Aug. 30, 2016

"I think you need to do a little reading, Daniel. While I don't have a good source of official information for the province (Canada's government reporting is mostly not online), the common costs savings from bus to streetcar/light rail are significant. That isn't true everytwhere, often for local reasons, higher pay for rail operators, or for the fact that the streetcar line is actually part tourist amenity, but light rail carries far more passengers less expensively than a bus. [ See: https://www.transit.dot.gov/.../fta.../files/docs/50027.pdf ] The same agency runs both rail and road modes in the Twin Cities, but has a 30 cent per passenger mile savings for rail over bus, which is why they are building more as fast as they can. Buses are always cheaper? Carry just those same 72,641,886 passenger miles on buses and it costs taxpayers an extra $23,245,403.52 every year. You can build a lot of rail for that! Oh, but you want to drive. Even nicer for you, since the 70,000 rides per day represent 35,000 less vehicles fighting you for street and parking space. That's how the US went from seven cities with rail service in 1980 to nearly fifty now.

There is this widespread idea that buses are free, because you "don't pay for the roads." What you do pay for is the damage they cause to the roads and that the buses have to be replaced about every 12 years - the average showroom fresh to chicken coop span for a city bus. Some of those CLRVs are older than you are. And the PCC cars ran from the 1940s to the 1990s - some of them running still in places like Kenosha, WI, where ex-TTC cars still have the "Funded by the Government of Ontario" signs inside. Those cars will still be carrying passengers when we are all gone. In fact, the oldest regular service transit vehicle in the US is a streetcar that sees service at least weekly on the San Francisco Market Street F-Line - it dates to the year my grandfather was born - 1896. We can't honestly say how many generations of buses that one has outlasted because it was over 20 years in service when San Francisco bought their first bus."

Bill Becwar on blogTO
Aug. 30, 2016
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