Light Rail Dies Again

Posted by Casebier 2 years, 11 months ago to Government
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Light Rail - Another resurgent industry going into the internet trashcan of history.
SOURCE URL: http://www.cetusnews.com/news/It%E2%80%99s-the-Last-Stop-on-the-Light-Rail-Gravy-Train.HkIMPxU1G.html


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  • Posted by freedomforall 2 years, 11 months ago
    "derailments of New York City subways, slowdowns of Chicago’s elevated train, smoke in Washington metro tunnels,"
    Atlas Shrugged, now non fiction in a socialist city near you
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  • Posted by freedomforall 2 years, 11 months ago
    "Outside the areas of New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, transit carries less than 1% of passenger travel."
    And the Hitlery-ites from these cities feel that everyone else should make the same economic mistakes they have made.
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  • Posted by scojohnson 2 years, 11 months ago
    Sacramento Light Rail only gets used by downtown public employees for the most part, it terminates at state and county buildings, nit convenient to much else but the homeless use it to visit their parole officer or get their EBT cards.

    The City unethical subsidizes it with ridership by making street parking stupidly expensive ($40 or so), $20 or so in a city-owned parking garage, or about $12 from the very few private sector ones. Surprisingly, the state has large garages for their employees for around $60 a month, but there is a 12 month waiting list (of course), or next day assignment for EV drivers.. Socialism at its 'best'.
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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 2 years, 11 months ago
    Phx has light rail. Its forever being added to and has been, since the day it was deployed, functioning in the red and being subsidized by the city. Coming from NY, the light rail is okay, but its no solution to anything.
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    • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
      Portland is the same way. As is Denver.
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      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 2 years, 11 months ago
        Oddly enough I think light rail could work in Phoenix (the 8th largest city in the US) if it were implemented properly. A line exists not that goes from west Phoenix (about a mile form my house) to Mesa Arizona. It travels through Downtown and then Tempe before ending in Mesa. The trouble it the areas where it would generate profit are, for the most part missed entirely. In Glendale AZ (about 5 miles southwest of me) are the stadiums for the NHL Coyotes and the NFL Cardinals. Far to the south is the UofA in Tucson. All of those places would generate money. I've driven to UofA more times that I care to admit and I'd pay $25-30 for a round trip to avoid driving through the wasteland. As for the stadiums drunk folks or those planning to drink could commute without worry of DUI.

        Its like a business idiot planned this out without any mind in generating a self sustaining system.
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        • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
          Correct.

          Light rail systems in and of themselves aren't a bad idea, it is just that (as with any type of investment) you have to consider the fixed costs of installation, the variable costs of operation and maintenance, and the revenue stream. If the revenue can't cover the fixed and variable costs within a reasonable time frame, you don't invest the money.

          In your example, the trip from Tucson to Phoenix is 116 miles (one-way). Let's say you figure $.45/mile for wear/tear on the vehicle (includes gas). You're talking an expense of $52.20 for that trip. If you could offer the same trip for $45 or $50, you're providing a value to the customer. Then all you have to do is figure out how many people will pay for that trip at a given time and how many trips in a day you can make. That becomes your revenue. Then you start calculating up all your costs and see how the numbers compare. This isn't rocket science, it's business.
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          • Posted by $ Your_Name_Goes_Here 2 years, 11 months ago
            But the problem is... it never pencils out. Due to the cost of maintenance, depreciation of assets, personnel costs, PERS costs, etc. I suspect the $52.20 auto cost would look pretty good as compared to what Guvment would deliver. Just my perspective.
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            • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
              The difference between a private business running things and the Federal Government - ABSOLUTELY. There's a reason the US Postal Service is such a joke - between union wages and such they don't even come close to breaking even.
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          • Posted by TheOldMan 2 years, 11 months ago
            For a single rider, yes. Once you have a passenger (even non-paying family member) in your car, the value proposition changes dramatically.
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            • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
              Very true. And with a little analysis, one can come up with those situations and build them into the initial business model, including group pricing.

              All I'm getting at is that there is an objective, business-centric model which can be applied to determine the economic feasibility of many of these projects which is being ignored in favor of an ideologically- or agenda-based "analysis" which is frequently driven by cronyism and predetermined outcomes.
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
    Good riddance to government light rail. Its a technology that is probably outdated, and anything the government tries will fail through inefficiency
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  • Posted by $ blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
    Light rails (and other kinds of mass transit) all rely on two things: density of population at pickup site and density of population at dropoff site. Without a high enough value at either of these, the system can not possibly operate efficiently enough to pay for itself. Given the exhorbitantly high costs involved in government-run light rail projects, they are ALWAYS going to be a boondoggle.
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  • Posted by 2 years, 11 months ago
    In the 70's and 80's, light rail actually appeared to made sense in highly concentrated urban areas with diminishing room for vehicles at street level. But since then with the renaissance of central business districts made possible by new downtown multifamily construction followed by returning retail and entertainment, all coupled with diminishing numbers of commuters who instead worked from home offices connected on line, light rail systems have since become even less cost effective per passenger mile even with massive federal subsidies to cities to build them.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 11 months ago
    The simple fact that no light rail system has ever turned a profit or, for that matter broke even never seems to deter politicians from wanting one. Its like a child whose neighbor kid got a neat new toy, so he must have one also.
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  • Posted by jdg 2 years, 11 months ago
    An "industry" that since WW2, with very few exceptions (NYC and Hong Kong that I know about), has never been and can never be self-supporting, but moochers love it because they can feed at the taxpayer trough.

    Let's drive a stake through its heart and be sure it stays dead this time.

    I ride it to work because it is there, and we start with the world as it is. But I'm trying hard to stop any more of it from being built.
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  • Posted by preimert1 2 years, 11 months ago
    At one time Los Angeles was served by a transport system dubbed "the Red cars". That was over fifty rears ago before I got here, but I old timers say they were wonderful for getting around. Then politicos (and Detroit money) decided a "freeway system with lots of buses, and private autos was better until the population was almost asphyxiated by smog. Now they are gradually building out a light-rail system again.
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  • Posted by scojohnson 2 years, 11 months ago
    It would be easy to make these solvent, round up the homeless, thugs, and thieves them and clean them up for PAYING riders.

    I used to take local Amtrak, no problems, pleasant actually, but the price keeps the riff raff out. Light rail is a parade of human debris, mentally deranged, and felons or fugitives.
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 2 years, 11 months ago
    This article reawakened and all but forgotten memory of a Birmingham politician who thought borrowing money for a domed stadium and bringing back old-fashioned trolley cars were good ideas.
    At least he helped to create a successful amusement park because he wondered why he should have to drive his kids all the way to Six Flags in Atlanta.
    Anyways, there's a reason why people are forgetting about him~
    http://www.wbrc.com/story/12090667/la...
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  • Posted by Ben_C 2 years, 11 months ago
    Detroit vs Everybody. I ride the Q-line. It is very unlikely it will ever pay for itself but it does give people the opportunity to travel from the New Center to downtown Detroit. Once people figure it out I am sure the ridership will improve - especially for sporting events at Comerica Park, Ford Field and the new Little Caesars Arena. Or, for entertainment at he Fox Theater or Fillmore Theater. Or for events at Campus Martious or Riverfront. Just sayin....
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