Thursday, December 27, 2012

Even Sound Transit has Rail/Bus inequality

Good news for New Year's Eve! Central Link light rail will run extended hours.

They never have run late bus service, only their light rail trains.  They can find the labor and resources to run trains, but not buses.


Al M said...

Why does everybody out here on the west coast have such a love affair with rail?

Oh yea, its the 'choice riders',the white upper class suburbanites that need more service. Not those inner city multicultural people that struggle to survive, they can just walk.

Amerika-land of freedom and democracy, and the earth keeps spinning round and round.

Max said...

It's everywhere Al, not just the west coast. They even have rail in Houston, which isn't exactly a major public transportation town. Dallas has the largest light rail system in the US (85 miles).

Al M said...

Texas don't give a damn about its minorities, that's for sure.
Texas sucks!

Erik H. said...

At least at Sound Transit, you have the issues of contract operators:

Sounder trains are operated by BNSF.

ST Express buses are operated by either King County Metro, Pierce Transit or Community Transit.

Sound Transit ONLY operates the Central Link and Tacoma Link trains.

If ST Express ran buses from Seattle to Tacoma late night but Pierce Transit doesn't run service, you not only have the problem of dumping off people with nowhere to go but also the question of using Pierce Transit resources when they can't even fund local transit. Same with Community Transit - both transit agencies have had to substantially cut services (Community Transit I believe had to eliminate all Sunday service).

TriMet, on the other hand, has just one contracted operation - WES. So there is absolutely no reason why TriMet can argue it can run MAX but can't bus - the operators are all from the same union, same labor pool, same contract - it's just TriMet doesn't want to bother running buses. It isn't a matter of negotiating with another contract agency and forcing them to explain "yes, we'll operate special service for one group of folks, but not another"...

AND - Sound Transit is required on an annual basis to report spending per "sub-area" to ensure all of its districts are equally funded. Imagine if TriMet was forced to submit an annual, audited report that shows how much money TriMet spent in each area it serves...let's just say the Streetcar wouldn't last long, WES wouldn't last long...and places like Oregon City and West Linn would see massive service increases.