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Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

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Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

Old 09-04-21, 08:44 PM
  #151  
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
We get what we pay for. We don't invest in transit and prefer to pay for highways that increase congestion. We have no middle development which is between urban and suburban. The Big three changed the laws for streets, and highways away from transit and ran transit systems into the ground. Now we have congestion everywhere. Name one city with a freeway where congestion was relieved? We keep investing in solutions that don't work.
Congestion is a product of population density and centralization. Subways also get congested.
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Old 09-08-21, 01:12 PM
  #152  
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Congestion is a product of population density and centralization. Subways also get congested.
Exactly. As any transit can get crowded.

How bout this.....

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/l...at-up/2096328/
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Old 09-13-21, 11:02 PM
  #153  
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
Exactly. As any transit can get crowded.
interestingly though, with most decent transit systems, as ridership goes up, speed actually increases as headways are improved to match the ridership... up to the point where they can't be any more, and then crowding begins. still, crowding doesn't usually result in slower trips unless it's so severe (which happens, but not often) that you can't get onto the first vehicle which comes.

contrast this to roads, where just about ANY other people using them in their cars slows you down.

i think this fundamentally accounts for the difference in outlook between users and supporters of mass transit vs private cars in roads. for the former, more users is a virtue. for the latter, the optimum situation is someone else building them a ton of expensive public infrastructure but then nobody else using it.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:48 AM
  #154  
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They will eventually build the Maglev though. Have to alleviate traffic in the B W metro.
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Old 10-22-21, 08:38 AM
  #155  
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In my particular case, transit doesn't go where I need it to. The commuter rail system is jut that: trains go in and out of Boston, not around it. There are plenty of bus and light rail systems close to the city but once you get past the first ring road those drop off quickly. It's ironic to me that the rail right of ways that used to connect the small cities surrounding Boston are being converted to bike paths, which are nice, but would better serve the "save the planet" crowd by being converted back to passenger train access.
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Old 10-22-21, 12:00 PM
  #156  
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Get an ebike! The best commuting vehicle up to about 12 miles.
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Old 10-22-21, 01:55 PM
  #157  
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Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?


Because Americans prefer their cars.
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Old 10-23-21, 10:13 PM
  #158  
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Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

It Can Be Summed Up In Just ONE WORD, but I'll let this JULY 4, 1970 Byron, Georgia USA performance from JIMI HENDRIX do that:











I was fortunate to also see James Brown several times. He would often say: Can I Do My Own Thing?......
Mass Transit, outside of extremely densely populated areas in the United States WILL NOT WORK, as it will be a HUGE WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS with very few riders.
Sad to say, but it definitely is opposed by most towns & cities because it provides for a near zero ridership cost for the destitute and undesireable homeless population transportation to and from. With this destitute and chronically homeless population, you undoubtedly have some folks with substance abuse problems and then more than a few with long criminal histories. The general consensus among communities is that they do not want to facilitate the back & forth migration of this element. The general accepted view in the USA is that quality paved roads, streets, expressways, highways & Interstates ALLOW ANYONE AT ANYTIME DAY OR NIGHT TO GO WHERE YOU WANNA GO..... and THESE ARE ALL TOLL FREE ROADS, so all one needs is a car. Any car produced since 1940, is capable of minimally doing the job, so the generally accepted view is that "EVERYBODY CAN OWN A CAR". Sure keeping an old cheap POS car roadworthy can be challenging but it is not impossible. Many folks that work at the same company or work at sites near each other do CARPOOL to work. The cost of obtaining a drivers license in every state is very very low. Certainly, title, registration, advolorem taxes, license plate fee can and do vary somewhat but are very minimal and affordable on vehicles nearly twenty years old. LIABILITY insurance is REQUIRED and your driving history record, age, geographic location and probably your FICO score will have a big impact on the cost. Now, unless you have TITLE (or complete ownership) of your vehicle, you'll be required to carry Collision/Comprehensive to protect the Lending Company that owns the car. NONE OF THIS IS TERRIBLY DIFFICULT. One is just expected to follow suit. Good luck, if you are relying on mass transit or a bicycle, moped, or motorcycle as your sole means of transportation to commute to work all year long. Mass transit outside of NEW YORK CITY and the Washington Dc to NYC train, etc, just isn't the most on-time. I'm sorry but if you're reporting to any workplace where it is a decent job and you show up late because of MASS TRANSIT, or because you are riding a MOPED, BICYCLE, or MOTORCYCLE and the wet/rainy weather was too dangerous to ride the bike, or motorbike safely to get to work on time. My reply to the staff at my company was, you can walk, ride the bus, ride a moped, bicycle, motorcycle, drive an old Triumph Spitfire, or old MGB, or whatever POS, but you are getting paid considerably more than at most similar firms and you all have College degrees so it is time to become a grown-up and wear grown up attire and get yourself to work on time. Don't come tell me that oh, my Jeep doesn't have a top and the windshield wipers don't work well, and it was pouring down rain this morning. You are getting paid well enough to afford a decent reliable car/suv/truck/convertible/sportscar. The same goes for something brand new that is constantly in the shop, and causes you to be tardy, as it is for, oh well the bus driver was behind schedule today..... Either way, do it too much and you'll be looking for a new place to work.
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Old 04-26-22, 12:26 PM
  #159  
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Whether Wall St is the main answer or not, it would be very destructive to install a cross-country mass transit system because so much building has occurred and in order for the system to reach the Downtown areas, it would require a scorched earth program in many areas.
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Old 04-27-22, 03:51 PM
  #160  
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Old 04-28-22, 09:49 AM
  #161  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?
It Can Be Summed Up In Just ONE WORD, but I'll let this JULY 4, 1970 Byron, Georgia USA performance from JIMI HENDRIX do that:
I agree that one word is very, very important. But there are two further words that push Mass Transit over the brink for most people: In economics it's called "marginal cost".

I've been lucky a couple of times in my life where, between a bicycle and Mass Transit, I could almost get to everywhere I'd ever need to go. I could almost do away with the car. (Portland OR was one such place)

Almost. But not Quite. I still needed a car for at least SOME things. And most people are similarly situated. Not all, but most.

So let's start with the fact that I NEED a car. And let's further say that the things I NEED the car for are what "pays for" the car, so to speak (because if it didn't we wouldn't be having this conversation). AAA in 2020 says this is about 82 cents per mile for a new car and a minimal 10,000 miles a year. So let's front-load that 82/mile on to the trips I actually NEED the car for.

Now, I need to make one more trip. For this trip, I COULD either take the car or Mass transit. But the car is already sitting there, "paid for" so to speak, so at this point I can operate it for the marginal cost of each additional mile, Basically the cost of gasoline which for most people is going to be around 10-15/mile. OR I could take Mass Transit where, on the whole, fares average out to about 28/passenger-mile (Urban Institute, 2019).

You want me to pay an extra 18/mile, then I want ONE thing in return: Convenience. Ah, there's a FOURTH word to be added to the list. Yes, SOMETIMES it works that way. In Portland, sometime it was just convenient to take the Maxx light rail than drive and find a pay for a parking spot, etc. But not enough that it would have paid the cost of light rail.

Freedom. Marginal Cost. Convenience. Mass Transit just can't hold a candle to ALL of this as a whole.
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Old 04-29-22, 06:31 AM
  #162  
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Originally Posted by FredMau View Post

So let's start with the fact that I NEED a car. And let's further say that the things I NEED the car for are what "pays for" the car, so to speak (because if it didn't we wouldn't be having this conversation). AAA in 2020 says this is about 82 cents per mile for a new car and a minimal 10,000 miles a year. So let's front-load that 82/mile on to the trips I actually NEED the car for.
There's only a few causes for this to have risen to 82/mile and they're the recent supply/COVID problems/oil price increases and the reasons for all of these are ridiculous.
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Old 04-29-22, 11:57 AM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by Gym123456 View Post
There's only a few causes for this to have risen to 82/mile and they're the recent supply/COVID problems/oil price increases and the reasons for all of these are ridiculous.
Yes, the AAA figure of 82/mile seems a bit high, The US Gov't (IRS) uses 58.5/mile, up 2/mile from last years, But that was set before the massive recent price hikes of both gasoline and new and used automobiles. TheCarConnection.com (Feb 2022): Record high new and used car prices continue in 2022

Still, though, the problem with Mass Transit is that they try to "sell" these projects as if the ticket price is competing with this 58 - 82/mile "Total Cost of Ownership" when that just not the reality for most people. For the average person who need to own a car anyway, transit is competing against marginal cost.
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Old 04-30-22, 10:08 PM
  #164  
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Why

The original question, why did America give up on mass transit? Thats right in front of our noses. The roads were built for the car industry. When car, tire , and oil companies bought off rail lines, its pretty self explanatory. So now we have been killing for oil for about say, 50 years or so?? The comments here about America can never utilize mass transit is true also. How can that be a possibility when we built our entire world around cars. We get up in the morning and everything revolves around car. Our home, Garage, driveway, roads, city lay out, shopping, you get the picture. To rebuild walkable cities and connections to other cities or suburbs by highspeed rail would literally be almost impossible in this civilization time frame.
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Old 04-30-22, 10:37 PM
  #165  
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Originally Posted by rossiny View Post
The original question, why did America give up on mass transit? Thats right in front of our noses. The roads were built for the car industry. When car, tire , and oil companies bought off rail lines, its pretty self explanatory. So now we have been killing for oil for about say, 50 years or so?? The comments here about America can never utilize mass transit is true also. How can that be a possibility when we built our entire world around cars. We get up in the morning and everything revolves around car. Our home, Garage, driveway, roads, city lay out, shopping, you get the picture. To rebuild walkable cities and connections to other cities or suburbs by highspeed rail would literally be almost impossible in this civilization time frame.
But the solution is staring us right in the face: "Mimic" the interstates with light rail and/or Amtrak. We "KNOW" where people want to go, because that's what Interstates were (mostly) built towards.

EXAMPLE: I live in Marietta GA, on the northern outskirts of Atlanta. I have in-laws in the Indianapolis IN area. To DRIVE it, I can be there in 8-ish hours if I don't dawdle and stop at every (Oooh! Squirrel!) along the way.( I-75-I24-I40-I65). Suppose I wanted to Bike/Rail it and bike to MARTA which coulld get me to Amtrak which could ALMOST get me to Indianapolis? Minimum of 3 days on just Amtrak alone, Because from here to there you have to go through Wash DC.

That's Horse-[stuff]. Build the rail lines INSIDE the right-of way that already EXISTS for the interstates. MARTA does this somewhat in Atlanta. likewise MAXX in Portland and BART in the Bay Area.

Give me a way to Bike/Rail from Atlanta GA to Indianapolis Indiana that's AT LEAST reasonably close to automobiling and, swear to god, I'll become the country's foremost evangelist on the topic.
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Old 05-01-22, 05:24 AM
  #166  
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Originally Posted by FredMau View Post
But the solution is staring us right in the face: "Mimic" the interstates with light rail and/or Amtrak. We "KNOW" where people want to go, because that's what Interstates were (mostly) built towards.

EXAMPLE: I live in Marietta GA, on the northern outskirts of Atlanta. I have in-laws in the Indianapolis IN area. To DRIVE it, I can be there in 8-ish hours if I don't dawdle and stop at every (Oooh! Squirrel!) along the way.( I-75-I24-I40-I65). Suppose I wanted to Bike/Rail it and bike to MARTA which coulld get me to Amtrak which could ALMOST get me to Indianapolis? Minimum of 3 days on just Amtrak alone, Because from here to there you have to go through Wash DC.

That's Horse-[stuff]. Build the rail lines INSIDE the right-of way that already EXISTS for the interstates. MARTA does this somewhat in Atlanta. likewise MAXX in Portland and BART in the Bay Area.

Give me a way to Bike/Rail from Atlanta GA to Indianapolis Indiana that's AT LEAST reasonably close to automobiling and, swear to god, I'll become the country's foremost evangelist on the topic.
Unlike rail lines linking villages as in Europe, people do not live on the Interstate highways nor do they commute to a shop in town for work or to buy stuff. I have never lived anywhere in the USA where mass transit was available at all or would conceivable work.
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Old 05-01-22, 12:17 PM
  #167  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Unlike rail lines linking villages as in Europe, people do not live on the Interstate highways nor do they commute to a shop in town for work or to buy stuff. I have never lived anywhere in the USA where mass transit was available at all or would conceivable work.
It works in some larger cities *IF* you both live AND work in the right parts of the city with rail access to both. But at best that covers maybe 10% of a city's population. Here in the Atlanta area, MARTA clams a daily ridership of around 500,000.... in a metro area of around 6 million.

MARTA is supposedly also "Bike Friendly" - Bringing a Bike? No Problem. Wheels Are Welcome on MARTA - but I haven't tried it myself yet. Nearest MARTA station is 7.2 miles.... 6 miles of which is a 6-lane "arterial" road with no bike lanes and traffic typically 50-60 MPH even though the speed limits only 35 mph and 40 MPH depending on section. It would be downright suicidal.
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Old 05-02-22, 08:08 AM
  #168  
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I took the bus to work today. Philly has a pretty extensive commuter rail network to bring people into town from the 'burbs. That is a legacy of once having two major railroads headquartered here. (The Pennsylvania Railroad then Penn Central and the Reading. However, more and more jobs have moved to the 'burbs and in locations that do not allow for a reverse commute by public transit, especially rail.
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Old 05-02-22, 03:42 PM
  #169  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I took the bus to work today. Philly has a pretty extensive commuter rail network to bring people into town from the 'burbs. That is a legacy of once having two major railroads headquartered here. (The Pennsylvania Railroad then Penn Central and the Reading. However, more and more jobs have moved to the 'burbs and in locations that do not allow for a reverse commute by public transit, especially rail.
Last time I tried to take a bus to work, I was living in Orlando FL in the 90s. I WANTED to like the idea. I lived on the far east side of town, office was in the northwest suburbs. "Wow, wouldn't it be great if I could just sit back and read a newspaper while drinking a coffee and let someone else do the driving." Right??? Wrong.

Problem was, Orlando's buses operated as a "hub and spoke" system. Everything went through downtown. Fine and dandy if you live in the 'burbs and work downtown. But if you want to go from one 'burb to another, first go downtown, then stand around waiting for a bus to go to the other.

Home <-> office was typically 20 minutes by car each way. By bus would have been 2 hrs+. I'd like to "save the planet" as much as the next guy... but I'm not going to give up 4 hrs of my life every day to get there;

Edit: I'd *LOVE* to see Bike + Public Transport (Bus, Rail, River Barge**, whatever) as a viable option. I've been watching this closely since the 1970s. Seems that we, as Americans, as a whole, have gotten worse rather than better on this.


** = Bicycles on the Canby ferry, not far S of Portland Oregon...


Last edited by FredMau; 05-02-22 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 05-02-22, 05:22 PM
  #170  
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
Hogwash
Nothing says "dependable employee" like a stiff portfolio of crippling debt. If had had my way, my company would employ exclusively young, single dads with child support payments, student loans on useless degrees and really nice cars. Rock Solid Workforce.
I disagree in the strongest possible way. I hope you were being sarcastic? Small biz owner here, small engineering firm. These are the LAST people in the world I'd want on my "Team"; They're "Dead Wood", constantly pre-occupied with their own situation and frequently absent / late because of it. Critical business meeting with a client "Oh, I can't make it, gotta take my kid to the dentist today." Okay, I get that "Life Happens" and can overlook it once in a blue moon. But with THESE PEOPLE, it's such a regular occurrence that you could almost set your watch by it.
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Old 05-03-22, 06:37 AM
  #171  
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Originally Posted by FredMau View Post
Edit: I'd *LOVE* to see Bike + Public Transport (Bus, Rail, River Barge**, whatever) as a viable option. I've been watching this closely since the 1970s. Seems that we, as Americans, as a whole, have gotten worse rather than better on this.
I took a four-day bike tour over Easter weekend. Ride a couple of miles from my house to the Amtrak station and caught a New Jersey Transit ("NJT") rain to Hammonton then rode to the first night's campground. The next morning I rode to Cape May, NJ and caught a ferry to Delaware, where i stayed for two nights. The ferry has bike racks. On Easter I rode the ferry back to NJ and pedaled north to Atlantic City, where I caught a NJT train to Lindenwold and then a PATCO train back to Philly. PATCO was at the forefront of allowing bikes on trains in the area. At first you needed a free permit so it could judge the interest. IIRC, there were some times when bikes were not allowed. It eventually did away with the permit requirement and allowed bikes 24/7/365. NJT's Atlantic City Line is also very bike friendly. NJT commuter trains usually have time restrictions on weekdays and bans on certain holidays and their eves because of heavy ridership. Those restrictions do not apply to the Atlantic City service. Most (if not all) Philly public buses have bike racks, and you can take bikes on commuter trains and subways, although there are some time restrictions on weekdays.

Nationally, Amtrak has greatly expanded bike-on-train service. A lot of that was made possible by the new baggage cars that were purchased a while back to replace the 1950s heritage equipment Amtrak inherited. On several long distance trains you no longer have to box your bike between many stations. Other trains allow you to roll on/off your bike yourself. (The bikes are stored in designated areas, which different depending on the service.) Since 2016 I have started four bike tours using Amtrak to get from Philly to the stating points. Once to southern Vermont, twice to northern Vermont and once to Pittsburgh. (Bike service between New York City and Pittsburgh was recently re-instated after a long hiatus. No boxing required.) Within the last year or so Amtrak began allowing passengers to roll on bikes on all trains between New York City and Harrisburg, PA.

Amtrak/s Capitol Limited service between D.C. and Chicago is extremely popular with cyclists because it parallels the GAP and C&O trails. With the above-mentioned expansion of bike service in PA, people in the Philly and NYC areas can take Amtrak to Pittsburgh, ride the GAP and C&O to D.C. and then take something like the Vermonter service back north.

All of this takes some planning, including reservations for yourself and the bike, but it's not difficult to arrange.
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Old 05-03-22, 07:21 AM
  #172  
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Milwaukee has the typical bus system with routes for specific travel points, going back and forth all day, but it also had a Freeway Flyer system that took people from outlying area parking lots to downtown. The Freeway Flyer was recently discontinued because of a lack of passengers- these carried people who worked in offices, students and restaurants/bars/etc- it really saved a lot of time vs surface street routes. I'm not sure if it will return, but it will really cause a burden for many who would have taken is pre-COVID.
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