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In San Francisco, All-Door Boarding Catches On

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-02-11 04:24 PM
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In San Francisco, All-Door Boarding Catches On

from the Transport Politic blog:

Unlike underground metros or elevated trains, road-running streetcars and buses suffer from a significant slow-down: The time wasted waiting for people to board. The process is dreadfully sluggish in cities with well-used transit systems as large numbers of customers at popular stops are forced to line up at the front door and swipe their tickets or pay their fares in cash. In most cases, customers are forbidden from entering the bus at the rear door, even if they have unlimited ride cards.

In dense cities, the result of these boarding difficulties are buses and trains that practically crawl down the street, even on corridors without much competing automobile traffic. In San Francisco at least, a solution is being studied: Allowing passengers to board at all doors, starting with a pilot program on the Muni Metro J-Church light rail line, which runs from downtown south into the Noe Valley and Balboa Park neighborhoods.

Theres nothing particularly controversial or revolutionary about San Franciscos proposal. Indeed, the concept of allowing people to get on a transit vehicle at any entryway is is not only standard on most rail networks and a basic component of most bus rapid transit investments, but it is also already in place for some customers on San Franciscos Muni Metro lines, which operate in a tunnel under Market Street downtown but for much of the remainder of their routes operate in shared lanes like streetcars. Whats different here is the goal to extend the process to all customers on all services.

San Francisco has some of the slowest transit speeds in the U.S., with the average Muni train or bus moving from place to place at a measly eight mph. Those slow speeds are an impediment to easy mobility throughout the city and discourage people from taking advantage of transit.* The causes of the slow speeds are multifarious: The fact that most rail and bus corridors are shared with automobiles, the high density of stops, and, of course, the requirement to board up front. The result have been disappointing reliability statistics: Most services arrive at their destinations on time less than 80% of the time. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: /

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