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Ridership levels...

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
I'm curious... what is the ridership level disparity between American heavy rail and say Japanese rail?

From my basic research, it seems that 60,000 daily rides on heavy rail seems to be a "good" number in America (the successful brown line in chicago, the planned monorail in seattle, for example). But, for frame of reference, what does a Japanese heavy rail (subway) or say the london underground experience? Twice as much? Just a bit more?

Also, I recall reading that Portland MAX's newest expansion would expect to have 7500 daily riders. Please tell me that my source was erroneous, because 7500 is a really pathetic number by light rail standards.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
I think it all depends on the length of the route. I know the Airport Max in portland carries only 5,000 new riders a day (or something like that) but it's also only 4 or 5 miles of new rail. The rest of it just adds service to an already existing route.

If a light rail line is only 5 miles long and carries 5 or 6,000 people a day I think that's really good, considering that at only 5 miles it can't have very many connections or serve very many destinations.

Pathetic is the ridership forcasts for NJTransit's River Line -
34 miles long and is expected to carry maybe 4500 a day.

www.njtransit.com/an_capitalprojects_project006.shtm
 

rrk

Member
Messages
11
Points
1
The problem with building projects with decent ridership is money and politics. (duh) Some senator from NJ was concerned that they werent getting their share of transit money so they build this line in the middle of nowhere. Light rail is so popular because they tend to link the downtown to the farthest suburbs. This means that wealthy households in exurbs with 5 cars can use the train to go downtown for Christmas shopping twice a year. Light rail lines far too often echo the pre-war interurbans which was the first to go when cars became dominant because they just aren't competitive.

Honestly, they need roads, which can be built cheaply in those areas. Denser urban areas need public transit because roads take up too much space. 15 billion dollars for a couple miles of freeway in downtown boston. You could get 100 miles of rapid transit for that amount.

Seattle's light rail system will start off in the burbs so that it can claim that it isnt just a Seattle system. This initial 14 miles will serve 42,000 by 2020. Whereas the next phase (which will probably not happen cause the first phase is costing 2 billion plus) will serve 100 thousand in 4-5 miles through the denser parts of Seattle proper. The Seattle monorail has a less dense corridor except for downtown cause the light rail has first dibs on the East side of the city, but will still get to serve 68,000 by 2020 in its first 14 miles.

The 2nd ave subway in New York will serve 400,000 riders and come on, New Yorkers really use transit. Problem is that it will cost 8 billion cause they want to build it using deep tunnels instead of the cheaper cut and cover method which most of the other subways were built wih because it would disrupt the streets too much. Still 8 billion is pretty reasonable given the ridership, the problem is that very few will be "new riders" i.e. they already use crappy transit so they wont reduce traffic which still seems to be the ultimate aim of transit in the US. "We got to get people into transit so that the cars and trucks can start moving again"
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
rrk said:
Light rail is so popular because they tend to link the downtown to the farthest suburbs. This means that wealthy households in exurbs with 5 cars can use the train to go downtown for Christmas shopping twice a year.


You bring up an excellent point. The new light rail system in my neck of the woods is linking up the local rail system with a light rail trolley link to the EXTREMEY expensive shops of a suburban town. For example, this town has a dealership selling Ferraris. And of course the expensive homes (where the people who shop here live) are not located anywhere near a rail stop (because they don’t want it). The residents along the rail stop are more of you your middle income and low-income condos and apts (and probably aren’t housing this town’s shoppers). So tell me, “ Who will ride this”? Who will say, “Lets take the trolley down and buy some diamonds and a Ferrari? No way, shoppers will drive their new show car and valet park it.

I love light rail, but many of the practical linkages are over looked. People only go to the arena and tourist shopping mall so much. Take me to the grocery store, park, or to the nightlife district. That will increase rider ship.
 

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
942
Points
24
Solipsa said:
I'm curious... what is the ridership level disparity between American heavy rail and say Japanese rail?

From my basic research, it seems that 60,000 daily rides on heavy rail seems to be a "good" number in America (the successful brown line in chicago, the planned monorail in seattle, for example). But, for frame of reference, what does a Japanese heavy rail (subway) or say the london underground experience? Twice as much? Just a bit more?

Also, I recall reading that Portland MAX's newest expansion would expect to have 7500 daily riders. Please tell me that my source was erroneous, because 7500 is a really pathetic number by light rail standards.

It all depends on the length of the route and the area it serves.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
rrk said:
The problem with building projects with decent ridership is money and politics. (duh) Some senator from NJ was concerned that they werent getting their share of transit money so they build this line in the middle of nowhere.

actually, the senators had nothing to do with this. This $1 billion line was built entirely with state funds b/c it would have never passed FTA muster.

We have this wondeful thing in NJ called the Transportation Trust Fund that is basically a pot of money for highway and transit projects. Whitman just decided she felt like raiding it.

If you take out NJ's 5 rural counties and the Pinelands (where hardly anyone lives) the population density for the remaining 16 counties is 4-5,000 people per sq. mile. In many places it's more like 10,000 ppm and in the urban parts of northeastern NJ it's between 20-30k ppm. There really aren't many places in NJ that you can build a rail line and not get decent ridership.

The county and state republicans happened to pick the worst place, they picked an MOS that was 34 miles long, and they started at the wrong end of the line. If they broke the line into MOS 1,2, and 3 and started in Trenton and worked their way down to Camden and then on to Glassboro they could've got the federal funding and their would be no scandal but, i think they were in engineering mode and were more intent on linking the northern and southern rail systems and alas, i think the rewarding the home team and not the democrat strongholds of mercer and camden counties had a lot to do with it.



The 2nd Ave. sub in NYC is long overdue. Likewise Philly has the Roosevelt Blvd. Subway in the works that is more or less an extension of the Broad St. Subway. It's expected to open with 100,000 rides a day and be the busiest line in the system. It's taking a back seat to a hybrid commuter/light rail line called the Schuylkill Valley Metro that will cost more and carry half as many people 20 years from now.

The difference - it stretches 60 miles out into the suburbs - to Reading- friggin- PA.
 
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