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Everything posted by MetroMogul

  1. I've always enjoyed Red's verbal smackdowns and he only continues to become more vicious with each passing year.
  2. Yes I rely on the bus. No, I don't think investing in billions of dollars of more rail is the solution. The bus system is the life blood of the Metro system. It is the brain, heart and skeleton of the system. The rail "system" we have amounts to three fingers. If the body is rotting does it make sense to add more fingers or to rehabilitate the body? I'm on the bus system re-imagining committee and it's refreshing all light rail talk is limited on how it will interact with a more robust and improved bus system instead of dominating the discussion with no regard or even acknowledgement of the bus system as has been the rule for a decade. Slick, you are what's wrong with the transit discussion in this region. You don't bring any viable solutions, only a child's wishlist.
  3. A rail system is limited when the bus system that it depends upon is crippled and deteriorating. It's like focusing on the usefulness of the three fingers while the rest of your body atrophies.
  4. Thank you. God forbid we invest in what consists of about 90% of the system. And Vic, you're right, Houston did have a good bus system in the 1980s, well it's 2013 and it's in bad shape. It needs reinvestment.
  5. What rail line were they planning to use? In my five years of riding the 50 - Harrisburg to work I've only seen two trains on the Galveston Rd. track. I seriously thought the line was abandoned. Then one day I saw a crew working on it and the next day the first train I ever saw ran on the track.
  6. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Greanias-stepping-down-as-Metro-CEO-4119765.php Damn shame, he was really turning the agency around. I'd wager it has something to do with the recent GMP referendum. The wonderful pundits and analysts of the Chronicle's comments section said we need someone with "transportation experience" this next go round. Well, Shirley DeLibero and Frank Wilson had decades of transportation experience between them and we all know how that turned out. Let's see what comes of this.
  7. You misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm not talking about the fleet or overall operation and execution. I'm talking about the bus routes themselves. The 15 - Alabama, 66 - Bellaire and the 88 - Beechnut, among others, had been operating to and outside the old city limits since the late 60s and early 70s. Metro might be a bit constrained on where they can operate but there are communities within the service area that could have bus service but don't. Katy, Missouri City, and Clear Lake come to mind. Now before you mention it, I'm aware of the park and ride lots. I speak of local bus service. HouTran was a debacle but they tried to cram bus service everywhere they could. Red Metro refined that system and streamlined operations. Golden age Metro expanded it. Dark Ages Metro poisoned it. Time will tell what the New Metro has in store.
  8. Go to the Julia Ideson library and request them. They have a number of them along with some pretty neat news clippings. I went in and asked on a whim and was rewarded with a bulging folder. I must've died and went to heaven. And Metro didn't cut those suburban routes. The area just grew around them. The 66 - Bellaire had a branch that served Beechnut @ Jorine back in the 70s. Bear in mind the Beechnut bridge over Brays Bayou was only completed in 1973. Rapid Transit/Houtran had a myriad of problems but they at least made attempts to tweak their services and be on the cutting edge so to speak. To the point they over extended themselves. Look at the large number of branches certain routes had. And there were more Limited and Express via Freeway trips back then.
  9. You have the 70 - Memorial (which is pretty much a maid shuttle) and the 131 - Memorial Express. Combined with the 6 - Tanglewood, all three buses cover the entire length of Memorial Drive. And Metro seems to have halted any significant bus expansion for the foreseeable future. If you look at older bus maps from the HouTran and early Metro days you'll see that buses ran out ti the very edge of the suburbs. That doesn't happen anymore.
  10. It's only fair to give Tata Nanas to every individual in the Metro service area, even children.
  11. Sounds like most of that was done under Frank Wilson's watch surprise surprise. The only thing I fault the "New" Metro for is the continued light rail-centric policy while the bus system continues to be mediocre. But, I suppose that's better than the atrocious system we had under Wilson and cronies.
  12. Why'd you quote me? I never hinted that these areas were racist. They just didn't utilize the provided bus service. But since we're on the subject now, I agree, your average suburbanite doesn't want "illegals" or "Obama supporters" (nice code words by the way) riding into their neighborhoods. I never understood that line of thinking though. Believe it or not, "thugs" drive so they could just drive into the neighborhood and clean out the place. Makes much more sense than riding unreliable Metro buses and trying to haul a 60' flat screen TV back to "da hood" via the same unreliable Metro service. It's not limited to the suburbs or white people. I'm sure the new urbanites of all colors and creeds don't like Metro buses rumbling down their streets, but unfortunately for them, the buses, much like the freight trains they also loathe, were there first.
  13. You know the suburbanites would have a fit if Metro dared to run a non P&R ride bus through those areas "that get very little transit service." In the 80's Metro went crazy trying to run buses through every nook and cranny of the service area. There used to be local bus service in Clear Lake, Webster, and the other little communities bordering the bay, all operated by Metro. Ridership didn't justify the expenditure of dollars to operate the routes. But let's not act like Metro didn't try at one time.
  14. The Greenlink is nice. And free. The little buses are charming. Metro needs to invest in those for low ridership lines instead of using old paratransit buses. But the Greenlink service doesn't come close to matching the old trolleys or the Texas Special routes that came before them.
  15. The 2 - Bellaire (the busiest route in Houston), 4 - Beechnut, 8 - S. Main, 15 (now the 14) - Hiram Clarke, 25 - Richmond, 65 - Bissonnet, and the 132 - Harwin Express were all truncated to feed into the rail line. With the exception of the 132 these were all high ridership lines, though over the years that ridership has declined, in some cases significantly. But it's not a conspiracy, it's a fact. And the reason the 1 - Hospital comes so readily to mind is because it's the only bus that parallels the rail line from the Medical Center to downtown Houston. The 53/81/82 escaped the truncation because they did not spill into a rail station like the aforementioned routes. The same goes for the 9 - Gulfton, 11 - Almeda, 52 - Hirsch, 60 - S. MacGregor and the 78 - Alabama. This is all pretty common knowledge for those of us who ride the bus. It just goes to show you the people who shout the loudest on one side or the other on public transportation issues have little hands on experience with actual public transportation. And one more thing; the 1 - Hospital was not truncated most likely due to it's unique nature; it serves various hospitals across town, hence it's name. It couldn't survive any sort of truncation because it's purpose is to be a through route from the northside hospitals to the TMC. And yet ANOTHER thing, the demise of the popular downtown trolley service was a result of Metro trying to shoehorn each route into one of the downtown LRT stations. The reroutes (a Bell St. trolley, really?) combined with a .50 fare (for worse service) and no free transfer to local buses sent ridership into a free fall. Eventually the services were cut altogether.
  16. Before I declare any sort of victory, I want to know what Metro means by "service expansion." We learned many years ago what "service improvements" meant under Frank Wilson. And when do we get the 200 new buses? Not that I'm too concerned about that as I enjoy the older buses very much. They have a lot more charm than the Hybrids taking over the fleet now.
  17. Correction; there is ONE old, large mansion on Milam and McGowen. It's used as a CPA office and is in decent shape.
  18. Yeah the rape of Metro's reserves is up there too.
  19. 2003 Solutions plan was a perfect fit for our city and agency. It had a lot of bit of something for everybody. NIMBY meddling crippled the rail portion and Metro incompetence killed the bus portion. Probably the greatest transit tragedy of our time.
  20. I agree. I just think that Metro needs to show it can do two things at once. The light rail lines are under construction. Great. But don't rest on your laurels. There's a once great bus system to rehabilitate. While it's not sexy work it's necessary work.
  21. Before we get any further I should note that I'm not anti rail. I'm anti rail ONLY, there's a difference. Any good transit syste, in my opinion, should be multi modal with local bus transit at it's core we add in commuter bus, BRT, LRT/commuter rail, HOV/HOT lanes and other transit infrastructure etc to complement the core system and then we have good mass transit that offers something to everyone and the whole region benefits. The problem I see in these debates however is that it's usually not about better transit. It's simply aesthetics vs. politics. Which takes the form of rail vs. bus. And don't be fooled. Most on the pro bus side are just pro status quo. They don't really care about bus service, they just don't want any investment in rail. But they will argue for commuter buses to give them a little transit cred. But usually local bus service is too icky for either side to touch. Mfa, have you ever played Cities in Motion? It's a transit simulation. You build and operate transit systems for various cities across the globe. You'd like it because try as I might there's no way to build an efficient bus only system in the game. In that realm rail is truly king. It's addictive and I suggest you give it a try.
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