85 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Utrecht Mass Transit”

    1. Why do the Dutch put up with all the spray paint graffiti on the side of their trains, especially in-service trains? You clearly do not see anywhere near this level in the US (at least in the last 25 years). Just looking at this video as a sample, 1 in 3 or 4 trains is tagged. My biggest gripe with the Dutch is how lax they are with petty crime, they have staggering numbers of bike thefts too.

      1. Not just the Netherlands, but all over Europe. Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and Switzerland are also especially bad. Ever ridden the Rome metro? It looks like NYC in 1980.

      2. The Europeans are also adverse to building the fortress/prison-like car storage facilities that one sees in some American cities.

        Also they will usually stage at least one train at the end of each line overnight for redundancy’s sake.

    2. Utrecht stats from Wikipedia: city pop. 313,000; metro pop. 640,000. On corner of Randstad conurbation (Amsterdam), pop. 7.1 million. So Utrecht is half the size of Seattle yet still supports extensive light rail and bus stations. Although the conurbation is twice the size of King-Pierce-Snohomish.

      1. Utrecht is also the center of the Dutch Railway system. Utrecht CS is the largest train station in Holland, er, sorry “The Netherlands”.

        (Also, if you ever get there. Utrecht has the Dutch Railway Museum.)

    1. I suggested them … but people mentioned that in KC buses are restricted to 60′ max. although I would imagine waivers could be given to specific routes/usages

  1. Open Thread Discussion Item: SUBSIDIES, BUS, AND LINK
    The last couple of threads prompted me to dig into the ST 2011/12 budget and SIP (Service Improvement Plan), with some interesting notes.
    Buses are heavily subsidized depending on how far you’re traveling and the load factors. Looking at the two ends of STEX shows cost per weekday boarding at $7.67 and $11.50 for routes 513 and 592 respectively. Both have a published fare of $3.50, whereas the ST550 has a cost of $2.93 per boarding and a fare of $2.50.
    That’t quite a subsidy for outlying origins of up to $8 per trip. The ST550 would be a subsidy of 43 cents if full fares were charged, but we all know certain riders get substantial subsidies by virtue of their employment or age(annual Passports) or fare media. Average fares across the board are just over a dollar each, so it exacerbates the difference on the extremes. Commuter rail only widens the gap.
    While the jury is still out on how well Link will reduce the cost of boarding’s for the relatively short trips it makes, the cost per boarding at $6.23 (excluding debt and depreciation), compared to a similar duration trip on the 550, is substantial where costs on the bus are fully allocated on a lease arrangement.
    http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/rider_news/ridership/2011_Q3.pdf
    My point in bringing this up this morning is not a Link bashing tirade, but one that begs the question – Are we spending finite quantities of tax revenues in the most resourceful ways? The glaring imbalance between subsidy levels of rider classes, distance and mode seem to this writer to be more of a political decision rather than one based on a practical business decision.
    OK, bash away!

    1. the relatively short trips [Link] makes

      Seattle-Bellevue is not a short trip. Aloha St. to Pike St. is a short trip. Car dependence really screws with people’s heads.

      the cost per boarding at $6.23 (excluding debt and depreciation), compared to a similar duration trip on the 550

      These numbers are entirely incomparable.

      1) Central Link is one part of a network that hasn’t been built-out yet.

      2) Central Link and ST550 are entirely different routes serving entirely different markets.

      3) Given the additional capacity over the bridge that light rail provides, what would be the cost to the taxpayers of providing that capacity? Keep in mind that there is not a linear relationship between adding lanes and increasing capacity.

      1. Comparing the ‘duration’ (as in time, not distance) of the 550 and Link, or even a trolley 3/4, 43/44 is a fair comparison because transit costs are measured in time ($$/hr) and not distance. By relatively short, my example was between the 550 and other STEX routes of at least twice that distance. I’m not sure why you had a problem with that comparison showing subsidy rises dramatically as distance is increased.
        As to:
        1) As Link tries to go further and further to capture riders, the cost will mimic those of STEX. It will only get better metrics with volume, and like I said, the jury is still out on that one. Link was supposed to be well on the way to 47,000 riders per weekday average according to their application for the airport extension, but we’re well short of that, while other transit agencies have returned to pre-recession ridership levels.
        2) Agree. Not sure if there was a point in there.
        3) Additional capacity is far different than lower operating costs to justify the investment made. I ask again, are we spending our transit dollars wisely? So far, the answer has been no, but we’re hopeful.

      2. If I really wanted to compare apples to apples, I should have added debt and depreciation to the $6.23 Link cost per rider. Depreciation of 62mil/yr, indirect costs of $3mil and bond payments pro-rated across all ST business lines based on annual riders, of $23mil/yr would add another $11.00 per rider under the current ops plan. As the 550 is a lease service, that’s all the cost. $3 for the bus, compared to $17.23 for Link. (ref KPMG independent audit, 6/1/11)
        It’s OK to ask these kinds of questions. Really. It’s not Un-American to question government how they are spending our money.

      3. Mike actually has a point here. It’s really weird that American transit agencies in particular separate capital and operating costs to such a degree. TriMet makes a big deal about MAX having a cost/boarding way lower than for buses, but doesn’t include the annualized local cost of building it.

      4. Mike actually has a point here. It’s really weird that American transit agencies in particular separate capital and operating costs to such a degree. TriMet makes a big deal about MAX having a cost/boarding way lower than for buses, but doesn’t include the annualized local cost of building it.

        Capital costs are generally funded very differently from operating costs. The former come largely from state/federal grants; the latter come from local taxes and fares.

        To put it another way, money spent on capital costs generally couldn’t have been used for anything else.

        This is very different than in the world of business, where you have a real choice about whether to take out loans for capital investments, or to use that money for expenses today.

    2. You also have to realize that EastLink is not just a replacement for the 550, but other routes as well, 545, and sections of 211, 271, and 566. It might also be possible to deprecate the 542 or truncate routes like 216, 218, and 554. Compare the operating cost for the train against the combined operating costs of all of these routes and the figures look considerably better than if you consider Link to be replacing route 550 alone.

      Furthermore, rationally or not, in the minds of lots of surburban, car-dependent people, their mental map of the transit system is the rail routes, not the bus routes – and this is true regardless of the actual span or frequency of the bus/train routes in question. Today, the 566 is virtually empty from Bellevue to Redmond, in spite of numerous people traveling down that corridor because in the minds of most suburban people, buses do not exist. Some who don’t ride the bus will be willing to ride the train.

      1. East Link doesn’t replace the 545. The extension to Redmond has no funding and the East sub-area will be paying of bonds and trying to afford operational subsidies. The 566? That’s really stretching it. Any route that could be truncated could be right now simply by adding more buses express routed if appropirate. It would still make peoples commute worse. East Link really isn’t even a 550 replacement; service will still have to be run from BTC to South Bellevue P&R just like it is today but probably much less frequent with the added bonus of a transfer.

      2. Bernie – once Link is operational, the train will get from South Bellevue P&R to Bellevue TC in 5 minutes, with no traffic interference. No one who knows what he/she is doing would choose a bus ride over this, hence there is no need to spend money to provide a bus for this purpose. A local service route serving this corridor (e.g. tail of route 249) will still be necessary, but it’s purpose is not to go all the way from South Bellevue P&R to Bellevue TC – it’s to connect those two destinations to the residential neighborhoods in between.

        As to the 545, I’ve occasionally taken the 545 bus from Redmond to downtown and, because of the awful traffic the bus has to go through (including the downtown streets, not just the freeway), you have to allow yourself at least an hour to get from Overlake TC to the center of downtown. East Link will accomplish this trip in half the time, so there is no reason to make the 545 available for such trips once the train is running. Off-peak, the 545 can do a little bit better, but best-case, it’s a wash with Link – still no benefit for the cost of continuing to operate the 545. Yes, people coming from north of overlake TC would have to transfer, but the transfer would be no worse than the 545’s existing detour in and out of OTC. And with a 5 minute wait for the train, you’d still come out even if not ahead. The only people who would be significant losers if EastLink were allowed to completely replace the 545 are those who live in Bill Gates’s neighborhood who want to ride the bus to Redmond. The number of such riders is almost non-existant, certainly not worth paying the continued operational cost of the 545 just to keep them.

        As to the 566, the Bellevue->Overlake segment currently takes a good 5-10 minutes just to get from the transit center to the freeway entrence ramp. Thanks to the tunnel, Link will get almost all the way to Overlake in that time. The faster speed combined with the greater frequency means almost no one will choose to take the 566 once the train is available. Yes, it would be a minor inconvenience for those already on the bus from Renton to have to transfer, but time-wise, they’ve essentially already paid the transfer cost anyway just by getting off the freeway to go into and out of downtown Bellevue. Given that the existing 566 is not exactly overcrowded during the peak and virtually deserted off-peak for this segment, the marginal benefit of continuing to run the 566 for this segment is near zero. I would rather see the money spent elsewhere and I think ST planners would too.

      3. Bernie — it’s true that the extension to Redmond isn’t funded. But for exactly the reasons Eric listed, I would expect to see Redmond TC served by a transfer at Overlake. Yes, it’s an extra transfer to downtown, but in exchange for saving 30 minutes, it’s a no-brainer.

        People are more willing to transfer to what they perceive as high-quality service. Link is a cut above express buses, and it would be even if the express buses ran every 5 minutes (and the 550 gets pretty close sometimes).

      4. Aleks, where do you come up with a savings of 30 minutes? From NE 40th to DT the 545 is 35 minutes with 10 minute headways during peak hours. East Link from Overlake TC is going to take 40 minutes plus the transfer penalty. Add to that the shuttle won’t justify 10 minute headways anymore since much/most of the demand for the route is from Microsoft to DT Seattle. From DT Bellevue to DT Seattle East Link is a wash. For all points east it’s a worse. A lot worse if you’re trying to get to UW instead of DT.

      5. Aleks, where do you come up with a savings of 30 minutes?

        The quoted number was from Redmond TC. That includes the local street detour to Redmond TC, as well as the time on Stewart St from I-5 to downtown. An hour from Redmond TC to 5th and Pine is totally realistic.

        ST projects that the time from the U-District to Bellevue is 30 minutes, and another 10 to Overlake. From downtown to the U-District is 9 minutes. Thus, it’s about half an hour from downtown to OTC. That’s less time than the 545 if the 545 is on schedule, which it rarely is during peak.

        You’re correct that things aren’t quite as good for riders from North Seattle. But that’s not what we’re talking about. :) Anyway, the 542 doesn’t run off-peak, and the majority of 545 riders use the downtown stops, rather than Montlake. My guess is that ST will continue running peak service to UW (i.e. 542, 540, peak-only 271). Off-peak, some riders will have longer trips, but the money saved by not running the 520 service can be used to improve service on unique routes. It’s the same argument here as in south Seattle or anywhere else. When you prioritize one-seat rides over connected networks, you’re implicitly saying that some riders are more important than others.

      6. AM routes that don’t divert to Redmond TC are, give or take, 45 minutes to 5th and pine. I honestly don’t understand the diversion routing since it’s a pretty easy walk to the stops on the 51st on ramp and between that and NE 40th those stops are likely closer for everyone except people that actually Park and ride. Redmond TC to Overlake TC is 13 minutes. Add on the 40 minutes for Link plus the lost time to transfer and the fact frequency will have to be cut if this is simply a Redmond-Overlake shuttle and it’s a huge loser for time, cost effectiveness and convenience. As for reliability it’s true that 520 today is often a mess but by the time East Link opens the HOV/transit lanes will go all the way into Seattle instead of ending at the old toll plaza. And, even before that I expect variable rate tolling to improve traffic flow (and transit use) significantly.

      7. Eric, look at the stops the 550 makes between BTC and S. Bellevue P&R. It doesn’t make those stops because of some arcane Metro metric that you have to stop every 1/4 mile; it does it to support the ridership numbers this route is able to post today. How do you keep the people between BTC and the P&R using transit when it becomes more expensive, less flexible and takes longer? In large part we won’t. They’ll be replaced with “new riders” that avail themselves of the hideously expensive structured parking that brings more cars into an already congested peak choke point.

    3. Sound Transit’s purpose is to connect the metro area (or conurbation, if you prefer) together: Seattle-Tacoma-Everett-Redmond. You can argue whether Link is the proper mode for that entire area, but it’s obviously worthwhile to Lynnwood and Bellevue at least, and Bellevue-Redmond is an investment in a potential future transit corridor. Alternatives such as frequent heavy rail would have worked too, but aren’t in the cards now.

      It makes more sense if you think of Link as a new freeway, which it is in terms of both cost and utility. The reason subways and commuter rail are so heavily used in NYC, London, St Petersburg, etc, is that it’s the fastest way to get around. Those cities don’t have freeways parallel to the rail lines so it really is the fastest way around. We do have freeways parallel to the rail lines (and people use them even for such “city” trips as Capitol Hill to the U-district), but the freeways obviously can’t handle the number of cars that wish to drive on them. So it’s either build Link or build another freeway. In that light, Link has many more benefits: (1) a new transportation mode, (2) the car-less can use it, (3) encourages density and walkability around stations, rather than sprawl (single-family neighborhoods and office parks). And those who really want to drive still have the existing freeways!

      1. Great point! We need to think about the opportunity cost of building grade-separated rail vs. adding new highway lanes. When you put it like that, the high cost of rail makes more sense. It also means that rail should be as superior as possible, something Link and MAX both have trouble with due to their relatively slow street-running segments. Once your rail has to wait for traffic signals, you’ve lost a lot of the competitive advantage vs. highways.

      2. The reason subways and commuter rail are so heavily used in NYC, London, St Petersburg, etc, is that it’s the fastest way to get around.

        Which has to do with the fact they were all built out before automobiles existed. But history is in the past. Seattle does have freeways and they are the fastest way to get around. The exception being peak hour choke points but an extensive subway system isn’t a cost effective way to address the need for peak capacity. In London and NYC (never been to Russia) the subways have all day everyday demand because both are larger than the population of the entire State of Washington. A sledge hammer will crack a peanut but if you have peanuts it doesn’t follow that you should buy a sledge hammer.

      3. So we should all move to New York because Seattle will never have good transit and it will always be second-rate service compared to cars?

      4. Adding peak transit capacity does nothing for those who would like to forego a car off-peak. You can’t buy half a car for off-peak periods, and if you take a bus somewhere during peak, your car doesn’t magically appear off-peak for your return trip. Buses lose time moving from the high street to the freeway entrances and exits. Half-hour frequency sucks when you’re waiting 25 minutes for a transfer. And freeways do get clogged off-peak, as is seen on game evenings and on random mid-days (including Saturday and Sunday). These are all reasons why full-time grade-separated transit is worth the cost, even if road capacity is overloaded only at peak times.

    4. Why did you compare the Link against the best bus instead of the worst? People will always find the absolutely best bus route and then compare it against our ONLY Link route. How about comparing the 592 against the Tacoma Link for cost per rider. The Tacoma Link is free to ride but only costs $3 per rider whereas the 592 costs over $11 per rider.

      1. Simple, Link does X. Try to find bus Y that mimics it in distance, span, frequency, time, purpose, route traveled (arterial, freeway, combo), with riders/trip/vehicle that are a close match. Then you can begin to make some reasonable comparisons to base a conclusion on.
        The 550 does all those things. Actually the 194 was very similar to the 550 before Link replaced it, with a superior on-time performance record.
        So, it’s the fairest comparison we can make of two different modes. Yes, I’m aware Link goes down MLK and has another purpose too, that’s why it’s a little slower than the 194 was, but has more riders. Comparing a trip to the airport costing $17.23 to one costs $2.93 does raise a few red flags in my mind. If it doesn’t in yours, then so be it.

  2. Quick to post good news about Link, slow to post negative news about it. Let me guess, the story about a Link train traveling two miles with an open door will be posted in a day or two, buried on a news roundup. I can’t wait to see how this disaster will be spun and played down.

    1. I would like to see some coverage or analysis of this incident on STB. I think it would be good for this community to understand the operational risks and challenges of operating a light rail system.

    2. Source

      Nobody was injured in the Oct. 25 incident […] Sound Transit didn’t announce the incident or report it to the governing board’s operations committee. […] The day before the Oct. 25 incident, the same door stuck open on the same train with the same operator, at Rainier Beach Station

      This is bad. Very bad. Even worse than traveling with a door open. Not ST’s lack of announcement, but that the operations committee wasn’t informed. Incidents of this nature need to be tracked. This isn’t just a disciplinary issue.

    3. yes … it was so terrifying that NOBODY alerted the operator by pressing the emergency button … never mind link is restricted to 15mph in the tunnel

      1. Honestly, if I were on that train, I probably wouldn’t’ve reported it. Knowing that they’d take the train out of service immediately, wouldn’t let passengers deboard immediately if we happened to stop between stations (though obviously with the open door we’d leave anyway, assuming we weren’t in the tunnel or elevated), and knowing it would probably mean I’d miss my flight (since I only ever take Link when going to the airport)? And knowing how much of an idiot someone would have to be to not notice the door was open and to actually fall out of it? I’d probably think about calling it in immediately, but more than likely I’d wait until I at least got to my destination. From the average rider’s perspective, there’s really no benefit to calling that sort of thing in.

      2. Relatedly, I recall riding on a Metro bus or two whose rear door didn’t close properly. The driver knew, and all the passengers knew, but it was fairly full of students and commuters and we all knew that the only Metro-approved action would screw us all over. So we just gave it a wide berth and put up with the cold wind.

      3. I once lived in a place where the bus drivers routinely drove with the front door wide open for the ventilation it provided.

        This was before air-conditioned buses and a long time ago when the world had much fewer lawyers and was a nicer place.

    4. Apparently, the official procedure for a stuck door is for the operator to get out, verify that nothing’s blocking the door, go back to the controls, reset the door, get back out, check and visually make sure the door closed, manually close it if necessary, then get back in and drive the train.

      The operator skipped the second visual verification. They’re being fired.

      The operator claims she thought she was following policy correctly, and thought that the train controls would not allow it to move with an open door. I’m inclined to believe her, based on what we know about how good Metro/ST is at communicating with employees.

      1. As with the incindent with the Link train derailing at the maintenance facility in 2009, Sound Transit/Metro needs to cultivate a real ‘railroader’ mentality for Central Link.
        It is a railroad after all, and safety checks and rechecks, rules violations, etc. are something railroaders literally live and die by.

        Firing does sound a bit harsh, but it might be what is needed to solidify that culture.

    1. Doesn’t Cascades already have this? I’ve ridden Cascades North when it had a screen of your current location and nearby towns. Although the display is weird because it has “railroad towns” like Silvana and Burlington, which ordinary people do not think of as the principal cities in the area. (I’ve seen the same on an SAS flight to Copenhagen: it listed Søndre Something-or-other in Greenland as a landmark. Well, maybe to Scandinavians it’s important.)

      Although come to think of it, I’ve never seen this screen on Cascades South.

      1. Søndre Strømfjord. Except that’s the Danish Colonial name. Now it is Kangerlussuaq:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangerlussuaq

        The reason it was on that map created by a Boeing or Airbus (depending on if you flew the 767 or the A340) vendor for SAS is because alot of people in the USA and in aviation know about that city due to its former USAF and still USANG base:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sondrestrom_Air_Base

        Should you ever visit Greenland (or more correctly “Kalaallit Nunaat”) you will almost always fly to SFJ and transfer to a smaller aircraft or helicopter there.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangerlussuaq_Airport

  3. Speaking of places that could use transit…north of Denver!

    I spent the week in Ft. Collins, which is a beautiful bicycle friendly town about an hours drive north of Denver…however, there is zero useable transit, even though I-25 seems like its a commuter route based on weekday traffic.

    Even worse…it snows there…a lot! And while the speed of snow clearance is impressive, my drive back to the airport was hair raising…at some point the highway signs went from “drive slower” to “at your own risk”…they should have just flashed “why are you on the road, you dimwit”.

    Seems like with in city light rail (and I was told it doesn’t even go to the airport) and rail right of ways (BNSF has a straight track right in Collins) so I’m surprised they haven’t implemented a Sounder.

    Meanwhile back at Seatac, I took the 180/164…sweet ride and saved from $50 to $80 in transport fees!

    As I’ve mentioned many times before, what I really need is for LINK to do a Southern loop around Lake Washington through Renton, and then run a branch line along Kent East Hill. That would be my dream transit system.

    1. Fort Collins isn’t part of the Denver area’s RTD and the only commuter routes that go close is the ‘L’ Route to Longmont.

    2. The 1972 subway would have gone to Renton. Then it would just be a short extension to Kent. It would also have solidified existing traffic patterns, which may have caused growth to occur in Renton and spilling down to Kent, rather than in Southcenter and Federal Way disconnected from rapid transit.

      1. I’m hoping for RapidRide replacing the 101 and 169, but no sign of that from Metro. I assume some 101 peak trips would have to be kept to avoid a commuter revolt.

      2. If you’re hoping RapidRide F replaces the 101, I don’t think it’s likely. It’s just too far out of the way to go west on the bus to TIB, then back east again on Link. A 20 minute bus ride + 2 minutes walking up the platform + 5 minutes waiting + 35 minutes on the train adds up to an hour to get from Renton to downtown compared to 30 minutes on the 101. Plus, you would leave the apartments served by the 101 off MLK on the way to Renton completely without service.

        The only hope I see of replacing the 101 with a Link connection is for a truncated 101 dropping people off at Ranier beach. And in order for people to not revolt over that, we would have to see:
        1) Some real redevelopment at Ranier Beach, making the stop a real destination, not just a transfer point to hop on the train
        2) More congestion on I-5, negating the time advantage of using the freeway over Link
        3) Link expansion to Northgate and beyond, so that those going beyond downtown would still have just a two-seat ride, with or without the 101 going all the way to downtown

        Even then, you would likely still need some 101 trips, at least during the peak.

      3. RapidRide F and an extended 169 taking over a portion of the 101 to Henderson Station are clearly different lines.

        But making the line a RapidRide would be a way to help sell it, and it certainly serves ethnically diverse neighborhoods, making it easier to get federal funding.

      4. “If you’re hoping RapidRide F replaces the 101, I don’t think it’s likely”

        No, I mean another line beyond F. There will presumably be a second and third round of RapidRide conversions if funding can be found. The 120 almost made it into the first round; it’s sure to make it into the second. I’m suggesting that a 101/169 route from Rainier Beach to Kent Station (or further to SeaTac station) would make a good second-round route for southeast King County.

        (I could also see a 101/169/180 route going north-south from Rainier Beach to Renton, and a 180/168 going from SeaTac station to Covingtion. That would be more grid-correct, but may not reflect the greater Benson-Kent-SeaTac ridership and lesser Covington ridership.)

      5. Correction: a 101/169/180 route north-south from Rainier Beach to Auburn, and a 168/180 route east-west from Covington to SeaTac.

      6. Eric, the true revolution will occur when people accept a truncated Rainier Beach route in exchange for doubling the frequency. That means 15-minute minimum full time. It means people in Renton will start thinking about transit like they do in Chicago: it’s always there within 15 minutes. Thus, they’ll be more willing to take transit in situations where they don’t trust it right now. Translated: they’ll be more willing to take transit off-peak. A few people will say, “But it takes longer to get downtown!” But most people will think, “How wonderful that I only have to wait 10 or 15 minutes instead of having to time my arrival at the 30-minute mark; who cares if the trip takes 10 more minutes than it used to, I’m not in any great hurry in the mid-day or weekend.”

        Commuters think the opposite, “The trip can take no longer than N minutes because time is money.” It’s easier to give them a peak express than to change their mindset or redesign Renton. Over time, Renton’s design might improve to the point that the peak express can be replaced by a Renton Link line with two-way all-day demand.

      7. Mike: 10 minutes. 15 isn’t good enough — it’s tough to remember, and the worst-case wait is just long enough to be really annoying.

        If the Fall 2012 restructuring was based on 10-minute trunk routes, I think we’d see a lot less objection. I love the restructure, of course, but even I have to admit that it’s kind of crazy to start with something like the 15/18 (every 10 minutes), or the 54/55 (6 buses an hour, but it could be every 10 minutes with a bit of creative scheduling), end with RR C/D (every 15 minutes), and call the result “so frequent you don’t need a schedule”.

      8. Alex, yes, but we have to get to 15 minutes before we can get to 10 minutes. And Renton is not Beacon Hill, so it’s harder to convince people to fund 10-minute service. Improving service incrementally is better than not improving it at all.

        The 150 used to be half-hourly daytime, hourly evenings. Now it’s 15 minutes weekdays and Saturdays, and half-hourly eves/Sunday. The next step is to get it 15 minutes full time. Similarly with the 101 and 169, but they’re at a lower starting point.

    3. I just moved to Denver this summer, so I’ve got a little bit of insight on this. Fort Collins is too far north to be in Denver’s transit district, and they haven’t had much interest in a specialty commuter bus. To the south there is a bus (funded by about ten different transportation agencies) to Colorado Springs, however. A Cascades-like service would probably do very well, since like Washington all of the largest cities in Colorado are in a rough north-south line. A train running from Cheyenne-Fort Collins-Longmont-Boulder-Denver-Colorado Springs-Pueblo would hit a majority of the state’s population, I think. They’re rebuilding the train station in Denver to accommodate the light rail expansion right now, and I think there will be a couple extra platforms just in case something like this goes through.

      As far as the light rail goes, they’re starting to build it to the airport now (for the past few years all the money has been going into the west line towards Golden). The existing lines aren’t nearly as useful as Link, however. Outside of Downtown they follow either highways or railroad tracks, so there isn’t really a station with a full walk shed. It’s somewhat understandable though, since the I-25 line was built at the same time that they were widening the interstate.

  4. Was there a service interruption on the 3/4 routes around 8 last night? I was standing at Bell forever, then caught one at the Denny stop when I decided to start walking back.

    1. It all comes down to fear of lawsuits. If enough riders use the system, eventually someone’s going to get into an accident. And you want to minimize the lawsuit potential from such accidents as much as possible to avoid killing the entire program.

      Similar to how kayak rental places always provide life jackets.

      1. OK, except that other bikeshare programs exist in the United States (Example: Boston) and Canada (example Montreal) (i.e. same legal system) and yet these are cities/states/provinces that do not require helmets.

    2. Or could it be that if you fall and crack your skull and don’t have insurance, you become a ward of the state? And thus taxpayers have to pay for your stupidity?

      Lets get rid of all the nanny state rules:
      No more seat belt laws!
      No more driving without your lights on rules!
      No more driving with bald tire rules!
      No more driver testing both for eyesight and skills!
      No more food safety rules!
      And much much more!

      1. Why not helmets for pedestrians? For motorists? How about roll cages for baby carriages? Crossing arms for crosswalks? The list goes on and on.

        Driver testing for eyesight & skills and bald tire rules protect others from your stupidity just as much as they protect you. A helmet doesn’t do that.

      2. There’s actually a huge amount of evidence that seatbelts make drivers drive more recklessly, and lead to an increase in crashes. Same with bike helmets, same with unsignaled crosswalks. Counterintuitive, but true…it’s called a false sense of security.

  5. How much do the German union concessions really apply to the US? Germany has national healthcare and more worker-friendly labor laws. So are the German transit workers, even after concessions, really as badly off as American transit workers (unionized or not)? The healthcare alone eliminates the biggest financial burden American employers have.

  6. For those of you waiting on pins and needles to hear how the hearing on canning the 42 etc went today, hear is a blow-by-blow:

    A Metro administrator gave a muddled presentation about “routes that stand alone”, and totally failed to explain, in laymans terms, why these routes were being considered for elimination.

    Chairman Phillips had him reiterate how many riders were on the routes that stand to benefit from reinvestment and how many ride the routes proposed for deletion. Again, it was a weak argument that didn’t explain how many people would actually benefit, or how.

    The leadoff speaker described the 600 as a “profit-making route” for Metro, and described how Group Health subsidizes the route. Unfortunately, only Phillips and Council Member McDermott were there to hear him.

    Michael Taylor-Judd called for earlier implementation of the Westwood Village spike in the 120 route.

    A gentleman from the Uptown Transit Alliance (I think that was the name.) spoke about the Queen Anne routes, particulary the 2. I couldn’t follow what exactly he was advocating. He did favor the proposed 32.

    About four speakers, none from ACRS, gave some weak arguments for the 42, and then one of them hit a home run: Rebecca Saldana pointed out how unreliable the 8 is, and suggested the 42 take over the 8’s path south of Mt Baker. My money says her proposal will get enacted.

    Nobody showed up to speak against the 42.

    Paul Locke showed up, as he does to nearly every transit-related hearing I attend, and advocated, as he always does, reducing labor costs by getting rid of operators.

    Council Member McDermott asked how much it would cost to delay the June eliminations in order to do everything as a package in September.

  7. In relation to why Prop 1 failed, can someone remember exactly when Metro announced its plans to cut the 42? I’m sorry we have to have this conversation on an open thread, as it is off-topic on the post about Prop 1 results.

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