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Dr. Taco Mar 23, 2009 6:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4155465)
Metra's website looks like it was made by a 12 year old in 1998.

haha, it really does

Mr Downtown Mar 23, 2009 9:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abner (Post 4155465)
How do zoned commuter rail systems work in other cities? Do they usually have turnstiles that you put your card into when you enter and exit?

No, suburban train systems work pretty much the same all over the world: there's no barrier to access and a conductor or trainman audits tickets on the train.

BART and WMATA are hybrids between rapid transit and traditional suburban rail, so they have turnstiles at all stations.

emathias Mar 24, 2009 2:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4155814)
No, suburban train systems work pretty much the same all over the world: there's no barrier to access and a conductor or trainman audits tickets on the train.

BART and WMATA are hybrids between rapid transit and traditional suburban rail, so they have turnstiles at all stations.

As does the RER in Paris.

Some of the CTA "L" Lines are as long as commuter lines in some places. That said, I'd love to see Metra through-routed more than I care about the fare-collection system. Someone posted an old (1914 I think) recommendation report to do that, and it would open up some interesting possibilities.

orulz Mar 24, 2009 1:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4155814)
No, suburban train systems work pretty much the same all over the world: there's no barrier to access and a conductor or trainman audits tickets on the train.

BART and WMATA are hybrids between rapid transit and traditional suburban rail, so they have turnstiles at all stations.

That's not the case everywhere; Japan, and I believe Korea as well, have ticket agents and/or automatic fare gates for suburban and intercity rail.

Fares in Japan area always calculated by distance.

Some lines with fewer trains and less traffic operate in "Wan Man" mode. When you get off the train, you show your ticket to the driver or conductor who stands by the door. Or if you board at a station that is particularly sparse and has no agent or ticket vending machine, you are given a "Seiriken" when you board that serves as proof of where you boarded, and when you get off show the seiriken to the conductor/engineer and pay the proper fare based on the distance you have traveled.

Basically, this means that instead of the platform being the "paid area", the train itself becomes the "paid area."

No doubt you've heard that in Japan there is a culture of mutual respect and of following rules, so I find it odd that in they are so strict about having barriers and ensuring that no unpaid customers can travel. Compared to the US or Europe, fare evasion on a proof-of-payment system would not be a problem in Japan, yet proof-of-payment is essentially non-existent.


Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4156461)
As does the RER in Paris.

Some of the CTA "L" Lines are as long as commuter lines in some places. That said, I'd love to see Metra through-routed more than I care about the fare-collection system. Someone posted an old (1914 I think) recommendation report to do that, and it would open up some interesting possibilities.

More run-through tracks at Union Station would be an excellent place to start. I doubt they can do that without tearing down the building that sits above the platforms, though. Some plans for union station call for doing just that.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 4156461)
As does the RER in Paris.

Some of the CTA "L" Lines are as long as commuter lines in some places. That said, I'd love to see Metra through-routed more than I care about the fare-collection system. Someone posted an old (1914 I think) recommendation report to do that, and it would open up some interesting possibilities.

The only justification for such through-routing would be for efficient real estate usage downtown: wasting less space on tracks/platforms/viaducts etc. With through-routing, you just require less trackage overall. From a consumer demand and cost-efficiency standpoint, the nature of commuter traffic is such that the standard commuter rail model is far and away most efficient, assuming you have a staging yard not too far out from the center to hold trains mid-day. Remember, even the early rapid transit lines, built as private enterprises, built stub terminals downtown, and through-routing only became the norm for rapid transit operations as the lines consolidated into a public corporation (that's my take, MrD might be able to fill in some details).

The study from 1914 hyped up the fact that with through-routing, someone could ride from Hyde Park to Evanston... on the same train. So what? Through-routing the service reduces your basic RASM/CASM (revenue-avg-seat-mile divided by cost-avg-seat-mile) as it reduces the overall average load on the trains while in service.

Even with rapid transit, only in the densest/busiest of corridors (e.g. the Red Line) is there an operating cost/revenue justification for through-routed train service. The only reason for CTA to run so many 8-car trains heading back out of downtown all the way to end-of-the-line terminals is because there is nowhere to store the trains near downtown. Well, that, and politics.

Mr Roboto Mar 24, 2009 4:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn (Post 4155377)
^As old fashioned as it is, the paper system does work. Metra however, should have never removed the turnstyles from the electric line stations. I do wish that perhaps we could get a few vending machines where one could generate a paper ticket by swiping a CTA fare card or Chicago Card and deducting the needed amount.

I agree there has to be some sort of compatability between the CTA and Metra fare systems. The fact that there still isnt is not only outdated, its moronic.

arenn Mar 24, 2009 5:49 PM

What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

emathias Mar 24, 2009 7:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4157442)
What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

I don't have numbers, but I'd guess not a lot.

The real question, though, is how many would if it were an easier option? Not just tickets (which are really not an insurmountable issue right even now), but station location and defined transfer walkways, schedule coordination, etc.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 8:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4157442)
What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

Pretty small. There are a few thousand Metra commuters per day (out of a total of what, approximately 125,000?) who use one of the various CTA distributor buses (the 120s, 157, and the 33, the latter paid for by Metra interestingly). There are statistically significant (by which I mean statistically larger than zero) levels of transfer activity at Davis, Jefferson Park, and Montrose/Mayfair, but it's still pretty small as percentage of commute trips. This is studied every so often, and if memory serves, Davis was the only notable commuter rail <-> rapid transit transfer point, and it was in the range of a couple hundred per day.

However, I don't think this has been studied again since the advent of the Pink Line - there is definitely some level of interchange between UP district Metra riders and the Pink Line out to the Medical District from the Clinton/Lake station.

Fare integration would be useful to regional transit riders primarily as a form of bus transfer, I think - it makes CTA and Pace bus service more attractive as a feeder system to long-haul trips via Metra rail.

Chicago3rd Mar 24, 2009 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Roboto (Post 4157255)
I agree there has to be some sort of compatability between the CTA and Metra fare systems. The fact that there still isnt is not only outdated, its moronic.

Amen. I hate not being able to buy my tickets for metra at the stops like CTA. I hate there isn't a combined system for paying fares. We need RTA to be regional once and for all.

Metra doesn't want CTA because the same reason CTA doesn't allow the Yellow, Brown and Purple line to continue west or south

Chicago3rd Mar 24, 2009 8:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4157685)
Fare integration would be useful to regional transit riders primarily as a form of bus transfer, I think - it makes CTA and Pace bus service more attractive as a feeder system to long-haul trips via Metra rail.

It would be useful for me to use my CTA pass to take the Lawrence bus to the Ravenwood Metra then transfer with my CTA Card to take the 14 minute ride downtown.

It would be easier for me to hop the Metra to Jefferson Station then the BLue line out to O'Hare. Can save a lot of time.

It would be useful if the brownline at Addison had a transfer station to CTA so people along the lake could use Metra to go north.....quicker than the red line/purple line.

Am sure there are tons of scenerios that would be beneficial to the riders....it is the political ownership issues that get in the way of easier public transportation in the Chicagoland area.

jpIllInoIs Mar 24, 2009 8:52 PM

^ I've always thought that there should be a Metra stop at Addison St. where the UP North Line runs parallel to the Brown Line.

Abner Mar 24, 2009 9:28 PM

I would certainly transfer between Metra and CTA a lot if I didn't have to pay two full fares to do it. I have a hunch there would be a lot more transferring between the systems if the fares were integrated.

bnk Mar 24, 2009 9:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 4157685)
Pretty small. There are a few thousand Metra commuters per day (out of a total of what, approximately 125,000?) who use one of the various CTA distributor buses (the 120s, 157, and the 33, the latter paid for by Metra interestingly). .

Number of lines 11
Number of stations 237
Daily ridership 335,900

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metra

Attrill Mar 24, 2009 9:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 4157442)
What percentage of people transfer between Metra and CTA other than commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station?

I take Metra from Clybourn to Ravenswood on a regular basis and there are plenty of people transferring from buses to Metra and vice versa (roughly a third of riders). I take the Armitage bus to get to the Clybourn Metra stop.

Why do you exclude "commuters using the CTA for distribution from the train station"? That is a large number of Metra riders who would benefit from an integrated system.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd (Post 4157736)
It would be useful for me to use my CTA pass to take the Lawrence bus to the Ravenwood Metra then transfer with my CTA Card to take the 14 minute ride downtown.

This is probably your only hypothetical scenario that would have high enough ridership levels to justify the investment. An Addison transfer has been studied in the past - but it has a very narrowly focused benefit geographically, in contrast to say, making it more attractive to take a bus to a Metra line, which is regional.

VivaLFuego Mar 24, 2009 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4157851)
Number of lines 11
Number of stations 237
Daily ridership 335,900

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metra

Total rides, not commuters. 335K sounds a little high, I'm guessing that's a fall peak figure and not an annual average? I thought it was more in the 310K daily range.

Mr Downtown Mar 24, 2009 11:58 PM

Here's Bion J. Arnold's 1914 scheme for through-routing steam road commuter service. It still makes a lot of sense to me:

http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/7...hrouteslg7.gif
Hooker, George Ellsworth. Through Routes for Chicago's Steam Railroads. City Club of Chicago, 1914

1. IC to C&NW North Line via a new subway under St. Clair and Ohio
2. Rock Island, NYC, and C&WI to C&NW Northwest Line via a new subway under LaSalle and Ohio
3. Alton, Wabash, and Pennsy to Milwaukee Road lines via Union Station
4. Burlington to C&NW West Line via Union Station

Arnold took a lot of trouble to avoid crossing lines, which today might not be so essential. It might make sense to reconsider his threading, so that the BNSF, for instance, would link to the UP North Line rather than doubling back west. Or, since every line basically goes through a throat near Kinzie/Desplaines, a big transfer station there would allow any possible transfer. Of course, my first move would be to put all the Metra lines on half-hour non-rush headways, so the system could work as regional rail rather than commuter rail.

Though I'd probably put the new subway under Chicago rather than Ohio, I still think that would be a useful and farsighted way for us to spend a billion dollars.

It's not just to make for better transfers to CTA; this through-routing allows regional rail lines to do their own downtown distribution so some CTA trips become unnecessary. Such connections have been created in several German cities, notably Munich, by Paris's new RER tunnels, and in Sydney and Melbourne. The only North American example is Philadelphia's mid-80s project to connect the former Pennsylvania and Reading commuter lines with a tunnel under Market Street.

The through-routing of Chicago streetcars and rapid transit trains was forced by the city, I think. The Union Loop was built as a loop that the various elevated railroads could use by paying so much per car, but in 1911 the four companies consolidated for marketing purposes as Chicago Rapid Transit, though the underlying corporations still existed legally. The same thing was true of the streetcars, where several different companies received the franchises and built the lines, but eventually they called the whole system "Chicago Surface Lines."

Chicago Shawn Mar 25, 2009 4:24 AM

^Awesome information. Thanks for that informative post Mr. D.

I find it particularity interesting that Ohio was chosen as a through route connection. Who would have thought just 40 years later that it was used for the same purpose, but with an entirely new mode of transportation.


*If* the West Loop Transportation Center ever becomes a reality, then Union Station will get a minimum of two new through-tracks under Clinton Street. I would imagine this would be built in conjunction with a new CTA Clinton-Larabee subway, as they would be stacked together vertically under the street. It will be ridiculously expensive to construct, but I personally believe the benefits would be worth it. Union Station right now is at capacity during AM-PM peak. Those new tracks would certainly be used frequently between Metra and Amtrak, which would no longer be forced to back trains out of the station and could do a St. Louis to Milwaukee Route and so forth. There has been a right-of-way easement preserved in K Station to allow for the future decent down to the subterranean through-route tracks that would be built under Clinton.

denizen467 Mar 25, 2009 7:53 AM

^ Ahh, the South Branch had so much more personality in 1914, before it was straightened.


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