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Passenger Trains > Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar


Date: 01/21/23 13:29
Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: Lackawanna484

Warren Buffett, head of Omaha based Berkshire Hathaway, has expressed his opposition to a proposed streetcar program.

The streetcar plan is intended to create a more livable downtown core, with easier access to the town's many attractions. NYTimes reports the town leaders fear young people would prefer to go to Chicago with its glitzy lifestyle and elevated rail. (Or Denver, Kansas City, St Louis, Minneapolis, etc?)

Mr Buffett sees it as too expensive, too inflexible, and he doesn't like it.

Posted from Android



Date: 01/21/23 15:04
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: joemvcnj

Maybe he should just focus on running his BNSF Railway and offer its workers sick leave. 



Date: 01/21/23 15:15
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: longliveSP




Date: 01/21/23 15:44
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: dan

In Denver they can't get enough employees to staff mass transit, ridership is way down for a few years, wonder when it will rebound, downtown for that matter as well.  Suburbia is still there for them, BLM riots killed downtowns mystique for a awhile.



Date: 01/21/23 15:55
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: SanDiegan

dan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In Denver they can't get enough employees to staff
> mass transit, ridership is way down for a few
> years, wonder when it will rebound, downtown for
> that matter as well.  Suburbia is still there for
> them, BLM riots killed downtowns mystique for a
> awhile.

And insane prices



Date: 01/21/23 15:57
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: SanDiegan

Downtown Omaha is doing just fine without a streetcar. Young people are much better off settling there than in Chicago.



Date: 01/21/23 16:00
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: goneon66

SanDiegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Downtown Omaha is doing just fine without a
> streetcar. Young people are much better off
> settling there than in Chicago.

exactly.  i lived downtown and did fine without a streetcar and always felt safe.............

66



Date: 01/21/23 19:09
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: cchan006

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Maybe he should just focus on running his BNSF
> Railway and offer its workers sick leave.

Katie Farmer (BNSF CEO) runs and owns the good and the bad at BNSF. Buffett doesn't run BNSF, his company (Berkshire Hathaway) just owns BNSF despite the feel good propaganda we heard years ago about him owning a Lionel train set. His hobby is money, not trains.



Date: 01/21/23 22:39
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: Drknow

dan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In Denver they can't get enough employees to staff
> mass transit, ridership is way down for a few
> years, wonder when it will rebound, downtown for
> that matter as well.  Suburbia is still there for
> them, BLM riots killed downtowns mystique for a
> awhile.

I rode some of the Denver street cars last summer and to me they didn’t really make sense on how they are routed and the homeless/mentally unstable/drug addicts that inhabit them are I assume turning riders away.
But all of downtown Denver has turned into a freak show.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/22/23 00:39
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: dan

    Denver before they went down the rail rabbit hole had an award winning bus system, I like rail but is quite expensive.   To bad National City Lines execs didn't live to see this.  The young kids just don't get a kick of boarding a bus like they do rail.   But ride sharing is now prevalent (many of the drivers are making squat) and   many rail ridesnow  need a transfer as staff and ridership has dropped and been restructured.



Date: 01/22/23 13:23
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: cchan006

longliveSP Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,
> 5602280,page=1

Lackawanna484 speculated on Buffett's motive for the opposition in the above link, as his company, Berkshire Hathaway has stake in BYD. I understood his speculation right away - maybe Buffett was hoping City of Omaha would convert the BRT buses to electric in the future, which might help BRK's stake in BYD? For those who know Buffett's hobby is money, not trains (and not buses either), that speculation would have made sense, no matter how far-fetched.

I think it's safer to speculate that Buffett doesn't want too many changes to his home town, Omaha, so he's opposing it. It was in the financial news recently that BRK reduced its stake in BYD, although you never know, since financial media is the master of fake news, to trick people into jumping on rumors to trade stocks needlessly.



Date: 01/22/23 14:13
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: redberan4449

In most major cities, COVID changed our lifestyles.  This was closely followed by wave after wave of homeless or drug-induced people.  I find the thought of visiting most of these cities as "unappealing" these days.  The idea of a streetcar in Omaha should be shelved.  I think that is why they call Buffett the Oracle".



Date: 01/22/23 14:26
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: Lackawanna484

Mr Buffett's engagement with money is well known, as is Omaha's frequent comparisons of itself with Kansas City, it's up to date, down river neighbor.

KC metro is double the size of Omaha's, yet they can't seem to charge a fare for their streetcar.  I believe Charlotte has a similar fare-free program with its Lynx Gold streetcar.  If much larger cities can't sustain a fare, I'm sure Mr Buffett doesn't want his taxes raised to support a "free ride" for someboody else.



Date: 01/22/23 17:49
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: abyler

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> KC metro is double the size of Omaha's, yet they
> can't seem to charge a fare for their streetcar. 
> I believe Charlotte has a similar fare-free
> program with its Lynx Gold streetcar. 

They can't charge a fare because the value of the service is $0 or actually negative.  Such as why the one in St. Louis shutdown.  Many more transit agencies are headed in this direction.  Slow service, doesn't stop where you are or go where you want to go, and its infrequent to boot.  I often marvel that anyone uses our industry willingly with the current product offered.



Date: 01/22/23 18:58
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: Lackawanna484

abyler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > KC metro is double the size of Omaha's, yet
> they
> > can't seem to charge a fare for their
> streetcar. 
> > I believe Charlotte has a similar fare-free
> > program with its Lynx Gold streetcar. 
>
> They can't charge a fare because the value of the
> service is $0 or actually negative.  Such as why
> the one in St. Louis shutdown.  Many more transit
> agencies are headed in this direction.  Slow
> service, doesn't stop where you are or go where
> you want to go, and its infrequent to boot.  I
> often marvel that anyone uses our industry
> willingly with the current product offered.

That pithy analysis likely jibes with Mr Buffett's thinking.  "If they can't even charge a fee, why are we spending tax money to build it? There's obviously no pressing need"



Date: 01/22/23 19:28
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: RuleG

As a citizen, presumably interested in Omaha's civic affairs, Warren Buffett has a right, just like others living in Omaha to state an opinion on the streetcar.  

I continue to see no merit in the speculation about Buffett's opposition to streetcars based on Berkshire-Hathaway's ownership of BYD which manufactures electric buses. 
  • Having an electric rail transit system does not preclude having electric buses.  On the contrary, there are numerous North American metro areas with battery electric buses and electric rail transit systems (Seattle, Vancouver, Denver, Portland OR, and Chicago come to mind)
  • In March 2022, three electric buses were, in fact, delivered to Omaha Metro.  They were built by New Flyer, not BYD 
Source: https://www.ometro.com/metro-news/metro-charges-forward-with-first-electric-buses-in-omaha/

 



Date: 01/23/23 08:50
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: Copy19

I agree with Mr. Buffett.  This whole deal doesn't make sense.  Downtown attractions?  Don't make me laugh.  I would suggest the bulk of commuters are mostly office workers who drive in from the various suburbs.  I drove I from my house in west Omaha on Dodge Street 12 miles to work on Dodge Street or Interstate 80 depending on traffic for 30 years and paid for parking two blocks from UP headquarters.  There hasn't been significant "shopping" downtown since I moved here in 1983.  The proposed street car wouldn't come anywhere near us. 

When I was kid when my family would visit relatives in Los Angeles and the subject of street cars would occasionally come up and I would hear repeated rants of how "everybody" could hardly wait to get rid of the streetcars with their ugly overhead wires,  mid-street loading, and slippery rails in the pavement. My dad as a young man hurt his knee when his motorcycle caught a wheel in a streetcar flange way.  The injury bugged him for the rest of his life.  Sure he might have influnced me, but...This Omaha street car plan all started when it was decided that Mutual of Omaha should move its midtown headquarters a few blocks to downtown on the mall park.  They had tear down the relatively modern main library building which was on the "choice" spot.  Must be nice to have friends in city hall.  The street car would connect the two sites.  It wouldn't be useful for the daily commute.

Claims it would promote development along the right-of-way seem weak.  Omaha isn't Kansas City.  Dream on...

Letters to the editor in the Omaha World-Herald  have been full of anti-streetcar letters pointing all of this out.  Yet the powers to be roll on.  Many of us opponents are calling for a vote.  Sounds like a fair idea to me.

John  Bromley - Omaha

Just saw a news bulletin that they are breaking ground Wednesday afternoon for the new downtown Mutual of Omaha headquarters building.  :-(



Edited 12 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/23 16:00 by Copy19.



Date: 01/23/23 09:29
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: Lackawanna484

Having a streetcar system is an object of desire for many urban planners and city leaders.  The Wall Street Journal did an article a few years ago with that title: Streetcar, thy name is Desire.

I can understand an urban passenger conveyance, especially as young people flock to a few cities (Denver, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Miami) but I'm not sure places like Kansas City, Omaha, Memphis, Little Rock should take that as an "if we build the streetcar, they (the young folks) will come" invitation



Date: 01/23/23 09:48
Re: Buffett opposes the Omaha streetcar
Author: ts1457

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Having a streetcar system is an object of desire
> for many urban planners and city leaders.  The
> Wall Street Journal did an article a few years ago
> with that title: Streetcar, thy name is Desire.
>
> I can understand an urban passenger conveyance,
> especially as young people flock to a few cities
> (Denver, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Miami)
> but I'm not sure places like Kansas City, Omaha,
> Memphis, Little Rock should take that as an "if we
> build the streetcar, they (the young folks) will
> come" invitation

Seems like a poor reason for building a street car line. By the time it was built, tastes of the young likely will have changed.



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