For new rapid bus lines, much is riding on image

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 19, 2008 - 8:10 PM

Bus rapid transit is coming to Cedar and I-35, and making it seem as simple as rail will be a key.

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mll1994Aug. 20, 08 8:59 AM

This ideology justifies the unneeded cost escalators implemented by the governing agencies of these transit programs. It makes it easier to justify spending $500k on a bus when you can get a perfectly appropriate bus for $100-200K less and spending millions for extras for stylishness of the “transit experience”. There is not a relationship bases for passengers choosing rail over rapid busing. It is the politicians and agency leadership that is biased to rail transit. The capital and operational cost of rail transit is considerably more than busing. Caution must be taken not to allow the decision makers to escalate busing capital and operation costs that will reduce its value. Don’t be fooled- individuals choose transit options based on cost, flexibility, and access. People will choose public transit if it makes sense to them regardless if it is a train or a bus. For the public’s sake, let’s hope it is a bus.

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annoyed55Aug. 20, 0810:40 AM

1) It doesn't go where I need to go. I don't work downtown ... but the current bus system _only_ goes downtown. No matter where you go, you have to go downtown first. So my choice is a 30 minute drive, or a 2-hour bus ride. 2) It's not direct or timely. When I did work downtown, there were very few options that didn't give me a leisurely scenic tour of North Minneapolis, making a 30 minute drive into an hour bus ride. 3) It's not convenient or predictable. The routes change over time during the day so that, if you get hung up and miss the last bus, you're calling home for a ride. And figuring out the transit maps is not easy. 4) There's no secondary transport system. I can get from anywhere to Nicollet Mall downtown. But once I'm at the mall, there's no efficient way to get to my destination. 5) Buses have little or no cargo capacity. If you're carrying anything bigger than a backpack, taking the bus is not a realistic option. 6) It's not comfortable. It's the difference between sitting in a coffee shop and sitting in the Metrodome. The seats are small, hard and packed together. In rush hour, if you're sitting you're staring into somebody's armpit. Until these issues are addressed, the car will be the dominant mode of transportation.

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voidoidAug. 20, 0812:48 PM

Trains last much longer than buses, they (and the infrastructure they need) are much cheaper to maintain and they can carry many, many more passengers than buses which results in more people being served and a more efficient cost/passenger mile. Here's a link to an analysis of the cost of buses and trains > http://www.lightrailnow.org/myths/m_mythlog001.htm Buses are much better than no transit, but these guys are desperately trying to put lipstick on a pig to "attract the chicks". Not convincing.

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gandalf4612Aug. 20, 08 6:37 PM

Thank you voidoid for the talking points from an organization that advocates for lightrail. Statistics are easily manipulated to say what one wants them to say. I don't speak for anyone else. I will say, however, that I have 'never' had an enjoyable train ride on the light rail; nor on a bus for that matter.

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mll1994Aug. 21, 08 3:31 PM

You can find a website just about anywhere to support your numbers. See this one: http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/images/HCInternet/Static%20Files/104349153AppendixF.pdf Page 4: Projected Capital Cost for LRT ranges from $44 million per mile to $65.7 million per mile. Capital Cost per Bus is under $5 million per mile. The operational cost comparison is skewed. The LRT routes are established in high density and high ridership. The data used in this operational cost included the bus system as a whole where many routes are in lower density/ridership regions (apples to oranges). Compare operating and costs of LRT and buses along the same routes and busing will prove to be significantly less expensive (apples to apples).

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hydra1970Aug. 22, 0810:34 AM

This is very true. For some odd reason when a fellow bus passenger sees a "Young Attractive Female" on the bus they think its chat up time. Its one thing to strike up a friendly conversation about their magazine or book when seated next to them but to sit right next to them on an empty bus and give them a sales pitch, well there it is. I rode the bus from one side of San Jose to another and it was as if they were picking up the characters from the bar scene in Star Wars.

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scottyj520Aug. 22, 0811:09 AM

This just makes me mad - who the hell wants to ride a dirty smelly nasty BUS?!? Forget about damn buses and give us the LRT we paid for and now pay even more for through the transit tax! Do it NOW!

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Michael013Aug. 22, 0811:27 PM

Well put! Or else we'll never get, what was it.. AYF's. Lets just get the busses cleaned up. How about knuckleheads that vandalize them or other property do it as the debt paid to society. Course that could be cruel and unusual punishment as some or so bad.

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props25Aug. 25, 08 6:37 PM

I first frequently rode the bus starting when I was 10 years old in 1968 in St Paul from downtown to Grand Ave and Avon. The desiel engine roar, rattling windows and green and white busses I remember with a far off fondness, I was never hassled because I was a kid, I always found a seat. Now the bus is a sleek green machine costing the price of a dream home for a family of three. That is all good about the sleek busses and the green engineering but HEY!; the stainless steel seats suck big time! I want my bench seats with the gnarly padding three inches thick because I miss the bench seats ok? We could get 3 kids in those bench seats and slide out over another person too!

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chri0851Aug. 26, 0810:19 PM

Minneapolis used to do a pretty good job of building the infrastructure to influence city growth in target areas. Now they are attempting to appease outlying suburbs with mass transit systems. I'm sorry, but I don't think a transit system from Farmington to the Mall of America is the most important area to be working on. If transit is difficult for someone, they are more likely to move into the city area. Or they will live with it. Wouldn't this money be better spent on improving transit in the more highly-populated metro area, whether it be roads (35w, 394/94 interchange) or mass transit around the city area?

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