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Got an email today from RTA.... good news!

Music City Star ridership continues to climb

More than 1,000 passenger trips recorded twice in September

Ridership on the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) Music City Star topped 1,000 passenger trips per day twice last month and continues to rise. Ridership on the train has increased from 614 passenger trips per day in December 2008 to 866 passenger trips per day in September 2010, which is an increase of 41 percent since the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) became the new management team less than two years ago. On September 28, 1,006 passenger trips were recorded, marking the second time in as many weeks that more than 1,000 passenger trips were taken on the state’s only regional rail service. Earlier in the month, the Star had 1,015 passenger trips, the most trips recorded on the train for a single day of regular weekday service in several years. A third train car was added to the Music City Star earlier this year due to increasing ridership. Since then, the upward ridership trend has continued. “More people are choosing public transportation for their way to get around,” RTA Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Ballard said. “We believe this ridership trend will continue as more people realize the many wonderful benefits that transit offers to them and the environment.” Over the past four months, ridership has steadily increased. In June, average daily ridership was 801, followed by 843 in July and 852 in August. The average daily ridership of 866 in September represents an increase of 8 percent compared to June. “As someone who has ridden the Star since the beginning, it is exciting to see more people realizing how great it is to travel by train,” said Sheila Varga, a daily rider and president of the Regional Commuters Association. “I am confident that this is just the beginning of the trend in increasing ridership.”

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Well....those "clueless people" happened to do over 100 town halls (attended by over 10,000 people) and a tremendous amount of research in putting that proposal together that many folks happen to thin

There was another couple of articles in the NBJ. It was a both side of the coin approach, as Charles Robert Bone Pro and Joe Scarlett Con shared their views.  The one comment Scarlett proposed wa

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Got an email today from RTA.... good news!

Music City Star ridership continues to climb

More than 1,000 passenger trips recorded twice in September

Ridership on the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) Music City Star topped 1,000 passenger trips per day twice last month and continues to rise. Ridership on the train has increased from 614 passenger trips per day in December 2008 to 866 passenger trips per day in September 2010, which is an increase of 41 percent since the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) became the new management team less than two years ago. On September 28, 1,006 passenger trips were recorded, marking the second time in as many weeks that more than 1,000 passenger trips were taken on the state’s only regional rail service. Earlier in the month, the Star had 1,015 passenger trips, the most trips recorded on the train for a single day of regular weekday service in several years. A third train car was added to the Music City Star earlier this year due to increasing ridership. Since then, the upward ridership trend has continued. “More people are choosing public transportation for their way to get around,” RTA Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Ballard said. “We believe this ridership trend will continue as more people realize the many wonderful benefits that transit offers to them and the environment.” Over the past four months, ridership has steadily increased. In June, average daily ridership was 801, followed by 843 in July and 852 in August. The average daily ridership of 866 in September represents an increase of 8 percent compared to June. “As someone who has ridden the Star since the beginning, it is exciting to see more people realizing how great it is to travel by train,” said Sheila Varga, a daily rider and president of the Regional Commuters Association. “I am confident that this is just the beginning of the trend in increasing ridership.”

Jice,

Very encouraging news. Let's hope this trend continues.

WW

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just got back from DC-Baltimore. Tons of rail up there. Hope we can learn and develop from places like this. Didn't get to stay long or ride anything, but I did get a few pictures I hope to post soon including many others I keep promising!!

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  • 1 month later...

The Star just keeps breaking ridership records... great to hear!

Record 1,107 passenger trips on Music City Star Wednesday

Ridership on the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) Music City Star hit a record 1,107 commuter passenger trips on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. More than 600 passenger trips (601) were recorded Wednesday morning. “With the winter weather as well as gas prices on the rise, more people are seeking other alternatives to driving their personal vehicles,” RTA Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Ballard said. “They are quickly realizing the many benefits that public transit offers to them and the environment.”

Last week, ridership on the Music City Star hit a then-record 1,060 commuter passenger trips. Over the last year, ridership on the regional train has steadily grown. During a six-month period from June through November 2010, ridership increased 8 percent over the same period a year ago.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yet another record has been set! thumbsup.gif

Ridership on the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) Music City Star hit a record 1,339 passenger trips on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011.

“This has been the worst winter we have experienced in years. I am pleased with the way our bus operators and train crew have performed by getting all customers to their destinations safely,” RTA Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Ballard said. “More people are seeking other alternatives to driving their personal vehicles, and they are quickly realizing the many benefits that public transit offers to them.”

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I'm afraid that Americans simply don't understand HSR. Even places that are trying to embrace it (such as here in California) are getting it all wrong. California voted this in years ago, and recently got a huge chunk of federal funds to go forward, but it is still in the planning stage (because of constant debate). The problem here is, every town wants to be a stop or be avoided completely, so the HSR agency is going along with these towns with something like "look how much it could offer your area if it stops, that's why you should allow it to pass through". What we end up with is a high-speed commuter rail system, making a stop every 5 miles. What good is a train that can travel 125+ mph if it can never get up to speed? Now, the California High-speed line, which could travel between San Francisco and L.A. in about 4 hours, is now looking upwards of 9 (which you can do in a car). In fact, the planned East Bay route has several stops in town which are ALSO served by BART (the heavy rail/subway system). What is the point of overlapping systems? In reality, HSP should only stop in major metropolitan areas (with maybe 1 or 2 stops in between at the most). For example, a train running from Nashville to Chattanooga should only stop in Murfreesboro. Nashville to Memphis should only stop in Jackson (and maybe West Memphis). Otherwise, it is defeating the purpose. Just my opinion.

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No, nashvillwill, I am afraid you are exactly right. I have often thought about this before and how the stops would work. You are exactly right. The high speed rail system needs to have as few stops as possible be efficient at high speeds. You're right that there is no point in having a fast train if it never really goes that fast or having so many stops that time-wise air travel or car travel would be competitive. I have said it many times before, we need a conglomeration of systems working together not only in Nashville or other cities but also the whole nation. We want and need options and various transportation systems work better for certain situations. For example, BRT might work better for certain corridors in Nashville while LRT might be better. The same goes for the HSR. Have minimal stops as you said say Murfreesboro between Nashville and Chattanooga. Slower trains could have more stops on the route so that someone living in say Manchester could ride that to Murfreesboro then hope on the HSR train to ATL. Then within individual cities a BRT, LRT, bus system, or street/trolley cars could get you to the HSR or LSR transportation centers. Great issue and discussion points nashvillwill!

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I think the first step would be to get Amtrak to restore service to Middle Tennessee. True, Amtrak is very slow (typically slower than driving), but it establishes a customer base in the area. If Tennessee felt so bold, they could purchase right of ways beside current CSX (and other freight) rail lines. Build new rails and these could serve to attract Amtrak, as well as serve as regional commuter rail lines. It would also function as future ROW's for HSR.

That makes me wonder. With eminent domain being the new favorite toy of municipalities, has any government ever tried to use eminent domain on a freight rail ROW? Not intended to take over the rails from freight (freight is the backbone of our nation), but to force the room for an additional mainline for mass transit only.

I live next to a set of tracks that serves freight, Amtrak and regional commuter rail. There is a station about 6 blocks away with a train stopping ever 15 minutes. It's really amazing how efficiently these things work together when encouraged to. On top of that, we have BART (heavy rail/subway) which runs parallel about a mile east. They cross at certain points creating transfer spots. When you consider that San Francisco also has electric trolleys, electric light-rail (underground in spots), cable cars, electrified buses (overhead lines), ferry's, and hybrid only taxis, it really is a transit geeks dream!

If only i could ride a high speed train back to Nashville. I would take that over a flight any day.

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Haha, I hear you on the high speed train travel. Sounds like the bay area has some good models to look at and improve upon in transit "fresh" area like Nashville. Some of the things I hate that Nashville did or happened to was removing the original street cars and passenger train service (same goes for here in Knoxville). It would be nice to see the city/state leaders try and get Amtrak or a general passenger train back in the state. I also agree that establishing the passenger rail would naturally push forward commuter rail. It might even work backwards if we get one or two more lines for the STAR. Commuter rail push for passenger. However, I don't feel like passenger rail will see TN anytime soon. Maybe the recent surge in gas prices can boost forward motion for re-establishing train service in Nashville and TN.

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  • 3 months later...

Some more talk about a Clarksville-Nashville Star leg.

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/14917588/music-city-stars-next-adventure-clarksville

This has been going on for a few years. Just seems like more talk and nothing really new or definitive.

An old TN article from 2009. http://www.westkentuckynrhs.org/archives/644

Also found this interesting site while searching for this latest article. A group against the commuter leg expansion (well they say at least through Ashland City).

http://stop-the-train.com/main/page_home.html

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Also caught this awhile back and never got around to posting it. An article from the Memphis Flyer vis Transit Now Nashville. It is on a grassroot effort in Virginia to connect Memphis to the East Coast and more via high speed rail transit using Norfolk Southern's Crescent Transit line. Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Huntsville would all get stops. No Nashville. This is because the line does not run through Nashville but c'mon!!

http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/steel-train/Content?oid=2757843

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Also caught this awhile back and never got around to posting it. An article from the Memphis Flyer vis Transit Now Nashville. It is on a grassroot effort in Virginia to connect Memphis to the East Coast and more via high speed rail transit using Norfolk Southern's Crescent Transit line. Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Huntsville would all get stops. No Nashville. This is because the line does not run through Nashville but c'mon!!

http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/steel-train/Content?oid=2757843

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  • 1 month later...

RTA asking for more money from Mt. Juliet and Wilson Co.

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/15308359/rta-wants-more-money-from-mt-juliet-wilson-county

I was coming back to Nashville from Illinois a few weeks ago. As I traveled down 24 between Clarksville and Nashville it was around rush hour ~ 6 pm. I noticed a pretty large volume of traffic. You couldn't really pass as both lanes were pretty stacked full of cars. Traffic wasn't necessary slow, but the volume was heavy. From this observation, I am highly encouraged by the RTA Star line to Clarksville. I definitely think it could work and would be highly successful. I think this line next makes the most sense too since Murfreesboro to Nashville has twice as many lanes so I think it can hold off for awhile.

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  • 2 months later...

Needed to change the name of this thread to Mass transit instead of Rail transit. Over the next few years mass transit is going to be a huge issue in Nashvillle and will involve rail, and BRT.

The following article is from the NBJ and Mayor Dean is leaning more towards BRT than the street car idea basicly because of cost.

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/11/10/mayor-dean-prefers-bus-rapid-transit.html?page=all

What do you guys think????

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I think it is doable. I mean, we started with a lower demand commuter rail line (as opposed to maybe a Murfreesboro or Gallatin line) because it was cheapest/easiest and have had pretty good results from it. I am not sure if Nashville could support a LRT line at the moment (space-wise). It seems like a street car line would be hard to implement too. For me, I think space is an issue with these. I am not sure where the space would be for a LRT line. Maybe a street car, but I guess it could be an issue too with a dedicated BRT lane. If they can make the buses look "cool," which I think I've seen done, then it will be a good start. Probably will need a heavy advertisement campaign to get people to try it. Then later on, Nashville can look at replacing it with a different type of line whether LRT or street car or leave it if it becomes unnecessary. Also, a BRT line like that can give us an outlook and results when planning for another area of town on what to do. I think a good balance is going to be needed between the modes since they all serve a different transport need. I think it might be the right move as money would be a huge issue for street car of LRT.

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A modern street car would be very cool BUT we do not have (nor will we have any time soon) the building and people density to make it work effectively. Note the mayor's comments regarding how some folks show a "nervousness" about using buses. He's correct. I know many people who would never utilize public facilities such as libraries, community centers and buses. There are various reasons for this (some based on class and race) and it is very unfortunate. A fairly extensive and efficient BRT could be a nice start in this city's efforts to truly embrace mass transit. Still, the modern street car would be, were it not so expensive and if we had greater population density, a killer addition to this city.

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IMO, I still believe we will see the streetcar scenario from White Bridge to 1st Ave. Part of my reasoning is that modern street cars or Light rail take up less width than do traditional busses, therefore making an easier transition space wise in this corridor. Also unless they can run at a faster pace than the normal traffic flow, there would be less reason to incorporate a line back and forth...

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The developers are pushing hard for streetcars and they usually get what they ask for...

I would like to see the cost difference between BRT and a street car line. What is the major coat difference? The inset of rails? The overhear wires? If the costs are anywhere in the same ballpark then I say go with street cars as they will be perceived and received better by the public. IMO

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