Latest Comments Mike Orr on News roundup: why transit is expensivePart of the reason old cars were heavy and exhausted not-fully-burnt gas was that gas was so cheap that there wasn't an incentive to make cars lighter and fully burn the gas. That changed when gas started getting more expensive relative to people's purchasing power. Sure, it took time to invent plastic and fiberglass and maybe make aluminum practical, but if gas had been less affordable earlier there would have been an incentive to find alternative materials sooner. Mike Orr on News roundup: why transit is expensiveIt was the increase in the OPEC cartel's oil prices and the delinking of the dollar from its artificially high gold standard price that caused much of the inflation in the 70s. Before the 70s people used to pay 5 cents or 25 cents a gallon for gas. RossB on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceI agree that they (along with various agencies) overreacted when it comes to wiping down surfaces. But at this point, I wouldn't change anything. It is likely reducing the instances of other diseases, so no reason to change. It is also quite possible that one of these Covid variants will be more transmissible via surfaces. We are on the home stretch here -- no reason to change anything. As far as mask wearing, I can only hope that people take the same attitude. Wear your mask, to protect everyone. None of the vaccines are perfect. In some sense, they are...RossB on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceI find that last number to be the most interesting. That is how much money Seattle bought (on top of what we paid to the county). It begs the question -- what can that buy? Hard to say, of course, but here is some napkin math. This buys about 850 hours a day. Imagine if the main all-day buses from West Seattle to downtown ran like the train is supposed to -- every six minutes during rush hour, and ten minutes the rest of the day. The C takes a full hour to get from one end to the other....Martin Pagel on Sound Transit eyes phasing of ST3 projectsDisappointed by todays ST Exec board meeting... It looks like ST will only push out the schedule rather than taking a hard look at reducing the plan. I like the Transit Rider's suggestions but I don't think many people will get on a short ride from Delridge to SODO just to wait for another transfer; RapidRide-C won't even stop at Delridge. You could get a gondola built for less than another Duwamish bridge and serve the Junction directly rather than stopping at Fauntleroy Way and reach the International District without an extra transfer. Al S. on News roundup: why transit is expensiveI agree with Tom and Ross that a North Beach Station would be great, and that the two-car train platforms was stupid. Muni has already begun a Phase 3 study to extend the line. https://www.sfmta.com/projects/central-subway-extension RossB on Sound Transit eyes phasing of ST3 projectsMy guess is Wikipedia numbers are based on peak values. DC Metro has had major maintenance issues that predated the pandemic, and really cut it into ridership. I’m not saying BART is good Looks like we are on the same page then. Good. End of discussion :) but simply that is is underrated today because Bay Area’s catastrophic land use issues significantly limit BART’s potential. First of all, I don't think the land issues are as bad as you say. There is plenty of development around various stations in the suburbs. Second -- don't you know the land use going...Tom Terrific on News roundup: why transit is expensiveThey're "unprogressive" because people who value women's rights object to the catcalling and other obnoxious macho eruptions from "tradesmen", so the inner snowflakes of the lads are wounded. Therefore they ally with the Republicans who thrill to their eruptions and slap them on the back while picking the pockets of every other group of workers. So much for "solidarity". I said I agree that at most times and in most places inflation is the result of monetary policy. But I note that you continue to ignore the huge explosion in oil prices immediately before the ruinous bulge in inflation between...Tom Terrific on News roundup: why transit is expensiveRoss, I agree that there should be a station In North Beach at the terminus. I agree that the platforms should accommodate three car trains even if three-car trains have to be shuttles because they can't fit the stations on Third Avenue farther south. But getting some people off the Stockton and Kearney buses will be a huge win. That's where a North Beach station would shine. Thousands of people traveling between. Points north and west of there and Soma -- and even Union Square -- will transfer there to avoid riding through Chinatown. It was stupid not to put...transit rider on Sound Transit eyes phasing of ST3 projects“Weirdly, there’s no cost performance metric here.” That’s because transit agencies only care about ridership, not the cost of that ridership by route. Otherwise, Sounder North would never have opened, as it costs a ton per rider, while duplicating other Seattle-bound service from each station via that ancient form of transit called the express bus (canceling it would provide $ for light rail to Mariner, a far better use of public money). The problem is, many transit providers have an influx of the bulk of their revenues, i.e. public tax money, specifically sales taxes, that usually grows faster than inflation,...asdf2 on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceAt least the air exchange, you have some control over as a passenger. Just open the windows and the air exchange goes up. I can see mask compliance becoming more of a problem as more people get vaccinated, figuring they're protected, and not thinking about others. eddiew on News roundup: why transit is expensiveLink will improve transit for non-work trips as well; it will provide direct access to several urban centers with paid or scarce parking (e.g., Roosevelt, U District, Capitol Hill, downtown Seattle). Again, we need to lobby ST for short waits on Link at peak and off-peak times. Service makes the network, not just the monument. RossB on News roundup: why transit is expensiveYeah, but I'm not convinced that is any different than, say, France. It is amazing that country builds anything -- people are always protesting, arguing, striking. But they have much lowers costs than us, and a lot of other countries. As this article puts it, they are decidedly average: https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/11/08/what-is-the-anglosphere-anyway/ RossB on News roundup: why transit is expensiveI think the criticism is more subtle than that. This is an expensive project, with poor station placement that won't do very much initially (that's his argument, not mine). It is one of those projects that started out great, but got watered down, and is now a bad value. It looks great on paper, but just doesn't work. As a result, there won't be crowding initially -- it won't get that many riders at all. But it does open up the possibility of better lines in the future. The problem is, even if it does that, it will only have...AJ on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceMostly overhead would be my best guess, if the accounting is simillar to how ST is billed by KCM, CT, and PT for purchased transportation. Would be a proportional share of both KCM's overhead and King County's overhead. The county spreads its overhead - think everything from shared IT resources to councilmembers' staff salaries - into its various agencies. KCM is by far the largest agency in King County, so it absorbs the largest share of overhead. The county has very little discretional revenue, so it allocates down as much cost as it can into departments so that this 'overhead'...Mike Orr on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceAnd I wasn't advocating any specific cleaning procedure; I'm not an environmental expert on bus fleets. I was just responding to the general issue of surfaces. They're not 100% safe even though they're unlikely to spread it. I used to rebag my groceries when I got home and let them sit for 24 hours but I no longer do. I'm not that concerned about touching Metro's railings, hand straps and doors, but I do think they should be wiped down every day, and if they weren't I'd be more concerned. I don't necessarily think the buses need to be fumigated...RossB on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceMy guess is it is a bunch of little stuff, none of which are worth bothering to call out, since they represent a small percentage of the overall spending. It costs $2.7 million for "Fuel and Insurance", which means that no other single item is over that. Jimmy James on News roundup: why transit is expensive@Daniel Thompson. I have noticed many conservative thinking people flocking to progressive run, labor backed, union jobs. But I also understand how and why it hapens. At least in my field. But yes, it is ironic. It is funny to think that the majority of Sound Transit and Metro employees are liberals. I personally wish they were. But from what I can see, it is not that way. SonnyM on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceRevenue collected under the STBD each year is appropriated to SDOT's budget, who oversees management of the program and who manages the service purchase with Metro. Nathan D. on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceBased on Martin's overview of the charges, it seems to me that the "Fleet Charges" line is accounting for depreciation of the buses, which leaves the $10M line a black box puzzle (and deserving of some sort of audit). On the note of paying for gifted buses, it seems to me that charging for decreased value caused by additional mileage/service hours is appropriate. If you consider the buses an asset of KCM, SDOT's use of the asset constitutes excess degradation of that asset, and therefore lost value, regardless of how that asset was acquired. I'm not great at explaining it,...Tom Terrific on News roundup: why transit is expensiveMike, the agency doesn't get the contributions, the electeds do, and they get a lot of "attaboys" from the contractors' friends. Look how UT builds freaking palaces while refusing to install full sets of escalators, and cheap ones they do buy. Penny-wise, pound-foolish. But escalators aren't made here and are usually installed by tge manufacturer's contractor. Look how it runs trains as infrequently as it can, like Scrooge in his counting house cackling over the proceeds. It spends $250 million rebuilding a freeway interchange a mile from the destination of most of the riders who will use it. But it's...GuyOnBeaconHill on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceThat's a number that popped my eyes out of my head, too. I'm wondering if vehicle depreciation is part of the $10 million. I believe that most of the cost of purchasing vehicles is still paid for by grants from the federal government. If Metro is buying buses with federal funds and then charging SDOT for the depreciation on those vehicles that were paid for by federal grants, I'd be a little surprised. asdf2 on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceI'm not saying don't clean buses at all. Before COVID, Metro was certainly cleaning buses, and, of course, should continue to do so. But, spraying disinfectant around every inch of the entire bus every night feels overkill. To the extent that surface spread is possible at all, it would be somebody touching a surface right after an infected person, not with an overnight gap in between. This level of spraying is mostly theater. What really matters here is people's willingness to wear their masks. Skylar on How Metro bills SDOT for serviceDefinitely agree with both points, asdf2. For point 2, though, there probably is some benefit since COVID *does* spread through surfaces, but far less efficiently than respiratory droplets. High touch surfaces are higher risk, but I'm not an actuary so don't know how to compare the cost of cleaning to the risk of infection. In any case, there's also a psychological benefit since almost certainly some fraction of riders are more comfortable with the cleaning and might not ride otherwise. In any case, I don't think it's going to be something we have to worry about past this year, and...Transit Girl on News roundup: why transit is expensiveMy most cherished (out at least vivid) memory of catching the bus in Chinatown is waiting on line to board, a little old Chinese lady shoving her way past me to get on, ending with her essentially under my armpit while trying to keep a live chicken from escaping its plastic bag.