March 24, 2007
Been waitin' on the bus all day
Christof writes about his daily bus commute and how the experience compares to the light rail. I had some experience with each this week thanks to a car in the shop. I was dropped off at and picked up from downtown on Wednesday, taking the train to and from my job; on Thursday I had an all-day meeting downtown and was dropped off in the morning, then took the #40 bus home.
And man, is the train a more pleasant experience. It's quieter, it's smoother (I get motion sickness if I try to read on a bus, but not on the train), it lacks the smell of exhaust fumes, and it's a more predictable duration, both in terms of wait time and trip time. There's just no comparison. I'll say this for my driver on Thursday - he got me home in a relative hurry. Made for a lot of hard accelerating and braking - I spent most of the trip holding on, lest I get thrown from my seat - but at least I wasn't muttering under my breath about how long it was taking.
Buses serve a useful and necessary purpose, but for in-city, non-express transport, given a choice there is no choice. The train is better, hands down.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 24, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Yes and a Rolls Royce limo is much nicer than a used mini van but I just cannot afford one.
Dude. We had that debate during the referendum. Your side lost.
Does that also mean that, since W was voted in, I should agree with his policies?
Actually, we can afford the new BRT/LRT. In fact, they're cheap by comparison to other projects: all 5 lines to be built by 2012 put together cost less than the cost OVERRUN on I-10.
By your reasoning, I suppose, we should stop building freeways, too: all those bridges cost a lot. Surface streets are cheaper. And paving -- man, that's so expensive. Let's just cancel all road and highway projects and replace them with 12-lane dirt roads. A three hour commute to Katy? We call that cost-effective.
If I park myself at a safe location beside a commuter right-of-way and tally the # of commuters who pass me on the road vs. the rail line, there's no contest: The rail line is a bigger waste of right-of-way than a multi-lane highway. The only way the rail line could become cost effective would be to become a solid unbroken train of rail cars full of passengers.
Imagine the massive acreages of parking lots and means of dispersal required at each end to service that constant flow of citizens. Sort of like leaving the Astrodome after a big game. You'd only be transferring the bottleneck. Similar to, but on a grander scale than TxDOTs signals on their on-ramps.
Kuffner himself admits that he only uses rail when his car breaks down, or possibly on the occasion he wishes to wax poetic about it.
That's because it currently doesn't run near where I live. If it did, I would. Even with that, I still take it when it's a viable option, such as when I need to go to the Medical Center.
My point is that you're basically arguing "we shouldn't build rail", and I'm saying that argument has been settled, with you on the losing side. You may as well be saying "we shouldn't have elected George Bush". You wouldn't get any argument from me about that, but it's irrelevant. You're wasting your time bringing it up because it's a settled question. It can't be undone.
What you can do is have a say in how Metro builds rail. But if this is all you've got, then there's nothing to say. You're fighting the last war. Have fun, but don't expect anyone to engage you in it.