Monday, January 08, 2007

Mass Transit My Ass

We're always told that mass transit, ie- buses, car pool, vans, trains, etc. makes our transportation system more efficient. Of course, those who are doing the telling are typically leftists that want you to ignore what your eyes and empirical evidence tells you and instead heed the "facts" "experts" tell you.

Then I saw this picture from China.

Please do not tell me those large-assed, slow moving monstrosities known as "buses" are the SOLUTION to our traffic troubles.


Mahan said...

Some personal experience/anecdotes:

First, the TCs had a streetcar system that worked quite well, until the advent of personal transit in the form of the automobile, the market, and frankly, the forerunner of the Met Council, combined to tear it up and replace it with buses. Not just any buses, either, but a poorly thought out system of routes that looked as though an epileptic (and I know of what I speak) had gone berserk with a crayon over a map.

Second, about three weeks ago, I had an experience that really spoke to the whole Twin Cities bus experience as a seasoned veteran of mass transit *shudders*; driving along Highway 36 from Maplewood, here comes one of the articulated, I-have-right-of-way "express" buses from Maplewood Mall.

At 10:30 at night. Completely empty. Tell me that's not cost effective [/sarcasm].

Third, I was, as the Captain well knows, restricted to using mass transit *groans* for some time in the past, and what a joy and wonder THAT was, even living right on the outskirts of a Major City. Nothing like getting up at 0530 to get to your job at 0800 by bus; I have since timed the trip by car, and it takes me all of twenty-five minutes. Weird.

I just can't quite bring myself to remember fondly sharing mornings with fifty other people (some with screaming children), stopping every third block, never exceeding 30 MPH, and, of course, always knowing that not only did I pony up when I got on the bus, but I was being taxed to support the whole system again.

Of course, I must not have my mind right...or left, as the case may be.

Ryan said...

Maybe you're just not civic minded enough. You should be more willing to sacifice your comfort, convenience, and sanity for the sake of some whackjobs' feelgood mass-transit plan.

Anonymous said...

Just another obnoxious liberal scheme to redistribute wealth. In my dictionary, under the word liberal, it reads..."societal cancer".

Anonymous said...

Look closely at the picture. Its the buses blocking the intersections that are causing the gridlock.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if buses are the solution to OUR traffic troubles, but if you got rid of all (or even half) of the cars in the picture you displayed, the buses would be able to move much faster. I think subways and trains work much better as far as mass transit goes though, since they do not share the road. By the way, I live in the suburbs, and, unfortuately, have to drive to work.

Captain Capitalism said...

I view the picture like the flow of blood. Little red blood cells flow freely through the artery and veins. You get a large, slow, hunkering piece of plaque, it jams the system and causes an aneurism (sp?)

I see it no other way.

Mahan said...

Anonymous #3 makes an excellent point. Get rid of individual choice in such matters and ensure that roads are clear for buses to herd human cattle to the downtowns to produce more wealth for their overlords to bleed dry.

What's a little liberty, after all? It's so inconvenient.

Anonymous said...

Not to be nitpicky, but an an "aneurism" (or aneurysm) and plaque are two very different things. A piece of "plaque" jamming up the system causes a stroke or heart attack, depending on where it occurs. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel, that can burst without warning. A broken vessel causes internal bleeding. If this occurs in the brain, it causes a stroke of a different kind. Anyway, that is the end of my lecture.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care to register on this site, so from now on I'm going to sign my posts with the username "junam."
On the matter of Mahan's sarcastic reaction about getting rid of liberty, I would like to point out that roads are publicly funded. What about taxpayers who don't feel like paying for roads? You end up with situations like that we know have in the Twin Cities, or worse yet, ones I have experience in another emerging economy, that of India. It has gotten so congested and clogged there that it can take 2.5 hours to go a distance that should take all of 20minutes. Unfortunately, Indians tend to care a great deal about status and not appearing as poor, so even though it would be faster to go by rickshaw or bicycle or scooter, those who can afford cars (and drivers) prefer to waste their time. However, if we were to stop paying for roads, motorists would have the "free choice" of dealing with ever more amounts of traffic to the point of making it almost impossible to go anywhere by car, or to find other modes of transportation. (In India, unless we were going far distances, I fould walking to be the best choice.)


Anonymous said...

As I see it, there is only one way mass transit could be made truly effective. Loading and unloading passengers at speed. Build a system that can dock and dispatch a smaller capsule at speed. Then at each stop instead of slowing down, a capsule with passengers wanting off is dispatched, which will replace the capsule that was at the stop with passengers wanting on, which is now moving to dock with the main craft.

Captain Capitalism said...

Duly noted.

Captain Capitalism said...

Cripes, I think you jsut gave all the liberals an orgasm explaning a system that would be so costly they are shuddering right now as to how much that would cost.

Ryan said...

Watch the part from about 0:45 to 1:05. If mass transit were like that, I might actually go for it.

How's that for "loading and unloading passengers at speed"?

Anonymous said...

the traffic in that photo would be so much smoother if each of those buses were replaced by a couple dozen cars.
makes perfect sense to me...

Saskboy said...

It's a better argument for driving classes, and not "blocking the box" than getting fewer busses. Consider that a bus holds about 50 people. Would your intersection have room for [conservatively] (15+ cars) * (how many buses) you see in the photo? No.

Captain Capitalism said...

Actually yes, because the bus travels so slow and has all people condensed in one area. 40 cars (liberal assumption) would be more dispersed, faster, more maneuverable and would therefore be in and out of that jam.

additionally their surface area would be much smaller than a bus and speed much faster, ergo they would not cause such blockage.

There's gotta be some kind of computer model on this.

Tim Nelson said...

No computer model but there is a chart near the bottom of this page.

I know it's just a consumer driven concept, so any other group can safely ignore it. It's not as if a private owner might want to make money on automated transit, right ?

Probably too late to have anyone read this, Oh well.

Duke said...

Lookie here y'all, if you have ever driven Richmond BC or any other heavily Chinese populated community you will understand why they need to be on buses and not behind the wheel of a car.

The rest of us know how to drive among other vehicles.

Duke said...

One more thing ... many years ago I discovered that working from home avoids any commuting at all.

You save, not only on transportation costs, but coffee, lunches, work wear, having to deal with idiotic co workers and to top it off the economics of service-for-cash becomes available.

That is a necessary national pastime in the great white north where successive socialist governments have taxed us all into the ground in a effort to make life free and no fault for the entire country.

Unlike the Indians (East) I prefer a visual that is humble. That way I am less loathed by the left and less hounded by professional beggars an poverty pimps.

Anonymous said...

I live in Vancouver BC

Every time the transit people go out on strike there is a marked reduction in travel time across the lower mainland. Go figure.


Saskboy said...

There are not only computer models, but actual ones in practice. Ever been to Seattle or New York City in gridlock?

Captain C. I admire your desire to fix traffic, but I don't think you have yet grasped what is causing the problem, and your solution makes things worse.

Mahan said...

I think we need to ask ourselves this question, which, reading these responses (including my own initial one, incidentally), has yet to be asked:

Is mass transit actually economically viable in its present form as a market alternative, yes or no?

If yes, why, then, does it require massive subsidy from the public sector to prop it up?

If no, why does it exist at all in its present form, and in what form should it exist, if at all?

This site, after all, is devoted to capitalism and competition in a free-market economy; if mass transit cannot compete (and in its current incarnation as a monopoloy in the Twin Cities, I submit it cannot), it should be privatized or otherwise reformed.

And don't get me started on light rail within the Twin Cities.

The Phantom said...

A car takes you from exactly where you are to exactly where you want to go.

A bus takes you from where most people are to where most people want to go. Most of the time. Except when there's a strike or something. Note that this has nothing to do with what you need or want.

For most people the car is an infinitely superior choice.

Traffic jams are not actually caused by cars, and are only made worse by mass transit. The reason we have traffic jams is because of too many people trying to get to the same place at the same time. Centralization, in other words.

Using mass transit to jam ever more bodies into the downtown core of cities is idiotic, and therefore supported by socialists.

The answer, lucky for us, is already happening. DE-centralization, driven by the internet and real estate prices. There's nothing you can do downtown that you can't do out in the sticks more cheaply and with much less hassle.

Sooner or later people are going to figure this out.

The Canuck said...

Looking at that picture it immediately occurred to me that the solution to that problem is not more buses/fewer cars. Nor is the solution more cars/fewer buses. The solution is to get rid of the buses and build a subway. For a great many cities, the number of riders per hour is nowhere near high enough to justify the cost of building a subway (approximately $1 billion/kilometre). However, the 50-60 buses in that picture clearly indicate that ridership is high enough to warrant construction of a subway line. Or six.

Tim Nelson said...

Mahan and Baldguy.

Check out the site on my last post.

Elevated and automated. Elevated above the traffic. Automated cuts labor by up to 80 %. Suspended because basic physics gets you 70-80 mph.

Google overhead suspended light rail, or suspended monorail, but that gets you some rubber tired versions that are slower. Monorails that ride on top of the rail, like Disney, Las Vegas, and Seattle, are rubber tired, and also slow.

I know this is nit picky, but this is the difference between good, and a product with little to perhaps no subsidy.

Mahan said...

As I said, don't get me started on light rail in the Twin Cities.

"Wow, we have two downtown metro areas, and a freeway that connects both of them, AND there's an unused rail line that connects them as well...AND, even better, a lot of money to build a light rail line, smack dab in the Twin Cities!"

Solution? Build a rail line that turned into a gigantic overpriced boondoggle from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America and airport, naturally. But it's got artsy stations! And cool trains! And only a little whiff of municipal corruption thrown in...

Now they're looking at connecting the two downtowns (naturally), but they're still not going to use that darned inconvenient unusued railroad right-of-way. Instead, they're going to tear up a major street for years to build light rail instead, over the protests of local business owners.

I love the Met Council.

Saskboy said...

The Phantom, you're part right. Decentralization is more efficient when you've tapped out the geography to its limit. However, you're wrong about mass transit causing the problem. It's the solution to traffic jams downtown, coupled with putting more services in areas where fewer people have to go daily. The trick is to not move too many services into outlying places, or you'll wind up with people needing to drive more within a day, and not less.