HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Texas & Southcentral > Austin

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #2041  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2010, 3:45 AM
Scott Wood Scott Wood is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
As for tying public funding with performance, you run across scenarios where poor public funding guarantees poor performance. Like Amtrak's poor performance has been tied to poor funding over many decades.
Right... Measuring coverage as well as ridership might help with that somewhat, and there should still be some base level of funding, and ability to fund expansions (bonds against the expected gain in ridership or coverage linked revenue?). My concern is that with just a fixed sales tax rate and limited ability to raise fares (lest the demand disappear), there's a ceiling on how much service can be provided even if demand is there.

And sure, it's not likely to happen any time soon with an anti-transit legislature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
I'm not against giving DISCOUNTS to the needy, but I'm against giving FREE rides to one third of CapMetro's riders. Not every veteran, just one example presently getting FREE rides, is poor and needy.
I'm OK with means-testing discounts if it's expected to bring in enough additional revenue to be worth the hassle of verifying incomes -- but in that case, we should offer the discount to everyone whose income qualifies (which should reduce some pressure against raising standard fares, but still can't raise them too much if you want to keep getting cars off the road).

Are there any estimates on what percentage of that one third of riders don't actually need the free ride?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2042  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2010, 1:49 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
CapMetro raises $134 Million last year in tax revenues and $14.45 Million (144.5/10) in fares, and spends $144.5 Million (28.9 x 5) just maintain and run its buses. The only reason it isn't going broke is because CapMetro also receives $42 Million in Federal and State grants each year. Some math:
134 (taxes) + 14.45 (fares) + 42 (grants) - 144.5 (bus O&M) = $46 Million. Take train operations and maintenance and construction fees, and the City of Austin diversions, from that total; that doesn't leave CapMetro much money to build up its reserves or expand bus services.
This is quite a self-serving view of how Capital Metro got where they are (and from somebody pushing DMUs so hard, not that surprising).

1. CM didn't get $45M of Federal money they promised voters they'd seek before the 2004 election. They didn't even try to get it (they lied to the voters); the Feds would never have contributed one dollar because ridership projections were so low.

2. The "diversions" include planning for Austin's urban rail line - since Capital Metro won't deliver urban rail to Austin, ever, Austin finally got fed up and started doing what I tried to get them to do in 2004 with this resolution. Too little, too late; and now the city's actually going into debt on this project and a few others because Capital Metro isn't paying the bills they owe us.

3. The extra 2 years on commuter rail probably cost them another $50M, conservatively. And now we're stuck with high operating costs (thanks, diesel!, and thanks, shuttlebuses!) with almost nobody riding (why do you think they suddenly came up with a plan for a Saturday concert right about the time they have to release the first monthly ridership figures?)
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2043  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 1:38 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2044  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 6:17 PM
JAM's Avatar
JAM JAM is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 2,470
is that horse do-do from APD mounted patrol? Yeah, they leave it all over the trail too.... I think the horses actually wait until it is the worst possible place, smart little cookies they are.....
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2045  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2010, 1:28 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
They drive a lonely road....

__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2046  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 3:56 PM
hismasterplan hismasterplan is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Austin/Chicago
Posts: 120
This is Will, here in Chicago temporarily.

Just wanted to throw in my two cents over my frustration with Austin and transit.

I've been spoiled with living near the el train and the simple bus system where you can get across the city faster than you can on a bus in Austin. It's definitely opened up my eyes more about the potential of trains in Austin. Whatever people say against the idea of light rail its either a lie, or out of ignorance. There's really no excuse for a city not to pursue it. It's as essential to a growing city as much as anything else needed to accommodate growth.

The Red Line in Austin, despite its problems, has served a good purpose and that is familiarizing Austinites with the concept of mass transit other than buses. If only it were a better first impression, but I know that once more lines are running, including inner city rail (which is what we should have started with) the Red Line will begin to make more since.

I've been doing freelance work all over the city of Chicago without a car, and I know I couldn't get away with this in Austin. I hate to say it but a part of me dreads the fact that when I'm back, I'll need a car. I love Austin but not without a sour feeling about living with its traffic problems again. I wish there was more to do than to vote to get Austin's transit to evolve quicker.
__________________
www.vimeo.com/willmartin
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2047  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 4:21 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
Quote:
Originally Posted by hismasterplan View Post
This is Will, here in Chicago temporarily.

Just wanted to throw in my two cents over my frustration with Austin and transit.

I've been spoiled with living near the el train and the simple bus system where you can get across the city faster than you can on a bus in Austin. It's definitely opened up my eyes more about the potential of trains in Austin. Whatever people say against the idea of light rail its either a lie, or out of ignorance. There's really no excuse for a city not to pursue it. It's as essential to a growing city as much as anything else needed to accommodate growth.

The Red Line in Austin, despite its problems, has served a good purpose and that is familiarizing Austinites with the concept of mass transit other than buses. If only it were a better first impression, but I know that once more lines are running, including inner city rail (which is what we should have started with) the Red Line will begin to make more since.

I've been doing freelance work all over the city of Chicago without a car, and I know I couldn't get away with this in Austin. I hate to say it but a part of me dreads the fact that when I'm back, I'll need a car. I love Austin but not without a sour feeling about living with its traffic problems again. I wish there was more to do than to vote to get Austin's transit to evolve quicker.
There isn't anybody posting here who doesn't want Austin rail to succeed.

The problem is that you simply can't get to something like Chicago's network by starting with a commuter line that transfers passengers to shuttlebuses (even if done well!). The only other area that's tried ended up spending 20 years double-tracking and trying and failing with TOD; while cities that actually just built rail to a couple of major employment destinations were able to grow and expand.
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2048  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 4:55 PM
priller's Avatar
priller priller is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,984
Actually saw my first connector bus passenger this morning. He was standing up in the bus by the driver. That's the first one I've seen.

My wife was grumbling that they got rid of the Dillos (which we used often) so they could pay for buses nobody uses.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2049  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 5:01 PM
paulsjv paulsjv is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by priller View Post
Actually saw my first connector bus passenger this morning. He was standing up in the bus by the driver. That's the first one I've seen.

My wife was grumbling that they got rid of the Dillos (which we used often) so they could pay for buses nobody uses.
Yeah the dillos were great.. i used to ride them all the time too.. then they started to charge to ride the. Then last week at the meet up TxMike told me that they were no longer running them.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2050  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 6:36 PM
hismasterplan hismasterplan is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Austin/Chicago
Posts: 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
There isn't anybody posting here who doesn't want Austin rail to succeed.

The problem is that you simply can't get to something like Chicago's network by starting with a commuter line that transfers passengers to shuttlebuses (even if done well!). The only other area that's tried ended up spending 20 years double-tracking and trying and failing with TOD; while cities that actually just built rail to a couple of major employment destinations were able to grow and expand.
Agreed.
__________________
www.vimeo.com/willmartin
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2051  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 6:54 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
A quick post today referring back to the Chronicle from 2000

Quote:
The prevailing wisdom has been that a project in Smart-Grown Austin, serving major trip generators like UT and the Capitol complex, supported by Cap Met's ample sales tax revenue, would be a slam dunk for a "highly recommended" rating. (Conversely, the original Red Line, which had far lower ridership and -- even though it was on existing rail right of way -- only marginally lower projected costs, was headed, Cap Met insiders say, for a "not recommended" kiss-of-death rating, which is why the transit authority switched tracks at the 11th hour.)
The differences between that "original Red Line" and the current Red Line that Krusee and Capital Metro forced on us in 2004 (now producing stunning ridership results for us) is that it would have had double tracks and electrification on its whole route (i.e., the Feds back in 2000 were telling Capital Metro that today's Red Line AFTER adding a second track and electric wires would STILL produce disappointing ridership and that they wanted no part of funding it).

Guess what Capital Metro's plans are to improve rail transit in Austin now?
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2052  
Old Posted May 3, 2010, 7:48 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
Four shuttlebuses. Two people.

Today I went by the MLK station on the way back home after dropping off the boys at their schools (had to go to jury duty downtown later in the morning than I normally go to work).

The 8:25 train arrived on time. Two people got off there. One with a bike.

Four shuttlebuses, headed to UT and the Capitol. Two people. (One, if the woman with the bike rode off; I didn't stick around to see whether she boarded a bus or just cycled from there).

full coverage at el crackplog
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2053  
Old Posted May 3, 2010, 11:42 PM
Jdawgboy's Avatar
Jdawgboy Jdawgboy is offline
Representing the ATX!!!
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,625
I got to ride the train this past Saturday for the first time. It was packed and there were so many people at the train stops, a lot of people couldn't even get on the train. We couldn't get on in downtown so we ended up taking a shuttle bus to the Lakeline station to try to get on it from there. We barely managed to get on it at Lakeline because it was already filled up. Only 15 people including myself and my friends out of at least 30 or more a were able to squeeze on. We stood the whole way back into downtown. The trains were off schedule and in some cases were as late as an hour even though they were supposed to run once an hour. Despite all of that and several complaints from other people about the wait, everybody I talked to or overheard said that Saturday service is a great idea and many of them made comments that more people would likely ride the train on Saturdays then they do during the week. I also took notice of the fact that the train station is nowhere near Lakeline Mall and the actual station is basically in the middle of nowhere.
__________________
"GOOD TIMES!!!" Jerri Blank (Strangers With Candy)
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2054  
Old Posted May 3, 2010, 11:57 PM
wwmiv wwmiv is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Austin -> San Antonio -> Columbia -> San Antonio
Posts: 3,612
Are you joking or being serious? I actually can't tell.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2055  
Old Posted May 4, 2010, 3:06 AM
electricron's Avatar
electricron electricron is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Granbury, Texas
Posts: 2,957
Lightbulb

Here's another YouTube video taken/submitted on Tuesday April 20th.
I would say the train was full leaving downtown Austin.

Video Link


I think the video is telling the truth much more than some commentators who have had an axe to grind against the commuter rail line. A picture or video is worth much more than a thousand words.

Am I suggesting every train is this full, no. Never-the-less, the train runs fuller than what many have reported in this thread.

Last edited by electricron; May 6, 2010 at 5:10 AM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2056  
Old Posted May 4, 2010, 7:21 AM
wwmiv wwmiv is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Austin -> San Antonio -> Columbia -> San Antonio
Posts: 3,612
Good! So there is actual potential for the red line.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2057  
Old Posted May 4, 2010, 2:17 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
Saturday's trains were packed because of the Pecan Street Festival - which shows that if you run a train to stations where people can WALK to activity centers, it will succeed; the festival is 2 blocks from the 'downtown' station. Unfortunately there aren't many people who work two blocks from any of the stations, unlike the 2000 light rail route; nor will there likely ever be (until/unless it's extended to 4th/Brazos, and even then it'll miss most of downtown and will NEVER be able to serve the Capitol or UT). It also doesn't hurt that you were dealing with paid parking available in more limited supply than on a normal workday (i.e. many office buildings with garages don't open to the public even for pay on the weekends). Most people who drove had to park further away than the train station, in other words, and had to pay 5 or 10 bucks for the privilege.

Electricron's video is difficult to reconcile with observations made by me and others (mostly others!) of low ridership - but I suspect an organized event, as I think I recognized Cid Galindo walking through the aisle before the train left downtown.

Today's Statesman indicates that Capital Metro themselves admits ridership is averaging at or below 1000 boardings per day.

Quote:
Capital Metro has had much lighter ridership for its Monday-to-Friday rush hour service during the line's six weeks of existence — about 1,000 a day since fares began, officials said.
Note those six weeks of existence include the first (free) week where boardings were much higher than 1000/day - hence my comment that ridership during paid service must be averaging at or below 1000/day.

Also, from a comment made to my facebook page yesterday:

Quote:
I was at a meeting last week where Doug Allen spoke. He freely admitted no one is riding the shuttle buses and said they are (finally) looking at extending the Red Line further into downtown to get closer to where more people can walk off the train to work.
Those shuttle-buses are required to get to the Capitol or UT; and they disembark from that MLK station I stood at yesterday morning counting the two passengers who got off the southbound 8:25 train (one with bike, one without).

Bear in mind when an anonymous poster like electricron attacks my credibility, that I'm fully identifying myself and whatever axes I may or may not have to grind; and he's not (although another poster here has told me they think he's working directly or indirectly for a DMU manufacturer). Also bear in mind that ridership is matching the prediction I (reluctantly) made to Roger Cauvin on twitter back in March.

Quote:
@rcauvin If there's any time between those two things, I think we're looking at 500-1000/day.
8:20 AM Mar 24th via TweetDeck in reply to rcauvin
Note that nobody else backed me up on this. Electricron would have predicted more riders, had anybody thought to nail him down. Most other people in this area assumed Capital Metro was right when they predicted standing-room-only and limited bikes to make room for passengers. Of course, Capital Metro backed off that now that it's become clear that nobody rides the shuttles and bikes are a big part of the limited appeal of this line.

You should expect to see a lot more spin like this these days - the whole reason for the Rock & Rail concert on Friday and the Saturday service was to distract people from the fact that relatively few people are riding this thing during the week. The monthly ridership numbers should be out any day now, by the way; Capital Metro coincidentally decided to switch very quickly to reporting via that method after the first fare-service weeks' numbers were so disappointing.
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus

Last edited by M1EK; May 4, 2010 at 2:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2058  
Old Posted May 4, 2010, 2:37 PM
M1EK's Avatar
M1EK M1EK is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,216
Most recent tweet on snappatx.org:

Quote:
Bruce_Reilly: Austin CapMetro new railtrain w/ 3 passengers onboard, just blocked over 100 vehicles for several minutes = miss-transit
__________________
Crackplog: M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile
Twitter: @mdahmus
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2059  
Old Posted May 5, 2010, 12:37 AM
KevinFromTexas's Avatar
KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
you suck
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: down the street from the taco trailer
Posts: 47,060
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1EK
Saturday's trains were packed because of the Pecan Street Festival - which shows that if you run a train to stations where people can WALK to activity centers, it will succeed;
The Pecan Street Fest was this weekend (3rd & 4th). It wasn't Eeyore's Birthday Party either, that was on 4/24. The only thing I can think that was boosting the numbers that day was the Raggae Fest at Auditorium Shores. That was on April 16th, 17th & the 18th.

It is absolutely ridiculous that the trains don't run on the weekend. This city likes to party. And I don't know about you, but the idea of leaving car behind so that I can go enjoy myself without having to worry about how to get home, sounds nice. Besides that reason, if it can relieve traffic in and out of downtown, then that's even better. People will take the trains. When it comes down to a matter of saving money, money saved that could be spent downtown at the bars, people would definitely make the switch and leave their cars at home.
__________________
Hear me. And if I close my mind in fear, please pry it open. - Metallica
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2060  
Old Posted May 5, 2010, 4:52 AM
hookem hookem is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,435
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
The Pecan Street Fest was this weekend (3rd & 4th). It wasn't Eeyore's Birthday Party either, that was on 4/24. The only thing I can think that was boosting the numbers that day was the Raggae Fest at Auditorium Shores. That was on April 16th, 17th & the 18th.
I think this past weekend (May 2) was the first time the trains ran on Saturday. That's the Saturday M1EK was referring to. It wasn't running on Reggae fest or any prior Saturday.

Now electricon's video, which was posted on 4/20, sure does look like a Saturday or the free first week (no obvious commuters)... we don't know when it was taken for sure. But it *could* have been 4/20 (Tuesday), with additional leisure traffic due to the 420 festivities.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Texas & Southcentral > Austin
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:12 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.