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Thread: Public Transit

  1. #1

    Default Public Transit

    With the new hype on 'green living' permeating the U.S. landscape, expansion of American public transit is growing in discussion. If the U.S. government were to allocate the billions of dollars necessary to initiate such projects would you use them?

    ---------- Post added at 04:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:56 PM ----------

    My professors love to profess the benefites of mass transit, but the reality is many people love their cars and will always choose a car over alternative transportation methods regardless of distances.

  2. #2


    i'm 13 and i love public transit, although i don't own a car, so....

  3. #3


    Public transport in the UK varies in quality depending on where you are. If you're trying to get about in central London, doing so with anything but public transport is stupid, since the roads are awful for cars in various ways, but outside of London, public transport has a habit of being considerably more expensive than driving (excluding the costs of car insurance and road tax, which aren't significantly affected by the distance you drive).

    For example, if I wanted to get a train from Basingstoke to Bristol, it would cost me £23 for an off-peak ticket (peak-time travel would be even more expensive), but driving the same distance would only cost me about £11 (and that's with the UK's current £1.17p/litre unleaded fuel prices). Not to mention that I'd have to get a bus/taxi to and from the train stations at each end if I wanted to be anywhere but in the middle of town.

    Public transport is a nice idea, but governments aren't going to get people to actually use it all the time it's so expensive.

  4. #4


    Public Transit is wonderful, and if uniform quality could be established, and prices and availability at the point where is almost as convenient as driving a car, and cheaper, then I'd be all for it. When I lived in Japan, you could get a train from Yokosuka to Tokyo for ~$8 depending on your destination in the city. And trains and buses go everywhere except Okinawa.

  5. #5


    Even if public transit was free i wouldn't use it. For me its a huge inconvenience. Currently if i want to take the bus downtown from where i live it takes me 30 mins. And thats if i show up to the stop as the bus gets there. But they recommend showing up 10 mins early. Then theres the issue on the weekend when they don't run at all.

    Now take my Bike. I can be downtown in 15 mins. Same place a bus could take me only half the time. For the longer trips i take my car.

  6. #6


    Australia is much like what Badger described about the UK, however we have some severe geographical issues to overcome. This country is just too large (about the size of the USA) for such a small population (~7.5% of the USA), and much of it is uninhabitable. I mean, I live in Brisbane and the next major city is the Gold Coast, which is at least a 40 minute drive going super-fast on the highway in minimal traffic.

    Flying between the major cities is a lot cheaper and a lot more viable than driving or using public transport. I could drive from Brisbane to Sydney, but that would take 17 hours and with current fuel prices, I'd pay roughly $120 for the trip. On the other hand, I can fly down, which takes all of 1.5 hours (including taxiing on the runway) for anywhere between $60-80.

    Even between states there are some discrepancies in railway line gauges, so you can catch a train to the border, but then you have to transfer. In fact, the only true "nationwide" transport system is the highways.

    Within each city however, the infrastructure relies heavily on public transportation. In Brisbane anyway, you can get to practically anywhere within the city and outer lying residential areas by bus, trains to some areas or even the river ferry for those close to the city. Though despite them improving it as much as possible, it kinda falls flat as the traffic in the city can become a nightmare. There is a total lack of a rapid-transit system, mostly because the city just isn't big enough to require one; the main business district is only about 2.5km≤ and is totally walkable.

  7. #7


    The efficiency of public transportation is highly dependent on population density.

    I recall using Chicago's public transit system. It was under $3 each way for a train ticket + bus transfer (with a 2nd bus transfer $0.25). It costs more than that just to park in downtown Chicago, ignoring gas costs and various upkeep costs of the car. It wasn't particularly fast (it probably averaged 1.5x as long to get there and back) but it was predictable, which is a lot more than you can say about daytime traffic on the highways.

    At the same time, there's a reason that only our eastern seaboard has a major rail line between cities - the distances between cities would require huge capital investment to span with rails. It's unclear that such a system would cut cost of travel enough to expect to recoup that investment. Meanwhile, the distances are ideal for air travel which is faster anyway, and it should be no surprise that by any measure that isn't international-travel specific, about half of the world's largest airlines are American.

  8. #8


    Transit in my tri-metro area is interesting. The advertisements for it are fantastic and the system appears to be becoming more and more versatile and usable, but the ability to purchase like year-long passes etc. etc. isn't hyped as well and the crowd that RIDES the bus... well... the upper class would rather drive, we'll leave it at that.

    The one day I had to ride the bus home (because my mom forgot about me... that was fun) it smelled terrible. Would not do again.

  9. #9


    Transit is only good if your city was designed right. Here the transit is great if your start and finish are close to the light rail stations. If you have to take a bus to the light rail station any time advantage is gone. And if your destination is not in the direction of a light rail station triple the time it would take to drive is not unusual. In parts of the city companies won't hire people without cars for some shifts.

  10. #10


    Speaking of light rail, Edinburgh appears to be putting in a light rail service in the New Town area (the part that is <200 years old), but it seems to consist only of one train that can't go anywhere because there are no power lines for it to connect to. So it just sits on Princes Street. Too funny, in my opinion.

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