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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2012, 5:36 AM
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Texas Public Transportation Use

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The full searchable (by state) database can be accessed at the bottom of article. Data is from census.

Texas metro, the full list of which is as follows:
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX -- 2.61%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX -- 2.57%
College Station-Bryan, TX -- 2.44%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX -- 2.24%
El Paso, TX -- 1.85%
Laredo, TX -- 1.83%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX -- 1.56%
Corpus Christi, TX -- 1.43%
Victoria, TX -- 1.08%
Lubbock, TX -- 0.97%
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2012, 11:39 PM
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I always wondered about using the entire metro areas to come up with the transit numbers considering how geographically large they are with many counties that don't have any public transit.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2012, 4:29 AM
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Originally Posted by USMichael View Post
I always wondered about using the entire metro areas to come up with the transit numbers considering how geographically large they are with many counties that don't have any public transit.
It's interesting. I didn't expect Austin to be so high and DFW to be so low.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2012, 1:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TexasPlaya View Post
It's interesting. I didn't expect Austin to be so high and DFW to be so low.
That's why I don't know if these numbers are an accurate representation. DFW has many entire counties which have access to no population; Parker, Wise, Johnson, Rockwall, Kaufman, Delta. And of course many cities in the main counties don't have public transit, such as Arlington, Flower Mound, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Grand Prairie, etc.

Also in Austin it is important to note that even Round Rock isn't a member city of Capital Metro
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2012, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by USMichael View Post
That's why I don't know if these numbers are an accurate representation. DFW has many entire counties which have access to no population; Parker, Wise, Johnson, Rockwall, Kaufman, Delta. And of course many cities in the main counties don't have public transit, such as Arlington, Flower Mound, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Grand Prairie, etc.

Also in Austin it is important to note that even Round Rock isn't a member city of Capital Metro
That's why I think it is an accurate representation. It shows how backwards Texas's transit policies are. Houston has counties with no transit agencies and they should be factored in. Why would you want to not count areas without public transit?
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2012, 6:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TexasPlaya View Post
That's why I think it is an accurate representation. It shows how backwards Texas's transit policies are. Houston has counties with no transit agencies and they should be factored in. Why would you want to not count areas without public transit?
The better question is why should those areas be included? Counting those areas artificially lowers the public transit use rate. Not because people wouldn't use it, but because it is not available.

If someone lives Rockwall and has no access to public transit why include them in the figures? If you want to include those places why not add even more counties in? Why not use the population of the state when factoring in Houston's public transit use? It makes no sense to do that
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2012, 7:56 PM
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Originally Posted by USMichael View Post
The better question is why should those areas be included? Counting those areas artificially lowers the public transit use rate. Not because people wouldn't use it, but because it is not available.

If someone lives Rockwall and has no access to public transit why include them in the figures? If you want to include those places why not add even more counties in? Why not use the population of the state when factoring in Houston's public transit use? It makes no sense to do that
It makes no sense to not include them. If public transit is available or not is a part of why it matters. Why the numbers matter. Not having public transit available for a large part of a metros commuter population is important and relevant. It very much should be included.

The metros are figured out by commuter patters to the large city of the metro. This is why San Marcos is in the Austin metro (a thread on that subject in the San Antonio forum).

When they figure out what counties and cities are in what metros and what counties and cities should not be in the metros area of a large city they are using commuter patterns to that large city to figure all of that out. If those counties and cities don't have public transit, that is is worth noting. Ignoring that and removing all of the counties and cities that don't have public transit and yet do commute to the large city would only be telling a small part of the story, when talking about who is commuting to where and how.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BevoLJ View Post
It makes no sense to not include them. If public transit is available or not is a part of why it matters. Why the numbers matter. Not having public transit available for a large part of a metros commuter population is important and relevant. It very much should be included.

The metros are figured out by commuter patters to the large city of the metro. This is why San Marcos is in the Austin metro (a thread on that subject in the San Antonio forum).

When they figure out what counties and cities are in what metros and what counties and cities should not be in the metros area of a large city they are using commuter patterns to that large city to figure all of that out. If those counties and cities don't have public transit, that is is worth noting. Ignoring that and removing all of the counties and cities that don't have public transit and yet do commute to the large city would only be telling a small part of the story, when talking about who is commuting to where and how.
Sure there may be a few people who commute the 80 miles one way into Dallas from Cooper, and then commute another 80 miles back to their home in Cooper. However it won't be many, and they don't have access to public transit during the vast stretch of that drive.

So you think the people in Cooper, TX, who live 80 miles away from Dallas and 110+ miles from Forth Worth should be included, but people who live in Brazos Bend; 38 miles from Fort Worth and 71 miles from Dallas shouldn't? They are outside of the metro area.

They should at least provide more accurate data by including the percentage of people who have access to public transit who use it as well as the percentage of people who don't use public transit and do not have access to it and therefore can not use it.

Last edited by USMichael; Feb 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 20, 2012, 5:52 AM
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Cooper is not a good example. I know you picked it because it and Delta County are far from Dallas and you wanted to use that to prove a point. But come on.... There is over 6,700,000 people in DFW, and there is only 5,000 in all of Delta County. UT-Austin has a dorm with more people living in it, than that country has people in total. lmao. And for it messing up the numbers.. 6,700,000 to 5,000. That isn't even a single percent. In fact that isn't even .1 of a percent of the DFW population. That is something like .07% of the DFW population!

I really wouldn't worry about Delta Country screwing up the statistics and numbers. And .07% sure as heck isn't a valid reason to throw out all the other places that are not served by mass transit. Here is an example of the difference. If you threw out all those with no access to transit, that would include me. I live 4 miles from the intersection of 6th and Congress in Downtown Austin. And yet I have no access to even a bus. It is a mile and half to the first bus stop. To me that is absolutely absurd! To be 4 miles for the center of downtown and still over a mile from a bus stop is just silly. So I should be counted in there, not omitted because in my neighborhood we are a bunch of stuck up rich snobs who would rather throw money down the drain fueling our gas guzzling SUVs than pay a small tax (Yikes!) to support Capital Metro. Oh, and not including those that don't have access to plublic transit would pretty much get rid of all of Round Rock and Williamson CO from Austin. That is 25% of the Austin metro population you just threw out. They should be included.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 2:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BevoLJ View Post
Cooper is not a good example. I know you picked it because it and Delta County are far from Dallas and you wanted to use that to prove a point. But come on.... There is over 6,700,000 people in DFW, and there is only 5,000 in all of Delta County. UT-Austin has a dorm with more people living in it, than that country has people in total. lmao. And for it messing up the numbers.. 6,700,000 to 5,000. That isn't even a single percent. In fact that isn't even .1 of a percent of the DFW population. That is something like .07% of the DFW population!

I really wouldn't worry about Delta Country screwing up the statistics and numbers. And .07% sure as heck isn't a valid reason to throw out all the other places that are not served by mass transit. Here is an example of the difference. If you threw out all those with no access to transit, that would include me. I live 4 miles from the intersection of 6th and Congress in Downtown Austin. And yet I have no access to even a bus. It is a mile and half to the first bus stop. To me that is absolutely absurd! To be 4 miles for the center of downtown and still over a mile from a bus stop is just silly. So I should be counted in there, not omitted because in my neighborhood we are a bunch of stuck up rich snobs who would rather throw money down the drain fueling our gas guzzling SUVs than pay a small tax (Yikes!) to support Capital Metro. Oh, and not including those that don't have access to plublic transit would pretty much get rid of all of Round Rock and Williamson CO from Austin. That is 25% of the Austin metro population you just threw out. They should be included.

Firstly the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA has about 6.4 Million, the CSA has about 6.7 Million. Although I think it would be interesting if you also think Sherman and Dension should be included

So it isn't a good example because Delta County is in the DFW metro because it proves my point? You still haven't commented on whether or not Brazos Bend in Hood county should be included because people who live there could commute 34 miles into Fort Worth. So should Hood County be included in the DFW mass transit numbers? You don't like the Delta County example because it isn't just Delta County, but entire swaths of people who live in DFW who have absolutely zero access to public transit


McKinney -130,000
Wise County - 59,000
Parker County - 116,000
Rockwall County - 78,000

and that is just the beginning


The numbers would be more accurate to include the member cities of the transit authority when calculating them. Seriously, this is almost like including individuals under the age of 16 in driving statistics by saying X% of Americans drive even though Y% can't drive.

DART has about 2 million people in it's member cities, the T has about 1 million. If the T shut down then a huge percentage of DFW loses all access to public transit. Should Fort Worth still count with that many people left out?

Last edited by USMichael; Feb 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 5:50 AM
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I didn't address Brazos Bend and Hood Counties because they are not relevant to this discussion. Just because they are closer doesn't mean they are more relevant. If a significant portion of their population was commuting to the metro then they would be in the metro. But they aren't so they aren't included. And if they aren't commuting to the metro why should they be included in a study on traffic in the metro?

All of the metros in the OP have "entire swaths of people" who don't have access to public transit from that metro. Dallas is in no way unique in that regard. Austin is no different. Neither is Houston.

You just put up some of the DFW ones with out your public transit, here are Austin's,

Bastrop - 74,141
Caldwell - 38,066
Hays - 157,107
Williamson - 442,679

DFW is not alone in that.

For some reason you seem to want to use distance as the measuring stick. It is not a good one. For one the areas with little population that are distant from the metro have little population. The small populations don't have any real effect on the final numbers, and the little effect they do have is negligible since all metros have small populations around, again DFW isn't unique in that. If those places did have large enough population to support public transit, then they would probably have it. If they are large enough to support public transit and they don't have it, then that is very significant and is something that should be reflected in the numbers.

I think you might be looking at the numbers differently than it is intended. What I get the feeling that you are looking for is a study on the people living there, not on the metro. Like I get the feeling you are looking for a study on if people have the choice and options are they, or aren't they, willing to use mass transit. If that is what you are looking for the of course this study is going to reflect that poorly. This was done by pulling the numbers off the census results. It isn't some huge study don't by some Washington D.C. think tank or something like that, to show how individuals are behaving. This to me is more about how a metro area behaves.

In that regard to how the metro area behaves then the metro's failure to provide transportation options is one of the most significant aspect of the discussion and should be reflected as such in the numbers. Not including them would make the entire ranking utterly pointless.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 5:24 PM
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Of the 10 counties in the Houston MSA, 5 of them have (to my knowledge) no access at all to "public transit"...

Liberty County-- 75,643
Waller County-- 43,205
Chambers County-- 35,096
Austin County-- 28,417
San Jac County-- 26,384

That's 208,745... very little (both population and geographic space) of Houston MSA's total. In fact there are huge swaths of Harris County that are 20+ miles from the nearest bus stop.

The conversation we need to be having in our Texas cities is how can we improve the QUALITY of transit services that we already have?? I still believe that most people don't ride public transit because they think it's "just for poor people" or are afraid of violence on the bus. Until that perception changes, transit numbers in cities like Houston and Dallas are always going to be down in the dumps.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 11:46 PM
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I didn't address Brazos Bend and Hood Counties because they are not relevant to this discussion. Just because they are closer doesn't mean they are more relevant. If a significant portion of their population was commuting to the metro then they would be in the metro. But they aren't so they aren't included. And if they aren't commuting to the metro why should they be included in a study on traffic in the metro?

All of the metros in the OP have "entire swaths of people" who don't have access to public transit from that metro. Dallas is in no way unique in that regard. Austin is no different. Neither is Houston.
That's why I am making no distinction on whether or not cities with no public transit in some metros shouldn't be included in public transit numbers. Firstly Brazos Bend is a city, Hood is a County (just to make it clear) and the reason you did not address Brazos Bend and Hood County is because it is inconvenient for you

Quote:
You just put up some of the DFW ones with out your public transit, here are Austin's,

Bastrop - 74,141
Caldwell - 38,066
Hays - 157,107
Williamson - 442,679

DFW is not alone in that.
Thank you for proving my point

Firstly not all of Williamson County is devoid of Public Transit. Leander and Anderson Mill are both member cities of Capital Metro. Secondly this only further proves my point that including areas with people who have no access to pubic transit skew the numbers down. So thank you

Quote:
For some reason you seem to want to use distance as the measuring stick. It is not a good one. For one the areas with little population that are distant from the metro have little population. The small populations don't have any real effect on the final numbers, and the little effect they do have is negligible since all metros have small populations around, again DFW isn't unique in that.
You are right, distance isn't everything, that is why it is appropriate to question including the counties and cities containing hundreds of thousands of people who have no access to public transit which are 30+ miles from the anchor cities should

Little Population?

Far North Dallas
McKinney - 131,117
Frisco - 116,989
Allen - 84,252
Total - 332,352

Mid-Cities
Grand Prairie - 175,369
Arlington - 365,438
Total - 540,807


Quote:
If those places did have large enough population to support public transit, then they would probably have it. If they are large enough to support public transit and they don't have it, then that is very significant and is something that should be reflected in the numbers.
You think the 300,000+ people in the Far North Dallas suburbs isn't enough to support public transit? They could hypothetically join DART and get Bus service very quickly, who knows how long it would take light rail expansion given the cost and planning but it would be

You think the whooping 500,000+ in Arlington and Grand Praire aren't large enough? They are, but political reasons get in the way despite both of them being in between two big cities. The DCTA has fewer people in it's jurisdiction than

And that is just the beginning, toss in Mesquite, Rock Wall, Balch Springs, Rockwall, Flower Mound, etc

Quote:
I think you might be looking at the numbers differently than it is intended. What I get the feeling that you are looking for is a study on the people living there, not on the metro. Like I get the feeling you are looking for a study on if people have the choice and options are they, or aren't they, willing to use mass transit. If that is what you are looking for the of course this study is going to reflect that poorly. This was done by pulling the numbers off the census results. It isn't some huge study don't by some Washington D.C. think tank or something like that, to show how individuals are behaving. This to me is more about how a metro area behaves.
I didn't realize numbers had to be looked at in a singular way. Then again I rarely look at numbers a single way. Such a simplistic number understates the underlying complexity of major metropolitan areas and public transit usage.

Quote:
In that regard to how the metro area behaves then the metro's failure to provide transportation options is one of the most significant aspect of the discussion and should be reflected as such in the numbers. Not including them would make the entire ranking utterly pointless.

It's not the metros failure, it is the failure of individual "leaders" at the local level. Not including them would show a more accurate representation of the percentage of people who utilize public transportation. Can't use something if it's not available
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2012, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanactivist View Post
Of the 10 counties in the Houston MSA, 5 of them have (to my knowledge) no access at all to "public transit"...

Liberty County-- 75,643
Waller County-- 43,205
Chambers County-- 35,096
Austin County-- 28,417
San Jac County-- 26,384

That's 208,745... very little (both population and geographic space) of Houston MSA's total. In fact there are huge swaths of Harris County that are 20+ miles from the nearest bus stop.

The conversation we need to be having in our Texas cities is how can we improve the QUALITY of transit services that we already have?? I still believe that most people don't ride public transit because they think it's "just for poor people" or are afraid of violence on the bus. Until that perception changes, transit numbers in cities like Houston and Dallas are always going to be down in the dumps.
I think that perception is definitely a major part of it.

About 2.2 Million people reside in the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, so it is similar to DART with regards to having a great percentage of suburbs municipalities with no public transportation access.

One of the best improvements can be made by expanding service, because as service expands more people can see buses near their neighborhoods with their neighbors on board which could help dispel some of the caricatures put forward by the media.

However we have got a long way to go.
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Old Posted Feb 27, 2012, 10:59 PM
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I think that perception is definitely a major part of it.

About 2.2 Million people reside in the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, so it is similar to DART with regards to having a great percentage of suburbs municipalities with no public transportation access.

One of the best improvements can be made by expanding service, because as service expands more people can see buses near their neighborhoods with their neighbors on board which could help dispel some of the caricatures put forward by the media.

However we have got a long way to go.
Agreed but it is kind of a chicken vs. egg scenario in Texas. If "everyone" owns a car, what is going to propel them to ever consider using transit?? It takes longer, and (from a short-term perspective) is far less efficient than their own personal vehicle.

Case-in-point... I flew from Houston to Little Rock this past weekend, and did not take my car to the airport. On the way back, I wanted to ride the METRO Airport Direct, but the route was cancelled due to LOW RIDERSHIP. The Airport Direct was one of the best Transit services ever offered in Houston... $4.50 bus between IAH and Downtown. A cab ride the same distance costs upwards of $50!! That route was in operation for nearly two years. If we can't get Texans to use a no-brainer like that, how are we ever going to grow our local bus systems??
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Old Posted Mar 4, 2012, 2:01 PM
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So much of it is what was mentioned earlier, with the "attitude" many harbor towards public transit. That it is only for poor people, it is crime ridden, etc. Too many TV shows which perpetuate the myths associated with public transit.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2012, 8:39 PM
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So much of it is what was mentioned earlier, with the "attitude" many harbor towards public transit. That it is only for poor people, it is crime ridden, etc. Too many TV shows which perpetuate the myths associated with public transit.
I'm hoping that increased rail transit (at least in the case of Houston) will help to improve that image. But it still shocks me that DART overall ridership is as low as it is given the amount of rail transit in operation there.
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 6:54 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanactivist View Post
I'm hoping that increased rail transit (at least in the case of Houston) will help to improve that image. But it still shocks me that DART overall ridership is as low as it is given the amount of rail transit in operation there.
Well, it isn't that low within the DART member cities.
Instead of using the Metro population figures, use DART member cities....
Dallas 1,197,816
Plano 259,841
Garland 226,876
Irving 216,290
Carrollton 119,097
Richardson 99,223
Rowlett 56,199
Farmers Branch 28,616
University Park 23,068
Addison 13,056
Glenn Heights 11,278
Highland Park 8,564
Cockrell Hill 4,193
DART Total (2010) = 2,264,117
Dallas-Fort Worth-Denton MSA (2010) = 6,371,773
That's approximately one third of the total, therefore ridership within the DART member cities should be three times more than listed earlier.

If we account for DCTA and FWTA member city populations....
Denton 113,383
Lewisville 95,290
Highland Village 16,996.
Fort Worth 741,206
Richland Hills 63,343
Blue Mound 2,394
Sub Total = 1,032,612
New Total = 3,296,729

That's approximately half the MSA total, therefore ridership is doubled in transit agency member cities. That 1.56% is over 3% now, which is higher than the less than 3% indicated for all other Texas cities.
When only half the population is subsidizing public transit with taxes within regions, only half the population is serviced by them - whether that service is good or poor. But even poor service is better than none.
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 10:11 AM
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That's approximately half the MSA total, therefore ridership is doubled in transit agency member cities. That 1.56% is over 3% now, which is higher than the less than 3% indicated for all other Texas cities.
When only half the population is subsidizing public transit with taxes within regions, only half the population is serviced by them - whether that service is good or poor. But even poor service is better than none.
I am still not understanding why those keep suggesting Dallas is some how unique in this. Using only areas for Dallas that is served while measuring all the other cities by including those not served. I don't know Houston or SA's transit all that well, but I am sure there is plenty of parts of Houston and SA not served by their transit agency. In the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro area Capitol Metro only serves Austin. Not Round Rock, not San Marcos, not Pflugerville, not Ceder Park, not Bastrop, not Kyle and Buda, or Westlake, or Tyler. Just Austin, Jonestown, Manor and Leander.

By your math of only doing city limits of the towns served, that would be:

Austin: 790.000
Leander: 7.600
Manor: 5.500
Jonestown: 1.700

For 804.800 in a metro area of 1,7 million as 47%

So for simplicity sake we will say half. That would put Austin at 5,22% and back above your 3%.

However by doing that we are ignoring and not showing the huge problem that is such a large portion of the population is not being served. That is significant when discussing public transit. That half of the population has no service, why would y'all want to completely disregard that? Why is that not significant to this discussion? It should be IMO.

It just seems to me like by trying to pull out all of the numbers for the people who have no service y'all are trying to just make Dallas' number look better than they are in reality. And by using Dallas' numbers with out those with no public transit access while comparing to the other cities while still including the full population numbers only reinforces that feeling that is what y'all are trying to accomplish here rather than any real discussion on the issue.

If this was not a ranking. If we were not comparing cities here. If it were not some silly competition (my city is best! or worst!) Would you still be trying to remove the people with no access to transit from your numbers? And if so I don't understand why. How is the fact we aren't providing transit options to half the population not significant?

Lets be honest here. We are all Texans and living in Texas. People in Texas want to rely on themselves. Not spend money and pay taxes to rely on someone else to provide transportation for them when they can provide their own transportation. IMO there is no excuse at all for a city of 100,000 like Round Rock to not be a part of Cap Metro. Or for someone like me who lives a couple miles from DT Austin to not have access to even a bus. The reason I don't have access to a bus, and why north Austin doesn't either is because they don't want to pay the taxes. They would rather pay more to be able to rely on themselves than to pay taxes to rely on others to provide them transit. That is the problem with Texas IMO. Not just Austin, though we are probably the worst.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 1:00 PM
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electricron electricron is offline
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Originally Posted by BevoLJ View Post
However by doing that we are ignoring and not showing the huge problem that is such a large portion of the population is not being served. That is significant when discussing public transit. That half of the population has no service, why would y'all want to completely disregard that? Why is that not significant to this discussion? It should be IMO.
Well, the half of the population within Texas metros decided not to fund public transportation, that's why. If they decided to fund public transportation, then they would have it available.
Since this topic interests you sufficiently to make a comment here, I suggest browsing through state law, specifically the Texas Transportation Code.
http://law.justia.com/codes/texas/2005/tn.html
Specifically Chapters 451 through 461 dealing with public transportation.
451. METROPOLITAN RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITIES
452. REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITIES
453. MUNICIPAL TRANSIT DEPARTMENTS
454. MUNICIPAL MASS TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
455. GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REGARDING MASS TRANSPORTATION
456. STATE FINANCING OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
457. COUNTY MASS TRANSIT AUTHORITY
458. RURAL AND URBAN TRANSIT DISTRICTS
460. COORDINATED COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITIES
461. STATEWIDE COORDINATION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Then you might understand some of the reasons why half the population in Texas metros don't have public transportation. There's all sorts of little pesky details involved that get in the way.

Last edited by electricron; Mar 30, 2012 at 3:24 PM.
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