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Thread: Is there public transit where you live? Does it come reasonably often?

  1. #26
    Yes. The Silver line. For those who are not familiar with it, it is about 7 miles long. some parts have a dedicated bus lane, some do not. One segment is partially underground with its own busway. Buses come about ever ten minutes most of the day. It connects to the Orange, Green and Red subway lines. There are actually two segments of the Silver Line. One goes from South Station (Amtrak, commuter trains, Red Line subway) to the airport. One loops through downtown and goes to Dudley Square in the Roxbury Section of Boston (two downtown loops - one to South Station, one to the Common). It is the replacement transit option for when the state traded in highway dollars in the 1970s and built a new Orange Line from downtown to the south.

    My objections:

    1. The buses don't come often enough for the volume of passengers. The buses are crowded from at least 8 AM to 7 PM. People standing in the aisles and falling on each other when the bus jolts, pushing to get off, that level of overcrowding.

    2. The dedicated bus lane is eliminated where the streets are the narrowest and traffic the worst. Just where you would want a dedicated lane. The buses can just sit stuck in traffic. In other parts of the line, they are striped dedicated lanes with parking to the right. I think the lanes are supposed to be shared with bikes. But no one has repainted the lane markings in years. People double park all the time and there is no enforcement. There were supposed to be mechanisms to make the lights change for the bus, but if they were installed, they are not used. Particularly on the segment from South Station to the airport, buses must sit at a light, with no cars coming on the other streets, for minutes.

    3. A committee got together and came up with the worst possible bus shelter possible Tall structures maybe 15 feet high with no sides. They do not block sun, rain, or wind. This is finally being remedied and sides are being added to shelters as we speak (summer 2011).

    4. The segment from South Station to the Airport is very poorly laid out. It takes over 20 minutes to go the 3 miles. Driving in a car takes less than 5 minutes.

    Can you tell I don't like it? But then I'll be on it this morning because I have a meeting downtown.

  2. #27
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    The quality of the Bus stations and shedule?

    What about the quality of the Bus stations in particular?
    1. Are there any bus stations near you? How far from your origin and destination?
    2. How often do the buses come? Is there only one bus (the L33, S22 etc) which comes or multiple (how many, roughly)?
    3. Who rides on the bus?
    4. How is the traffic on the bus compared to in a car?
    5. How active if your the transportation department in your city/town in how the bus stops are designed? Shelter, schedule postings, etc?
    MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:
    6. At the end of the day is using the bus the best/efficient/pleasant way to move around your city/town?


    For me:
    1. There is one a quarter mile from my house, and the stop are also fairly close to the destinations I would need to go to.
    2. I rarely see the buses. I don't know if there are multiple buses on my road.
    3. I have only seen brown people using the bus.
    4. The traffic on the bus is annoying because of all the stops.
    5. Most of the bus stop in my area are just a metal pole indicating a bus will stop there but no bench, shelter, or schedule posting.
    6. I don't feel that taking the bus is pleasant, I have to go out of my way. I don't think it is efficient because the bus doesn't run 24/7 here so I'd be stranded if I overstayed somewhere.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Chicago, IL
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    What about the quality of the Bus stations in particular?
    1. Are there any bus stations near you? How far from your origin and destination?

    Bus stops for an east/west bus one block from my house
    2. How often do the buses come? Is there only one bus (the L33, S22 etc) which comes or multiple (how many, roughly)?
    Every ten minutes in theory, but it doesn't always play out that way. Once in awhile you'll see two at once.
    3. Who rides on the bus?

    All sorts of people. But trending toward those in lower income brackets.
    4. How is the traffic on the bus compared to in a car?
    It's the same traffic, just the bus stops every other block to pick people up and then has to merge back into traffic so the average speed is of course slower.
    5. How active if your the transportation department in your city/town in how the bus stops are designed? Shelter, schedule postings, etc?

    Most are poles in the ground. Where there is a shelter its operated by JC Decuax, a French company which maintains it in exchange for advertising revenue.
    MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:
    6. At the end of the day is using the bus the best/efficient/pleasant way to move around your city/town?
    No. If I want to go somewhere that isn't more or less directly east/west of where I live I'd have to transfer to a north/south bus. Between the waiting and walking and slower travel times bus travel can take significantly longer than driving.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I'm a block from the subway - it runs every 8-12 minutes depending on time of day. There's a crosstown bus that runs down my street - every 8-15 minutes depending on time of day. I think it might be every 30 minutes late at night. There's a north/south route that runs a block from me that is frequent during rush hour (by frequent i mean i wouldn't bother to check the schedule, i'd just walk down to the corner) but every 20 minutes off-peak. I can take that bus or the subway a few minutes north to connect to the suburban trains. I use the buses and trains for a few trips per month, mostly when it's raining. Late December - early March I use them a lot more frequently.

    I also have a Zipcar parked on my block (which i use about once a week) and there is a PhillyCarShare spot two blocks away (which i use once or twice a year)

    A block away is a busy arterial with a lot of taxi traffic and I use that a few times per month.

    I also have a 150cc scooter which (since I have a toddler now) I only get to use for the infrequent solo trip ( ~3x per month). I've considered selling it but it's paid for and insurance is only $100 per year

    Since South Philly and Center City are completely flat I have a road bike I use for short, solo trips and i have an english racer style, 3-speed w/child seat for family outings. It's my main mode of transport and I used to bike 10-11 months out of the year but lately it's been more like 9 months. It's a lot less convenient when you have 2 people to bundle up.

    Walking takes too long so for most trips beyond 3 blocks I cycle.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #30
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    I live in Wilmington, de... 15 minutes from Philadelphia. The Septa R2 regional rail Line has approximately train every 15 min during rush hour and twice an hour during off peak hours... As far as the bus system in Wilmington, it's Ok... Not close to being efficient, but it gets around. Busses are about every 30 min.

  6. #31
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    History of Atlanta

    I'm from Atlanta, and here's the story: MARTA was built in the early 70s, and black support was not a given (since blacks were afraid of bus service being cut while trains whisked white suburbanites to their downtown jobs). So to get black support the government built the east-west line (that serves the black areas more). Certainly the politicians weren't trying to segregate the city- if anything, the absence of public transit in the suburbs increased segregation.

    I am from Atlanta and lived in Atlanta for a few years, and I thought the buses were OK- being too full is rarely a problem. But then again, if I was from NYC I'd feel differently. Atlanta's transit system is pretty good by southern standards (which admittedly is a pretty low bar).

    Mike Lewyn


    Quote Originally posted by argunaw View post
    I went to college in Atlanta and the public transportation (MARTA) is awful. You have two train lines- one that runs vertically and one that runs horizontally across the city. (I believe this was initially done back in the day to racially segregate the city) There are a few bus lines, but because of bad traffic the buses never run on time and I've been passed by a bus on my line a couple of times because it was too full to let me on. Atlanta isn't very pedestrian friendly because it's so spread out and sidewalks will literally just disappear.

    Living in Atlanta for four years actually made me want to go into urban planning. It's a city that grew too fast with little to no planning. The city of Atlanta only has about 500,000 people, but the metro area has 4 million+, many who commute to the city for work. Rush hour lasts from 3:30-7pm.

    That all being said, I like Atlanta. I'm hoping I could do some planning related work there someday.

    I am from New Jersey though. Public transportation isn't really an option in the suburbs and a car is pretty necessary. I do use public transportation to get to NYC though, as there's a train station not too far from me.

  7. #32
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    Public transit

    I live in NYC, so naturally there's plenty!

    But until 2 months ago I lived in Jacksonville, Fla. where the bus service is not so hot. Last buses are usually around 8:30, and only once an hour except during rush hour. To get to work by bus I had to take bus A for a few minutes, walk 5 or 10 minutes to the transfer point, then wait for bus B (which was about a 15 minute ride). Overall about a 40 to 60 minute trip to go 5 miles.

  8. #33
    Just a comment on transit routes, headways, etc. As part of my job, I have to study and determine the best way to route the buses to get to the most people, increase ridership, and increase the efficiency of the system.

    The problem is FUNDING. There are always federal and state grants for capital. If we wanted, we could have tons of extra buses, but what's not taken into account is O&M. That's where the real cost is and it's an ongoing expense that never goes away. Plus, with the economy in the state that it's in, governments are cutting even more funding for transit.

    It's a long process, but more education needs to be done, starting with the young, to embrace transit. It's very hard to get people out of their cars and to use public transit.

  9. #34
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    Here in Riverside we have a rather decent bus system. It's especially good if you're coming from or going to Downtown or a train station. Most people taking it tend to be old and/or/ working-class, but also a lot of students - a year pass comes automatically with tuition. Outlying suburbs tend to be less frequent, though, and also reduced frequency on weekends.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian
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    An effective transit system, by necessity, needs pedestrians in order to operate. Retrofitting a transit system into a community that is not pedestrian friendly is probably not going to result in a well-used system. If you want to start the evolution from a predominantly automobile-oriented community into a transit friendly community the first step is start making the streets very accessible to pedestrians. The second step is to add more buses.

  11. #36
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I now live in a semi-rural area about a mile from Cornell University. However, there is fairly frequent bus service on my street; every 20-30 minutes or so during rush hour, every hour or two off-peak and on weekends. Full-size buses, and they're usually quite full. Pubic transit in this small town is surprisingly good, and it's well-used.

    I tend to use public transit more during the winter. I live close to the top of a hill about four miles away and 700' above the workplace, and my neighborhood has a microclimate with even more snow than the rest of the area. It's just safer to take the bus on many days.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  12. #37
    Quote Originally posted by Howl View post
    An effective transit system, by necessity, needs pedestrians in order to operate. Retrofitting a transit system into a community that is not pedestrian friendly is probably not going to result in a well-used system. If you want to start the evolution from a predominantly automobile-oriented community into a transit friendly community the first step is start making the streets very accessible to pedestrians. The second step is to add more buses.
    Talk about a lesson many haven't learned, though to be fair, in many places different agencies are responsible for street design and zoning versus transit.

    One good example is San Jose's light rail system. The Mountain View line goes past job sites with hundreds of thousands of jobs, but. Is under utilized. The neighborhoods are totally unsalable: big parking lots. Concrete bunker buildings. Streets engineered for cars.

    The Winchester line goes through primarily residential neighborhoods, though there are employment nodes (Adobe and EBay, for example). The line is at capacity. The neighborhoods around the stations are all highly walk able.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Yes, I live near a major thoroughfare (Columbia PIke) in Arlington Virginia which has very frequent bus service (~3 minute peak headways in the peak direction).

  14. #39
    I live in Tysons Corner (thetysonscorner.com if anyone is interested), which is a breeding ground of transportation planning exercises it feels like. We are currently under construction for our metro connection to the overall Washington DC metro which I would dare say is one of the top 5 in the US. In the meanwhile we live within a 2 minute walk to 3 different buses, and a 4 minute walk to the bus station itself which takes you anywhere you wanna go in DC/Northern Virginia. One of the big issues in northern virginia is the lack of bike/pedestrian access to most public transportation but I think some of that complaint comes due to the lack of use of our bus systems. I agree with Dharmster though, creating a metro station which forces only one method of transportation to get to it (automobiles) is a recipe for just pushing traffic congestion further away, it never actually solves the problem until you put the station where the people are and make it accessible (within a 15 minute walk) with safe modes of access.

  15. #40
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    I live in Charlotte, NC and there is a bus/Light Rail system called Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) that serves Charlotte and surrounding areas. The frequency of the bus service depends on the route, but the route that serves my neighborhood runs every 30 minutes during non-peak hours and 15-20 mins during rush hours. There is service 7 days a week, with the last bus running at 2:05am. The light rail.system runs between uptown(Considered downtown everywhere else) and South Charlotte every 10-15 mins. I feel that is goes to where I want it to go in the truest sense, but Charlotte's system is a hub and spoke system which means that yes I can get to Uptown fairly simply, but going to other areas means that I have to make at least one transfer to make it to my destination. Overall I feel that Charlotte has done an okay job as far as public transit, as they did have the vision of building a light rail line, but they still have a long way to go in regards of building a great comprenhensive transit system, plus I am a native New Yorker, thus I grade transportation systems kind of hard.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Public transit? You mean like, public freeways?
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

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