Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

tooluther

Great transit proposal: Robert Firth

11 posts in this topic

I don't know if everyone saw this in the paper today, but the "Forum" section of the PG has an awesome full page proposal to reform the transit in Allegheny County...

The long squiggly line that's killing our transit system, and news of a Brazilian Cure

To me, it is a very simply, affordable, and realistic approach to making our transit system much more streamlined and save ALOT of money and time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I don't know if everyone saw this in the paper today, but the "Forum" section of the PG has an awesome full page proposal to reform the transit in Allegheny County...

The long squiggly line that's killing our transit system, and news of a Brazilian Cure

To me, it is a very simply, affordable, and realistic approach to making our transit system much more streamlined and save ALOT of money and time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm becoming slightly obsessed with this concept. I'm not sure how to make my support known to anyone (I doubt there are any Port Authority Execs on Urban Planet). I think the best I can do for now is write Joe Gratta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks like a really good, logical plan. I would love to see PAT implement something like this.

If you want to let PAT know that you support this idea, you can send them feedback. The deadline to do so is Feb. 9th.

How to send feedback: http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/News/Pub...36/Default.aspx

Online feedback form: http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/tabid/341/Default.aspx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to rain on the parade here, but Chris Briem blows the proposal out of the water. If you can't find a way to increase middle class ridership and increase political support for funding, you'll only create another boondoggle

(something few want and even less use).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I respect what he had to say, I

A. don't agree with the fact that PAT is more inefficient that it should/could be be.

B. Think a direct comparison between a South American transit system and an American one.

C. Would propose many other two stop transit systems to contend the idea that riders would be lost. (D.C., and Atlanta come to mind)

Yes, I do think the delivery what very poor. And I do think a circulator bus service downtown would be silly. There are simple solutions to that. Rather than using the convention center as the only bus stop downtown, would (again I think) envision busses on Stanwix and the boulevard of the allies. The "Downtown Circulator" where needed could be replaced with a multimodal stop at the new Gateway T Station.

We already HAVE many of the trunk systems in place, and partially in use. Trunk line busses would utilize the West, South, and East Bus ways plus the North HOV lanes and the T.

Even if this were not 100% adopted, route duplication has to be addressed. The millions of busses that serve lower West Liberty in duplication of the T are the most obvious example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had no idea that this one Brazilian city was behind so many pervasive transit myths. When I read about it, it sounds really bad... a sales model for the Brazilian transit industry that's being singled out by transit opponents to push ideas that have been proven to be unrealistic everywhere else. Even though I agree that climate controlled shelters and more centralized transfer points would help out commuters, I don't agree with everything else in that cartoon. We actually need a couple more routes like the 54C, we don't need to turn the system even more into a single-path funnel from all points into Downtown. I can imagine that under this proposal, some people would need to take 4 or 5 buses just to get to Oakland when currently they might take 1 or 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree with that. But I bet we could at least get some good ideas from this system. I do believe that there's a lot PAT could do to make its system more efficient without simply cutting a bunch of routes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


this system sounds kinda like the East and West Busways

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I searched for it as much as I could, the best figure I found was that PAT's operating cost per passanger was $3.51 as of 2003.

http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/reports/05_03.pdf The rest of the document is of course anti-transit garbage from the Allegheny Institute, apparently some sort of Mt Lebanon based think tank advocating privatization of the local government. But the arguments laid out in this piece are so closely lined up with what the recent state legislature findings were that I wouldn't be surprised if this was the basis for the Harrisburg fluff. The whole document warrants a rebuttal.

The most glaringly misleading part are the "peer cities" they compare Pittsburgh against... which includes New York, Chicago, etc... How those cities, with populations in the millions and hundreds of miles of well-developed light rail ever coalesce to form the basis for calling PAT either efficient or inefficient, I don't know. The second glaring statistic that looks like it's intentionally misleading is the whole "platform hour" idea. Basically a small 20 passenger bus and a 400 passenger train are all equivalent "platforms," so PAT's average 25 passenger per platform is the same as the average of 35 among it's "peers." The third misleading statistic is the total amount of "platform hours" going up even as ridership drops... ie, more buses going out but less passengers. But again, not adjusted for the capacity and efficiency of these "platforms." Nowhere in this document does it indicate what a "platform" is or that anything has been done to standardize it as a measure. Of course the best and last trick is to publish a study in 2005 that only considers ridership rates until 2000 and compares them to costs in 2003... and completely ignores the reversal of ridership rates since gasoline prices started spiking in 2003, which would paint a different trend than what they are attempting to portray.

But still, $3.51 per passenger, that's probably as much as the average car commuter wastes on gas alone for a single trip. Forget about parking, maintenance, insurance, etc. Meanwhile the average taxi cab costs more than that per mile. Period. I just don't think of it as being inefficient. Whether or not it could be better has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not it should be funded as is. It saves much more money on transportation to the state than the same amount of money going to non-transit highway projects would ever generate. It pays good wages to workers and helps low wage workers afford to go to work. It saves money which can be used to let it's riders pay for homes, college, families, etc. What is the problem here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right, blueblackcat... comparing us to Chicago and NYC is ridiculous

Chris Briem, the urban numbers guru at Pitt, has had a serious of excellent blog posts about PAT and this Curitiba cartoon proposal over at Null Space...

here's some interesting numbers from his latest post:

http://nullspace2.blogspot.com/

Is public transit usage in Allegheny County high or low?

Of the top 100 U.S. counties, transit usage in Allegheny County ranks 20th at 10.5%. Of those counties above us, 4 are NYC boroughs (Manhattan is at 59%), 5 are suburban NYC counties, 3 are in the DC metro and 2 are in the Boston Metro. The remaining counties include the consolidated city-county of Philadelphia, Chicago's county, the consolidated city-county of San Francisco, Alameda, CA (the other side of the bay) and Portland's county (a smaller area known for its progressive urban initiatives).

NY, New York County 59.6%

NY, Kings County 57.4%

NY, Bronx County 53.7%

NY, Queens County 47.4%

NJ, Hudson County 33.6%

DC, District of Columbia 33.2%

CA, San Francisco County 31.1%

MA, Suffolk County 30.9%

PA, Philadelphia County 25.4%

NY, Westchester County 20.4%

NJ, Essex County 18.6%

IL, Cook County 17.3%

NY, Nassau County 15.7%

MD, Montgomery County 12.6%

MA, Norfolk County 12.3%

MD, Prince George's County 11.9%

OR, Multnomah County 11.1%

NJ, Bergen County 11.0%

CA, Alameda County 10.6%

PA, Allegheny County 10.5%

How do we compare with some of our peer counties?

Cuyahoga (Cleveland) 6.2

Hamilton (Cincinnati) 5.0

Milwaukee 6.9

Franklin (Columbus) 3.1

Erie (Buffalo) 4.1

and Briem makes a good point here:

"I suspect that if one controlled for the fact that poverty rates and recent immigration rates into Allegheny County are relatively low, thus pushing down some of the normal sources of demand for public transit, we compare even higher in terms of providing a competitive public transit option."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.