Archive for March 10th, 2008
The last time I took a bus downtown I blogged about it. I hear all sorts of stories from other public transport users. My son and daughter seem to witness, or be part of, a drama every time they get on a bus. But all pales to insignificance when you read this – London to Sydney overland 28,000km trip by public transport
Eight months, 25 countries, 13 boats, 34 buses, 16 trains, 21 minivans, six car rides and one flight after leaving London I finally arrived in Sydney. The sense of achievement was so satisfying that it wasn’t long before I set off to Cape Town, to travel up to Cairo the same way.
I have written about dmus on existing tracks before – and this project in particular. It opened, finally, yesterday.
Some facts I want to draw your attention to
Sunday’s launch marked the culmination of 30 years of planning and development, at a cost of $478 million. The project was funded by a combination of federal, state and local funds, including the county’s ½-percentage-point Transnet sales tax.
About two dozen passengers on the first train were employees or friends of North County Transit District, the developer of the 22-mile rail line, but most were just local folk who wanted to ride history.
22 miles $478 million
That is why I think surface light rail on existing tracks with diesel rail cars should be the starting point for rail rapid transit. If you have no existing tracks and a lot of road space (King George Highway is a good example) then convert two of the general purpose lanes to bus only. That is even cheaper. Of course, you will have to enforce the bus only lanes but the easy way to do that is ban parking on street altogether, and fit the buses with a camera in the nose and a button for the operator to push whenever a car gets in the way. And you can also set the traffic lights to turn green for the bus. That is all very cheap indeed.
When you have a low market share and not much money, building grade separated, computer controlled, gee whiz systems makes no sense at all. Incremental growth building on what you have makes a lot more sense.
OK Malcolm. You take over from here.
UPDATE March 16
The first week of operations went well with a significant boost to transit ridership over the former bus service