kermit

Transit Ridership Declines in CLT

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Literally couldn’t have said it better than Kermit nor do I have anything further to add. 

I think most BLE trips are actually transferring bus riders. Also, I am so anxious to know how ridership is come August with new students.

 

If I had a parking pass, I honestly wouldn’t use LRT quite a few days from Ballantyne area. But I didn’t get one and tortured myself with the #11 for a few months .

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This comment is also related to the Nashville referendum but I cannot find information on the web that details how the 1998 1/2 cent referendum was approved according to parts of the city. The total vote was 58-42 approved which is a strong approval. I cannot find what areas of the city were stronger or weaker in voting for the tax. Anyone have a link?

The 2007 re-vote was 70-30 in favor of light rail.

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Here is a story from Austin about the Nashville transit vote loss.  What I believe happened among other things is that they wanted to do too much all at once.  And what I also have read is that they did not have a consensus from the various groups across the city-county.  It lost basically all over the county except in the very close in neighborhoods and just a few of them.  

https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2018/05/02/austin-transit-advocates-watch-in-horror-as.html?ana=e_ae_set1&s=article_du&ed=2018-05-02&u=oAaDx%2B74FoP4qOJ%2By4AU6dhJPpc&t=1525307980&j=81361901

As  for our new LYNX extension I think with parking costs rising uptown and gas prices rising some too I think the new extension will build up ridership.  Wait until the first full year of UNCC students being able to ride it.  I plan on taking my nephew a freshman this fall at UNC Charlotte on a trip this summer telling him what is at all the stations through uptown to Southend. 

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If bus frequency was higher, there was a accurate tracker app, and updated toll machines were on all buses I'd definitely be a consistent rider. My morning commute driving vs transit is 25 min vs 1hr 48 min, not feasible when the earliest bus is leaving around 5:55a.m. and I need to be there around 7. If they could at least cut that down to an hour I'd still be down to ride. But almost 2 hrs is impractical. 

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1 hour ago, 11 HouseBZ said:

If bus frequency was higher, there was a accurate tracker app, and updated toll machines were on all buses I'd definitely be a consistent rider. My morning commute driving vs transit is 25 min vs 1hr 48 min, not feasible when the earliest bus is leaving around 5:55a.m. and I need to be there around 7. If they could at least cut that down to an hour I'd still be down to ride. But almost 2 hrs is impractical. 

One day I was so annoyed I just missed the bus (saw it riding away) which meant waiting 20 minutes. Then when we got to the light rail, it was just leaving. Waited 7 minutes, train arrived... out of service. Waited another 7 minutes. I was so late that day to class... 

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I would like to see them implement a BRT-lite concept in all major corridors not covered by light rail to augment the LRT system.  It should have somewhat limited stops, run on 10 minute headways during rush hour, have signal prioritization, prepaid boarding,  nice shelters, and be branded separately from the normal bus service (I'm thinking carry the Sprinter brand throughout).  Really the only thing that would be different from BRT would be lack of dedicated lanes.

A couple of hypothetical candidate routes:

1. Waverly/Rea Farms-Uptown 

2.  Waverly/ Rea Farms-Southpark-River District 

3. Ballantyne-Southpark-Park Rd SC-Uptown 

All told I suspect there could be 12-15 routes and they could be designed to create a web of BRT-lite routes-both radial and circumferential/crosstown-that blanket Charlotte.  This plus buildout of the transit plan would put most of the population within a short distance of either an LRT line or a high quality BRT-lite line, and I suspect would generate good ridership for the system.

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10 hours ago, kermit said:

As I began to rely less on my car an unexpected thing happened,  I used transit less. Where I once rode the blue line to uptown for hockey or drinks I began to ride my bike there instead (15-20 minute headways on weekends were too much to bear). Despite my working uptown a few days each month my use of the Blue Line fell dramatically the past few years, it wasn't due to ridesharing, it was that the density increases (and the rail trail) that transit enabled allowed me to walk and bike more -- CATS' success in creating TOD made me ride transit less.

This is an interesting note, when I was in Antwerp last summer, a European city with about 500,000 in population, I was surprised at how "not crowded" the trains were, and Europeans do typically work 9-5 like Americans do, often even more so, the thought of staying late at the office, or retailers keeping employees past dark is truly a foreign concept. Despite this the streets seemed much more cluttered than the metro (Antwerp has an extensive network of trams that go underground in the main city, this zone is called the Metro.) It was really more utilized by people traveling to the suburbs, it was much easier to just walk to most of the places we needed to go, really the only time we hopped on an above ground tram or the metro (we had choices!) Was to visit my grandmother's apartment in a nearby suburb, and keep in mind, in most of the world a suburb is a place that's primarily residential not necessarily less dense, these people did not have yards to speak of. My grandmother's rosebush in her courtyard is the closest thing that woman has had to garden since when my mom was in diapers I'm sure. 

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10 hours ago, tarhoosier said:

This comment is also related to the Nashville referendum but I cannot find information on the web that details how the 1998 1/2 cent referendum was approved according to parts of the city. The total vote was 58-42 approved which is a strong approval. I cannot find what areas of the city were stronger or weaker in voting for the tax. Anyone have a link?

The 2007 re-vote was 70-30 in favor of light rail.

If you cannot find exactly what you are looking for somewhere else, for a little DIY project you can find vote totals by precinct here:

https://www.mecknc.gov/BOE/data/Pages/PreviousElectionResults.aspx

Transit referendum was on the Nov 3 1998 general election ballot.  Without really digging, you have to assume that the precincts have not moved around much, but I think that's a pretty safe assumption.   

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7 hours ago, cltbwimob said:

I would like to see them implement a BRT-lite concept in all major corridors not covered by light rail to augment the LRT system.  It should have somewhat limited stops, run on 10 minute headways during rush hour, have signal prioritization, prepaid boarding,  nice shelters, and be branded separately from the normal bus service (I'm thinking carry the Sprinter brand throughout).  Really the only thing that would be different from BRT would be lack of dedicated lanes.

A couple of hypothetical candidate routes:

1. Waverly/Rea Farms-Uptown 

2.  Waverly/ Rea Farms-Southpark-River District 

3. Ballantyne-Southpark-Park Rd SC-Uptown 

All told I suspect there could be 12-15 routes and they could be designed to create a web of BRT-lite routes-both radial and circumferential/crosstown-that blanket Charlotte.  This plus buildout of the transit plan would put most of the population within a short distance of either an LRT line or a high quality BRT-lite line, and I suspect would generate good ridership for the system.

I love this idea but fear it would somehow get politicized.   The idea of running express options from major residential areas to major employment areas makes sense if you're designing the system from a pure efficiency or revenue perspective.  Sadly, public transportation has too much of the public involved and funds for these efforts would be the first to get cut in order to keep points of access, regardless of ridership, open.   

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The Lynx is more approachable to an occasional rider because you can walk up, buy a ticket with your CC and ride. The buses require exact change in cash, correct? How can you compete with ride sharing apps when so many people don't carry cash?  I realize that in most places buses do not accept cards but it is something that has to be considered. Payment stations at every stop are not practical either. Perhaps the  in app payment for Lynx can be updated to work for buses as well. 

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45 minutes ago, 49er said:

The Lynx is more approachable to an occasional rider because you can walk up, buy a ticket with your CC and ride. The buses require exact change in cash, correct? How can you compete with ride sharing apps when so many people don't carry cash?  I realize that in most places buses do not accept cards but it is something that has to be considered. Payment stations at every stop are not practical either. Perhaps the  in app payment for Lynx can be updated to work for buses as well. 

Completely agree, the exact change requirement has stopped me from riding buses more times than I can count.

London and Chicago have both enabled their turnstyles and bus payment systems to allow fare payment by tapping your contactless bank card on the reader. The system works very well, too bad the US has been so slow to roll out contactless payment enabled cards.

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19 hours ago, tarhoosier said:

This comment is also related to the Nashville referendum but I cannot find information on the web that details how the 1998 1/2 cent referendum was approved according to parts of the city. The total vote was 58-42 approved which is a strong approval. I cannot find what areas of the city were stronger or weaker in voting for the tax. Anyone have a link?

The 2007 re-vote was 70-30 in favor of light rail.

THANK YOU teeg-

The Board of Elections site, with some digging, provides the results from the 1998 referendum on tax for transit, namely light rail. The total vote in the county was 58-42 in favor. The precinct breakdown showed about 20 precincts where the majority of voters were against and these precincts today are mostly in the eastern reaches of the county, north and south of 74, bordering the county line, and in the west of the county at the river plus a couple in the Brookshire corridor. One may provide a stereotype to fit why these precincts voted differently from their neighbors. I assume in my research that precinct lines change in small enough increments that 20 year old data can fit sufficient for this purpose.

Only the best news from the past century-JFC

Edited by tarhoosier

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IMO, outside of connecting SouthEnd and I-485/South to Uptown, our transit network struggles at connecting people to where they actually work. We have blue collar residential areas of town with an excellent connection to Uptown, but most residents don't work there. They still need a car to get to their job that might be in a distribution center in Steele Creek, a retail store in SouthPark, a restaurant in Northlake, or a manufacturing facility off Statesville Road. They might ride the light rail on the weekends to enjoy Uptown amenities, but they still need a car to get to work. Better to make an investment in a car if you can than risk getting fired for being chronically late due to slow / late buses. 

Then you have areas where maybe 60%+ of the people in the neighborhood work in the Center City area, like Cotswold, but there is only a public bus to get to Uptown that takes a winding route through side streets. Outside of SouthEnd, which was pretty much built from the ground up as a dormitory for Bank employees... I can't think of any neighborhood along the Blue Line that has such a concentration of Uptown workers. 

With how sprawling the city is, I don't know how you do it all. There are cities with good bus service that make it work... I'm just not sure if Charlotte is ready to make the investments in a bus fleet to do that. Even if we dramatically expand our network with a Silver and Red Line.... I wonder what percentage of the City of Charlotte would be within a .5 mile walk of a light rail stop. 

 

 

Edited by CLT2014

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2 hours ago, CLT2014 said:

IMO, outside of connecting SouthEnd and I-485/South to Uptown, our transit network struggles at connecting people to where they actually work. We have blue collar residential areas of town with an excellent connection to Uptown, but most residents don't work there. They still need a car to get to their job that might be in a distribution center in Steele Creek, a retail store in SouthPark, a restaurant in Northlake, or a manufacturing facility off Statesville Road. They might ride the light rail on the weekends to enjoy Uptown amenities, but they still need a car to get to work. Better to make an investment in a car if you can than risk getting fired for being chronically late due to slow / late buses. 

Then you have areas where maybe 60%+ of the people in the neighborhood work in the Center City area, like Cotswold, but there is only a public bus to get to Uptown that takes a winding route through side streets. Outside of SouthEnd, which was pretty much built from the ground up as a dormitory for Bank employees... I can't think of any neighborhood along the Blue Line that has such a concentration of Uptown workers. 

With how sprawling the city is, I don't know how you do it all. There are cities with good bus service that make it work... I'm just not sure if Charlotte is ready to make the investments in a bus fleet to do that. Even if we dramatically expand our network with a Silver and Red Line.... I wonder what percentage of the City of Charlotte would be within a .5 mile walk of a light rail stop. 

 

 

Bingo bongo...

If Charlotte reinvested in a high-quality (all of them like the Express buses) fleet, and reconfigure the routes, they could make bus ridership explode.

Edited by SgtCampsalot
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34 minutes ago, SgtCampsalot said:

Bingo bongo...

If Charlotte reinvested in a high-quality (all of them like the Express buses) fleet, and reconfigure the routes, they could make bus ridership explode.

Houston is doing that and believe me that city has 10 huge employment nodes from downtown, Galleria, the TX Medical Center etc   There is no way we can ever afford rail to everywhere but I do think the airport should be a high priority with its over 8000 employees not to mention passengers tourists etc. 

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CATS has roughly 70 routes, of which a dozen carry half of all riders. Not surprisingly, only these few routes have better than 30 minute frequency all day. 

 

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^that plan is a farce, as it requires nearly a doubling in operating budget, but there's no such budget planned.  BLE routes were restructured but still have pathetic spans and frequencies. 

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2 hours ago, southslider said:

that plan is a farce

LOL how do you budget for something that you have no idea will look like.

This is a first step to get input on the routes, then with the data gathered they can look at what it would take to implement... i.e. costs.

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^then don't claim recent BLE bus route changes and upcoming service changes as implementation of Envision My Ride.

When bus routes changed for the first Blue Line, additional bus hours were budgeted, but no increase for BLE.  And no budget increase for years to come.

No increased budgeting for bus service  means this "plan" is either going on the shelf or a bait and switch.  Either way, it's smoke and mirrors to claim anything will be transformed in the near future. 

Edited by southslider

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Red Alert:

Has Minneapolis implemented the key to successful Bus transit?

The Twin Cities Figured Out the Formula for Increasing Bus Ridership

Quote

"Ridership has increased 30 percent since the $27 million A Line upgrades were completed in 2016"

"Riders pay before boarding and can get on the bus at any door. Peak service runs at least every 10 minutes. Buses do not have to merge back into traffic after picking up riders. After consolidating stops, the A Line now stops about every half-mile along the 10-mile route. Traffic signals hold green lights for buses. And the stations are well-equipped with shelters, arrival displays, and bike racks."

 

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