Archive for ‘Transportation’

August 18, 2010

Quote of the Day 08-18-2010

by thoughtfulconservative

Today’s edition comes from James Wigderson,

Of course, I’m just shocked, shocked, at the possibility that ridership numbers might be inflated.

Yeah, me, too.

June 9, 2008

Four dollar gas

by thoughtfulconservative

Remember when we thought $3 gas was expensive?

We haven’t had to buy any $4 gas yet although we may have to before the end of the summer.

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May 19, 2008

Mass transit

by thoughtfulconservative

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks its time for another run at light rail. You can tell by looking at Sunday’s Crossroads section, where we see not one, not two, but three pieces and one blog post in favor of it, including the obligatory blame on Scott Walker.

OK, they had a piece against it, but that guy was the executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, so he doesn’t count.

The Public Policy Forum report linked to (PDF file) proclaims a crisis. It says we’re heading for disaster by 2010.

Ooooo, I love hyperbole.

We’ve heard the arguments before; it will add jobs, it will aid economic development, they tout the number of jobs within a radius of the proposed route, it’s a measurement of quality of life (funny how they don’t mention that in relationship to tax rates, crime, etc.), they point to “A subtantial number” of people in the region who are unemployed and don’t have access to an automobile, and, of course, we need to move into the 21st century.

Want reasons why people don’t want this? Try increasing crime on MCTS buses for one. Spring City Chronicle commented on the last light rail in Waukesha.

[It] went out of business because it lost huge sums of money and no one rode it. [emphasis his]

Surprisingly like the current system, save for prime routes.

Cudahy in his piece writes this gem,

In Milwaukee, our approach always seems to be a half-hearted patch-up of the same old, same old. Add more smelly buses under the guise of bus rapid transit.

And down the line will we be talking about smelly rail cars?

Cudahy, presumably, is a successful business man. He lets us know his keen business acumen early,

Common business sense would say that raising fares is like raising prices when business is bad. It is contrary to the very essence of business survival. Raising fares can be possible only with better service. And cutting routes is like discontinuing a product that’s needed but is not working right. The solution in business is to fix the product, not abandon it.

It sounds pretty sound. One wonders how many products Mr. Cudahy subsidized to get where he is today. Because as the Franzen piece points out (and readily verified for area transit companies by navigating their sites), the Minneapolis area system projects 30%-50% of operating costs will be covered by fares. Milwaukee’s is 32%.

How to pay for it? The consensus is a sales tax. Why? All the big kids are doing it.

The real hurdle for transit is convenience. As another recent report notes,

National public opinion polls indicate that 53 percent of commuters would prefer to use more public transportation if it were available near their home and workplace.

I doubt that transit will ever fully do that.

May 16, 2008

You go, girlfriend!

by thoughtfulconservative

From Yahoo! News

Brian LaFave couldn’t care less how high gasoline prices climb these days — he’s parked his pickup truck and is refusing to buy gas for a month, possibly longer.

“The goal is to not use one drop of gas for 31 days,” LaFave said, calling it his personal stand against the oil companies.

Now LaFave, 31, is riding his bicycle or walking everywhere he goes. He won’t even let friends pick him up unless they already planned on being in the neighborhood.

… LaFave started the effort May 11. He bikes to his third-shift job at Aldrich Chemical in Sheboygan Falls, a 9-mile commute.

More power to him. I tried biking to work a few years back when I had a commute and arrived all sweaty and yucky.

April 22, 2008

Google transit adds Milwaukee

by thoughtfulconservative

From OnMilwaukee.com

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has agreed to contribute information to Google Transit’s trip planning service to offer Milwaukee County bus passengers an easier way to plan their bus trips.

Unless you’re a regular bus rider, knowing which route to take can be confusing. This new tool makes it easier. To access the tool, to MCTS Web site at RideMCTS.com or to google.com/transit. To use the trip planner, riders enter the starting point and destination, either as an address or business name.

Now if they only went somewhere I wanted to go.

March 10, 2008

Mass transit ridership

by thoughtfulconservative

From the Regional news in Saturday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Although Milwaukee County Transit System ridership fell 9% last year, three suburban transit systems posted gains, as did Amtrak’s Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line, transportation officials reported.

Among area bus systems, Waukesha Metro Transit recorded the biggest rise – 9%, to 778,845 – followed by Kenosha Transit buses, up 3%, to 1.66 million, and Racine’s Belle Urban System, up 1%, to 1.16 million. Hiawatha ridership rose 5%, to a record 617,799, while Kenosha Transit streetcar ridership jumped 18%, to 62,643.

Ridership fell on the region’s four long-range commuter bus services, although not as sharply as in Milwaukee County. Transit officials reported declines of 3%, to 91,691, for the Washington County Commuter Express; 2%, to 83,171, for commuter buses connecting Racine with Milwaukee and Kenosha; 1%, to 599,932, for Waukesha County buses; and less than 1%, to 94,702, for the Ozaukee County Express.

Authorities cited rising gas prices as the most likely reason for the gains, but could not explain the decreases. [Emphases all mine]

Obviously, the transportation officials have not been reading the left-leaning blogs. They can already explain the decreases.

Clint explains why he stopped riding the bus. If transit is not convenient for people, they aren’t going to ride it, no matter how much money you throw at it. This includes the Milwaukee (“We’ve never seen a reason for a sales tax hike we didn’t like.”) Journal Sentinel’s suggestion.

This doesn’t mean that public transit can’t work. I believe it can. I think Madison-Milwaukee is ripe for a link. With the right schedule, say, for example, rush hour times, it might work. But buses have to run when and where people need them, not where politicians think they should run.

A Milwaukee-Chicago line could be useful also, but I doubt we need both Amtrak and a separate KRM line, especially one that bypasses Mitchell Airport. It’s got to make sense, or it won’t get used to its best productivity. And the Milwaukee county executive and mayors need to agree for some use of that $91.5 million. If Milwaukee county can’t agree, how are they going to convince the suburbs?

But, hey, if Milwaukee citizens want a sales tax, it’s their money.

Milwaukee county supervisor Joseph Rice suggests there may be other ways than increasing an already regressive tax.