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BnaBreaker

Nashville MTA cutting major bus service?

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Read the rules. Please don't cut and past newspaper articles here

And just when I thought things were going so well...

I'm sorry, I hate to sound like a pessimist but I don't care how well the commuter line does or how many condos are build downtown...Nashville CANNOT be a truly vibrant and full functioning urban area without good local mass transit. This news really stings.

Granted it is just one step back after having many steps forward...but still...if this comes to be it is a pretty massive step back. Nashville already has a pathetic bus system as it is.

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I'm not surprised. MTA hasn't got the best leadership IMO. It is funny though how recently there has been a few articles in the paper about how ridership has been up and money was flowing in thanks to gas prices and more passengers. Isn't it just a little bit ironic, this news???

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I've read in several articles that ridership is up significantly. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

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This is ridiculous! BNA is absolutely right, our mass transit is pathetic and since people don't care, it's getting worse. A few of those routes that they are ending or shrinking onle have a handful of daily trips anyways, so everyone that relies on those routes are left in the cold....or should I say the heat. Anyways, until some politician with some gonads steps up and gets some real funding for our cities future, then I think we are all going to keep being shocked every time we fill up.

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This is worrisome. As many of you have mentioned, the bus system is already provides poor service. And if you cut back even more on the number of busses and increase wait times, less and less people will find it feasible to take the bus to and from work. So cutting back service will decrease ridership, thereby leading to further cutbacks, etc, in a vicious cycle.

Maybe the routes will be redesigned based on actual and projected ridership and will actually be more efficient. Let's hope!

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Nashville has missed the bus (pardon the pun) on mass transit. It doesn't matter if they started today with a plan. They are so behind the times, it would be playing catch-up from here on out.

With a mediocre bus system and a rail system with one only line that is overpriced for a ticket, the outlook is gloom for mass transit.

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Cars continue to rule in these parts, although I've seen an increase in the number of people riding Vespas and similar scooters around downtown. Not a bad option, actually, considering the uselessness of MTA busses to most residents and the increasing cost of owning a vehicle. Mass transit must meet the demands of it's current and future riders, not the other way around. Maybe one day soon I'll ride a bus from downtown to to Opry Mills and back, just for the experience.

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It's so funny that when I go to Chicago, the only mode of transport I consider is the CTA (bus or El). MTA is mostly seen around here as transportation for "those that can't afford". Maybe that's a problem throughout the South, but not up North. That's a large paradigm to overcome for the MTA.

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I think you're right, that the bus is simply looked at as being here for poor people. Part of that is because of poor marketing, and the other is fact. I see many more MTA busses around Nolensville Road and parts of Gallatin Pike just north of Main street, than I do in places like Brentwood, Belle Meade, etc...

I come from Atlanta, where Marta trains were great, and the only time I connected on a bus was to get to Turner Field. It seems like buses are always behind schedules unlike trains. Is that just my perception or is it true? If so, I really think more buses would help grow MTA, not fewer.

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It's so funny that when I go to Chicago, the only mode of transport I consider is the CTA (bus or El). MTA is mostly seen around here as transportation for "those that can't afford". Maybe that's a problem throughout the South, but not up North. That's a large paradigm to overcome for the MTA.

It really is sad to see such a stark contrast. However, this problem is fast becoming not just a simple North/South divide on those who use and even just have access to good transit options. Charlotte has already started a trolley and are implementing a light rail and modern tram system as well. Atlanta obviously already has a light rail system. Jacksonville has already built light rail to downtown. Most of the cities we like to compare ourselves with are pulling away from us. Soon, we might just see our growth becoming constrained because we neglected this vital part of the urban puzzle.

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Yes, it is a huge paradigm shift -- most folks think that riding the bus is "plan B". Well...more like plan Z. Until our populous demands an effective transit system, we'll trod along like this. How many more residents are we expecting in the CBD? And how many vehicles are they bringing with them? It'll be a zoo (as if it's not already). I hate to say it, but the folks with $/clout/power/whatever are going to have to start complaining about it before something happens.

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Again, another failure for Metro.

When they were trying to get the library approved, they had the slogan "A great city needs a great library". Too bad they cant say the same about the transit system here.

I fell over laughing when they had an air quality alert on a Sunday and the TDOT signs said "Consider using mass transit" What a joke.:lol:

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It's so funny that when I go to Chicago, the only mode of transport I consider is the CTA (bus or El). MTA is mostly seen around here as transportation for "those that can't afford". Maybe that's a problem throughout the South, but not up North. That's a large paradigm to overcome for the MTA.

That is not actually indicative of any virtue "up North" or fault "down South." It is more a characteristic of those cities who dealt with large population booms and increased density prior to the advent of the automobile as an accessible/viable/practical mode of transportation compared to those cities whose marked growth commenced after the automobile was introduced to the population-at-large. It is far from the truth that all cities "up North" have a grand tradition of mass transit and no Southern city has evolved enough to develop an efficient mass transit system.

People in the Chicago area are just as automobile-focused as people in Nashville. Sure, CTA is an option that most of the population can choose, but most overlook that choice. Look around you on the bus or train the next time you are in Chicago. I am sure you'll notice that, like in most cities outside New York, your fellow riders will be a fair mix of businessmen, visitors and new urbanites, but more still of "those that can't afford."

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Maybe if there were some powerful people/developers pushing for it (Tony G anybody?) it would get some momentum, or if the growing downtown population has a catchy slogan and a grassroots effor. I don't think it's deniable that there is a major image issue with the MTA and buses in general, and honestly I don't know that cutting capacity will help that.

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Well, all I can say to you Nashvillians and Middle Tennesseans, "Welcome to the boat." Birmingham is in the exact same boat as you guys. I'm sorry to see that Nashville MTA doesn't have the ability to envision the future uses of mass transit with a large growing metropolitan area. It's not a North-South problem, it is a selfishness/anti-urbanism problem.

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People in the Chicago area are just as automobile-focused as people in Nashville. Sure, CTA is an option that most of the population can choose, but most overlook that choice. Look around you on the bus or train the next time you are in Chicago. I am sure you'll notice that, like in most cities outside New York, your fellow riders will be a fair mix of businessmen, visitors and new urbanites, but more still of "those that can't afford."

True, while the subway is packed, so is the traffic. I come from the suburbs and take the Blue line in from Forest Park. That is where you see the mix of businessmen and women that take the train downtown to work. The closer you get to downtown, the diversity picks up and you get some of the "less fortunates". But still you see a mix of business people, general workers, kids taking it to school & college, and tourists. That's something you don't see here in Nashville. Another factor why they take mass transit over driving in Chicago is the high price of parking downtown. While some may think it's expensive here, it's really a bargin even on it's most expensive day. Any businessman in here want to pay $400/month to park downtown??

MTA needs a really good PR firm to brighten up their image and boost ridership. I wouldn't take the bus from Brentwood to downtown, but I would take the train downtown if I were going to a Titans, Preds, or Sounds game.

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People in the Chicago area are just as automobile-focused as people in Nashville. Sure, CTA is an option that most of the population can choose, but most overlook that choice. Look around you on the bus or train the next time you are in Chicago. I am sure you'll notice that, like in most cities outside New York, your fellow riders will be a fair mix of businessmen, visitors and new urbanites, but more still of "those that can't afford."

I agree with your analysis of the timeline of mass transit development relative to automobile affordability as being more central than regional differences. This isn't North/South thing.

As for ridership on the CTA, there is a mix, but on the lakefront busses there are far more business people and professionals, whereas poorer individuals tend to increase on the more inland busses. Time of day also makes a difference. Most of the CTA trains really do cover a vast stretch in the city and so naturally they always have a mix. But truthfully speaking, I'm one of the professionals and I definitely can't afford a car where I live. $200 a month to park in my building, plus $26 per day to park downtown where I work, PLUS gas, PLUS the car payment itself? Where I live and work I'd have to get a second job just to own a car. Versus paying $75 a month for a monthly CTA pass.

Even a lot of people (hundreds of thousands) who live in the suburbs take the Metra into the city, and sometimes can get home in the next county before I can get back to my neighborhood near Wrigley. (So in a way, the commuter trains here have actually made it more convenient to live in a suburb in the next county or the one beyond that than in the city itself.) Now if people work in the suburbs, too, then they are definitely car-centered. And there are definitely a lot of companies located out there.

But overall, I would have to politely disagree that people in the Chicago area are "just as" automobile-focused as people in Nashville. But this comment is not meant to characterize the people but just to say that the mass transit options in the Chicago area are more robust are more taken for granted as an option or even as a determining factor for how and when to get somewhere (or where to live) than is the case for people in Nashville.

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But truthfully speaking, I'm one of the professionals and I definitely can't afford a car where I live. $200 a month to park in my building, plus $26 per day to park downtown where I work, PLUS gas, PLUS the car payment itself? Where I live and work I'd have to get a second job just to own a car. Versus paying $75 a month for a monthly CTA pass.

Wow that's crazy! It's almost like Chicago is trying really hard to keep people from owning cars. That's interesting. Maybe Nashville needs to put a tax on downtown parking, lol... use it to fund the rail system.

As for MTA cutting routes... from what others have said, it sounds like the routes aren't used as much as others. Maybe MTA is in the process of reorganizing and better utilizing their resources and funding? If that's the case... maybe in the near future we will see more routes in more appropriate places?

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Okay, so they've taken down the newspaper article because it broke the rules...a bizarre 'rule' to say the very least...but in anycase, I think we are all in agreement here that this is a bad turn for the city. Does anybody really think Chicago would be Chicago or Paris would be Paris or Boston would be Boston if everybody had to drive everywhere? Absolutely not! When everyone needs to have a car to get anywhere, that means of course that parking needs to be provided for all those people and that streets must accomodate the car fully. That is the attitude we're trying to get away from. HOPEFULLY these changes are only temporary and MTA gets back on track soon. Obviously this doesn't at all mean that service can't or won't improve in the future...but as of right now, in light of this movement, it's a little harder for me to see the urban explosion in Nashville as anything more than 'riding the trend wave' instead of being an honest to goodness organic urban movement.

Oh, and I also must disagree that Chicago is as auto-minded as Nashville. People ride CTA because in the city, even aside from the cost of parking, it really is the best option to get around. Even most suburban Chicagoans have grown up with the train being an option. I've never met anyone (although i'm sure there are many), even in the furthest reaches of suburbia, who would think twice about riding the EL to a Cubs game for example.

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Maybe Nashville needs to put a tax on downtown parking, lol... use it to fund the rail system.

You know, I'm not sure if there is a tax on parking in Chicago - I wouldn't be surprised - but I do know that parking tickets generate a lot of revenue!

Really, even five years ago there were a lot of surface parking lots in or near downtown that were cheap by today's standards, sometimes as little as $5 a day for the remote ones where you would walk like a half mile or more to work from your spot. But as the lots gave way to buildings the prices on the remaining spaces went up. If Nashville can keep replacing downtown parking lots with office buildings, hotels, and condos, the same will happen there. After the parking reaches a certain price point, people will decide that the public transportation is not so expensive after all and demand will increase. I think that the market will eventually push this one along provided that the oversight boards don't totally screw things up.

One other thing that does happen here periodically is that the CTA announces a budget shortfall and that service will be cut. Then there are public meetings and scathing letters and all that, and usually the funding is found somehow. One big issue that usually gets quoted here is that the CTA has funding for capital improvements like building new stations, etc., but the operating budget is lacking, which is usually a way of pressuring the State to cough up their part of the revenue stream. I wonder if that will occur in Nashville since the new bus depot is going to be under construction but bus lines are being threatened. So the MTA service cut announcement could be part of an overall showdown of some sort.

I hope that you're right that the new routes will be truly improved as a result of this ordeal. Maybe a fair amount of public scrutiny will be a good market research opportunity for the MTA.

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I've honestly never understood why so many think mass transit is so costly to begin with. When you compare it to the price of commuting where you have to pay for gas to get to your destination, and a parking spot when you arrive at your destination, not to mention the costs to keep your car running properly, riding mass transit is extremely cheap!

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If you take out the cost of purchasing a vehicle (which can vary greatly from $2,000 to $200,000 just depending on what you want), It's hard to say public transit in this area is cheaper. If public transportation went everywhere, that would be one thing, but in everywhere but downtowns and NYC you have to have a car.

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Well, to be honest I don't know what transit in Nashville costs...but transit in Chicago and everywhere else i've been is far cheaper than driving everyday. Think about it. If you have a 20 minute commute to and from work, and your car gets 20 mpg (which is pretty average) then you are spending roughly 6 dollars EVERYDAY just to GET to work and back. That isn't counting regularly scheduled maintenence, parking, unscheduled maintenence, everywhere else you have to drive to live life etc. etc. etc...

In Chicago, I can get a month EL pass for 75 bucks, which gives me unlimited rides on all CTA buses or trains, and will get me everywhere I need to go at practically any time, for an entire month...and I don't have to pay to fill the trains up with diesel or to fix their engines either. There are many many places in the United States outside of New York or 'downtowns' where it isn't hard to get by just by riding mass transit.

Perhaps you could do the math for me for Nashville...but I fail to see how it could possibly be SO expensive that it exceeds the cost of gas, parking, and maintenence for a car. Now, accessibility is obviously another question entirely...but theoretically speaking lets just say that you could use MTA to get most everywhere.

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If you take out the cost of purchasing a vehicle (which can vary greatly from $2,000 to $200,000 just depending on what you want), It's hard to say public transit in this area is cheaper. If public transportation went everywhere, that would be one thing, but in everywhere but downtowns and NYC you have to have a car.

You don't need a car in DC either, trust me, I'm doin it. I get your point though, it is mostly cities larger than Nashville that have the infrastructure, however back in the 60s when DC made the comprehensive investment in their infrastructure that they have today, they were a much smaller Metro area. Cities just need leaders that have the will to implement a comprehensive transit solution.

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If anyone wants a real-time answer, how's this....I am a student at MTSU. I live 35 miles from campus. It cost me about $9.50 in gas (with fluxuations) to make the round trip with about 45 min each way. Most of the time I ride the 96X because it cost me $2.50 (no fluxuations) roundtrip, with about 1 hour 10 min. each way. What do I do with the "inconvienient" extra 20 minuites? I pull out my laptop+Ipod, relax, study, and prepare.

Oh, and I exit the bus INSIDE of campus.

So, mass transit isn't cost efficient......right?

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