making the journey, but don't forget the
                elements - As viewers of the excellent TV comedy "Frasier" (apart from
                Daphne's brother's laughable accent) will know, Manchester's climate is
                known across the world as somewhat Wet - and the less than secure walking
                environment after dark.
                Also LRT fares are very high for regular travellers, so they tend to
                attract commuters rich enough to own cars.
                However, there is still abstraction from the bus routes, as those who are
                close to the stations will find off peak fares only slightly higher than
                the equivalent Bus Fares - not least those available to Senior Citizens.

                In other words, LRT may provide a better alternative for, say, 10% of bus
                users, but the other 90% will be inconvenienced by the actions of the bus
                Operator who has lost 10% of its revenue. If the Operator withdraws the
                route in the evenings, individual passengers (eg. shift workers) may be so
                seriously inconvenienced that they may have to buy a car to keep their
                jobs - bearing in mind that, for them, LRT is less convenient and
                considerably more expensive; regular taxi-cab use is more expensive still;
                and they may not be fit/confident enough to ride a bicycle.
                >
                > >Manchester's "Metrolink" LRT system is regarded as a shining example of
                > >successful public transport in the UK - one of the few - but it has
                > > come at a cost.
                >
                > For what I've read about Manchester's "Metrolink" is that it's more
                > like a interurban/commuter train type of operation, than that of a LRT.

                This is true in as much as the original route replaced a heavy rail
                commuter route, albeit with a couple of extra stations. However,
                subsequent lines (including the Eccles line, officially opened by HRH
                Princess Anne today) include more on street running.
                >
                > >The effect has been slightly different on the two sides of the city:
                > >To the north, Peak hour bus routes have been cut, as have
                > evening/Sunday services, but this is in line with the experience of the
                > rest of Greater Manchester county anyway. More noticeable is that peak >
                > hour traffic levels are now back above 1992 figures, such that the
                > closest parallel bus route (which has survived remarkably well) is now >
                > scheduled to take up to 57 minutes to get from Bury to Manchester during
                > the morning peak, compared to about 45 minutes immediately before the
                > LRT line was opened.To the south, the parallel bus route ran up to 21
                > hours a day, seven days a week. It is now reduced to 14-6.
                >
                > I could understand changes being done to a system such as routing, but
                > not cutting the hours of operation.

                Loadings/Profit margins are lower in the evenings, and on Sundays, and it
                is more difficult to encourage drivers to work overtime at these time.
                Public Transport in the UK has always depended on Drivers working
                Overtime. Overtime pay is often paid at little more than basic rates, and
                Bus driving is high risk job in the evenings, due to abusive passengers
                and "missile" attacks (ie. stones, air rifle pellets etc.)

                There is also a complication with Company and Competition Law. Strictly
                speaking, "cross subsidy", (ie. when profits from one part of the day are
                used to subsidise loss making journeys, even on the same route, at other
                times of the day) is illegal. However, this is partially a "red herring",
                as Company Law allows a business five years to turn a loss making "unit" -
                in this case a single bus journey - into a profitable one. Also, we've not
                yet reach the stage where a bus company is likely to be reported to the
                Police for knowingly running at a loss, but providing a public amenity!

                > Also being in Montreal and having never rode the transit system for
                > Manchester, I honestly can't judge what is happening there.

                In summary, whilst I believe the advantages of Rail Transport are greatly
                exaggerated, I should point out that the *real* problem is the law/policy
                that allows one form of public transport to put another at risk.

                Dawson
              • Ronald Dawson
                ... Still sounds like a interurban/commuter train type operation me, but aren t parts of the system using former BR lines? ... It s too bad, that the
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 10, 2001
                  philip@... wrote:
                  >> What kind of service frequency would you prefer?
                  >When I say inflexible. I mean;
                  >a. Fixed route with stations/halts far apart (typically about 1 mile/1.6km
                  >between each, once outside the city centre).

                  Still sounds like a interurban/commuter train type operation me, but aren't
                  parts of the system using former BR lines?

                  >b. An electrical fault or any kind of interruption at one point of the
                  >route can bring the entire system to a halt - and often does.

                  It's too bad, that the electrical system was so poorly designed.
                  Oddly enough, when the "Ice Storm of 1998" hit Montreal we only lost service
                  on electrified Deux Montange commuter line for a day while service on the
                  diesel powered Lakeshore/Dorion line was down for almost a week!
                  It should also be noted that towns 30 miles east Montreal were with out
                  power for almost a month!
                  http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSIceStorm/jan12_nphoto5.html
                  http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSIceStorm/jan10_nphoto2.html
                  http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSIceStorm/jan11_nphoto1.html
                  http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSIceStorm/nphoto2.html
                  http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSIceStorm/jan15_nphoto5.html

                  >> I'm curious as to know why cycling conditions are so bad?
                  >As with other places; inconsiderate motorists. Also very few cycle lanes.

                  That sucks.

                  >Also when you
                  >> say "commercial bus services" do you mean private operators that decide
                  >> what routes they want to run or by means of where the city has
                  >> contracted out operations?

                  >The former. 85% of UK bus operations (outside London) and nearer 90% in
                  >Gtr. Manchester are Commercial. That means that the routes *and periods of
                  >operation* are determined solely by the Operator, in order to maximise
                  >their profits. The remainder are contracted by the local authorities, on
                  >competitive tender. There are tight budgets for contracted services.

                  That's a shame, then why isn't the city at least paying to provide off hour
                  bus service for areas that need it?
                  Here in the Montreal region most transit operations are publicly ran with
                  some contracted out operations. http://www.amt.qc.ca
                  Limocar is a contracted operator in the Montreal region.
                  http://www.limocar.ca/Local/Locala.html

                  >> Sorry, but I don't comprehend the situation.

                  >Back to inflexibility/abstraction. Most LRT passengers are motorists, or
                  >are dependant on drivers in their household, as the journey to the LRT
                  >station is "too far" to walk.

                  A.K.A. "kiss and ride", but how far are people coming from? Maybe some sort
                  of through ticket feeder bus service would help?

                  >Of course, the definition of "too far"
                  >depends on the individual making the journey, but don't forget the
                  >elements - As viewers of the excellent TV comedy "Frasier" (apart from
                  >Daphne's brother's laughable accent) will know, Manchester's climate is
                  >known across the world as somewhat Wet - and the less than secure walking
                  >environment after dark.

                  Maybe better street lighting could help?

                  (Funny enough with "Frasier", it's actually John Mahoney "Martin" who is
                  really from Manchester, while Jane Leeves "Daphne" is from Sussex.)

                  >Also LRT fares are very high for regular travellers, so they tend to
                  >attract commuters rich enough to own cars.

                  There is some thing kind of like that starting happen here too, my self and
                  other people with Transport 2000 are fighting a fare zonal change. I've
                  already spoken to my mayor (Ville de St.Laurent, but not for much longer,
                  thanks to Bill 170) in person and he's sent a letter to the AMT about the
                  situation.
                  http://www.ville.saint-laurent.qc.ca/
                  My self and a friend of mine, who is also a fellow T2000 member are trying
                  to find possible solutions such as transfer payments from the Ville de Laval
                  and/or charging for parking. http://www.consommateur.qc.ca/t2000/

                  >However, there is still abstraction from the bus routes, as those who are
                  >close to the stations will find off peak fares only slightly higher than
                  >the equivalent Bus Fares - not least those available to Senior Citizens.

                  Time of day or demand based pricing?

                  >In other words, LRT may provide a better alternative for, say, 10% of bus
                  >users, but the other 90% will be inconvenienced by the actions of the bus
                  >Operator who has lost 10% of its revenue. If the Operator withdraws the
                  >route in the evenings, individual passengers (eg. shift workers) may be so
                  >seriously inconvenienced that they may have to buy a car to keep their
                  >jobs - bearing in mind that, for them, LRT is less convenient and
                  >considerably more expensive; regular taxi-cab use is more expensive still;
                  >and they may not be fit/confident enough to ride a bicycle.

                  So in other words the structure of the system is all fouled up.

                  >> >Manchester's "Metrolink" LRT system is regarded as a shining example of
                  >> >successful public transport in the UK - one of the few - but it has
                  >> > come at a cost.
                  >>
                  >> For what I've read about Manchester's "Metrolink" is that it's more
                  >> like a interurban/commuter train type of operation, than that of a LRT.

                  >This is true in as much as the original route replaced a heavy rail
                  >commuter route, albeit with a couple of extra stations. However,
                  >subsequent lines (including the Eccles line, officially opened by HRH
                  >Princess Anne today) include more on street running.

                  That's why I also mentioned interurban type operation.

                  >> I could understand changes being done to a system such as routing, but
                  >> not cutting the hours of operation.

                  >Loadings/Profit margins are lower in the evenings, and on Sundays, and it
                  >is more difficult to encourage drivers to work overtime at these time.
                  >Public Transport in the UK has always depended on Drivers working
                  >Overtime. Overtime pay is often paid at little more than basic rates, and
                  >Bus driving is high risk job in the evenings, due to abusive passengers
                  >and "missile" attacks (ie. stones, air rifle pellets etc.)

                  I have a friend who is a STCUM http://www.stcum.qc.ca/ bus driver and he
                  would be shocked to hear about such hooliganism.

                  >There is also a complication with Company and Competition Law. Strictly
                  >speaking, "cross subsidy", (ie. when profits from one part of the day are
                  >used to subsidise loss making journeys, even on the same route, at other
                  >times of the day) is illegal. However, this is partially a "red herring",
                  >as Company Law allows a business five years to turn a loss making "unit" -
                  >in this case a single bus journey - into a profitable one. Also, we've not
                  >yet reach the stage where a bus company is likely to be reported to the
                  >Police for knowingly running at a loss, but providing a public amenity!

                  I guess they have never heard about "loss leaders"?

                  >> Also being in Montreal and having never rode the transit system for
                  >> Manchester, I honestly can't judge what is happening there.

                  >In summary, whilst I believe the advantages of Rail Transport are greatly
                  >exaggerated, I should point out that the *real* problem is the law/policy
                  >that allows one form of public transport to put another at risk.

                  Your right, bad policy is mostly to blame. http://www.gmpte.gov.uk/ Dawson
                • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
                  ... Certainly the original Bury-Altrincham route uses the original BR alignment, but I m not sure whether it is the original line/guage. ... Lack of funding.
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 11, 2001
                    >
                    > Still sounds like a interurban/commuter train type operation me, but
                    > aren't parts of the system using former BR lines?
                    Certainly the original Bury-Altrincham route uses the original BR
                    alignment, but I'm not sure whether it is the original line/guage.
                    > >Also when you
                    > >> say "commercial bus services" do you mean private operators that
                    > > decide
                    > >> what routes they want to run or by means of where the city has
                    > >> contracted out operations?
                    >
                    > >The former. 85% of UK bus operations (outside London) and nearer 90% in
                    > >Gtr. Manchester are Commercial. That means that the routes *and
                    > periods of
                    > >operation* are determined solely by the Operator, in order to maximise
                    > >their profits. The remainder are contracted by the local authorities,
                    > on
                    > >competitive tender. There are tight budgets for contracted services.
                    >
                    > That's a shame, then why isn't the city at least paying to provide off
                    > hour bus service for areas that need it?

                    Lack of funding. Despite rhetoric, funding for Public Transport outside
                    London is poor. "Subsidy" is a dirty word - especially as local
                    Politicians see it as public money going into the rich, private owners of
                    the bus industry the politicians themselves used to Control.

                    > Here in the Montreal region most transit operations are publicly ran
                    > with some contracted out operations. http://www.amt.qc.ca
                    > Limocar is a contracted operator in the Montreal region.
                    > http://www.limocar.ca/Local/Locala.html

                    UK Law does not allow this.
                    >
                    > >> Sorry, but I don't comprehend the situation.
                    >
                    > >Back to inflexibility/abstraction. Most LRT passengers are motorists,
                    > or
                    > >are dependant on drivers in their household, as the journey to the LRT
                    > >station is "too far" to walk.
                    >
                    > A.K.A. "kiss and ride", but how far are people coming from? Maybe some
                    > sort of through ticket feeder bus service would help?

                    In some cases this exists in an "unofficial" sort of way, but again, where
                    it doesn't, insufficient funds are available to provide such services.
                    >
                    > >Of course, the definition of "too far"
                    > >depends on the individual making the journey, but don't forget the
                    > >elements - As viewers of the excellent TV comedy "Frasier" (apart from
                    > >Daphne's brother's laughable accent) will know, Manchester's climate is
                    > >known across the world as somewhat Wet - and the less than secure
                    > walking
                    > >environment after dark.
                    >
                    > Maybe better street lighting could help?

                    Certainly could. Again there's a funding problem.
                    >
                    > (Funny enough with "Frasier", it's actually John Mahoney "Martin" who is
                    > really from Manchester, while Jane Leeves "Daphne" is from Sussex.)
                    Correct(!) IIRC, John used to go to senior School in Droylsden, in my home
                    borough of Tameside, just to the east of Manchester.
                    >
                    > However, there is still abstraction from the bus routes, as those who
                    > are close to the stations will find off peak fares only slightly higher
                    > than the equivalent Bus Fares - not least those available to Senior
                    > Citizens.
                    >
                    > Time of day or demand based pricing?

                    Demand based on Rail. LRT/Heavy local rail loadings are very light at
                    off-peak times, as they mainly serve Commuters in relatively affluent
                    areas. Senior Citizens are entitled to reduced fares on Buses at all
                    times, but only after 0930 on Rail. Commercial fare differentials on Buses
                    are more varied and complicated, but Adult multi-journey rail fares are
                    considerably cheaper after 0930. Ironically, the bus industry's costs are
                    more isolated into the 0800-0900 period, due to School hours.
                    School Buses in the North American sense, don't exist in the UK
                    (yet!). Children needing transport to school either use mainstream bus
                    routes, or contracted school services. The latter are run on Competitive
                    tender, at a greater overall cost than the mainstream route enhancements
                    (eg. evening & Sunday journeys, or unprofitable, residential routes).
                    >
                    > >In other words, LRT may provide a better alternative for, say, 10% of
                    > bus
                    > >users, but the other 90% will be inconvenienced by the actions of the
                    > bus
                    > >Operator who has lost 10% of its revenue. If the Operator withdraws the
                    > >route in the evenings, individual passengers (eg. shift workers) may
                    > be so
                    > >seriously inconvenienced that they may have to buy a car to keep their
                    > >jobs - bearing in mind that, for them, LRT is less convenient and
                    > >considerably more expensive; regular taxi-cab use is more expensive
                    > still;
                    > >and they may not be fit/confident enough to ride a bicycle.
                    >
                    > So in other words the structure of the system is all fouled up.

                    YES!


                    > >> I could understand changes being done to a system such as routing,
                    > > but not cutting the hours of operation.
                    >
                    > >Loadings/Profit margins are lower in the evenings, and on Sundays, and
                    > it is more difficult to encourage drivers to work overtime at these
                    > time.
                    > >Public Transport in the UK has always depended on Drivers working
                    > >Overtime. Overtime pay is often paid at little more than basic rates,
                    > and Bus driving is high risk job in the evenings, due to abusive
                    > >passengers and "missile" attacks (ie. stones, air rifle pellets etc.)
                    >
                    > I have a friend who is a STCUM http://www.stcum.qc.ca/ bus driver and he
                    > would be shocked to hear about such hooliganism.

                    I suppose that because non-motorists don't have the respect of Politicians
                    and the Media, they can't earn the respect of yobs. However, I did notice
                    in a trade magazine that the subject is getting a bit more attention
                    within the bus industry hierarchy, as they have a "leader" column in a
                    recent addition. I haven't been able to read it yet, though.
                    >
                    > >There is also a complication with Company and Competition Law. Strictly
                    > >speaking, "cross subsidy", (ie. when profits from one part of the day
                    > are
                    > >used to subsidise loss making journeys, even on the same route, at
                    > other
                    > >times of the day) is illegal. However, this is partially a "red
                    > herring",
                    > >as Company Law allows a business five years to turn a loss making
                    > "unit" -
                    > >in this case a single bus journey - into a profitable one. Also, we've
                    > not
                    > >yet reach the stage where a bus company is likely to be reported to the
                    > >Police for knowingly running at a loss, but providing a public amenity!
                    >
                    > I guess they have never heard about "loss leaders"?

                    The polite word for the Laws covering Transport in the UK is Inconsistent.

                    The bus industry employs around 0.5% of the working population of the UK,
                    and is worth between �2bn & �3bn - about a third of the illegal drugs
                    trade. However, in one annual report, more than half of all cases of
                    alleged unfair competition in British Industry, referred to the Bus
                    Industry! Over-zealous or what?
                    >
                    > >In summary, whilst I believe the advantages of Rail Transport are
                    > greatly
                    > >exaggerated, I should point out that the *real* problem is the
                    > law/policy
                    > >that allows one form of public transport to put another at risk.
                    >
                    > Your right, bad policy is mostly to blame. http://www.gmpte.gov.uk/

                    > Dawson
                    >
                    >
                  • Ronald Dawson
                    ... Maybe you could measure it? If it s 4 feet 8 1/2 inches, then it s standard gauge, but what I would be really interested in knowing is if the loading gauge
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 12, 2001
                      philip@... wrote:
                      >> Still sounds like a interurban/commuter train type operation me, but
                      >> aren't parts of the system using former BR lines?

                      >Certainly the original Bury-Altrincham route uses the original BR
                      >alignment, but I'm not sure whether it is the original line/guage.

                      Maybe you could measure it?
                      If it's 4 feet 8 1/2 inches, then it's standard gauge, but what I would be
                      really interested in knowing is if the loading gauge is the same as that of
                      Railtrack's lines?

                      >> That's a shame, then why isn't the city at least paying to provide off
                      >> hour bus service for areas that need it?

                      >Lack of funding. Despite rhetoric, funding for Public Transport outside
                      >London is poor. "Subsidy" is a dirty word - especially as local
                      >Politicians see it as public money going into the rich, private owners of
                      >the bus industry the politicians themselves used to Control.

                      That's sad, unfortunately it's the citizens who are stuck in the middle that
                      pay the real price for such bickering.

                      >> Here in the Montreal region most transit operations are publicly ran
                      >> with some contracted out operations. http://www.amt.qc.ca
                      >> Limocar is a contracted operator in the Montreal region.
                      >> http://www.limocar.ca/Local/Locala.html

                      >UK Law does not allow this.

                      I'm surprised!

                      >> A.K.A. "kiss and ride", but how far are people coming from? Maybe some
                      >> sort of through ticket feeder bus service would help?

                      >In some cases this exists in an "unofficial" sort of way, but again, where
                      >it doesn't, insufficient funds are available to provide such services.

                      Is this some sort of conflict with the operating companies?
                      Maybe if there was (more) co-operating and (more) co-ordination, then there
                      might even be a gain on ridership?
                      Here on the Island of Montreal we even have special bus routes for
                      connecting with commuter trains (and this is between two different
                      entities).
                      http://www.stcum.qc.ca/English/bus/plan_lig/a-pl261.htm
                      http://www.stcum.qc.ca/English/bus/plan_lig/a-pl268.htm
                      http://www.amt.qc.ca/tc/train/blainville/horaires_935.asp

                      >> Maybe better street lighting could help?

                      >Certainly could. Again there's a funding problem.

                      So even public safety isn't worth much?

                      >> (Funny enough with "Frasier", it's actually John Mahoney "Martin" who is
                      >> really from Manchester, while Jane Leeves "Daphne" is from Sussex.)

                      >Correct(!) IIRC, John used to go to senior School in Droylsden, in my home
                      >borough of Tameside, just to the east of Manchester.

                      Cool! I once sat 40 feet away from David Suzuki.

                      >> Time of day or demand based pricing?

                      >Demand based on Rail. LRT/Heavy local rail loadings are very light at
                      >off-peak times, as they mainly serve Commuters in relatively affluent
                      >areas. Senior Citizens are entitled to reduced fares on Buses at all
                      >times, but only after 0930 on Rail. Commercial fare differentials on Buses
                      >are more varied and complicated, but Adult multi-journey rail fares are
                      >considerably cheaper after 0930. Ironically, the bus industry's costs are
                      >more isolated into the 0800-0900 period, due to School hours.

                      On the island Montreal the fare is the same for bus, metro and train (except
                      for train service in zone 2).
                      http://www.stcum.qc.ca/English/info/a-tarif.htm
                      Also transfers between routes are free.
                      http://www.stcum.qc.ca/English/info/a-corres.htm

                      >School Buses in the North American sense, don't exist in the UK
                      >(yet!). Children needing transport to school either use mainstream bus
                      >routes, or contracted school services. The latter are run on Competitive
                      >tender, at a greater overall cost than the mainstream route enhancements
                      >(eg. evening & Sunday journeys, or unprofitable, residential routes).

                      Here, school buses ( http://members.aol.com/njtbus/Thomasfrei.htm )are only
                      for children in elementary school.

                      >> >In other words, LRT may provide a better alternative for, say, 10% of
                      >> bus
                      >> >users, but the other 90% will be inconvenienced by the actions of the
                      >> bus
                      >> >Operator who has lost 10% of its revenue. If the Operator withdraws the
                      >> >route in the evenings, individual passengers (eg. shift workers) may
                      >> be so
                      >> >seriously inconvenienced that they may have to buy a car to keep their
                      >> >jobs - bearing in mind that, for them, LRT is less convenient and
                      >> >considerably more expensive; regular taxi-cab use is more expensive
                      >> still;
                      >> >and they may not be fit/confident enough to ride a bicycle.
                      >>
                      >> So in other words the structure of the system is all fouled up.

                      >YES!

                      Some how, I'm not shocked by your answer.

                      >> I have a friend who is a STCUM http://www.stcum.qc.ca/ bus driver and he
                      >> would be shocked to hear about such hooliganism.

                      >I suppose that because non-motorists don't have the respect of Politicians
                      >and the Media, they can't earn the respect of yobs. However, I did notice
                      >in a trade magazine that the subject is getting a bit more attention
                      >within the bus industry hierarchy, as they have a "leader" column in a
                      >recent addition. I haven't been able to read it yet, though.

                      That's interesting to know.

                      >> >There is also a complication with Company and Competition Law. Strictly
                      >> >speaking, "cross subsidy", (ie. when profits from one part of the day
                      >> are
                      >> >used to subsidise loss making journeys, even on the same route, at
                      >> other
                      >> >times of the day) is illegal. However, this is partially a "red
                      >> herring",
                      >> >as Company Law allows a business five years to turn a loss making
                      >> "unit" -
                      >> >in this case a single bus journey - into a profitable one. Also, we've
                      >> not
                      >> >yet reach the stage where a bus company is likely to be reported to the
                      >> >Police for knowingly running at a loss, but providing a public amenity!
                      >>
                      >> I guess they have never heard about "loss leaders"?

                      >The polite word for the Laws covering Transport in the UK is Inconsistent.

                      Again, I'm some what not surprised.

                      >The bus industry employs around 0.5% of the working population of the UK,
                      >and is worth between £2bn & £3bn - about a third of the illegal drugs
                      >trade. However, in one annual report, more than half of all cases of
                      >alleged unfair competition in British Industry, referred to the Bus
                      >Industry! Over-zealous or what?

                      Over-zealous is one way of putting it. Dawson
                    • J.H. Crawford
                      Lately there have been a number of posts on this list that are really railroad operating issues that are not, IMHO, really relevant to the carfree cities
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 12, 2001
                        Lately there have been a number of posts on this list
                        that are really railroad operating issues that are not,
                        IMHO, really relevant to the carfree cities question.
                        I'd like member's reactions to this, and, if we're in
                        general agreement, we'll bring this part of the discussion
                        to a close.

                        What say you all?


                        ###

                        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                        postmaster@... Carfree.com
                      • Mark Watson
                        I vote for dropping the general rail info/discussion from this list; with the exeption of metro/tram info pertinent to carfree cities. But I would like to get
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 12, 2001
                          I vote for dropping the general rail info/discussion from this list; with
                          the exeption of metro/tram info pertinent to carfree cities.

                          But I would like to get passenger rail info. Does anyone know of a list for
                          this?

                          Mark

                          ********************************************************
                          Don't just mark time but use time to make your mark.

                          Mark Watson __o
                          `\<
                          (o)/(o)

                          mark_a_watson@... Seattle, WA, USA
                          ********************************************************

                          ----Original Message Follows----
                          From: "J.H. Crawford"
                          Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 09:49:48 +0000

                          if we're in general agreement, we'll bring this part of the discussion
                          to a close.

                          What say you all?



                          _________________________________________________________________
                          Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
                        • T. J. Binkley
                          Aye.
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 12, 2001
                            Aye.
                            At 09:49 AM 1/12/2001 +0000, you wrote:

                            >Lately there have been a number of posts on this list
                            >that are really railroad operating issues that are not,
                            >IMHO, really relevant to the carfree cities question.
                            >I'd like member's reactions to this, and, if we're in
                            >general agreement, we'll bring this part of the discussion
                            >to a close.
                            >
                            >What say you all?
                            >
                            >
                            > ###
                            >
                            >J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                            >postmaster@... Carfree.com
                            >
                            >
                            >To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                            >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                            >carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                            >Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                          • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
                            ... I m advised that Metrolink *does* run on the same gauge as the original local rail route, and so I assume this is standard gauge ... Although only
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jan 17, 2001
                              > Maybe you could measure it?
                              > If it's 4 feet 8 1/2 inches, then it's standard gauge, but what I would
                              > be really interested in knowing is if the loading gauge is the same as
                              > that of Railtrack's lines?


                              I'm advised that Metrolink *does* run on the same gauge as the original
                              local rail route, and so I assume this is standard gauge
                              >
                              >
                              > Is this some sort of conflict with the operating companies?
                              > Maybe if there was (more) co-operating and (more) co-ordination, then
                              > there might even be a gain on ridership?
                              > Here on the Island of Montreal we even have special bus routes for
                              > connecting with commuter trains (and this is between two different
                              > entities).

                              Although only involving bus companies, there is a classic example of why
                              operators are reluctant to co-operate:

                              The two major companies in the Chester/North Wales area; First Group and
                              Arriva, decided, through their local subsidiaries to co-operate on routes
                              between the historic city of Chester and the small towns and villages on
                              the North Wales coast. This included a co-ordinated timetable, so that
                              buses were evenly split every 15 minutes on the busiest section of route;
                              newer buses were introduced in a "neutral" livery, and common fares were
                              used. All this was subject to approval by the Government's Competition
                              Commission. The timetable was accepted, but the livery and fares were
                              rejected, on the basis that customers were denied the opportunity to
                              consciously choose which company to use!
                            • J.H. Crawford
                              Hi All, Your moderator here. You posts are now being seen by 323 other members. Some reminders: Please take the time to spell check, make sure your message is
                              Message 14 of 14 , Dec 9, 2003
                                Hi All,

                                Your moderator here.

                                You posts are now being seen by 323 other members.

                                Some reminders:

                                Please take the time to spell check, make sure your message
                                is clear, etc. I personally appreciate normal capitalization
                                in messages to groups (I don't always follow this in
                                personal messages). It's easier for everyone to read, and
                                it really doesn't take much extra time.

                                Please do not post messages that consist only of a link to
                                an article. Please add at least one sentence describing
                                what it is and why it's important. (It's OK to quote from
                                the source, too.) Anything that might require a log-in
                                should be pasted as full-text, with a link to the source.
                                I am absolutely unable to obtain permission to read articles
                                on the LA Times because I'm not in the USA. Similar problems
                                will apply for others elsewhere.

                                This is not an American group, it's international. Please
                                do not discuss issues that are of only local interest unless
                                there is a larger issue or lesson to be learned.

                                Please limit posts to once a day, twice in "emergencies."

                                When replying to an earlier post, please be sure to trim off
                                parts of messages that are not relevant to your reply; it's
                                hard to find the interesting bits.

                                Play nice. Flaming is not OK in this group.

                                Thanks,



                                -- ### --

                                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.