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nowyano

How do most people feel about your cities Public Transportation?

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I have lived in a few places with decent public transportation and in those places most people hated the systems.

When I lived in Columbus, GA the buses were looked at as a way for poor people to get around and hardly any middle class people ever used them. I don't even know if this is true being as I never rode them.

When I lived in Atlanta, GA I took the MARTA once in a blue moon, but most of the people I worked with did not use it at all, buses, subway, etc.

In Boston, MA lots of people seem to be veering away from using the light/heavy rail as well as the buses because of fair increases (another thread to itself) and the overall feeling is that our system sucks.

My sister lives in Jersey City, NJ and uses both the PATH to get to NYC as well as the NYC Subway system, both of these systems are considered to be comodities to the city.

Basically what is the overall opinion that people have of public transportation in cities that you have lived in?

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I'd say that Charlotte has as good a transportation system as Fresno or Orange County CA do. Perhaps better. It is subsidized by a half cent sales tax.

The perception here seems to be that "express" busses are acceptable to commuters from the exurbs. These tend to be office or government workers, and the transit authority provides them with busses that have upholstered seats and overhead storage or pivate fans. (Think: A Greyhound bus.) The passengers are private minded, and ride quietly - sometimes talking on cell phones. These busses cost about 50 cents more to ride.

The "city" busses are part of the same system, but have hard plastic seats, and they are equipped with grab-poles for standing room only situations, plus more cameras. They feel more "public" - and the rider mix is more along the lines of construction workers, food service people, teenagers, etc. These riders are more "boisterous" and talkative, more likely to have walkmen turned up loud... making the bus drivers intervene and ask to "turn down the music" or "cut out the foul language".

I use the system, but admit if I lived just a few miles farther out I probably would not bother (or switch to the express bus) It takes me about as much time to ride, as it would to drive and park already. But it's cheap, and I don't have to pay to park my car at work.

Charlotte is building some light rail and BRT systems. So in about 5 years it may be more comparable to Sacramento Or San Diego, than to Fresno. :)

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Santa Clara County in the SF Bay Area and surrounding areas are fairly weak. The light rail services and bus service at least exists. The bus coverage isn't all that bad, and neither are the schedules, but I find them uncomfortable, and it is still way cheaper and faster for me to commute by car due to personal short distances. Rail on the other hand is poor, limited coverage, slow, and plagued by it's share of issues caused by at-grade rail systems, poor ridership, and simply being non-existant in a lot of critical areas. Coverage is expanding, but we are far too car-oriented in this area at this time.

SF itself has decent public transit from what everybody says, I've never had the chance to utilize it.

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I think Pittsburgh has a pretty good system, but most locals seem to believe it is terrible. The vehicles are pretty clean, and on most of the routes they run frequently. You may have to transfer, but between the light rail and the buses you can get from anywhere to anywhere. And light rail is free within downtown.

Yet, as I said, many locals seem to think the system is terrible. I'm not sure why. Maybe some people just won't be satisfied until the bus stops right at their door and takes them directly to their destination!

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Santa Clara County in the SF Bay Area and surrounding areas are fairly weak. The light rail services and bus service at least exists. The bus coverage isn't all that bad, and neither are the schedules, but I find them uncomfortable, and it is still way cheaper and faster for me to commute by car due to personal short distances. Rail on the other hand is poor, limited coverage, slow, and plagued by it's share of issues caused by at-grade rail systems, poor ridership, and simply being non-existant in a lot of critical areas. Coverage is expanding, but we are far too car-oriented in this area at this time.

SF itself has decent public transit from what everybody says, I've never had the chance to utilize it.

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Tampa sounds like Columbus, GA. and kind of like other places. The bus network is seen as generally focusing and supplying transit to the lower class/poor group of the city. This is only encouraged by the limited service offered to the subarbs and other more expensive residential areas of the city. Express busses are used minimally by people commuting from the subarbs. We are sorely lacking any type of other transit such as rail. There is discussion of adding a light rail and or commuter rail line to the area, but until that comes mass transit (and maybe still then) will be seen as catering to the lower classes of the city.

Steve

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I looks like public transit is associated with the poor in all but a handful of cities such as NY, SF and BOS. An exception would be college towns where students have no qualms about taking a bus.

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In Boston, MA lots of people seem to be veering away from using the light/heavy rail as well as the buses because of fair increases (another thread to itself) and the overall feeling is that our system sucks.

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I looks like public transit is associated with the poor in all but a handful of cities such as NY, SF and BOS. An exception would be college towns where students have no qualms about taking a bus.

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I would say that it looks like public BUS transit is associated with the poor, not all transit. Notice that all teh cities you listed have comprehensive rail transit options.

I have traveled to Miami several times and used both the metro rail and metro mover systems (both fixed guideway) and can say that they are NOT just used by the poor. Especially the metro mover was used by business people durring the luch and rush hours of the DT commute.

Steve

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How about rail transit in Atlanta, Cleveland and Baltimore? Are these associated with the poor or with a wider range of people?

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In Atlanta, I would say the attitude is that the rail system is slightly more acceptable to the middle class, and a lot of people will take it for special events downtown. A good number will ride it to work as well, treating it sort of like a commuter rail line during rush hours. For daily use, running errands, that sort of thing, though, to the majority of middle class people it's pretty unthinkable that someone would choose to use it.

But with few exceptions, the buses seem to be the domain of those who can't afford not to use them.

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My city has very limited bus service that runs downtown at designated stops and then drops people off at specific businesses and will bring you to your house (if you're out of town a bit). It only runs Monday-Saturday from 8am to 5pm, so it's pretty much only for errands for people with no cars.

I haven't used public transit in Minneapolis extensively, because when I'm down there, I'm usually driving. We do use the light rail to get downtown though because we don't want to deal with traffic and parking down there. It's also really nice for people who have layovers, because they can take the LRT to the Mall of America for a few hours if they're bored.

BRT is becoming more and more popular in the Twin Cities with higher gas prices, and the number of people using BRT from the suburbs has increased dramatically over the past 5 years.

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Recently in Greater Birmingham, there was a transit study done to show that 69% of those polled would support alternative forms of transportation. Here are both articles discussing this:

http://www.al.com/business/birminghamnews/....xml&coll=2

http://www.al.com/opinion/birminghamnews/i....xml&coll=2

It does offer a positive future for mass transit in Birmingham but the answer is funding.

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I would ride the bus in a heart beat, but Colorado Springs' Mountain Metro Transit needs some work. It's gotten better in recent years, but it still takes too long to get from A to B.

When I used to live on the southwest side I would take the bus to get my car from downtown when I would leave it down there after a night of drinking, and it would take about 40 minutes of driving in circles to get to the downtown transit station, which should only take about 10 minutes.

Metro also runs free downtown shuttles and FREX - Front Range Express, that runs from Fountain (South of Colorado Springs) to Denver several times a day.

As for Denver's RTD system, I love riding the lightrail in to downtown rather than fighting traffic and trying to find parking. I've never taken the busses before.

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How about rail transit in Atlanta, Cleveland and Baltimore? Are these associated with the poor or with a wider range of people?

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Most people love the transit in Portland. It isn't associated with the poor at all really. Many people of all sorts ride the buses and the trains. We are expanding at a fairly rapid clip as well...including a new tram that flies up a hill to a hospital complex.

I rode the bus and the train in Cleveland and loved it. Rode the bus around the downtown when I didn't know where to go and the driver and passengers helped me with directions...one passenger even hopped off and walked me to my destination at the time which was the Tower City (or maybe the Terminal Tower?) where I got on the Rapid and rode to the airport. It's called the Rapid isn't it?

Lake Erie was freakishly blue that day.

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The Metro in Washington, D.C. is a good system, though I generally avoid the buses. While mismanaged (what governmental agency in DC isn't?), the Metro is still a good system- far better than may other urban transit systems I have seen.

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In Boston, MA lots of people seem to be veering away from using the light/heavy rail as well as the buses because of fair increases (another thread to itself) and the overall feeling is that our system sucks.

My sister lives in Jersey City, NJ and uses both the PATH to get to NYC as well as the NYC Subway system, both of these systems are considered to be comodities to the city.

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Most people love the transit in Portland. It isn't associated with the poor at all really. Many people of all sorts ride the buses and the trains. We are expanding at a fairly rapid clip as well...including a new tram that flies up a hill to a hospital complex.

I rode the bus and the train in Cleveland and loved it. Rode the bus around the downtown when I didn't know where to go and the driver and passengers helped me with directions...one passenger even hopped off and walked me to my destination at the time which was the Tower City (or maybe the Terminal Tower?) where I got on the Rapid and rode to the airport. It's called the Rapid isn't it?

Lake Erie was freakishly blue that day.

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Here in South Carolina, our three larest cities are struggling to keep their transit systems afloat. The governments will not fund them so the systems suck. People then make the arguement that if others would ride it, it would get more money. They say this not realizing that if the bus actually took you somewhere and was actually a moderately convenient way to get around town, more people would take it. Its truely a miserable situation. People associate it solely with a way for poor people to get around. Why take the bus when you have your car?

The exception is in Clemson, where college students ride the bus more frequently than many cities in the state. The CATbus has a great reputation here. Its also a fare-free system (tuition pays for it), which helps tremendously. Think about how many people would ride other systems if they were free.

Charleston is setting up the state's first express bus service from its suburban areas, so this may start to change the perception. Commuter rail is being dicussed in both Columbia and Charleston. So I am optimistic about the future of rail transit as well as transit in general in SC. It is just going to take time.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Rail typically has a better public perception than the bus in America. Cleveland must be the exception to that rule. I am most familiar with the systems in DC, Boston, New York, and Atlanta, all of which have relatively good perceptions. The Atlanta trains are packed during rush hour with people from all walks of life. Atlanta actually has as many rail passengers annually as it does bus passengers.... and the bus covers a lot more territory.

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Here's the basic public transit network in Northern New Jersey. These are the NJ TRANSIT and PANYNJ routes. There are a ton of private bus carriers that serve the NNJ-NYC commuter market, and they're operated by Suburban, Lakeland, DeCamp (the one I use), Rockland Coaches, Red & Tan, Monsey Trails, and others.

133745998.jpg

I think there's pretty good coverage. Certainly the NYC region has the best transit coverage in the nation, but in the USA that's not saying a lot. Although NJTRANSIT's rail operations carry 200,000 commuters a day, the majority of NJT ridership uses the buses.

One thing I like about NJT is there are tons of options. I live in Montclair, and to visit a friend in Hoboken I have many different combinations of transit modes I can take to get there. Sometimes I experiment, not because I think taking more modes is fun or cheaper, but just for the fun of seeing "how many modes/transfers can I possibly make?"

Montclair to Hoboken:

Simplest: take a commuter train from Montclair directly to Hoboken OR

take a commuter train bound for NYC to Newark-Broad or Secaucus and transfer to a Hoboken train, OR

take a commuter train to Newark-Broad, take Newark Light Rail to Newark Penn and then PATH to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to the Newark City Subway to Newark Penn and then PATH to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to Newark Penn and transfer to a bus to Journal Square, then PATH to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to Newark Penn and transfer to a bus to Journal Square, and transfer to a bus to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to Newark Penn, PATH to Exchange Place, take Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to Newark City Subway to Newark Penn then Newark Light Rail to Broad Street, train to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to Clifton, take commuter rail (Main-Bergen Line) to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to South or East Orange, take commuter rail (Morris-Essex Line) to Hoboken, OR

take a commuter train west to Denville, transfer to Morris-Essex Line to Hoboken, OR

take a commuter train to NYC, walk to Herald Square, take PATH to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to PANYNJ Bus Terminal in NYC, take Waterway bus to 39th Street, take a ferry to Hoboken, OR

take a bus to Paterson, transfer to a bus to Union City, take Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Hoboken

Ok, enough procrastinating from my work here. There are probably more ways one could make this trip, and there are options for other trips. On a Saturday afternoon if I have time to burn I often try some of these alternatives just because they're there (ok, biggest transit nerd ever, right?). I think one of NJTRANSIT's problems is that they put so much work into giving each new transit service a brand name to advertise it with (i.e. The RiverLINE, Newark Light Rail, Newark City Subway, HBLR, etc), that people often forget all of these services are part of one giant statewide transit system.

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