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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Ch.G, Ch.G Jan 9, 2009 5:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4014324)
^^^ They are mutually exclusive in the eye's of the National Democratic party and that's what matters. Hopefully Obama will be closer to Clinton than the classic Democratic argument on this issue being from the University of Chicago, the bastion of free market economics.

The Democratic Party may be against privatizing large services but I don't think they have a unified position on more mundane apparatuses.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4014324)
Well that further proves my point, The big three would have gone out of business long ago if the government didn't keep bailing them out (Chrysler) and holding off on increases in emissions standards. The Financial giants would never had made those risky loans had they been able to charge a decent interest rate (7 or 8%) to people with good credit. Instead the government price fixed the price of money (interest rate) to around 5-6% and the banks were forced to find people who were riskier to charge higher rates to. That was the real problem behind the subprime crisis, not just reckless investing, but reckless investing encouraged/caused by the artificially low interest rates forced by the government. Again the government's fault...

You write as though government intervention in both cases sealed their fate. But a bailout for automakers was not the cause of their troubles; they did it to themselves by failing to invest in capital improvements (e.g., to boost the quality of their products) and by focusing too much on fads (e.g., SUVs), both extremely short-sighted policies. And any way you slice it Wall Street bought into the real estate bubble with blind, zealous optimism, as though home prices had nowhere to go but up.

Certainly, the government exacerbated the problems in both industries, but to claim it is responsible for their downfall because of something as esoteric as, say, a couple of percentage points off an interest rate is an awfully fatalistic view for a self-described libertarian. Both industries had enormous agency in spite of federal intervention; both exercised it poorly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4014524)
I wasn't suggesting that they were mutually exclusive, but the Obama Democrats DO have both of these attitudes, which can be quite beneficial for the status-quo system of government-run transit authorities.

Like I said above, I'm not sure the Obama administration will include an all-out anti-privatization policy as part of its agenda. Obama's a pragmatist, not an ideologue, and where privatization has worked I imagine he will encourage it. I don't think anything about transportation over the next few years will be status quo, especially considering the eight years during which the status quo has developed.

ChicagoChicago Jan 9, 2009 5:52 PM

Folks,

I think some of you may be taking the ‘Obama connection’ for granted. Considering this city’s history of corruption, the last thing Obama, IMO, is going to do is grease the wheels for funding that the city of Chicago funked up.

At best, I see this coming out of a total infrastructure stimulus budget that could have been used elsewhere locally.

lawfin Jan 9, 2009 6:33 PM

Are there any currrent examples of succesful fully private public transport companies.....Chicago's history is replete with private "public" transport companies going bankrupt....and this in an era when PT was much more of a "main-stream" modality...

To me public transport is one of the classic public goods....its beneficial externalities are too diffuse to be fully captured by pure profit motive

I am unaware of current private companies that run succesful PT systems....but then again I would not consider myself very well versed in the topic, just a casual observer

Attrill Jan 9, 2009 7:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4015355)
I think some of you may be taking the ‘Obama connection’ for granted. Considering this city’s history of corruption, the last thing Obama, IMO, is going to do is grease the wheels for funding that the city of Chicago funked up.

My optimism has nothing to do with Chicago connections or any special favors for Chicago. Obama has called for "the largest investment in infrastructure since the creation of the interstate highway system under Dwight D. Eisenhower" and Ray LaHood has been a consistent supporter of public transit for his entire career. The landscape for funding transit projects is about to drastically change for the better for all cities - not just Chicago. I think losing the money actually frees up Chicago to look at a larger scale project or alternatives to BRT that were previously considered too expensive.

Mr Downtown Jan 9, 2009 8:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 4015437)
Are there any currrent examples of successful fully private public transport companies..

None, with the possible exceptions of a few small Swiss tourist railroads, a couple of Japanese suburban railways that are part of big real estate conglomerates, and the Hong Kong MTR, which does a lot of real estate development around its stations and received its storage yard (immensely valuable real estate) for free.

Chicago's Wendella commuter service until recently could be considered one of the nation's only unsubsidized transport companies—but they couldn't resist taking a CMAQ grant a few years ago to buy their most recent boat.

Nowhereman1280 Jan 9, 2009 8:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 4015271)
You write as though government intervention in both cases sealed their fate. But a bailout for automakers was not the cause of their troubles; they did it to themselves by failing to invest in capital improvements (e.g., to boost the quality of their products) and by focusing too much on fads (e.g., SUVs), both extremely short-sighted policies. And any way you slice it Wall Street bought into the real estate bubble with blind, zealous optimism, as though home prices had nowhere to go but up.

For the auto industries it wasn't that bailouts caused the problems, but rather that the bailouts sustained companies that should have gone under because, lets face it, they suck at doing business. For example, if Chrysler went under in the 80's because of their failure to plan ahead with their product line you bet Ford and GM would have been a little more nervous about building their business entirely around one type of auto.

In the Real Estate industry, none of this subprime crisis would have happend if the Fed didn't set interest rates. Interest rates over the past 5 years should probably have averaged 8-10%, but instead they averaged 6-7%, this means that, in order to get a decent 8-10% return, companies had to lend to subprime coustomers who they could charge the higher rate to. That is the often ignored fundemental cause of this crisis, not evil bankers, not predatory lending, not deregulation, none of that would have or could have happened the government did not operate under the mantra that "easy credit and low interest rates are fundamental human rights"...

ardecila Jan 10, 2009 5:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4015707)
None, with the possible exceptions of a few small Swiss tourist railroads, a couple of Japanese suburban railways that are part of big real estate conglomerates, and the Hong Kong MTR, which does a lot of real estate development around its stations and received its storage yard (immensely valuable real estate) for free.

Chicago's Wendella commuter service until recently could be considered one of the nation's only unsubsidized transport companies—but they couldn't resist taking a CMAQ grant a few years ago to buy their most recent boat.

Are you exempting private jitney services because they run on roads paid for by government?

Privatized systems can work if the costs of construction and expansion are paid by government and the private company only needs to worry about operating expenses and minor capital costs (like customer improvements and basic maintenance).

I see nothing inherently wrong with this system... construction and expansion are one-time expenses. I think all of us would prefer one-time expenses over long-term tax increases, like the excruciating 10.25% sales tax. If the city didn't offer so many unique stores and restaurants, then commerce in the city would REALLY be in trouble, like so many other high-tax Rust Belt cities.

Mr Downtown Jan 10, 2009 6:06 AM

I actually don't know of any local jitney services in the US that meet insurance and driver licensing standards. Miami-Dade experimented in the early 90s with licensing and regulating jitneys, but that doesn't appear to have been a great success. So it's not clear that jitneys are profitable unless you allow them to cream-skim only the busiest routes and eliminate vehicle cost, insurance, and a good chunk of driver wages.

arenn Jan 10, 2009 6:19 PM

Given that most regulators are hostile to jitney's, this should come as no shock. A basic licensing and insurance requirement as part of a pro-jitney regulatory framework might not cost that much money.

One idea I've long considered worth exploration is the "every car a jitney" model where we effectively have paid ride shares to boost carpooling.

Attrill Jan 10, 2009 9:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4016581)
Are you exempting private jitney services because they run on roads paid for by government?

Privatized systems can work if the costs of construction and expansion are paid by government and the private company only needs to worry about operating expenses and minor capital costs (like customer improvements and basic maintenance).

I see nothing inherently wrong with this system... construction and expansion are one-time expenses. I think all of us would prefer one-time expenses over long-term tax increases, like the excruciating 10.25% sales tax. If the city didn't offer so many unique stores and restaurants, then commerce in the city would REALLY be in trouble, like so many other high-tax Rust Belt cities.


But who pays for major maintenance? Rail maintenance is one of the main expenses for any transit agency and road maintenance is a big one for municipalities.

emathias Jan 11, 2009 5:32 AM

Chicago Card Plus iGo
 
I ordered the Chicago Card Plus iGo card, mostly to see what it looks like since I'm a pretty avid fan of ZipCar.

Anyway, I thought it would be relatively slick, like a regular ChicagoCard Plus with a green color scheme and the added capability to use iGo. And, basically, it is, although the card quality is lower than the regular Chicago Card Plus, and the iGo component, rather than being integrated into the card, is a small circle about the size of a dime, taped (yes, taped) to the back of it. Okay, so it's not like scotch tape, but it's still basically tape, and the circle sticks out making that part of the card twice as thick.

Anyway, they also wrote my card info (by hand) under where the card was attached to the mailing, so when I removed the card, the adhesive tore that and I'll have to call in to get that number. Basically my first impression of it was pretty much summed up accurately by my younger brother's comment, "That's pretty ganky."

I haven't used it yet, but it's a lot more seat-of-the-pants than I'd have expected considering the advertising the press they're putting into it.

ChicagoChicago Jan 12, 2009 2:27 PM

^^^

That's pathetic. Your brother summed it up perfectly....ganky.

Nowhereman1280 Jan 13, 2009 4:46 AM

ganky or janky?

emathias Jan 13, 2009 2:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4021233)
ganky or janky?

take your pick, either applies, but my brother said "ganky"

Attrill Jan 13, 2009 5:39 PM

I go with janky.

Nowhereman1280 Jan 13, 2009 6:06 PM

In any case I am seriously considering getting one of these (g)janky cards. What is your opinion of the iGo service? Do they have a yearly charge of any kind or can I just get a basic account and then use it to pick up a new shelf or something big from the store every couple months?

You can PM me if you want, don't want to distract this thread too much!

emathias Jan 14, 2009 1:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 4022156)
In any case I am seriously considering getting one of these (g)janky cards. What is your opinion of the iGo service? Do they have a yearly charge of any kind or can I just get a basic account and then use it to pick up a new shelf or something big from the store every couple months?

You can PM me if you want, don't want to distract this thread too much!

I thought about PM'ing you, but decided it's transportation-related so I'll just post it here:

When i-go first came to Chicago I used them for a while, but then had a billing dispute with them where they refused to even respond to me - not to my calls, not to my emails, not to my postal letters - that left such a bad taste in my mouth I stopped using them and used regular rental services (like Enterprise or Hertz, etc). Regular rental agencies are still usually better (though not always) for multi-day rentals than car-sharing services are.

Then ZipCar showed up on the scene and I went with them. I've been a happy ZipCar user ever since.

One thing ZipCar has done by introducing competition is improved i-go's service levels. It was ZipCar's idea to include miles with the rental - before them, i-go billed everyone for every single mile, which meant ZipCar and i-go expenses were essentially the same for most rentals at first. Since i-go started offering the option to include miles in the rate, i-go is now less expensive, HOWEVER, they don't have nearly as broad a selection of car models. ZipCar is also very responsive to my inquiries and gives hours to compensate for problems without too much hassle.

So, basically, if you want the cheapest option and don't care much about what car you're driving, and for a lower price are willing to put up with lesser service, by all means go with i-go. If, like me, you value good service and on the occasions you choose to drive rather than take the bus or "L" or Metra, like to have the option to drive a Volvo or a Mini Cooper or for more money a BMW - or for less money a Honda Civic, if that's your thing, or a Mazada 3 (I could keep going, the list is long), then go with ZipCar. Both have locations in most of the same places, although you'll want to check to see if one has more in the areas you think you'll use them more.

If you do choose i-go, they offer a number of plan options.
http://www.igocars.org/pricing

Their most basic one is $50 for the first year and $25 a year after that, plus hourly rental plus mileage with starts at $6/hr and $0.40/mile.

The next step up from that has slightly higher hourly rates, but includes mileage (150 miles per 24-hour period). Starts at $8/hr. I'm guessing most people go with this one.

Then there is a plan where you basically pre-buy three discounted hours each month but they don't carry over, and you get a reduced rate for other hours. And finally a plan where you pay $30/month to get a discounted hourly rate, which pays for itself if you use at least 8 hours a month.

For ZipCar, rates start at a little over $8/hr and go up to almost $14/hr (for the BMW 3-series cars). You can get up to a 15% discount on your miles if you pre-pay for some miles each month and depending on how much you pay you may or may not be able to carry those miles over for 1-3 months.

VivaLFuego Jan 14, 2009 4:19 PM

The startup/annual fees for I-go are reduced or otherwise waived (don't remember exactly) for college students, or at least people with .edu e-mail addresses. So that's another potential bonus in I-go's favor, depending on your situation.

the urban politician Jan 14, 2009 8:01 PM

I'm still shocked that the local press is essentially giving Daley a free pass on blowing $153 million. I mean, where the hell is the Tribune and Crains on this one?

Essentially, wasn't the whole reason for the parking meter deal to create a "stick" for a future "carrot" (that carrot being the BRT system)? So now there's just a stick..

I kind of wonder if it's too late to reverse the lease of the city's parking meters.

Jibba Jan 14, 2009 8:14 PM

^I, too, have been patiently awaiting any announcements about the BRT plan. I wonder, though, if the recent ubiquitous news about the budget deficit has anything to do with the lack of reported progress on it.

This is relevant to post here I should thing, and a small and satisfying sign of progress at any rate that I will certainly be making use of (the current lock-ups outside of the station are at point-blank range of the salt shooters from the plow trucks--really horrible on the components)--sheltered, in-station bike storage at the Damen Blue Line stop):

http://img65.imageshack.us/img65/943...9510787qh2.jpg


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