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Old Posted Jan 13, 2017, 6:19 PM
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M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
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Transit Expert Says Transportation Is A Business, Not Just A Service

Transit expert Michael Schabas says Toronto must recognize transportation is a business, not just a service


January 11, 2017

By Romi Levine

Read More: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/transit...iness-not-just

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.....

Transit consultant Michael Schabas, an alumnus of U of T's John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, played an important role in making the London transportation system what it is today. He is sharing his insights from the United Kingdom in a new book, The Railway Metropolis: How planners, politicians, and developers shaped Modern London.

- “The book is about how London learned to build railways that were worth having that attracted passengers, that operated efficiently, that were affordable and efficient,” says Schabas. Schabas, who has worked on transportation projects all over the world, is currently in Toronto helping Metrolinx implement the Regional Express Rail project, a large scale transformation of the GO Rail network. He spoke with U of T News about what Toronto can learn from London’s successes and missteps.

- "You have to learn from other cities. You can't just learn from your own city because it's probably too long ago. London learned from Vancouver when it built the SkyTrain. I worked on the first line in the early 1980s, and London copied it with the Docklands Light Railway, an automated, elevated system that other cities around the world have also copied. But Toronto still learns only from itself so it only wants to build subways and streetcar lines."

- "Toronto only thinks about the capital costs. It assumes that a railway always loses money and doesn't do analysis of business cases – so you have plans like the Scarborough subway, which is supposed to replace the Scarborough RT but obviously won't attract any more passengers because it's going to do pretty much exactly the same thing as the existing line. And, it may actually cost more to operate than the RT it will replace."

- "The London Overground is a new service created by knitting together and electrifying surface railways. That's the lesson Toronto is learning with the Regional Express Rail project that's now going ahead. I'm a Toronto boy. I grew up in Toronto. I left Toronto in 1979 because I didn't think Toronto would do anything clever with railways for the next 30 years. I went to Vancouver and then London and built a lot of railways. Most of which have been successful but also a lot of mistakes were made."

- "Toronto needs to learn that transport is a business as well as a social service. You need to offer a better service quality – faster and more frequent trains, all day and on weekends. There's a line I use as a title of one of my chapters, which is credited to the mayor of Bogotá: the successful city isn't a place where the poor people have cars, but it's a city where the rich people use public transit."

- "Toronto is a potential railway metropolis. It's very dense, even in the suburbs. Even Scarborough and Mississauga are much denser than American suburbs. People don't realize that. Toronto has six freeway lanes in to the downtown. Houston has 43. Toronto has very little in the way of a freeway system. Rail is the only way to make Toronto keep growing, and luckily for Toronto, it's not too late – the corridors are there for the RER, and Toronto never had the problems American cities had that made “rich” people stop using transit."

.....



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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2017, 7:13 PM
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The biggest obstacle to private rail, I think, is whether or not governments will permit enough dense development for them to attract enough ridership for them to be profitable.

Where governments take a very laissez faire approach to planning (Japan) they can be very successful. But I don't think thats the case in the West unfortunately.
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Old Posted Jan 14, 2017, 4:37 AM
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Privatization is the way to go for the anglosphere. The attitude of City Hall towards private operators is vital even if the city has privatized its railway operations.



As mayor, Hylan railed against "the interests" and put in motion the building of the Independent Subway System, which would later become part of the New York City Subway.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Francis_Hylan
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Old Posted Jan 14, 2017, 12:08 PM
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The article has nothing to do with privatization, it just advocates a more creative, innovative approach to attracting choice riders rather sticking to a predicable "basics" approach that only attracts captive riders.
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Old Posted Jan 15, 2017, 2:44 AM
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We have seen what has happened with private operators in the past. Great to sell nearby real estate but it is awfully hard to compete against private vehicles. If you set prices to make a profit, you are going against only the very visible costs of operating a car, the most visible being parking costs and to a somewhat lesser degree, gas costs. Maintenance and capital costs are almost invisible when doing a cost comparison for the average person. So, go ahead and set a $10 fare for urban transit and see how far you go. And what happens on lines that have no hope of turning a profit? Abandon them? You may end up not serving many people well.
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Old Posted Jan 15, 2017, 4:40 AM
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I think his point is that transit should be seen as a business with the innovation and with growing the business as a model. This means being open to newer technologies like SkyTrain, open to at-grade and elevated and not just underground and taking the politics out of the equation so new lines are built with a solid business case of new potential riders and faster service so the service will go to where it's needed most and not what's politically palatable.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2017, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
We have seen what has happened with private operators in the past. Great to sell nearby real estate but it is awfully hard to compete against private vehicles. If you set prices to make a profit, you are going against only the very visible costs of operating a car, the most visible being parking costs and to a somewhat lesser degree, gas costs. Maintenance and capital costs are almost invisible when doing a cost comparison for the average person. So, go ahead and set a $10 fare for urban transit and see how far you go. And what happens on lines that have no hope of turning a profit? Abandon them? You may end up not serving many people well.
In Japan rail is profitable even before you take real estate into account:

http://www.jrtr.net/jrtr10/pdf/f02_sai.pdf
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2017, 4:14 PM
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I completely agree with the article. Transportation should be a monopoly, not just a business.
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Old Posted Jan 20, 2017, 7:34 PM
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America should privatize its railway assets and sell them to public.
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