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  #12441  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2019, 6:41 PM
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What would RTD's ridership be if not for rail transit

Survey after survey shows a clear preference for rail transit over buses. Currently rail ridership is close to half of what bus ridership is but does that mean rail riders reflect a net gain? Obviously not but how much of a difference would there be if not for rail?

Over the last decade Denver's MSA population has grown from 2.5 million to 2.9 million for an increase of 16%. The city of Denver over the last decade has grown by over 20% to over 715K.

Yet, over the last decade (using 2008 as a base year per DBJ), transit ridership has fallen 5%. What's wrong with this picture?
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  #12442  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2019, 7:25 PM
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I’m not even sure what you’re trying say/prove.
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  #12443  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2019, 9:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PLANSIT View Post
I’m not even sure what you’re trying say/prove.
Actually, I was just making a couple of observations.

It's not that I didn't already know that the population had gone up while transit ridership had gone down, I just hadn't connected the two before. To connect the dots and answer my own questions; if transit ridership had merely gone up with the rate of population growth it would have risen by 15% to 20%. By deduction, since it's down 5% it has performed 20% to 25% worse than what would have been logically expected. That's quite a gap.

Obviously I've beat the drum for how RTD needs to get a better bang for it's buck and the above numbers elucidate how poorly its return is.

RTD could improve the service?

They've done that by opening 5 new light and commuter rail corridors over the last 7 years. To be fair, the G Line only recently opened and the B Line doesn't amount to much.

They could ask the voters for more 'operating' money?

IIRC, bunt said he wouldn't vote for giving RTD more money unless... and I suspect most voters would agree with him?

They could right-size the quantity of service offered to better fit the demand?

Yes, this seems to be about the only near-term fix that I can think of. It would also be nice if RTD could figure out what riders want and would flock to.
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  #12444  
Old Posted Nov 17, 2019, 12:04 AM
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All RTD needs to do is allocate more resources for rapid bus service, and stop obsessing over more rail. Build rapid bus networks off of existing rail lines, etc. Make it frequent enough that people won't have to worry about missing a bus. Partner with tech to design and test autonomous routes. This ain't rocket science..... This beat has been drummed so much on here it's beginning to get boring.
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  #12445  
Old Posted Nov 17, 2019, 5:22 AM
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Obviously when you build a bunch of rapid transit lines where they did not exist before, and otherwise do not cut other services, ridership will tend to go up. Obviously RTD ridership is higher with its rail lines than it would be without (assuming everything else stayed the same). No one here has ever claimed otherwise AFAIK. But if you really want to know, start with RTD's bus ridership from the year before rail opened, and apply an escalating proxy based on the average of a selection of cities that haven't opened major rail lines since then.

The more interesting question is how much higher RTD's ridership would be if they had built lines with maximizing ridership in mind, rather than with maximizing political coverage. We all recognize maximizing political coverage was necessary to pass a vote, but it would be interesting to know the lost opportunity cost. This would take a lot of work to find out. Plan a comparable-cost system, model it to get ridership.
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  #12446  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2019, 4:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
This would take a lot of work to find out. Plan a comparable-cost system, model it to get ridership.
This would be a great exercise for college level analysis. But it would be only speculative and difficult to duplicate the context and mindset of the 1990's and early 2000's. Additionally, RTD's own projections were often off by a good bit. The euphoria started when the first suburb to city line, built next to the freight tracks and for peanuts, ended up smashing original projections. But that optimism faded with additional lines that haven't met projections - yet.

https://www.rtd-denver.com/reports-a...ight-rail-line
Quote:
SYSTEM COSTS/RIDERSHIP
  • Prior corridor expenditures: $17.9 million
  • Project cost excluding prior expenditures (year of expenditure): $159.8 million
  • Total: $177.7 million
Ridership has exceeded the projected forecast of 8,400 riders per weekday and averaged 17,900 riders, in April 2002, at the five stations (113 percent over projections). Total light rail system ridership was projected at 22,400 and reached a high of 41,690 average weekday boardings in September 2006. Steady ridership growth continued through 2006 when the Southeast Light Rail line opened.
With the 1999 voter approved SE Corridor expansion - T-REX project - including both freeway lanes and light rail, that meant light rail going to the SW and the SE metro areas; it was only natural for the rest of the metro area to start asking "Where's my fair share of this pie."

EDIT: I meant to include that the SW Corridor light rail received a FFGA of $120 million plus DRCOG/CDOT arranged an additional FHWA grant of $18 million so this project cost RTD all of $39 million. Wrap your mind around that bargain.
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  #12447  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2019, 6:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
The more interesting question is how much higher RTD's ridership would be if they had built lines with maximizing ridership in mind, rather than with maximizing political coverage. We all recognize maximizing political coverage was necessary to pass a vote, but it would be interesting to know the lost opportunity cost.
Looking on the Bright Side there's no point in what could have been done as the future for light & commuter rail is quite bright. Let's zero in on just the City of Denver and look at TOD over the next decade (and beyond). I see: 2 Home Runs, 3 Triples, 5 Doubles and a number of solid Singles.

Two Home Runs

Denver Union Station
A dream already fulfilled.

The River Mile - Elitch Gardens/Pepsi Center Station
Right on the edge of downtown this high density, mixed-use, walkable development now has the re-zoning in place and master plan and TIFIA funding approval from the city.

Three Triples

38th & Blake Street Station
Perhaps the shiniest of Triples assuming all the development plans move forward.

I-25 & Broadway Station
It's only taken the Gates site ten years but it is now entitled, rezoned and taking off in 2020 along with the other nearby projects.

Decatur-Federal Station
With the total redevelopment of Sun Valley and the Broncos Stadium development plan to the south of the stadium, Decatur-Federal Station is sure to be a solid triple. This is the one station where mixed-use, affordable as well as market rate housing will be built.

Five Doubles

Central Park - Stapleton Station
Over the next decade this TOD should come to fruition as a promise fulfilled.

Auraria West Station
With student housing a part of the Master Plan, this already popular station will get even better.

Belleview Station
Well on its way.

National Western Stock Show Station
While having less of a residential component this $1 billion plus development with voter approved funding in place for most of the project, having a rail station in its midst has to qualify as a nice Double.

41st and Fox Station
One impressive project under construction with a lot of threats and plans for enough to make this an ultimate Double

A number of Singles either exist or will develop over the next decade to include 10th & Osage Station, University Station, Colorado Station and Evans Station.

So after all the pissing and moaning around FasTracks etc the City of Denver will ultimately be the biggest beneficiary of all those FasTracks and previous rail lines with all the TOD over the next decade. I guess you could say that for the City of Denver the system as built is a bubbling Big Home Run.
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  #12448  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2019, 7:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
The more interesting question is how much higher RTD's ridership would be if they had built lines with maximizing ridership in mind, rather than with maximizing political coverage.
I'm still content to be the one, if Only The Lonely to respectfully disagree that a better mousetrap existed - except for one missed opportunity.

Most cities put their first light rail line along the busiest bus corridor. In Denver that was East Colfax but almost nobody gave two chits about East Colfax either within the City of Denver or outside the city. Even now with impressive BRT plans, the city has put those plans on the shelf presumably due to lack of funding as well as lack of buy-in from placeholders along the corridor.

I can recall back to when I knew virtually nothing about transit and you would lead others in a discussion about light rail along South Broadway and Speer Blvd to Cherry Creek. That eventually morphed into my Signature Urban Line extended along Leetsdale Drive. That IMO is the one and only missed opportunity. But to the best of my knowledge nobody within the City of Denver even bothered to lobby for this when FasTracks was created?

Aside from (my) Urban Signature Line, Denver - going back to the context of 1999 - didn't (and still doesn't) have any particularly dense corridors ideal for light rail. Even today, all the created density is adjacent to downtown which isn't the normal function for light rail. The one short light rail (extension) that comes to mind as a home run was Seattle's ~3-mile tunnel link between downtown and the University District station.

Even in the context of today, the only additional corridor (after Broadway/Speer/Leetsdale) that would make sense (and previously stated) would be Colorado Blvd. Having traditionally the highest traffic counts, the Colorado Blvd Line would intersect with three existing LRT stations.
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  #12449  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 12:05 AM
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East Colfax BRT is moving into Design/NEPA.

Third Bond Issuance
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  #12450  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 3:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
National Western Stock Show Station
While having less of a residential component this $1 billion plus development with voter approved funding in place for most of the project, having a rail station in its midst has to qualify as a nice Double.
Less for now...
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  #12451  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 5:10 PM
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B-Cycle is dead.....
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  #12452  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2019, 5:45 PM
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Denver B-cycle to end, city may thin herd of scooter operators as it tightens regulation of “micromobility” services

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Originally Posted by Denver Post
Denver is pumping the brakes on its pilot program for shared scooters, electric bikes and dockless bicycles, trading the current permitting system in for a competitive bid process that will result in “one or more companies” landing a contract with the city to operate so-called “micromobility” services, according to Denver Public Works.

. . .

The city hasn’t determined how many contracts it will extend to scooter operators, but said it may be less than the existing five companies operating in Denver: Bird, Lime, Lyft, Razor and Spin, which between them operate more than 2,800 scooters.

. . .

Denver also plans to contract with a new docked bike share to replace B-cycle, but it’s anticipated there will be a months-long gap without such an option in the city. Officials expect to have the new contracts in place over the summer of 2020.

The city’s request for proposals, which will outline what Denver is looking for out of its contracted operators, is still being finalized, but will be released at the end of January. Scooter and e-bike companies currently permitted to operate in the city will keep rolling with Denver’s Dockless Mobility Pilot Permit Program until the city’s contracted vendors begin operation.

. . .

One operator that will no longer cruise the streets: Denver B-cycle, owned and operated by the nonprofit Denver Bike Sharing. The first shared riding option of its time in the city, Denver B-cycle will cease spinning its wheels on Jan. 30 after nine years in operation, in part because it has lost business to the more than 2,800 scooters zooming around the city.
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  #12453  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 3:19 AM
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Reduce micro-mibiliy?
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  #12454  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 5:20 AM
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Survey Says:

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/11/...-train-a-line/
Quote:
In the district-wide outreach survey – of which 13,000 people completed between Nov. 4-17 – 59% favored a temporary cut to better balance with the number of RTD bus and train operators. RTD said about 63% of its stakeholders also agreed with the service reduction idea.

As far as what that looks like – temporary service cuts for days… months… maybe years? – RTD isn’t sure.
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  #12455  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 8:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLANSIT View Post
East Colfax BRT is moving into Design/NEPA.
Thanks for the update!

RTD crisis: Operator shortage, high fares, lower ridership
NOVEMBER 21, 2019 BY MICHAEL KONOPASEK AND ALEX ROSE - Fox31 Denver
Quote:
“It’s unfortunate that it’s happening at the same time that RTD is trying to expand its service and improve its quality of service,” said University of Denver professor Andrew Goetz.
Who is this Goetz guy?
Quote:
Goetz, an expert on transportation and urban studies, warns riders are most concerned about service reliability while remaining sensitive to what comes out of their wallets
Impressive!
Quote:
Goetz said while working to attract more operators, he would like to see RTD reduce fares to grow ridership. He says that could benefit everyone.

“It really comes down to a concept of elasticity of demand,” he said. “If you lower fares, you may very well get more riders. More riders may actually increase your total revenue for that -- or at least be neutral.”
Clueless.!.!

As PLANSIT has already stated the fare "restructuring" was designed to be net revenue neutral. The most notable increase was to the 'A Line' where ridership has grown in spite of the fare increase.

Then the professor grabs Econ 101 "elasticity of demand" principle which on paper and in a static vacuum makes perfect sense. The only problem is that we don't live in a static vacuum. All manner of things come into play.

Okay, I'm prejudiced but I'll put my ordinary degree with my real world experience and assert that I know a lot more about "ridership" than the Professor with whatever degree paper he has hanging on his wall. As I've suggested elsewhere RTD fares are likely the last thing that comes into play with respect to ridership. Other than walking and biking what other way is cheaper than a bus fare?
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  #12456  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wong21fr View Post
B-Cycle is dead.....
It's fair to say that the "sharing gig economy" is still trying to find it's way. That will also include Uber/Lyft due to a lack of understanding and biased misinformation.

In the last week I happened to pick up a couple of ladies that were dependent on walkers to get around due to disabilities. The 1st was about 40 years old and went from her home to IHOP. The 2nd person was about 20 years old and I got the idea she was going from Dad's house to Mom's. Dad asked me to drive up onto the sidewalk (angled curbs) which I did. When I dropped her off I pulled into the driveway. At first I was surprised that nobody came out to meet her; then I realized that out of pride this sweetheart wanted to show how she could manage by herself. She had a garage opener and all went well.

I also happened to pick up a ~30 year old gal from Mayo Clinic who had her left leg in a cast and needed crutches. Other than struggling to swing her leg into the back seat she was fine. It's always interesting the people that are now able to rely on ride-share. I've given enough rides to "working poor" to understand how some use it to get to/from work, go grocery shopping etc and perhaps on weekends go do something interesting or fun.

I see where Seattle is 'quickly' planning to create a ride-share minimum wage for drivers (actually it gets complicated). At least they are using the same "researchers" that NYC used which is a more workable model for ride-share than what California is doing. Boston wants a ride-share congestion tax/fee.

What's interesting to me is the anti-private sector micromanagement and greed of cities is going to hurt the least among us the most. For so many of the working poor riding a bus is not an option. If ride-share fares go up by 50% or more that's a problem for the poor.

I'm always fascinated by the irony of liberals who love to talk about helping the poor and then turn around and screw them over.

Note: Because the airport is a good place to catch a good trip, many drivers go hang out in the ride-share queue. These drivers are the ones that expect a 'living wage guarantee' for sitting around playing blackjack for a couple of hours waiting for a trip. I have no sympathy; there's plenty of rides out there 'on the street' as they say.
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  #12457  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2019, 11:50 PM
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Credit: RTD
RTD Genereral Manager & CEO Dave Genova Announces Retirement Amid Ongoing Operator Shortage
November 22, 2019
Quote:
DENVER (CBS4) – The Regional Transportation District’s General Manager and CEO Dave Genova is retiring after nearly 26 years at the agency. Genova notified the chair of the RTD Board of Directors of his decision Thursday evening, according to a news release.

“It has been a privilege to serve the Board, our incredible team of employees and our community. I am confident that our very capable leadership team will continue to guide the agency in our mission to serve the traveling public,” said Genova. “It has been an honor to have shared in many industry-leading projects and I am proud of the successes we achieved during my nearly five-year term as General Manager and CEO.”
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  #12458  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2019, 7:24 AM
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Orlando says its downtown Uber and Lyft hubs have worked
NOV 26, 2019 By RYAN GILLESPIE - ORLANDO SENTINEL
Quote:
Designating locations for drivers to pick up downtown Orlando patrons has improved traffic flow at last call and led to roads reopening quicker than before.

The hubs were pitched over the summer as a potential solution to the so-called “push” of pedestrian and vehicle traffic that spills into downtown after bars close at 2 a.m. As thousands of patrons aim to leave simultaneously, cab and ride-share drivers struggled to navigate cluttered and closed streets.
They add that sporting and other events are still problematic. With the AZ Cardinals football stadium, they do have designated ride-sharing areas which works well.

I've wondered about downtown considering specific ride-share zones. Riders don't seem to mind waking to designated areas. Due to the App they can virtually walk up to or spot their car coming which is what they like.

Since I avoid downtown Phoenix and Rush Hour in general I can't speak to having any personal experience.
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  #12459  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2019, 2:44 AM
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Since I avoid downtown Phoenix and Rush Hour in general I can't speak to having any personal experience.

Wait. Do you always avoid downtown Phoenix?
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  #12460  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2019, 3:27 AM
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Wait. Do you always avoid downtown Phoenix?
In Denver it would be like taking So Broadway and Colfax Ave and I prefer to stay in the SE portion of the city/metro area - only in Phoenix it's the NE area. I enjoy driving after P.M. rush hour since there's less traffic but I have little control over where I end up. During the day I don't mind the downtown neighborhoods but if I end up in downtown I hope for a quick ride outta there or I'll deadhead 15 minutes, usually east of downtown. Longer rides is what I want which is why I focus somewhat on airport trips - which is east of downtown. Is this exciting or what?
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