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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay off


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Date: 08/13/18 20:18
Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay off
Author: mdo

Does Any Mode of publis transportation pay for itself?

Conventional wisdom seems to say no.  Every single mode of transport is subsidized one way or another
for Air travel,  the air traffic control system,  for waterways  the locks and dams, for highways. Most construction costs are payed either by taxes or by Bonds which are paid off from taxes.  Revenue Bonds for toll toads, Frankly, 
i have no data.  Bus and light rail. Taxes subsidies for operation,  Federal grants for construction (from taxes)
commuter rail  tax subsidies,  Amtrak.... Federal subsidies. From taxes of course

For rail and transit the appropriate measure is the fare box ratio.  A ratio of better than fifty percent is considered very good.
this means that at least fifty percent of the operating costs come from ticket sales (fares) No system that I know of ever pays back the initial cost of construction or for equipment.

Note this from an article on the new transit terminal in San Francisco:The costs per rider sum up to around $1,333 a year in subsidies for each rider (whether AC Transit or Muni) using the station.Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission wasn’t worried about the costs, saying that they were not really high by most transit standards.The Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimated that toll payers across the Bay Area are already subsidizing bus service at about $1,576 per year for each AC Transit bus rider, $2,536 per year for each SamTrans rider, and $2,999 per year for each rider on the South Bay’s VTA light rail service.“Look, almost nothing in public transportation pays for itself,” said Rentschler.

now this:
Author: tomd As much as I love trains and have ridden the shinkasan in Japan hundreds of times, I do not support CHSR, or as we call Brown's folly. 

The original alighment here where I live (Morgan Hill) had it going on the Coast Line tracks,  Now the powers that be want in parallel to 101, one block from my house.  If it ever gets built, it will cost billions more that the current estimate, and wipe out many neighbor hoods along the route. 

From a tax payer payer point of view, it would be much cheaper to buy hundreds of thousands of Southwest tickets. It will be cheaper, more reliable and Southwest runs on time.   

Can not say that for a government transportaion organization.  

No one every mentions where we are going to get the electric power to run the HSR.  Where are the new power plant that will power it being built.  

Tom Daspit


Morgan Hill, CA
Tom's Trains

Why the negativity .   What did you expect of a new transportation initiative comparative to the new construction of another Interstate between Los Angeles and San Fransisco.   No matter what route it might take?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/18 20:22 by mdo.



Date: 08/13/18 21:25
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: CarolVoss

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does Any Mode of publis transportation pay for
> itself?
>
> Conventional wisdom seems to say no.  Every
> single mode of transport is subsidized one way or
> another
> for Air travel,  the air traffic control system,
>  for waterways  the locks and dams, for
> highways. Most construction costs are payed either
> by taxes or by Bonds which are paid off from
> taxes.  Revenue Bonds for toll toads, Frankly, 
> i have no data.  Bus and light rail. Taxes
> subsidies for operation,  Federal grants for
> construction (from taxes)
> commuter rail  tax subsidies,  Amtrak....
> Federal subsidies. From taxes of course
>
> For rail and transit the appropriate measure is
> the fare box ratio.  A ratio of better than fifty
> percent is considered very good.
> this means that at least fifty percent of the
> operating costs come from ticket sales (fares) No
> system that I know of ever pays back the initial
> cost of construction or for equipment.
>
> Note this from an article on the new transit
> terminal in San Francisco:The costs per rider sum
> up to around $1,333 a year in subsidies for each
> rider (whether AC Transit or Muni) using the
> station.Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan
> Transportation Commission wasn’t worried about
> the costs, saying that they were not really high
> by most transit standards.The Metropolitan
> Transportation Commission estimated that toll
> payers across the Bay Area are already subsidizing
> bus service at about $1,576 per year for each AC
> Transit bus rider, $2,536 per year for each
> SamTrans rider, and $2,999 per year for each rider
> on the South Bay’s VTA light rail
> service.“Look, almost nothing in public
> transportation pays for itself,” said
> Rentschler.
>
> now this:
> Author: tomd As much as I love trains and have
> ridden the shinkasan in Japan hundreds of times, I
> do not support CHSR, or as we call Brown's
> folly. 
>
> The original alighment here where I live (Morgan
> Hill) had it going on the Coast Line tracks,  Now
> the powers that be want in parallel to 101, one
> block from my house.  If it ever gets built, it
> will cost billions more that the current estimate,
> and wipe out many neighbor hoods along the
> route. 
>
> From a tax payer payer point of view, it would be
> much cheaper to buy hundreds of thousands of
> Southwest tickets. It will be cheaper, more
> reliable and Southwest runs on time.   
>
> Can not say that for a government transportaion
> organization.  
>
> No one every mentions where we are going to get
> the electric power to run the HSR.  Where are the
> new power plant that will power it being built.
>  
>
> Tom Daspit
>
>
> Morgan Hill, CA
> Tom's Trains
>
> Why the negativity .   What did you expect of a
> new transportation initiative comparative to the
> new construction of another Interstate between Los
> Angeles and San Fransisco.   No matter what route
> it might take?

Tom brings up a point that doesnt seem to be discussed—- where is the electric power going to come from? solar panels on the trains?😀. I see they are putting up the wires for electrifying Caltrain on the peninsula—-
C
 

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 08/13/18 22:19
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: stash

Lies. Voters thought they'd get a bullet train from SF to LA and it would make money. But no passenger rail service makes money when above and below rail costs are factored on.

So the route via Chowchilla and Lancaster will be longer and slower than a red hot express along I-5 that would bore through the mountains at the Grapevine. Voters don't really study this stuff and politicians want their names on it. Business as usual.

As for the route I read a piece that Fresno and Bakersfield are the most important stations on the HSR service. SF to LA are easily reached by frequent air service. Valley air service is very expensive.

NIMBYs on the Peninsula have shut down the high speed idea there. Now a slower service on Caltrain will be the HSR way to go.

Cost of this is no object. People will pay plenty to build and subsidize.

When eventually up and running, service will be delayed by breakdowns, signal/train control issues, MOW work, strikes, police activity on and near trains, unruly riders and medical emergencies. What else is new?

Like BART it'll eventually get built. Unlike BART the builders will not make a very costly mistake of building wide gauge. That will haunt BART forever.

Building a railroad between SF-SJ and LA shouldn't be rocket science. But we don't get big things done anymore.

Look at the NEC Portal Bridge, North River tunnels, and the ancient B&P tunnels under "charm city". All those parts of Amtrak infrastructure needed replacing years ago. Nothing is happening and won't until one tunnel into NYP fails, at which point it'll become a panic job.

Same old story. 150 years ago was the Transcontinental Railroad built at a faster pace than the California HSR fiasco?

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/18 22:24 by stash.



Date: 08/13/18 22:27
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: BNSF6400

CarolVoss Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tom brings up a point that doesnt seem to be
> discussed—- where is the electric power going to
> come from? solar panels on the trains?😀. I see
> they are putting up the wires for electrifying
> Caltrain on the peninsula—-

There is actually a glut of electrical power in California now.  When the big power shortages occurred during the Governor Grey Davis administration, California went on a power plant building spree.  Couple that with the introduction of numerous solar power plants and the installation of solar panels everywhere, they is a lot of surplus power (so much so California has actually paid other states to take our surplus power, see http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-electricity-solar/).  I don't know if this surplus is enough to meet the amount that HSR will use.  Either way, I am sure that the fine folks at CAHSR have it all under control...



Date: 08/13/18 22:44
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: CarolVoss

BNSF6400 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CarolVoss Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Tom brings up a point that doesnt seem to be
> > discussed—- where is the electric power going
> to
> > come from? solar panels on the trains?😀. I
> see
> > they are putting up the wires for electrifying
> > Caltrain on the peninsula—-
>
> There is actually a glut of electrical power in
> California now.  When the big power shortages
> occurred during the Governor Grey Davis
> administration, California went on a power plant
> building spree.  Couple that with the
> introduction of numerous solar power plants and
> the installation of solar panels everywhere, they
> is a lot of surplus power (so much so California
> has actually paid other states to take our surplus
> power,
> see http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-electri
> city-solar/).  I don't know if this surplus is
> enough to meet the amount that HSR will use. 
> Either way, I am sure that the fine folks at CAHSR
> have it all under control...

oh yes, we know all about that and of course with all this “ glut” our PGE bills continue to rise— they need to find  money to pay fir the fire damages they are gonna be charged fir—-just more smoke and mirrors, 3 shells and a pea and pixie dust—-
C

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 08/13/18 22:55
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: CarolVoss

stash Wrote:6
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lies. Voters thought they'd get a bullet train
> from SF to LA and it would make money. But no
> passenger rail service makes money when above and
> below rail costs are factored on.
>
> So the route via Chowchilla and Lancaster will be
> longer and slower than a red hot express along I-5
> that would bore through the mountains at the
> Grapevine. Voters don't really study this stuff
> and politicians want their names on it. Business
> as usual.
>
> As for the route I read a piece that Fresno and
> Bakersfield are the most important stations on the
> HSR service. SF to LA are easily reached by
> frequent air service. Valley air service is very
> expensive.
>
> NIMBYs on the Peninsula have shut down the high
> speed idea there. Now a slower service on Caltrain
> will be the HSR way to go.
>
> Cost of this is no object. People will pay plenty
> to build and subsidize.
>
> When eventually up and running, service will be
> delayed by breakdowns, signal/train control
> issues, MOW work, strikes, police activity on and
> near trains, unruly riders and medical
> emergencies. What else is new?
>
> Like BART it'll eventually get built. Unlike BART
> the builders will not make a very costly mistake
> of building wide gauge. That will haunt BART
> forever.
>
> Building a railroad between SF-SJ and LA shouldn't
> be rocket science. But we don't get big things
> done anymore.
>
> Look at the NEC Portal Bridge, North River
> tunnels, and the ancient B&P tunnels under "charm
> city". All those parts of Amtrak infrastructure
> needed replacing years ago. Nothing is happening
> and won't until one tunnel into NYP fails, at
> which point it'll become a panic job.
>
> Same old story. 150 years ago was the
> Transcontinental Railroad built at a faster pace
> than the California HSR fiasco?
>
> Posted from Android

Stash, you have a really major problem in that you tend to make sense.! 😀
C

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 08/13/18 23:19
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

Carol Voss --
Excellent point!   PG&E is just tryig to fatten up its bank accunts soit can pay for teh huge finesit may have to pay.  We shall see if they every have to pay one dime.  I doubt it.

mdo -- 
You asked  "Does any public transport pay off?"  but you then proceeded to explai why it never can.  What is your point?   Has anyone ever noticed that when politicians really want to dosomething expensive, they never, ever say "It costs too much!" But when they do not support a program, they always loudly claim, "It is too expensive!" and keep on beating the drum about how much the program they do not want to support costs.

And, for purposes of a truly fair comparisn, wny not provide sus with the true annual cost of opwoning a car --which would include the owner's share of the costs of building and maintaining roads and highwas, and the owner;s share of the additional police and fire personnel and support failities, and of the additonal court system and medical personnel and their extra facilities, ad the annual costs of time wasted while in traffic jams -- all of which are necessary if people are to drive anywhere.  (by te way, people who do not drive pay for thsoe costs, too, in various taxes.) 

I am quite sure, though I am sorry I cannot produce the figues right now, that the annual per-driver costs of all those items I have listed dwarfs the annual per-rider subsidy of any of the public transit systems you listed.  (I will do my best to find data to support my claims, but I wanted to post this now.)



Date: 08/14/18 05:55
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: kevink

Margaret_SP_fan Wrote in response to MDO:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You asked  "Does any public transport pay off?" 
> but you then proceeded to explain why it never
> can.  What is your point?  

That is his point. No public transportation system covers its costs unless it charges user fees (tolls) high enough to cover the costs. 

 



Date: 08/14/18 07:05
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: trainjunkie

kevink Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That is his point. No public transportation system
> covers its costs unless it charges user fees
> (tolls) high enough to cover the costs. 

Which is NOT how HSR was presented on the ballot. Some of us knew the original proposal was pure fantasy, but most voters did not. That doesn't make what's happening now okay. "Build it and they will come" on this scale is pure madness.



Date: 08/14/18 10:02
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: mdo

 trainjunkie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> kevink Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > That is his point. No public transportation
> system
> > covers its costs unless it charges user fees
> > (tolls) high enough to cover the costs. 
>
> Which is NOT how HSR was presented on the ballot.
> Some of us knew the original proposal was pure
> fantasy, but most voters did not. That doesn't
> make what's happening now okay. "Build it and they
> will come" on this scale is pure madness.

Look, some of us are old enough to remember early estimates for BART were unreasonabley low.  That too was thought by some to be a boondoggle.  One of the major selling points was that everyone would have a seat.  Early cars came with no grab-bars
.RIGHT, no strap hangers on BART.

Do you suppose that the original estimates for the construction of the Central Pacific were right on target?  I wonder.

 



Date: 08/14/18 12:24
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

BART is urban (relatively) short-distance mass trasit.  CA HSR is NOT, and neither was the Transcontinental RR.    Two conpletely differnt things.  Please do not equate the very inflated costs of an urban mass-transit rail ssytem -- BART -- with the extremely inflated costs of a new long-distance high-speed rail system which no one can show that there is any real, verifoed demand for.   BART and CA HSR are two very different things.  Apples and oranges.



Date: 08/14/18 12:24
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: kevink

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do you suppose that the original estimates for the
> construction of the Central Pacific were right on
> target?  I wonder.

Anyone who has read Empire Express by David Bain or Nothing Like It in the World by Stephen Ambrose knows the answer to that. (Hint: the original estimates were low, way low.)
I've worked on a lot of engineering projects during my 27+ year career from small to mega and have quite a bit of experience at estimating costs. Even at 100% final design, an engineering estimate is still a educated guess. I'm happy when the low bid comes in at 10% over my estimate.

Only when the project is completely built and accepted by the owner will the final cost be known. 



Date: 08/14/18 12:51
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: dcautley

If I recall my History correctly all the transcontinental lines shed most of their capital costs through bankruptcy, leaving early investors high and dry. Whether this was forced or an optional strategy is speculation.

Not to mention the every other section land grant incentives that played a good part in making the investment look attractive.

Our Legacy is not simple.

Posted from Android



Date: 08/14/18 17:55
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

No comment on what I just posted?  Hmmm.......



Date: 08/14/18 19:34
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: mdo

Ok  Margaret,  I don't think any of the three are dissimilar
All three broke new ground in their era.
All three were large engineering marvels
All three are massive construction projects 
All three were built with contractors
All three far exceeded their original cost estimates
The first two are considered to be great success, and with a little tweaking ,  I believe so will be CHSR.

Next up topic for 313.5  is who opposes CHSR and why.
 Why don't you get ready to lay out all  the reasons that you are so negative.

After that we will see what needs to be changed to fix all of the problems.

mdo



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/18 19:37 by mdo.



Date: 08/14/18 19:46
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: CarolVoss

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ok  Margaret,  I don't think any of the three
> are dissimilar
> All three broke new ground in their era.
> All three were large engineering marvels
> All three are massive construction projects 
> All three were built with contractors
> All three far exceeded their original cost
> estimates
> The first two are considered to be great success,
> and with a little tweaking ,  I believe so will
> be CHSR.
>
> Next up topic for 313.5  is who opposes CHSR and
> why.
>  Why don't you get ready to lay out all  the
> reasons that you are so negative.
>
> After that we will see what needs to be changed to
> fix all of the problems.
>
> mdo

A little tweaking? Surely you jest. I am all fir HSR but lets start all over  from a realistic view, build the damn thing from Bakersfield to maybe Stockton or Modesto, demonstrate that it works, and figure out how to make the Tehachapis and the Pacheco/Altamont crossings problem magically disappear. 😀
C

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 08/14/18 21:30
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

mdo, sir --
I am merely stating that I do not agree that CA HSR is woth doing -- because no one has yet shown it is worth doing. If that coems across as "negative," so be it.

With Clara, I ask (metaphorically), "Where's the beef?"  If CA HSR is so well worth doing,  please post a link to one -- just one! -- travel-deand study that was not done by or paid for by the CHSRA that shows good, solid evidence that there IS real demand for CA HSR.

ALL I am asking for is a LINK to a study, NOT a restatement of the whole doggoned study.

IF such a study exists, it should be very easy for someone to post a link to it.  Does such a study exist?  I do not think so, or someone would have posted a link to it long ago.

Facts, please.  Thank you!



Date: 08/14/18 21:49
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

mdo --
BART is urban mass transit that there already was a demonstrated need for.  The transcntinental RR was not ever urban mass transit, and CA HSR is not urban mass transit.  Apples and oranges, sir.

Yes, there was a real need for the transcontinental RR, but no one has yet shown there is any need for CA HSR.  And neither giant project was or is urban mass transit.



Date: 08/15/18 00:01
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: stash

The people trying to do 80mph along I-5 probably think a new railroad is a great idea. Likewise for the frequent flyers between SFO or OAK and LAX. If the travel time is shortened what's a frequent road warrior not to like?

Was there ever a study analyzing the start of San Joaquin service? I don't know. But the trains are quite busy. SP dumped all service in the valley so they didn't think much of it. Hindsight makes it look pretty good.

How about those Surfliners out of SLO. Was there any study? I don't know. But the route seems popular. Start running trains and riders seem to come. HSR will be a hit. Probably a financial loser, but a popular ride.

Voters gave the HSR a clear signal. That's enough. If it turns out less than expected so be it. Voters also put a new POTUS in office, like it or not. Voters have the final say. They're not always great decisions but that's the system.

Posted from Android



Date: 08/15/18 00:14
Re: Mad Dog Chronicle # 313.4. Does any public transport pay of
Author: Margaret_SP_fan

stash --
Voters do not have the final say.  Not in this constitutional republic they don't.  This country is NOT a democracy.  

We have 3 branches of our government, and they each have a lot of power, but none has all the power.  And that is good -- very good.  It is called "checks and balances."

What votres approve is not always even legal, and has been overturned by the courts -- and that is how these checks and balances are suppored to work.

So mo one shuld ever tell anyone in this country to just "live with it," meaning we should just meekly accept everything the voters vote for and should not ever try to change it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/15/18 16:10 by Margaret_SP_fan.



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