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Slick Vik

Buses are not the future

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Well, I know that many systems are planning BRT. I'd have to disagree with you there. There are many routes in Houston and other major cities that would be great for BRT. Los Angeles, which is known for investing a lot of money into their transit system, is planning BRT.

Many improvements can be made to local bus routes too. Not that I think this will actually happen, but I love METRO's plan to implement signage indicating when the next bus will arrive at certain bus stops. I like a lot of their proposed improvements, my issue is that we should be spending more money on transit. And that includes finishing the proposed rail lines.

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San Antonio - http://www.viaprimo.com

Not to argue on semantics (bus/BRT).

In regards to Houston though, even as a 'big fan' of rail, I don't think we're ever going to be able to implement a system that doesn't primarily use buses. We can't lay tracks every few miles apart so that everyone is within a reasonable distance to a rail stop.

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What are the arguments against buses? I've ridden the bus to work for years. No complaints here. It gets me just as much "there" as a train would. Also, until they put a train down Memorial Drive I'd have to ride a bus or drive to get to a train anyway.

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San Antonio - http://www.viaprimo.com

Not to argue on semantics (bus/BRT).

In regards to Houston though, even as a 'big fan' of rail, I don't think we're ever going to be able to implement a system that doesn't primarily use buses. We can't lay tracks every few miles apart so that everyone is within a reasonable distance to a rail stop.

I think it's possible that Houston gets to a point at some time in the future (not our lifetime) where bus isn't the primary solution, but it will always be a part of the solution.

There's no public transit system in the world that doesn't use buses as part of the solution. London, Paris, Munich, NYC, Chicago, etc. every one runs buses to augment their rail system.

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I think it's possible that Houston gets to a point at some time in the future (not our lifetime) where bus isn't the primary solution, but it will always be a part of the solution.

There's no public transit system in the world that doesn't use buses as part of the solution. London, Paris, Munich, NYC, Chicago, etc. every one runs buses to augment their rail system.

I agree but saying that only buses are the future without rail is a totally inept mindset as well, which is what METRO is telling us. With that point of view, Houston will be stuck in the stone ages of transit for quite some time.

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I'm not sure if this is even possible, but could a independent company come in to houston and implement their own light rail system ?

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I agree but saying that only buses are the future without rail is a totally inept mindset as well, which is what METRO is telling us. With that point of view, Houston will be stuck in the stone ages of transit for quite some time.

I'm not sure how you can conclude that about METRO, but I do think that's a fine straw man you've put together.

METRO is constructing 2 new lines as we speak, constructing an extension on the existing Red Line, and has (albeit delayed) plans for two more lines. ROW along Westpark Tollway is reserved for possible future rail by METRO. At the same time, bus ridership has declined and service has been cut since the Red Line started. About the only increase in expenditure related to bus service I can think of is the Blue Line on Bellaire. Am I missing something?

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I'm not sure if this is even possible, but could a independent company come in to houston and implement their own light rail system ?

I think legally yes, but I don't think it would be easy to do without support of a bunch of people.

I'm not sure how you can conclude that about METRO, but I do think that's a fine straw man you've put together.

METRO is constructing 2 new lines as we speak, constructing an extension on the existing Red Line, and has (albeit delayed) plans for two more lines. ROW along Westpark Tollway is reserved for possible future rail by METRO. At the same time, bus ridership has declined and service has been cut since the Red Line started. About the only increase in expenditure related to bus service I can think of is the Blue Line on Bellaire. Am I missing something?

Actually, as part of the General Mobility referendum, the stipulations of a YES vote meant:

http://www.houstontx.gov/bondreferendum/metromobilityfunding.pdf

money allocated to METRO will go toward two goals:

1. Building ridership and making improvements to the existing system.

a.Expanding local bus service and facilities

b.New Park & Ride service

c.Installing more bus shelters

2. Paying down METRO’s commercial paper debt.

None of the additional funding may be used for rail.

So, as a result of this last election and vote, until 2025 (when the General Mobility Program will expire again) there will be no funding for new rail projects.

Yes, they're currently working on rail projects, but that's it.

Edited by samagon

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I'm not sure if this is even possible, but could a independent company come in to houston and implement their own light rail system ?

I think legally yes, but I don't think it would be easy to do without support of a bunch of people.

Well, light rail fares barely cover operating cost, much less multi-billion dollar capital costs, so, yes, theoretically any private company could come to Houston and build light rail if they had billions of dollars burning a hole in their pocket they wanted to vaporize.

Richard Branson famously said the best way to make a million dollars in the airline industry is to start with a billion. I think light rail would fall into that same category...

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Well, light rail fares barely cover operating cost, much less multi-billion dollar capital costs, so, yes, theoretically any private company could come to Houston and build light rail if they had billions of dollars burning a hole in their pocket they wanted to vaporize.

Richard Branson famously said the best way to make a million dollars in the airline industry is to start with a billion. I think light rail would fall into that same category...

Highways make lots of money right?

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I agree but saying that only buses are the future without rail is a totally inept mindset as well, which is what METRO is telling us. With that point of view, Houston will be stuck in the stone ages of transit for quite some time.

Did I miss a METRO press release where they said they were going to dismantle the rail? What are you talking about?

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I didn't say tollway.

Huh?

The question was, "Can a private company build light rail?"

The answer is no, because they're not profitable. They can - and do - when governments pay them to. Same with free roads. But private companies are willing to build toll roads, because they can get paid back for their investment. It's just that simple.

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Not all tollways are profitable.

Secondly, there is a place for PUBLIC transit in this nation. This fascination with everything needing to be profitable is going to kill this great nation.

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Not all tollways are profitable.

Secondly, there is a place for PUBLIC transit in this nation. This fascination with everything needing to be profitable is going to kill this great nation.

I do not dispute either of those points. I was just answering the earlier question on why private companies don't build rail on their own (although they sometimes will run bus services).

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I do not dispute either of those points. I was just answering the earlier question on why private companies don't build rail on their own (although they sometimes will run bus services).

Agreed, it's almost impossible for a private company to come in and build the infrastructure needed to get their own services running. Modern day airliners didn't build the airports originally, bus carriers didn't build the highways, HSR companies in Europe and Japan didn't build the rails etc. In most cases it's just not feasable for a private company to put in that much capital to operate marginal profits. One exception is the FEC passenger rail being constructed in Florida, not sure how that will work out though.

The University line can get built in the next decade, it's just a matter of priority. If the mayor wants to get the support and tackle this project, then I think she can. Look what the mayor of Los Angeles has done during his term.

Edited by mfastx

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