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Trams - What Is The Business Case?  
User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5318 times:

Hi All,

Having lived in several large cities in Germany I noticed almost all of them have a tram service. So basically a subway running above ground.

I have always wondered if that is actually an efficient way to organize public transport or if it is politically motivated.

Building tram tracks on the roads requires expensive work applied to otherwise perfectly good streets. Also electrification of the tracks is very expensive.
Couldn't busses do the job just as well as trams? They could use regular roads which seems a lot cheaper. They could also drive around a blocked road if necessary.

I'm really not trying to bash trams just trying to understand why they are used! Thanks!

203 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4725 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5301 times:



Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):

Building tram tracks on the roads requires expensive work applied to otherwise perfectly good streets. Also electrification of the tracks is very expensive.

Try digging a tunnel...  Wink

Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):
Couldn't busses do the job just as well as trams? They could use regular roads which seems a lot cheaper. They could also drive around a blocked road if necessary.

It is all about Capacity. A tram (in this case the Combino trams which run in Amsterdam) can take 180 passengers, a normal citybus takes around 67 (the most used bus in Amsterdam). Another advantage of the tram is that runs on electricity and does not contaminate the air in the city.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5290 times:

Trams are far more efficient than busses.

Firstly they can draw all their power from electricity created at a very large power station. This probably halves the effective fuel consumption.

Secondly, metal on metal has a much lower rolling resistance than rubber on tarmac.

Thirdly they can form longer consists than buses because the track guides them round. So 3 cars is feasible. This creates more economy of scale and allows for more effective passenger movement.

So i'd imagine reasonably high start up costs, (though low compared to underground trains) but very low op costs.


User currently offlineRara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2170 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5290 times:

Buses use more fuel and are less efficient. They are noisier and smellier than an electrified car. They are also more likely to be stuck in traffic. Besides, trams are perceived as more comfortable by passengers.

Trams are better understood as competing with subways rather than buses. Trams are slower, but a lot cheaper to build. For that reason, there were especially popular in the Communist block.

Berlin is a good example; while the city was divided, East Berlin mainly developed its tram system while West Berlin abolished the tram altogether and built many new subway and bus lines.



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4721 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5290 times:



Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):
So basically a subway running above ground.

A subway is WAY more expensive than a tram, but also much more capable. Also, buses and trams tend to have a shorter distance between stops than underground systems.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5267 times:

Thanks for your replies guys

Quoting JRadier (Reply 1):
A tram (in this case the Combino trams which run in Amsterdam) can take 180 passengers, a normal citybus takes around 67

True, trams are larger, but wouldn't it be possible to build larger busses if you agreed to the same limitations as trams (only go on certain routes where the streets are wide enough)

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 2):
Firstly they can draw all their power from electricity created at a very large power station. This probably halves the effective fuel consumption.

Are you sure this is true? Power plant efficiency isn't all that great if not combined with heat generation (I believe somewhere around 20%)

Quoting Rara (Reply 3):
They are noisier and smellier than an electrified car.

While electric motors are certainly quieter, a tram going with steel wheels on steel tracks doesn't seem much quieter to my ears.

Quoting Rara (Reply 3):
They are also more likely to be stuck in traffic.

This is only true because trams tend to run on dedicated tracks. If you allowed that same luxury to busses, they wouldn't be more affected by traffic than trams.


User currently onlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4725 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5230 times:



Quoting Flexo (Reply 5):
True, trams are larger, but wouldn't it be possible to build larger busses if you agreed to the same limitations as trams (only go on certain routes where the streets are wide enough)

There is a reason the Aussies run their road-trains in the outback and not in the cities..... too dangerous.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5228 times:



Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):
Also electrification of the tracks is very expensive.

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If the electrification of the network already is in place, an additional route no longer is expensive

Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):
Couldn't busses do the job just as well as trams?

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No, neither from the capacity nor from the comfort. And costs of electrical trolley buses interestingly are higher


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20362 posts, RR: 59
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5221 times:

Trams have some advantages over buses. Here in San Francisco, we have an extensive tram system and an extensive system of caternary-wire electric buses.

Trams are light rail. Light rail is very useful because it combines the speed and safety of heavy rail with a degree of integration into city infrastructure that you can't get with heavy rail. Trams can be boarded from the street or from platforms.

Our trams sometimes run on the street at grade with the traffic and sometimes go on their own rights-of-way.

In San Francisco, a lot of the buses also use the overhead caternary wires, so the trams and buses can share those.

Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):

Couldn't busses do the job just as well as trams? They could use regular roads which seems a lot cheaper. They could also drive around a blocked road if necessary.

Well, to some degree they can do the job just as well, especially if they're electric-overhead buses like ours in SF. In some cities, they are starting to use a system called Bus Rapid Transit, which is where special roads are built for the buses to drive on, but no other traffic is allowed on those buses. If you think about it, the reason why buses are so slow is because of traffic. In Manhattan, the average speed of a city bus is 6 MPH. Yes, SIX miles per hour. In most cities, the average speed for a bus is 13-15 MPH. So if you could build special rights-of-way just for the buses, you would eliminate that disadvantage at much lower cost than building rail.

However, as JRadier pointed out, you can only make a bus so long before it becomes impossible to drive. You can add as many cars to a tram as you like.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26169 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5217 times:

What is the business case for any public transport?


I'd love to know of any transit systems that run at a profit. Seems subways/trams/busses are nothing more then government sinking huge sums of tax payer money down a sewer.

I'd rather see monies collected from things such as gasoline taxes and such go straight back by supporting infrastructure such as roads, bridges, then subsidizing loss making transit systems.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5211 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):

I'd love to know of any transit systems that run at a profit

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The idea of a public transport system is NOT to make profits, the only requirement is to cover costs. It is just as with education and public health and electricity and waste-disposal. Public duties which are to be paid.


User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5197 times:



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 8):
In Manhattan, the average speed of a city bus is 6 MPH. Yes, SIX miles per hour. In most cities, the average speed for a bus is 13-15 MPH. So if you could build special rights-of-way just for the buses, you would eliminate that disadvantage at much lower cost than building rail.

My point exactly, Manhattan's mass transit speed wouldn't grow if you switched the busses for trams because they'd be stuck in the same traffic. Sure, you could put more people in the trams but would that justify the cost of constructing rails and electrification for miles and miles?


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26169 posts, RR: 50
Reply 12, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5193 times:



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 10):
The idea of a public transport system is NOT to make profits, the only requirement is to cover costs

Show me some systems that cover their cost then?

At least here in the US government funnel billions into various metropolitan transit systems with fares only covering a small portion of the operating expenses.

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 10):
Public duties which are to be paid.

I strongly disagree.

Use of tax monnies on busses/subways is a collosal waste for the tax payer. Basically a terrible ROI for the cost involved.

If private companies want to run busses, shared ride vans, or taxis etc.. that is great, but not the government jobs. And for those other examples like electricy, trash disposal, health insurance I happily pay for those on a monthly basis via fees and are provided by private companies not the government either.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5193 times:



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 10):
The idea of a public transport system is NOT to make profits

True, but I'd still like them to go with the cheapest option that does the job for the city and not the "fanciest", hence my question about the tram business case.

Unfortunately when public money is involved that is sometimes forgotten.


User currently onlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4725 posts, RR: 50
Reply 14, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5180 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):

I'd love to know of any transit systems that run at a profit. Seems subways/trams/busses are nothing more then government sinking huge sums of tax payer money down a sewer.

The point is not making money, it is providing transport to the masses. Imagine not having public transport and everyone taking a car (although a lot of people won't be able to afford it). A tipical rushhour bus carries 30+ people in the space of 2-3 cars. If those people would drive themselves that would mean at least 15 cars. See the traffic gridlocks appearing? Ever wondered how much that costs?



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 15, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5179 times:

Of course, there are also people who will lobby for an inefficient system, just to avoid having to build or operate a tram. We see it in Hamburg all the time.

In Hamburg, which has shut down the tram in 1977, we desperately need it back again, as we're facing constant overfilling of buses, plus expanding our U- and S-Bahn-System is simply too expensive. One of the examples of failed U-Bahn-Expansion is the old U4, which should have connected the Airport, and then through Sengelmannstraße, go on a north-south route to Central Station, Jungfernstieg and Altona, and from there to Lurup. Part of that infrastructure (specifically the empty platforms at Jungfernstieg), will now be used for the new U4, which will share lines with the U2 (once the U3 has been restored as the ring line) between Billstedt and Jungfernstieg, and from Jungfernstieg take a 270 turn to head down to the HafenCity.

Take a look at the Metrobus line 5 in Hamburg. It's one of the busiest public bus routes in all of Europe, and no matter how many double-articulated buses are offered, it still doesn't cover all capacity needs. A tram would help ease those capacity shortcomings, even if it means using a tram in triple-traction, plus it will be a much cleaner alternative. Sure, you could build an U-Bahn there, and there were plans for a possible line, that would go from Stephansplatz (connecting with the U1 and Dammtor station) to Niendorf-Markt (connecting with the U2), but it's too expensive to build at this stage, even though the passenger figures would justify such a move. In any case, the tram would help de-congest the roads, by employing buses only as re-inforcement for it and restricting buses only to places the tram can't reach and where a tram can't be justified.

The Greens in Hamburg (I'm by no means a supporter of those treehuggers, but I do agree with them on this subject) have been pressing for the re-introduction of the tram, however it gets either lost in all their internal disputes, or it's major coalition partner does little if anything to stick to its commitment to the tram. Plus there is the anti-tram lobby, which will do anything to stop its construction. Construction of the "new" tram in Hamburg should start in 2012 for a first line that will connect Bramfeld with the U1 station Lattenkamp, however chances are slim that it's going to happen.

One of the biggest opponents of the tram in Hamburg has always been the SPD, they are also suspected to have been historically influenced by an anti-tram lobby led by Daimler-Benz, while OTOH the CDU has been indifferent on the matter. Even the head of the Hochbahn (the operator of the U-Bahn and previous operator of the tram), Mr Günter Elste (a member of the SPD), opposes a single system tram and would rather prefer that the existing U-Bahn be expanded in the form of a lightrail system named U-Stadtbahn (aka Elste-Bahn), a mixed metro and tram, which would directly connect to the U-Bahn system. The Elste-Bahn is no solution for us, because Hamburg's U-Bahn has been established as a single metro system, and the low-floor tram would prove to be more effective if it was run as a single system tram as well.

Personally, if Hamburg should get a tram, I'm all for it. We simply can't afford interim solutions that will become permanent no matter what.


User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5154 times:



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 15):
A tram would help ease those capacity shortcomings, even if it means using a tram in triple-traction, plus it will be a much cleaner alternative

So from what I gathered sort of between the lines of your post, you would think of a tram as a system that offers greater capacity than busses and should be built where the speed and cost of a subway would still be unjustified but busses can't cope?

How about simply offering more busses in quick succession to keep up with demand? I'm not sure what costs more, the extra pay for the additional bus drivers or the cost of constructing tracks but my gut says tracks are more expensive even in the long run.


User currently offlineWithaK From Australia, joined Apr 2007, 255 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5153 times:



Quoting Flexo (Reply 11):
My point exactly, Manhattan's mass transit speed wouldn't grow if you switched the busses for trams because they'd be stuck in the same traffic. Sure, you could put more people in the trams but would that justify the cost of constructing rails and electrification for miles and miles?

It all depends on the infrastructure that is put in place. If you set up a tram system where traffic and tram didn't meet the trams would run quite fast. Same as if dedicated roads were set up for buses. In a city such as Manhattan this wouldn't be practical though. Unless appropriate infrastructure is in place any public transport system is useless whether it be heavy rail, light rail or buses.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):

I don't think it is as simple as fares not covering the cost of implementing and running a public transport system. What also has to be taken into account is the worth of moving a group of people from point a to point b. For instance getting the masses from their suburban homes to the CBD of a city. The more people that can easily get to work the more business that can be done generating more taxes for the government.

Kris


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20362 posts, RR: 59
Reply 18, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5145 times:



Quoting Flexo (Reply 11):

My point exactly, Manhattan's mass transit speed wouldn't grow if you switched the busses for trams because they'd be stuck in the same traffic. Sure, you could put more people in the trams but would that justify the cost of constructing rails and electrification for miles and miles?

Manhattan's solution was to build a North-South subway line down 2nd avenue with poor connectivity to the rest of the system. Then they have essentially decided that the NYC transit system is "complete" and requires no further construction.

Of course, there is still no cross-town service above Central Park (or through it), but that's OK. You can do that on a bus. In about one hour. I can actually walk across Central Park faster than a bus will take me. Pathetic, really.


User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 19, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5145 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
The idea of a public transport system is NOT to make profits, the only requirement is to cover costs

Show me some systems that cover their cost then?

ZVV, VBZ, SBB/CFF/FFS and many others here in Switzerland HAVE to cover their costs, and generally DO so. And I think many of the railways-companies in Europe also HAVE to cover their costs and like SBB/CFF/FFS even are modestly profitable. And much the same applies to companies in the Arab World, in Africa and Asia, which do NOT get money from the state but rather have to give money TO the state.
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
I strongly disagree.
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Use of tax monnies on busses/subways is a collosal waste for the tax payer

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you can DISagree as strongly as you want. You in this may find majorities in the USA, but not in the world. People understand that decent public transport not only is good for the environment and positive for the development of the cities and to solve the traffic problems but also a social way to help young and elderly and poor people.
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
If private companies want to run busses, shared ride vans, or taxis etc.. that is great

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Taxis are for exceptional requirements but not for normal daily transportation, and why should companies run buses at acceptable tariffs with low profits ? If you run a bus at highly profitable tariffs, it is of zero-value for the community.
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
I happily pay for those on a monthly basis via fees and are provided by private companies not the government either.

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You are free to be happy when paying taxes and fees, the point is that all over the world, fairly often the duties I mentioned ARE carried out by private companies under licence of the public administration. The private companies make their bills to the village, or town or city or Canton or the Union, depending on the service they provide.
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Quoting Flexo (Reply 13):
True, but I'd still like them to go with the cheapest option that does the job for the city and not the "fanciest", hence my question about the tram business case.

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Trams in the end ARE the cheapest option, not fancy but boring in a way. But clearly THE cheapest and most efficient option available
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User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26169 posts, RR: 50
Reply 20, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5143 times:



Quoting JRadier (Reply 14):
Imagine not having public transport and everyone taking a car

I'm all for cars. - provides much more flexibility then a static bus/train network.

Quoting JRadier (Reply 14):
. If those people would drive themselves that would mean at least 15 cars. See the traffic gridlocks appearing? Ever wondered how much that costs?

The billions that go into transit systems can be much better spent on actual road infrastructure then sunk into endless loss making transit systems.

The transit authority here has figured out that dollar for dollar each mile of concrete poured in new or expanded roads is far cheaper over its lifespan then running a transit system over that same mile.
For instance we are constantly having roads expanded from 3 to 4 lanes, freeways from 6 to 8 lanes in each direction etc.. those are all worthwhile projects along with bridges, tunnels, new traffic signal systems etc. And most of these cost are self funded via gasoline taxes from its users, and not a financial burden on others.

And for those that cant afford cars if there are enough of them free enterprise will undoubtably come up with private bus, shared ride van services that can transport these people.

I just see not justification for the need to burden all citizens to subsidize endless loss making transit systems into infinidum.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20362 posts, RR: 59
Reply 21, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5139 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):

Use of tax monnies on busses/subways is a collosal waste for the tax payer. Basically a terrible ROI for the cost involved.

The ROI on roads is FAR worse. Do you know what France's SNCF makes in a year?


User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5134 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):
For instance we are constantly having roads expanded from 3 to 4 lanes, freeways from 6 to 8 lanes in each direction etc.. those are all worthwhile projects

Well, you do realize that this is simply not an option for cities such as New York City, Chicago and the like, right?
Maybe in the midwest in medium sized cities like Kansas City, Tulsa or St. Louis that might work but not for really large cities.


User currently onlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4725 posts, RR: 50
Reply 23, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5131 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):

The transit authority here has figured out that dollar for dollar each mile of concrete poured in new or expanded roads is far cheaper over its lifespan then running a transit system over that same mile.

the word 'here' is the clue. Not every place on earth is SoCal. In general cities and their surroundings are a lot more compact in Europe changing the whole equation. While I'm for more highway lanes, there is just no space in a lot of places to upgrade the whole infrastructure.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 24, posted (6 years 2 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5126 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):
Imagine not having public transport and everyone taking a car
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I'm all for cars. -

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Sure, but places would be OVERfilled without decent public transport
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):
we are constantly having roads expanded from 3 to 4 lanes

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If you have space for additional lanes still, well, nice for you. But in older cities there is no space for such expansions.
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):
The transit authority here has figured out that dollar for dollar each mile of concrete poured in new or expanded roads is far cheaper over its lifespan then running a transit system over that same mile.

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Not least as they in case of the roads only calculate the construction costs, and so their figuring simply is wrong
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):
for those that cant afford cars if there are enough of them free enterprise will undoubtably come up with private bus, shared ride van services that can transport these people.

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No, there undoubtedly is NOT .....................
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 20):
subsidize endless loss making transit systems

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the transit systems, if operated seriously, are NOT "endless loss making"
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Quoting Flexo (Reply 22):
in medium sized cities like Kansas City, Tulsa or St. Louis that might work but not for really large cities.

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it may still work in parts of Greater Los Angeles which in a strange way is NOT a "city" but a conurbation, but I fail to see it in downtown San Francisco, for example


25 DocLightning : Have you TRIED to drive anywhere in LA lately? I got caught in a traffic jam at 9:30 on a Saturday morning! I got caught in a traffic jam at 10:30 on
26 LAXintl : Do it every day without complaints actually. If you know your way around there are often dozens of alternate routes, with other roads paralleling you
27 Post contains links AverageUser : If you're referring to the operator level, at least VR Group (Finland, State-owned) posted a net profit of EUR 66.4 million in 2007. http://www.vrgro
28 SR117 : Japan also has a signifiant amount of it's population moving by public transport. There is absolutely no way that roads by themselves could meet Japa
29 Post contains links JRadier : Although I haven't been to Japan (I will next month) I'd like to say you are contradicting yourself. Sure, there has been a lot of road construction
30 DocLightning : That's not because public transport is a bad idea. Public transport is a GREAT idea. Public transport LA-style is a bad idea. The way you do it is yo
31 JRadier : I have to admit, you had me laughing!
32 RwSEA : Why are transit systems supposed to pay for themselves, yet roads aren't? Are you suggesting that all roads are tolled in order to ensure that they t
33 LAXintl : Not really. As much as you guys want to espouse the point that the government as part of social responsibility needs to provide busses/subways etc..,
34 LAXintl : Funding for transportation infrastructure is directly from things such as gasoline taxes, state vehicle registrations etc.. So in essance, the end us
35 DocLightning : What do you propose as an alternative? You misunderstand the difference between privatization and free market. Private ATC systems exist, but the gov
36 BA : Since you're from So Cal, I can see why you have such a negative and pessimistic attitude towards public transit. Unfortunately, the Greater LA area
37 LAXintl : Planes, cars work just fine for me to get around the state. Don't need $80-90 Billion public debt to replicate a North-South connection which Southwe
38 NicoEDDF : *First to say: no pun intended and Second to say: maybe I would think differently living in greater LA* What your way of seeing things is not conside
39 LAxintl : For the record I am not. I was born overseas and lived many years in various places including a decade in 4 European countries I do however very much
40 Post contains links FruteBrute : LMAO! And some wonder why LA has become a smog covered shit hole. Gasoline taxes and fees don't go to mass transit. Sorry but gasoline taxes don't ev
41 LAXintl : Maybe shit hole for you - but paradise to many. I could say the same about NYC which I detest after working there for 5 years, but many others love.
42 NicoEDDF : Yes, he stated that somewhere above
43 LTU932 : A tram would be, capacity wise, more flexible than a bus, this is an advantage that it got from the heavy-rail S-Bahn and the tram's non-roadbound si
44 AviationMaster : and again Couldn't have said it better myself. IMO we wouldn't be having this discussion right now, if there had always been a constant investment in
45 Post contains links FruteBrute : I couldn't agree more. Eisenhower got the highway spending enacted by calling it a "defense project", much like Reagan got our GPS system funded by c
46 DocLightning : When was the last time you flew up and down the coast? The last time I did the flight was delayed for 90 minutes both ways because of air traffic. Wh
47 LAXintl : Couple weeks back. Do it again next week. Generaly I've had very good experiences except into SFO during winter months when its raining. But OAK, SJC
48 DocLightning : I think the ridership is horribly underestimated. It will REPLACE air travel between SF and LA. It will be on time >99% of the time. And it will be f
49 LAXintl : Well the ridership estimates are what they are an I suppose determined by lots of smart folks that look at things such as this. For replacing or hurt
50 NicoEDDF : Unfortunately you didn't answer to my previous, long post, but what you state here is plain wrong. At the time of inflexible state airlines, the rail
51 LTBEWR : Going back to trams, one of the newest and most successful tram (light rail) systems in the USA is that of New Jersey Transit with a line running from
52 Francoflier : In the context of this thread, this becomes especially ironic since most of these defense expenditures are spent securing Oil income for the US to ke
53 LAXintl : Well the assumptions of one of the best managed airlines in the US is different. -- And I tend agree with them. There simply is not a train culture i
54 LTU932 : Not to mention that by train, you're saving lots of time that you may have spent on the A5 and A7 to Hamburg stuck in a traffic jam. Sure, taking the
55 DocLightning : The optimum replacement distance is about 750 KM at 250 km/h. That's a 3 hour trip. At that point air travel usually breaks even. That's more than 33
56 IH8BY : Doesn't work everywhere, and you do have the issue of congestion. There aren't any cars in the centre of Oxford, but you still can get traffic jams i
57 Post contains links Toulouse : I agree, it's a public service, part of what we pay atxes for, but if they make a profit, better, and to answer LAXintl, here you go: LUAS, the light
58 JRadier : So basically I and a couple of others shot down your ideas about public transport in Japan, both from an operational and financial point of view, yet
59 Post contains images NAV20 : The old saying here is, "In Calcutta the cows are sacred - in Melbourne, it's the trams......."   In 1837 a far-sighted surveyor called Robert Hoddle
60 JRadier : You do make some relevant remarks, but the way I see it the problem is not the trams themselves, but the way they are implemented into the city.
61 Flexo : But isn't this only true because the train tracks are dedicated to the trains alone? It seems a fair comparison would only be possible if you built a
62 Post contains images AverageUser : A compromise solution has recently emerged:
63 NAV20 : Very good point which I can unreservedly support, Flexo. Thing is, private vehicles always contain at least one person who considers their journey es
64 RJ111 : LA probably wouldn't benefit much from public transport, because it grew up around the car, and thus the car still works for it. London grew up around
65 Baroque : If someone else answered, I apologise, but I did not see an answer "on the way through". A coal-fired power station should be about 42% gross, with n
66 NAV20 : Turning in soon, Baroque old mate. If that terrific new process happens overnight, ring me up and we'll both crack a bottle of champagne to celebrate
67 ME AVN FAN : - If less than 10% use the system, something is wrong, either with the system or with the residents. Something is absolutely wrong. It may be the lar
68 LAXintl : Well lets get back to this Its nice to hear that a few systems such as Swiss, Dublin, Tokyo do show profit but these are clearly in the minority. I ju
69 Post contains links LAxintl : Well the ridership numbers are that they are. The Los Angeles MTA has a very modern and dense network http://www.metro.net/riding_metro/maps/images/S
70 ME AVN FAN : - No, it is the MAJority ! - You have to split the costs. The private transport also is consisting of various components, and the construction of roa
71 RJ111 : Mass transit systems aren't usually there to show a profit, they're there to boost the desirability of the city and indirectly generate a profit in ot
72 Flexo : I doubt it. At least in Germany the railway service (Deutsche Bahn) usually has the tracks subsidized by the taxpayer. For example the high speed con
73 JRadier : So we changed from 'no profits' to 'a few profits'.... it will only take us another 47 years (give or take a few) to convince you .
74 DocLightning : Data. Show me the data. It has everything to do with it. You are so into "small government" that you don't want the government to do its job, which i
75 ME AVN FAN : - I quite on intent kept THIS aspect separate. I was in L.A. in 1976 and in fact, from everything I see, read and hear, most is unchanged ! If there
76 Scorpio : Up until high speed rail became available, there wasn't much of a 'rail culture' left here for longer-distance intercity traffic either. But that all
77 Post contains images Klaus : LAxintl, from what I've seen, your arguments can be compressed into this: • You're not used to public transport • Your home and workplace happen t
78 ME AVN FAN : - nice, but the McCain voters have their own lodigings, AND are to rely on their motor car - - No, the systems mentioned are the MAJORITY ! And this
79 57AZ : Actually, LA didn't grow up around the car. It grew up around public transport-Los Angeles Street Railway and the Pacific Electric Railway. Those two
80 DocLightning : The same thing happened in Detroit, though. And Detroit, because it's not in LA's geographical position, is now completely devastated. The cars did i
81 LAXintl : I dont think you will ever convince me that government should be in the business of running busses or subsidizing transit systems. I'll work on getti
82 DocLightning : *deleted* (filler filler filler)[Edited 2008-10-26 14:44:04]
83 DocLightning : Cost per mile is a useless number that says nothing to the cost per passenger. Same business the government has building roads, sea ports, and airpor
84 Scorpio : See, here's where the problem is with that: If you let public transport be run by private companies, at the conditions of those private companies, wh
85 JRadier : Not a burden for you, however, it might come as a surprise there are people that can not afford a car, what about them?
86 LAXintl : Building a road or airport is one thing -- government running an airline or bus service is something different. Just dont see the government being in
87 LAXintl : No not at all. I'm quite aware(used to) the existance of multiple bus and subway lines in Los Angeles. There are a few lines within blocks of my home
88 DocLightning : Yes, but that's only the maintenance budget. Once a subway segment is built, it's a lot cheaper per passenger mile than a road is. And your figure do
89 Klaus : I also like the flexibility of the car — occasionally and in certain contexts. Long-term mobility policy is not one of these, though. The car is an
90 AviationMaster : Of course not. Due to the small size of the respective countries and therefore the limited domestic market, Air France or Lufthansa do not rely on it
91 Scorpio : That makes you merely 'aware of the existance' of the system. It doesn't make you used to them in any way, shape or form. Being aware of something an
92 JRadier : I've told him that before, he ignores all the major points and nitpicks on the things he has a rebuttal on.
93 ME AVN FAN : It is because he does NOT understand the major points ...............
94 WunalaYann : Indeed, which requires a copious amount of tax money. You have given your opinion on the business case for public transport and not just trams. We ar
95 DocLightning : To some degree. There are a number of clusters of population centers in the U.S. SF/LA/SD is one. Houston/Dallas/San Antonio is another. Chicago/Minn
96 Post contains links WunalaYann : For information, ORY-MRS was 63% air and the rest by rail in 2001, before the completion of the 860km HSR. Today, it is above 70%, and up to 90% on t
97 Klaus : Exactly my point: Some connections would be attractive even now, some others might be added as the cost of flying climbs, some would probably remain
98 Post contains links LAXintl : Here are the ones in Orange County -- $4 billion worth of highway infrastructure funded with virtually no taxpayer dollars. http://www.tcagencies.com
99 Klaus : You just want heavy road subsidies. Which means all your clamoring against government involvement in transportation is a big pile of horse manure.
100 PPVRA : Thing is, LAX-SFO is still longer than MUC-HAM, and I've done this route both by rail and air--and air is better. MUC-HAM by rail took about 6 hours b
101 LAXintl : Not at all - I dont know about Germany, but atleast here in California roadways and their users pay for themselves with money left over. For instance
102 WunalaYann : Less than an insanely high amount of something is still unbearable. Having been to Los Angeles, and comparing it to Paris or London, I can tell you t
103 PPVRA : Hopefully sooner rather than later. Do they have an express service? The TGV also has a big advantage. We are talking 200-250km/h, your average HSR.
104 Baroque : So would it not be better if you licensed a number of competing private companies to set up competing privately owned road networks? They would need
105 Post contains links WunalaYann : Goodness, no. HSR really starts at 250 km/h!! I tell you, SNCF is testing its new gen TGV at 360 km/h. Hang on to your hat!! Absolutely true. But the
106 57AZ : Well, we'll have to if you consider the fact that oil peak is only thirty to forty years off. We're nowhere near where we'll need to be in order to a
107 LAXintl : Well I dont know what 45mins in public transport distance would be. I can share that based on LAWA landside operations statististics, in 2006 - 70% o
108 WunalaYann : 10l/100km of Euro 3 is much, much, much, much more damaging to the environment than 10l/100 km of Euro 5. And that is not taken into account by the f
109 DocLightning : It's a 4-hour flight and by HSR in a straight line at 300KPH all the way it would be about 12... I was wondering why it was so expensive... It just s
110 WunalaYann : Good point across the board. Now that I think of it, there is also one major advantage to trams as opposed to what LAXIntl suggests - no need to dig
111 Scorpio : You're not addressing a single one of the points I raised! You tell us you don't see a reason for the government to be involved, we give you a good o
112 NicoEDDF : Yes, you are so right. I tried it with my below standing reply 38. Not a single comment to it. Guess its not worth the time...opportunity cost are to
113 Klaus : It could still be a viable alternative, especially with sleeper cars. Among other things it depends on the relative costs of rail vs. air travel. And
114 Klaus : Not necessarily. German cities are usually much older than the introduction of either car or tram, so one solution has been to mix dedicated tracks w
115 AviationMaster : Not only that, if the big investment in public transport infrastructure will only happen once it becomes an absolute necessity, then it will end up c
116 RayChuang : There's one problem with trams/light rail: you have to put in a lot of infrastructure to support them, and that means the cost per kilometer/mile won'
117 ME AVN FAN : A) Public transport is both, a social benefit AND a solution to the infrastructure and traffic problem - B) Public transport has to be organized from
118 Charles79 : I really can't add anything that has not been said already in this thread, except the thought that if indeed you live in Los Angeles then you must be
119 Klaus : The absolute cost in $ or € per track kilometer is almost completely irrelevant — what counts is the cost per actual passenger kilometer. And tha
120 LAXintl : The average personal vehicle registration fee was $121 according to DMV stats. Off course as you know that the fee varies based on your cars age and
121 Flexo : I would really like to see actual figures about that, do you have a link?
122 JRadier : Oh really? Would you like me to point out all facts and rebuttals we have made that you haven't replied to?
123 Post contains links WunalaYann : Wrong again. As I said, the infrastructure already exists, it is called a "road". You just need to lay the tracks on it, build stops, put the trolley
124 LAxintl : Sure - but it comes down to your calculation that transit systems are a social responsability versus mine that they are not. Its far from being that
125 JRadier : You might want to read some posts again..... " target=_blank>http://www.vrgroup.fi/index/VRGroup/....html Where do you see the 'social responsibility
126 WunalaYann : Nobody said it was free. Now do you have similar data for the cost of a new freeway? Put it against the cost per passenger kilometre of public rail a
127 LAXintl : Btw - its worth noting that having societies resistant to mass public transport do not make them opposed to sustainability. California even with our
128 WunalaYann : California may be good in "various environmental fields" but not with the environment itself, which remains the point. Again, your own air "quality"
129 LAXintl : Well the latest info I saw for public freeways was for the 18mile I-105 in Los Angeles in 1993 which cost $123mil per mile for basically a 6 lane eac
130 Post contains links LAXintl : And here they are.. http://www.aqmd.gov/smog/o3trend.html The air is significantly better then ever before. Look back 10, 20 or 30 years and Los Ange
131 Post contains links WunalaYann : My figures for tram routes are much, much, much lower than what you indicate in your posts. http://melbpt.wordpress.com/2007/09/...ting-tram-line-con
132 LAXintl : I'll research it - dont recall ever seeing figures for trams outside private parks here in LA. I believe however there are likely concerns about traf
133 WunalaYann : Forgive my rudeness but the figures are still absolutely shit. And one needs only open one's eyes to look (or more like, to not be able to look) and
134 WunalaYann : Sounds right. Goes with very densely populated areas, mixed with breathtaking sceneries (read: seriously challenging engineering issues). But a tram
135 NAV20 : The trouble with all forms of project estimates (not just tramways ) is that it is eminently possible to include or exclude costs under various headi
136 WunalaYann : No different from a road project. In simple terms...
137 LAXintl : Might be shit to you - but a great improvement anyhow. And why or how should we bar people to move further a field in search of bigger or better opti
138 WunalaYann : Who's "we"? Don't count me in them. $4 one way is outrageously expensive. To give you an idea, a two-zone ticket in Paris costs €1.5 and you can st
139 Post contains links NAV20 : Except that the cost/benefit analysis of a new road project would naturally be largely based on greater capacity reducing congestion, YunalaYann. The
140 LAXintl : Personaly I dont think so -- thats the price of a coffee at Starbucks and 1/10 of the taxi fare. But in reality you can ride it for free if you have
141 WunalaYann : Just plain wrong. Sorry. There is no requirement to produce a licence if you started working as a driver before 1978. But they do have a licence, if
142 57AZ : Given that it's the only alternative presented to them, that's understandable. Actually, they didn't vote with their pocketbooks. They chose cars bec
143 WunalaYann : AF's buses account for almost jack squat of public transport ridership to and from CDG. SNCF charges €8.4 one way from downtown Paris, while giving
144 Post contains links NAV20 : Just a bit of a 'generation gap' there, WunalaYann! So far as I recall, those reports were written in 1985 - just before the City Loop came into oper
145 57AZ : True. Here in Tucson, Old Pueblo Trolley, Inc. requires operators to possess a Commercial Driver's License with Passenger Bus and Air Brake endorseme
146 WunalaYann : I wish, my friend. I could tell you of frustrated tram drivers who would recount the many times they would pick up a lazy arse at one stop only to se
147 JRadier : This illustrates my point perfectly, you're not reading! What I said was: The point was that although there are several fact based points AGAINST you
148 Post contains links NAV20 : Doubt that I'd have been able to help you, chum. My business was always facts and figures and cold logic and making realistic judgments - I learned e
149 ME AVN FAN : Not a "God given right" but an essential part of a working community, AND necessary in order to get people OFF their cars and onto public transport.
150 DocLightning : I find it very difficult to believe that a private company could step in and offer service that covers all of LA. It would become horribly inconvenie
151 Post contains images AverageUser : I just thought I'd illustrate the versatility of trams. The pictures come from our capital. Sharing with rubber-wheeled traffic and crossing its path
152 Post contains images ME AVN FAN : here some photos of tram-traffic in Zurich [img]http://www.proaktiva.ch/tram/photo/zurich/061127_01.jpg[/img the one below shows that Zurich is a bit
153 PPVRA : Shows how much n rail.netter I am. There's a couple of nice lakes, but not a heck of a lot more. We were in the city a lot. Definitely. Very nice! If
154 WunalaYann : My point exactly, and I commend you for acting on your concerns for the environment. You probably spent $5k more than what you would have paid for, s
155 PPVRA : Haha I wish, I'm part German, so I'm not too distinguishable from the locals Good points. Oh yes, I've heard plenty!
156 ME AVN FAN : - This does not say anything negative about your "appeal" or the one of those with you !
157 AM744 : Keeping the economy running by taking the masses where they need to go. It is not supposed to be a business. Me too, unfortunately it is not sustaina
158 PPVRA : You are correct, but there is clear evidence that when you don't really look average to the locals, you are thus "exotic" in their eyes, which can be
159 ME AVN FAN : - and you get stared at rather too often for real comfort ! even if the difference to the "average" is relatively minor ......... -
160 NAV20 : If it is 'not supposed to be a business,' why charge fares at all, AM744? Of course, the point is that over 70% of city journeys worldwide are occasi
161 JRadier : It looks like LAXintl has left the building!
162 Post contains images PPVRA : The idea is to find out the most efficient mix of different modes of transport through price discovery. Once each mode is priced according to the val
163 PPVRA : Whoops, forgot to add the description of the asterisk: *people don't buy sports cars because they are efficient
164 ME AVN FAN : - Towns, Cities, States, Countries usually expect such public transport enterprises to cover the costs. Few communities have the money to make public
165 LAXintl : I'm still here Its just useless to discuss the subject anylonger as we both have very varied views regarding any benefits or need of urban transit sy
166 ME AVN FAN : - Well, if you lived in Amsterdam or Zurich, you also might at times or most of the times to go by public transport, due to the narrowness of the two
167 57AZ : Doubt you'll be "happy" once the economy improves. Soon as that happens, $4 gallon gas will be back. Don't forget increased property taxes to pay for
168 LAXintl : Well I've lived in Brussels, Madrid, Stockholm and Istanbul and found private cars still the best and most convienent option, with occasional taxi us
169 NAV20 : But let's put the third leg on the stool, PPVRA - you've already paid out the extra disposable income that you WOULD have had in the form of taxes to
170 DocLightning : Well that's true for everything. Schools, hospitals, military, police. That's the point of a government.
171 WunalaYann : Postal services are a public service yet you pay for it. Are you saying there should not be stamps? Running around the garden in circles, aren't we?
172 Post contains images PPVRA : Very true! You end up paying one way or another, much of it would be simply a shift. But you are empowered to decide where and how those funds will b
173 WunalaYann : Personal preferences do not make a business case. Everybody would like to tele-transport for free and safely everywhere and not have to rely on cars,
174 WunalaYann : Oh please, no. I'm much too happy living off the dole (aka your taxes). More seriously, your point about not being able to compare modes like-for-lik
175 NAV20 : Not the ideal example from your point of view, WunalaYann. Australia Post used to make a ginormous loss and now more than breaks even. Pleased to say
176 WunalaYann : Well it was a good example then - even when they were public and losing bags of money every second, you still paid for the stamps. Public service whi
177 NAV20 : All seems to bear out what I said earlier, WunalaYann :- Being as brief as I can:- 1. Road space - just imagine St. Kilda Road, Collins Street, even B
178 DocLightning : That's only because they haven't caught you yet. Completely unfair. There should be no alternative to owning a car so that EVERYONE has to own a car
179 AM744 : I do not agree with bloated subsides either, maybe the sweet spot would be for revenue to be as close as possible to operating costs.
180 NAV20 : Couldn't find out even WITH a search, DocLightning. Look forward to hearing who it was? Spot on, in my view. Exactly what I'm arguing for. In which c
181 WunalaYann : No truck or car or bus brings me to work. Only my legs do. So my production is free of road use. How do you intend to account for that in the value a
182 Post contains images NAV20 : Great fun, WunalaYann!   Sudden vision of you sitting on a cushion in your unfurnished apartment, starving to death, because you couldn't get any fur
183 DocLightning :
184 Scorpio : Excellent question, and one the lawmakers in the city of Hasselt, Belgium, asked themselves some years back. So they decided to stop charging for bus
185 ME AVN FAN : Wherever you may have lived, you carried your mentality with you, as we all do when relocating. And while I on visits found public transport in Bruss
186 NAV20 : Interesting, Doc- but I'll venture to say that I know the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence better than at least some Americans (I
187 StealthZ : Puzzled a little about how much of the Kings ransom you pay for your South Yarra/Paddington residence contributes to the public transport system but
188 Post contains links FruteBrute : You have got to be kidding. It's in the preamble. http://onlinesocialstudies.mpls.k12..../Preamble_to_the_Constitution.html
189 NAV20 : Sorry guys - completely misread Doc's post. I was looking at these words:-
190 57AZ : Actually, postal services were established to carry GOVERNMENT mails-official communications between government officers. The sale of stamps permits
191 Post contains links DocLightning : http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.preamble.html Well that explains it. I was really starting to wonder there.
192 PPVRA : Yup, and those responsible should be put in jail. On the other hand, private firefighting still exists today. A recent fire in a sugar plant near Sav
193 PPVRA : The USPS has a legal monopoly on first class mail. That is, you are not allowed to open a company and compete with the government service.[Edited 200
194 57AZ : Partially true. While the United States Postal Service does have a monopoly on First Class Mail, that does not prohibit private couriers to compete w
195 PPVRA : A simple envelope? I've never seen anything smaller than those thick paper envelopes at Fedex or UPS. Anyways, I don't think dropping a thin envelope
196 ME AVN FAN : - True of course. And worse to come in so far as for the trucking transport, your standard transportation instruction with full details is perfectly
197 WunalaYann : Ok, I will try to wrap this one up. I am absolutely NOT making the case against the road. Never did, never will. Heck, what sort of transport speciali
198 Post contains links Seb146 : Here in PDX, we have two types of "at grade" trams: Streetcar and MAX. I assume the OP is asking about what we in PDX would call Streetcar. Check out
199 Post contains links NAV20 : Don't disagree at all in principle, WunalaYann. The whole of our modern lifestyle is predicated on government, at various levels, providing services
200 Melpax : I remember when that extension was built (and before) my local council (City of Knox) campaigned to have the line extended to Knox City shopping cent
201 ME AVN FAN : - Looks like a nice public transport system !
202 AlexEU : I love trams. City that has trams also has soul... Here are advantages and disadvantages of tram system, according to wikipedia Advantages * Multiple
203 ME AVN FAN : - and > you can far better read newspapers than in buses > new trams have entries which are on the same level as the waiting area - in Zurich, a tram
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