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Tue Sep 24, 2013, 04:53 PM

Seriously, Get on the Bus! New Analysis Shows Fiscal, Environmental Benefits of Buses

Okay there are red flags with this article, the big one being the backing by the Reason Foundation, which would be delighted to see Amtrak go away. Still, it's a shame this country lost the bus service it used to have.

I saw the article in the September 6 issue of Passenger Transport, the magazine of the American Public Transport Association.

http://passengertransport.apta.com/

http://passengertransport.apta.com/aptapt/issues/

Seriously, Get on the Bus! New Analysis Shows Fiscal, Environmental Be nefits of Buses
http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/aptapt/issues/2013-09-06/21.html

BY DERON LOVAAS, Director, Federal Transportation Policy, Energy, and Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council

As I’ve written, it’s high time buses received more attention and investment in this
country. Everyone loves to talk about other modes—especially bikes and trains—as the sine
qua non for energy-efficient, livable, and sustainable communities. Meanwhile, year in
and year out, ridership on buses eclipses other non-auto modes. They are oft-maligned
workhorses of the transportation system.
....

Now is the time to turn our attention to bus routes between cities. Right now more than
16,000 buses ply our roads, connecting nearly 2,800 cities and towns. This week, friends
at Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Reason Foundation, and the American Bus Association
Foundation released an analysis by respected consulting firm M.J. Bradley and Associates
comparing bus to Amtrak service linking 20 city pairs. One of the performance metrics
examined is air pollution, and buses shine here (although, to be clear, both modes shine
when compared to driving alone). The graph below illustrates this for heat-trapping
carbon dioxide pollution.
....

What about costs? Again, buses compare well. First the analysts examined fares charged,
finding that while they vary they are usually comparable on these routes. However, the
cost differential between them is huge, as you can see from the graph below.

How is the gap filled? If you guessed government subsidies, you are right, with two
exceptions: the Boston-New York City and Washington, D.C.-Lynchburg, VA stretches of
eastern corridor service. These latter routes actually make enough revenue to more than
pay for themselves. The analysts note that a few other routes pay for their operating
costs, but fall short when capital costs are included.
....

This post originally appeared Aug. 1 on “Switchboard,” a blog of the ­Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC). Reprinted with permission.





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Reply Seriously, Get on the Bus! New Analysis Shows Fiscal, Environmental Benefits of Buses (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2013 OP
Bay Boy Sep 2013 #1
PoliticAverse Sep 2013 #2
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2013 #3
KamaAina Sep 2013 #4
happyslug Oct 2013 #6
Blanks Sep 2013 #5

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 04:57 PM

1. Gawd...

...have you ever rode on a bus? The last one I took was from Mid-Michigan to Chicago. It stopped at EVERY GOD DAMNED city in-between. Awful. Pure HELL!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 04:58 PM

2. The prime advantage of buses is the roads tend to already exist. You don't need to build

tracks that may require seizing property using eminent domain law.

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 05:06 PM

3. Like Scanton, Pennsylvania, and Sayre, Pennsylvania, and ...

places where there used to be passenger trains. Years ago, I rode overnight from DC to Sayre on Capitol Trailways, I guess. I had to transfer in the middle of the night.

For people who don't own a car, it's the bus or hitchhiking. Some of them have that newfangled WiFi too.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Sep 25, 2013, 12:08 AM

4. *cough*capacity*cough*

 

Your basic intercity bus holds what, 44 people? You'd have to have ten of them leave at once to replace one train. And the air pollution metric assumes the trains are diesel, not electric.

P.S. I find it hard to believe that the Northeast Corridor segment between NYC and DC, the most heavily traveled in the country, does not pay for itself.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 02:29 PM

6. The article says that rail corridor is profitable

 


How is the gap filled? If you guessed government subsidies, you are right, with two exceptions: the Boston-New York City and Washington, D.C.-Lynchburg, VA stretches of eastern corridor service. These latter routes actually make enough revenue to more than pay for themselves. The analysts note that a few other routes pay for their operating costs, but fall short when capital costs are included.

The site does its best to muddle the picture, NYC to Washington does not make money?? But the Boston to NYC city AND DC to Lynchburg Va do???

Then you realize there are doing they best to minimize rail. Since New Jersey does SOME subsidy of its own rail system, that also "subsidizes" Amtrak in the same area. i.e. Amtack's stop in Jersey are subsidized becasue Jersey subsidizes its own rail system (as it does its bus system).

That New Jersey subsidy extends to Trains not only to NYC but to Philadephia. Pennsylvania provides SOME subsidy between Harrisburg and Philadephia so they can have 8-10 trains between those two cities, but like New Jersey's very minimal, less then what Pennsylvania gives to provide Bus Service in Pennsylvania.

I am less familar with Maryland, but the big line is between Philadelphia via Baltimore to DC NOT DC to Lynchburg VA.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2013, 10:43 AM

5. Buses would be a lot handier...

If the cities were built around them.

I lived in Germany for 3 years (1980-1983), and if you want to get anywhere by mass transit - you can.

I walked about 100 feet to the strassenbahn, which I rode to work (in the army) I had to walk about 100 yards to work.

I'd rather be able to walk a little way to catch some kind of mass transit and get where I'm going than have to dick around with parking. We went grocery shopping with a rolling/fold up basket, laundry same thing.

It is how we need to start designing our cities.

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