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  #101  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 5:11 PM
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>> Watson, not Nelson.
It looks to me like Watson is already right-in/right-out only. Lefts are physically possible but against the law. No loss there.

>> But then you're looking at higher operating costs.
Probably not. Operating costs is the main reason it's so insane to cram 100,000 riders on a bus route. The biggest operating cost with buses is usually the drivers, and it takes a lot of buses to move that many people. If you could replace 3 buses with 1 train it would dramatically reduce your operating costs, because that's 2 fewer drivers on the route. The fact that you might still have some buses wouldn't matter. The calculation for the remaining buses would stay the same, but the calculation for the buses that could be replaced with trains would drop a lot.

>> mixed traffic introduces its own bunching problems.
Again, this is irrelevant. The bunching problems with streetcars would not be worse than they are with the existing buses, therefore it's not a legitimate argument for continuing to use buses instead of upgrading to streetcar. It would be an argument against picking streetcar instead of SkyTrain, or over light rail in a dedicated transitway, but that isn't what we're talking about. I've already said SkyTrain is a better option at least twice, as long as it's actually going to happen. We are not talking about SkyTrain versus streetcar. We are talking about streetcar versus bus.

If SkyTrain is going to happen then this is just an academic discussion about the value of streetcars versus buses, which is something I'm interested in. I am not advocating for streetcar instead of SkyTrain. SkyTrain is unequivocally better. I don't know how many more times or how many different ways I have to say this.

>> There's no money for both. The transit authority is "very inefficient" with system-wide operating cost recovery
This is exactly why a streetcar would make sense. For such a high ridership route, shorter vehicles are extremely inefficient since you need so many drivers. Broadway would have higher cost recovery if it wasn't moving such a huge number of passengers in small vehicles. Other than its initial capital cost, streetcars would have no downside but would save huge amounts of money in operating, because you could move the same number of people with fewer vehicles.

Streetcars do not make sense on low ridership routes, but we're talking about what might be the highest ridership bus route on the continent.
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  #102  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 5:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
I thought they already did a few years ago , they did when i was there which 2011....
They switched to front door boarding last year.
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  #103  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 7:30 PM
nname nname is offline
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
>> There's no money for both. The transit authority is "very inefficient" with system-wide operating cost recovery
This is exactly why a streetcar would make sense. For such a high ridership route, shorter vehicles are extremely inefficient since you need so many drivers. Broadway would have higher cost recovery if it wasn't moving such a huge number of passengers in small vehicles. Other than its initial capital cost, streetcars would have no downside but would save huge amounts of money in operating, because you could move the same number of people with fewer vehicles.

Streetcars do not make sense on low ridership routes, but we're talking about what might be the highest ridership bus route on the continent.
Streetcar may be able to carry more people per unit, but it also got a higher cost per unit. The current cost per boarding on the 99 is just 61 cents. Adding the cost for deadheading and layover, it should still be well under a dollar per boarding. That is, the transit authority is actually getting a massive operating revenue from the line. However, compare this to the Toronto streetcar, where most route cost well over $2 per passenger. Although this might improve with the longer new-generation trains, I don't think it would become more profitable than the current 99 B-Line.
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  #104  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 10:06 PM
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Interesting. But as was previously brought up, the old Toronto streetcars are really short, so it's not a good comparison. Most of them are shorter than an articulated bus (50ft/15m), and the articulated ones aren't much longer (75ft/23m).

Still, it will be interesting to compare when the new longer streetcars are running in Toronto. They're 99ft/30m.
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  #105  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 10:26 PM
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501 is probably the least efficient of the streetcar routes according to those stats (unless to count minor routes like 502 and 503),and it uses the longer articulated streetcars.

The main reason for the inefficiency of Toronto's streetcars is that they are too slow. All-door boarding, transitways, signal priority would make them more efficient.

You can see 510 Spadina is the most efficient route, despite using the shorter streetcars, and it's no surprise it operates in its own ROW.

Another factor in cost per boarding is passenger turnover. It might be the riders on the 99 travel shorter distance, get on/off more frequently, and so there are higher boardings relative to capacity and cost.

You can't just compare the numbers and conclude that streetcar is higher cost.

Last edited by Doady; Feb 12, 2013 at 10:50 PM.
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  #106  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doady View Post
...
You can't just compare the numbers and conclude that streetcar is higher cost.
That's true. There can be major difference between the operations of different cities and transit agencies that affect cost and efficiency which have no connection to the vehicle type at all.

It would also be interesting to compare the efficiency between the streetcar routes in Toronto to bus routes in Toronto rather than comparing bus routes and streetcar routes in an entirely different region/jurisdiction.
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  #107  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
Another factor in cost per boarding is passenger turnover. It might be the riders on the 99 travel shorter distance, get on/off more frequently, and so there are higher boardings relative to capacity and cost.
Most passengers on the 99 actually travel quite long distance. In fact, the turnover is 79%.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
It would also be interesting to compare the efficiency between the streetcar routes in Toronto to bus routes in Toronto rather than comparing bus routes and streetcar routes in an entirely different region/jurisdiction.
Just divide the cost by customers on that TTC document, and you can see the street car is, for most case, less efficient than the bus routes. I'm no saying streetcars are bad, but at least this is how TTC runs them (and I do believe they can run better than that!). For older version of this data, TTC actually shows the cost recovery for each of these routes, and most streetcar routes actually had recovery in the 30s to 40s.
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  #108  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 11:27 PM
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This is not an argument against streetcars in general, but the point remains that the Broadway corridor requires a subway / metro (extension of the M-Line skytrain). Which is in the current plans to be done by 2020 (or more likely between 2020 and 2025). Therefore, given that it is currently 2013, it would be a massive waste to build an entire streetcar system for a 10 year period of use.
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  #109  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2013, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by nname View Post
Just divide the cost by customers on that TTC document, and you can see the street car is, for most case, less efficient than the bus routes. I'm no saying streetcars are bad, but at least this is how TTC runs them (and I do believe they can run better than that!). For older version of this data, TTC actually shows the cost recovery for each of these routes, and most streetcar routes actually had recovery in the 30s to 40s.
Average cost recovery for the entire streetcar system was 49% in 2005/06 compared to 50% cost recovery for the bus network.

501 Queen - 49%
504 King - 44%
505 Dundas - 61%
506 Carlton - 51%
510 Spadina - 53%
511 Bathurst - 43%
512 St Clair - 45%

http://www.stevemunro.ca/wp-content/...stats0506c.pdf

And no, I'm not arguing in favour for a streetcar to replace the 99 bus in Vancouver, but still...
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  #110  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2013, 3:09 AM
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The driver is a big part of the cost of the bus, but not so overwhelming that railstitution can save that much money just by using larger vehicles. I don't know the numbers in Vancouver, but in New York, the operating costs of the NYCT bus system are $2.3 billion a year, there are 11,000 bus drivers, and the annual pay per bus driver averages a hair less than $60,000. So operator salaries are a bit more than a quarter of operating costs. It's sizable, but it means larger vehicles aren't a magic bullet. On top of that, larger vehicles only save you money when you're reducing frequency, which is possible at rush hour since the bus route in question comes every 3 minutes but isn't possible on weekends or in the evenings when it comes every 10 minutes without cutting ridership.

The reasons to railstitute are not exactly saving money on bus operators. Rather, they're,

1. Smoother ride.
2. Higher capacity with larger vehicles.
3. Lower operating costs on maintenance, energy, etc.
4. Higher speed as long as there are dedicated lanes (if there aren't, buses can be faster by swerving around obstacles).

Operating costs go down when speed goes up because you have fewer operating hours for the same service, and usually also more passengers to spread the costs among, but mixed-traffic streetcars don't have that advantage. Calgary's light rail has very low operating costs per passenger, but that's by keeping speeds high outside the downtown core by using separate rights of way. A streetcar that averages 20 km/h won't have that advantage.

Broadway is a very high-ridership corridor, but it's uniquely sucky for streetcars essentially because it's too high-ridership. It's a bit like Flatbush, Utica, and Nostrand in Brooklyn: a streetcar even with dedicated lanes won't be able to absorb peak demand, requiring to keep rush-hour relief buses, eliminating any operating cost advantage of light rail over buses. Vancouver is also a uniquely sucky city for light rail because, for reasons I don't entirely understand, the subway:LRT cost ratio is very low, about 2 whereas in most cities it's 4-6. (Vancouver at least can get away with one subway; Brooklyn would ideally need two, one on Nostrand and one on Utica.) The issue then is that the low-cost at-grade option in Vancouver isn't that low-cost and doesn't solve that many problems.
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  #111  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2013, 5:15 PM
nfitz nfitz is offline
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Originally Posted by Alon View Post
a streetcar even with dedicated lanes won't be able to absorb peak demand, requiring to keep rush-hour relief buses, eliminating any operating cost advantage of light rail over buses.
Surely a 30-metre to 60-metre (or heck, even run a 3-car 90-metre) long streetcar in dedicated lanes at peak is going to have a far higher than, at-best, 18-metre long buses. I'm not sure how rush-hour relief buses would benefit such a route.
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  #112  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2013, 4:24 AM
Alon Alon is offline
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There won't be a 90-meter streetcar; the blocks aren't long enough.
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  #113  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2013, 4:36 PM
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There won't be a 90-meter streetcar; the blocks aren't long enough.
Fair enough ... but how would buses be able to provide peak capacity that much longer lane-separated LRT units couldn't?
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  #114  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 2:02 AM
Alon Alon is offline
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The way it works today is that there's a frequent bus on each of the major east-west streets (4th, Broadway, King Edward, 41st, 49th). The capacity provided is inadequate and the speed is substandard, but a mixed-traffic streetcar would scarcely be an improvement.

I just wrote a long blog post about why a full SkyTrain extension is the only solution to the corridor's transportation needs:

http://pedestrianobservations.wordpr...train-and-ubc/
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  #115  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 3:44 AM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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Originally Posted by fflint View Post
The New York MTA lists M15 Local/SBS as a single "local" route.
correct. also, note the rt14 bus in vancouver only runs half the distance of the rt99 bus, then it veers off downtown. and although the rt9 bus does follow the rt99 path, it goes well past it. so basically they are different routes, while the m15 is one route.
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  #116  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 4:45 AM
Alon Alon is offline
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The 9/99 are one route, with about 80,000 daily riders. It helps that unlike the M15, there's no subway roughly parallel to them.
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  #117  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2013, 9:24 AM
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I gotta wonder if 9/99 really are the busiest bus routes on the continent. Is the ridership really higher than the Ottawa transitway routes? I couldn't find any data.
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  #118  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2013, 4:29 PM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is offline
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
I gotta wonder if 9/99 really are the busiest bus routes on the continent. Is the ridership really higher than the Ottawa transitway routes? I couldn't find any data.
It will really be difficult to have any sort of comparability with Ottawa's Transitway routes. There is a lot of overlap between the main routes 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98. And then on top of that, you have all the commuter routes that also use large portions of the Transitway during peak hours and in many cases supplement service on the main routes. I guess, ridership will depend on the portion of the Transitway that you are measuring, with the most ridership on the centre town leg between Hurdman's Station and Tunney's Pasture Station. If you want to consider just one route, the busiest will be the 95.
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