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Old Posted Feb 2, 2022, 11:46 PM
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Doady Doady is offline
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
Yeah, I agree with this. People who own a car are likely to continue using it, and they probably won't sell it either. But if it gets old and breaks down and isn't worth fixing, or if they're non-car owners, that's a more important decision point imo. If a significant proportion of people decide they don't have to arrange their finances with the idea that they will need a car in the future, that's a big deal. If you look at what percentage of the population becomes first time car owners each year, and add to that the percentage who replace old cars with new ones, that's maybe 10% of the adult population? If every single one of those decide that the car isn't necessary because they can use transit now, and only 20% used transit as the baseline, then that's like a 50% increase in transit ridership in a single year which is absolutely massive and unprecedented.

So there's really no need to build transit that's so amazing that people will sell their cars. You just need to get them to forgo buying new ones. You'll probably have the most luck doing that with young people, who are already used to using transit as teenagers or college students, and reach the point where they could (barely) afford a car, but decide to spend the money on something else because the transit system is good enough.

Los Angeles is pretty similar to Brampton/Mississauga. Similar moderate densities, similar decentralized employment, similar car transportation system of large arterials (and highways). Brampton & Mississauga have pretty moderate transit ridership, they still feel very auto-oriented. It's not the upper middle class middle aged people using it (as it is with GO trains or the TTC subway). I would say it's mostly working class, elderly and students/teens using it. But those demographics do use transit at decent rates and add up to a good bit of people. Even if you exclude GO Transit ridership, Mississauga and Brampton have per capita higher transit ridership than LA County from MiWay/Brampton Transit, so LA Transit still has a lot of room for ridership growth without having to attract affluent users.
Living in Brampton and Mississauga, I think it is a good example for more of USA to follow. Car owners don't have to be car owners forever. It's not about maintaining same rate of car ownership, but trying to reduce the number of cars per household. Maybe instead 3 cars per household, we will see 2 cars per household, then one car per household. Just look at the success of transit in Brampton and Mississauga. It's a small step, but it is an easy one, that most of the USA hasn't even bothered to take. Instead it's always about making a big leap toward "world class" transit, because of people's "financial means". Just an obsession with status symbols which makes me laugh. It's no wonder US cities have 1/3 of the transit ridership of Canadian cities, even the lowly systems like Brampton and Mississauga.

I am happy to hear of a huge system like LA building rail, because that's exactly what a system trying to serve such a huge area and such long distances should be doing. But don't make this about wealth or status. Trust me, poverty is not less of a problem in LA than it is in Brampton or Mississauga. Lack of poverty or too much wealth is not the reason for LA's lower transit ridership. Same can be said of Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, etc. Too much "financial means" or not enough "world class" has absolutely nothing to do with the lack of transit riders in any of these places, and such misconception is what has been killing transit in USA in first place. Look what happened to the bus system in Milwaukee in the past decade. That system is not for "choice riders", so it has been decided that the system is not worth funding anymore. 41% ridership loss from 2011 to 2019, those "captive riders" have now found different means.
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