Originally Posted by ardecila
I'm more concerned about the frequency. 4 round trips a day is less than the Music City Star in Nashville, and it has the same problems with the downtown station being in a less-than-ideal location.
4 round trips a day is fine IF AND ONLY IF there is direct (ie., "one-ride") service between the downtown all the stations whenever the train isn't running, seven days a week.
GO Transit (Greater Toronto) runs buses between Union Station and all suburban stations (in both directions) whenever the train isn't running, so that you're not screwed if you miss the last train. In some cases they're actually faster than the train. For example (see schedule: http://www.gotransit.com/publicroot/...station=&zone=
), a GO Train from Union to Markham takes a scheduled 46-49 minutes (it is approximately 24 miles driving distance), but a GO Bus takes as little as 27 scheduled minutes from Union Station to Markham (late at night), so it's averaging around 50 MPH.
If buses aren't going to continue to connect all the stations when the trains aren't running, the system is of little use. And this is one of the reasons why some of these commuter rail systems are doing under 10,000 boardings per day, even with two lines. What if you need to work late one night or want to go out for drinks after work? You need to know that you can have a ride right back to the suburban station without having to make transfers or pouring over some transit maps/schedules to try and figure out how to get home.
That some commuter rail systems don't run direct replacement buses to/from downtown whenever the trains aren't running is stupid.