Erik Rauch | 2 Jan 19:43 2005
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The Dynamics of Short Transport


Some comments on the article in Carfree Times. The figures given for 
cars seem to be based on an auto-oriented city (which is appropriate if 
you are comparing modes of urban development). But I think driving is 
much less practical in a dense city. For example, in Boston where I 
lived for seven years, 400 meters or more is a typical distance from a 
parking spot to one's home or destination, so the overhead time is much 
longer, and it is impractical for short distances.

The spacing of metro stops makes a big difference, as was mentioned in 
the book.
My commute was 6 km and took 45 minutes by metro (with one transfer), 
mainly because the stops are too far apart except in the downtown area, 
and secondarily because the average wait times are too long. 20 minutes 
of the was walking and 8 was waiting. This is why the bicycle cannot be 
beat for most trips in this city (in my case it took half the time).

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J.H. Crawford | 2 Jan 22:56 2005

Re: The Dynamics of Short Transport


Hi Erik,

Thanks for the review.

>Some comments on the article in Carfree Times. The figures given for 
>cars seem to be based on an auto-oriented city (which is appropriate if 
>you are comparing modes of urban development). But I think driving is 
>much less practical in a dense city. For example, in Boston where I 
>lived for seven years, 400 meters or more is a typical distance from a 
>parking spot to one's home or destination, so the overhead time is much 
>longer, and it is impractical for short distances.

"These assumptions are very optimistic and could only be realized if the driver were one of just a few using
this mode; otherwise much more waiting at intersections would arise, along with more time to park."

Doesn't that pretty well cover it?

>The spacing of metro stops makes a big difference, as was mentioned in 
>the book.
>My commute was 6 km and took 45 minutes by metro (with one transfer), 
>mainly because the stops are too far apart except in the downtown area, 
>and secondarily because the average wait times are too long. 20 minutes 
>of the was walking and 8 was waiting. This is why the bicycle cannot be 
>beat for most trips in this city (in my case it took half the time).

In reality, in most places, if you dare to ride a bike,
you get there first. Here in Lisbon, I wouldn't dare, 
and neither does anybody else (well, there are a few....)

(Continue reading)

J.H. Crawford | 2 Jan 23:05 2005

sorry for last posting


Hi All,

Sorry, the last message was supposed to be private.
Somehow it went to the list.

Carfree Times #37 is, as you may have gathered, now
on line. I'm not sending announcements until tomorrow,
but go ahead and have a look. If you happen to spot
any bloopers, please let me know OFF LIST.

Thanks & happy new year,

--                                ###                               --

J.H. Crawford                                           Carfree Cities
mailbox@...                             http://www.carfree.com

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John Bredin | 5 Jan 22:03 2005
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Amtrak


I was surprised and disappointed at the anti-Amtrak stance expressed 
in Issues 36 and 37 of Carfree Times.  

First, I am puzzled that an advocate of completely-subsidized ransit 
describes Amtrak as "heavily-subsidized."  The Federal subsidy to 
Amtrak is a mere $1.2 billion annually. That's one-point-two 
billion.  By contrast:
(a) the highway system receives over $30 billion each year from the 
Federal treasury.
(b) most European passenger rail systems receive a multiple of this 
amount of tax funding to serve nations only a fraction of the size 
of the US. For example, the UK government plans to invest the Euro 
equivalent of $74 billion over 10 years in the national railways 
(admittedly, freight as well as passenger). That's $7.4 billion a 
year, compared with $1.2 billion here.  

Of particular importance in light of your advocacy of fareless 
transit is the fact that Amtrak's farebox recovery is much higher 
than most (if not all) North American transit agencies. To state 
that in layman's terms for other readers, a greater percentage of 
Amtrak's budget comes from passengers in the form of fares, and a 
smaller percentage from taxpayers, than almost any American urban or 
commuter transit system.

In short, Amtrak is hardly as "heavily-subsidized" as you describe.

What really knocked my socks off was the following passage:
"I suspect that a new operator will keep the more sensible parts of 
the system running, in particular the heavily-traveled Northeast 
(Continue reading)

Andrew Dawson | 6 Jan 05:31 2005
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RE: Amtrak


The same can be said about Via Rail here in Canada. 
http://viarail.ca/trains/en_trai_tous.html  It's a under funded and skeletal 
system as well. As for the long distance trains they're links in a chain. 
Also it's been 15 years this month since "The Canadian" stoped runing 
between Montreal and Vancouver.  
http://www.trains.com/Content/Dynamic/Articles/000/000/004/216veoae.asp

Till later, Andrew Dawson

>From: "John Bredin" <jbbredin@...>
>Reply-To: carfree_cities@...
>To: carfree_cities@...
>Subject: [carfree_cities] Amtrak
>Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2005 21:03:47 -0000
>
>
>
>I was surprised and disappointed at the anti-Amtrak stance expressed
>in Issues 36 and 37 of Carfree Times.
>
>First, I am puzzled that an advocate of completely-subsidized ransit
>describes Amtrak as "heavily-subsidized."  The Federal subsidy to
>Amtrak is a mere $1.2 billion annually. That's one-point-two
>billion.  By contrast:
>(a) the highway system receives over $30 billion each year from the
>Federal treasury.
>(b) most European passenger rail systems receive a multiple of this
>amount of tax funding to serve nations only a fraction of the size
>of the US. For example, the UK government plans to invest the Euro
(Continue reading)

J.H. Crawford | 6 Jan 10:26 2005

Re: Amtrak


Hi All,

I asked John B. Bredin to bring his comment to me into this Forum
so we could discuss it. I'm sure quite a lot of you are somewhat
surprised by my stance on Amtrak.

First, let's be clear: I'm not anti-rail at all, but I've come
to be anti-Amtrak. Here's a response:

>First, I am puzzled that an advocate of completely-subsidized ransit 
>describes Amtrak as "heavily-subsidized."  

My proposal for fare-free transit is for transit within cities only.
The main reason is that fare collection is too great an expense for
the operator and too big a hassle for the passenger. All long-haul
transit ought to have all subsidies removed, which would, in fact,
dramatically improve the competitive position of rail; car travel
would become hugely more expensive, whereas rail travel would not
increase so much in price.

>The Federal subsidy to 
>Amtrak is a mere $1.2 billion annually. That's one-point-two 
>billion.  

I wouldn't use the word "mere" in connection with any amount in
the billions. That subsidy is helping to provide transport for
a rather small number of people, and the per-passenger subsidy
is quite high.

(Continue reading)

Lanyon, Ryan | 6 Jan 15:54 2005
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RE: Digest Number 1490


What is Amtrak's farebox recovery?  I know Toronto's is quite high, so I
found this.  I particularly like the parts about farebox recovery prior to
1972:

http://transit.toronto.on.ca/spare/0011.shtml

The Toronto Transportation Commission has a farebox recovery of 81%, meaning
that 81% of its operating costs are met by passengers paying their fares.
That's the highest average in North America, and probably double the
recovery met by its suburban counterparts. Even so, before the TTC was
called upon to service Toronto's lower density development, it made an
operating profit (before 1972), and in the 1950s, when the car wasn't nearly
so dominant, it was able to meet ALL of its operating and capital
obligations. The Yonge Subway of 1954 was built almost entirely out of the
TTC's farebox revenues.

-RL

Message: 1         
   Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2005 21:03:47 -0000
   From: "John Bredin" <jbbredin@...>
Subject: Amtrak

I was surprised and disappointed at the anti-Amtrak stance expressed 
in Issues 36 and 37 of Carfree Times.  

Of particular importance in light of your advocacy of fareless 
transit is the fact that Amtrak's farebox recovery is much higher 
than most (if not all) North American transit agencies. To state 
(Continue reading)

Richard Risemberg | 6 Jan 16:25 2005
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Re: Bullet point


Don't know about TGVs in Europe, but shinkansen in Japan make solid 
profits over operating cost.  Of course, the infrastructure was gov't 
built, but so is road and rail infrastructure there as well as here.

Subways and non-gov't local rail service also make a profit.  Private 
companies are continually adding new rail and subway lines.  In Tokyo 
you have four private rail companies (with another on the way) as well 
as the national JR.  Transfers can be confusing, but you can get 
everywhere fast and cheap.  Shinjuku station alone serves over 
4,000,000 persons per day. (Read that again!)

Richard
--
Richard Risemberg
http://www.newcolonist.com
http://www.living-room.org

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Lanyon, Ryan | 6 Jan 17:23 2005
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Canada is running its cities into the ground


An interesting article linking transportation, corporate profits and public
policy from one of our city councillors in Ottawa.

http://www.clivedoucet.com/maisoneuve_poet.pdf

Excerpt:

"It was also through city politics that I came to understand the
wrong-headedness of our course.  Namely, that city politicians are bullied
by corporate wealth that is constantly moving money from a city's centre to
its edges in order to underwrite sprawl development.  In this way, Ottawa is
no different from any other North American city.  For fifty years, we've
sponsored the most expensive and unsustainable for of urban growth and
penalized the least harmful.  And I've come to realize that this destructive
escalation has nothing to do with a lack of good planning or a lack of
knowledge.  There are thousands of books available on the impoverishing
qualities of strip malls, parking lots, arterials and residential pods.
Knowledge isn't the problem, the system is.  And as long as a link exists
between money and political power, nothing will change for cities."

-RL

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Robert James Madison, III | 6 Jan 17:49 2005
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Re: Amtrak


on 06-Jan-05 03:26 J.H. Crawford said the following:

>>First, I am puzzled that an advocate of completely-subsidized ransit 
>>describes Amtrak as "heavily-subsidized."  
>>    
>>
>
>My proposal for fare-free transit is for transit within cities only.
>The main reason is that fare collection is too great an expense for
>the operator and too big a hassle for the passenger. All long-haul
>transit ought to have all subsidies removed, which would, in fact,
>dramatically improve the competitive position of rail; car travel
>would become hugely more expensive, whereas rail travel would not
>increase so much in price.
>
>  
>

I agree with the goal of levelling the playing field between the 
different modes of transportation.  Automobiles are heavily subsidized, 
as are airplanes, yet these subsidies are generally accepted whereas a 
much smaller subsidy for rail is viciously attacked.  However, we must 
ask whether it's in our best interest as a nation to require that 
everyone pay 100% of the cost of their travels.  Would it cut down 
greatly on travel?  If so, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?  
Would we be hurt more economically if we raised the cost of travel or 
lowered it?

>>By contrast:
(Continue reading)


Gmane