8 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Vancouver’s RapidBus”

  1. Joel Ard’s lawsuit trying to eliminate the ST3 car tab tax is a blessing in disguise. He’s focused everybody’s attention on the state statute (RCW 81.104.160) when we’ve been looking just at what ST3 says. Ironically, Ard got Sound Transit and the State to realize that DOL has been using the wrong vehicle value table:

    https://bit.ly/2kCP9Ar

    DOL is using the 1999 table! For the last eight years DOL should have been using the 1996 table. That 1996 one has higher vehicle value percentages for year2 and year3. The legislature changed the statute in 2010 to specify the 1996 version should be used, and then it doubled down and specified it again in 2015.

    Has DOL started using the 1996 one yet, as the statute requires? Should vehicle owners who didn’t pay enough tax be surcharged (after the election in November) so Sound Transit gets all the revenue the law specifies it should have? The agency probably was shortchanged by $100 million over the past 8 years.

  2. Great video, Oran. The bus. Rugged, versatile old tool of the industry, useful through the ages. Could use a word or two about traffic-signal preempts. Which I hope haven’t been left out of the project. But if they have, can always be added.

    Now. If there are any such things, can anybody give a source with some equally simple truths on same subject as Comment 1? Did we have an election, what were the results, and over a very large amount of time have taxpayers been charged a wrong amount of money or not?

    I’m finding it real hard to believe that if there’d been a mistake from the get-go, enough offended victims couldn’t have immediately raised enough money and political clout to get the whole thing just stopped and done over.

    Also not buying the argument that Sound Transit is just so powerful it’s above the law. The State of Washington has a lot more motorists for voters than it has transit bureaucrats, activists, and riders.

    We’re not talking about problems with jetliners or train speeds…..are we? At least Oran’s presentation this morning deserves a few more comments. So let’s get this one discussed and either stay with it or move on.

    Mark Dublin

  3. Ooooookay…..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7AHkbatbns&t=2s

    Proof there’s no reason to discriminate against out-county areas because there’s obviously no law that says trolleybuses need pavement!

    And even better:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjUPL2_Jzjg

    With rising sea-levels, global warming might redraw our subarea map. Which, as this clip proves, means we needn’t always de-wire going over the Cascades from Kirkland!

    Leaving only the question of which formula to use when assessing tabs for boat owners. Will check back later for video showing truth about our own tab controversy. But obviously inadvisable to forget to “tap off” on this service.

    Mark

  4. Has anyone else noticed that Link service seems to have slowed down? Or is it just me? I really can’t understand why trains run so slow between Mt. Baker and Sodo. Also they really need to try to speed things up in the downtown tunnel. Some operators are great. But some are painfully slow. They have the train crawling along like a snail. Even southbound between cap hill and Westlake trains do not run as fast as they did initially. Why is this ?!?

    1. Not surprisingly, the reason why was the Uber car fighting midtown Manhattan traffic to reach the helicopter. The true fastest way to JFK would have probably been to combine the two modes. Subway to the heliport, helicopter to JFK from there.

      Of course, the type of people willing to shell out $225 for a helicopter ride are probably not willing to mingle with the riffraff on the way to the helicopter, even if it ultimately means getting there faster and minimizing the chance of missing their plane. ($225 is expensive, but still cheap enough that I would expect most of its customers to be flying first-class commercial flights, rather than private jets).

      That said, I don’t think helicopters should be allowed in the middle of a crowded place like New York at all, except for emergency response. They’re much more dangerous than regular planes, and orders of magnitude more polluting than the dirtiest car. And then, there’s the noise. A steady stream of these things is going to make life miserable for everybody down below, and the public has no option to avoid listening to it, nor do they get compensated for having to put up with it. This is basically a joyride for the rich at the expense of ordinary people. The good news is that at least the UberCopter flights are (for now) limited to afternoon rush hour, so they won’t be keeping people awake at night.

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpXcpB6Kh9k

    In 1990, We thought pretty hard about doing this before we decided to leave our buses freely-steered. Remember, though, that DSTT didn’t go low-floor ’til 2005. Have I got the year right?

    As I recall, along with their other least-endearing features, Breda staircases were steep as worst tower in Castle Dracula. Wheelchair-boarding time? “In my world, time is eternal, Dr. Van Helsing.” (Funeral music, thunder, lightning, wolf howling.)

    Way we handled change to low-floor loading worth its own posting. Remember how singular our joint-use system was in the transit world. So we started out with Tunnel station platforms being simply street curbs and sidewalks.

    Raising platforms would’ve necessitated also replacing every elevator and escalator. So we took the other direction: we jack-hammered and skill-sawed the road (and track) bed about a foot. Need to rip out and replace the rails would’ve been more of a scandal if general understanding hadn’t been that they were cosmetic at that stage.

    My point with the video above is that for a bus-driver, big guide-roller would’ve been overkill. On a roadbed laid out for 30 mph. rail, I never once felt any fear of a concrete side-swipe. Or any need at all to drop speed underground. Wouldn’t have hurt to give us fiberglass curb-liners like Eugene’s rapid-ride has.

    But the world’s top rail-engineers made the drive essentially fear-free. Graded, curved…I think we could’ve done 50 mph safely. Station spacing made that neither desirable nor necessary.

    To me, whole effort valuable proof that if you know what you want and know what you’re doing, phasing in regional rail from standard buses is nothing to fear in places where it fits.

    Far as I know, Boeing Vertol rail division never specked us out a helicopter. At any rate not ’til I just found the proof. At least make them unionized employees and not contractors, ok?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cho039BrHpg

    Mark Dublin

  6. Orion or Sawant?

    I find Sawant OK but I’d like something better. I’m not sure if Orion is OK or bad.

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