Category Archives: metablog

Teaser

Later this week, stay tuned for a new formula which takes into account service quality (measured by miles per hour), frequency, and, and this is the new part, end-user payment (fare).

Hint: MetroRapid’s going to cost $1.75 each way. Today’s #1 service costs $1 and today’s #101 service costs $1.50. Next year, the #1 will be cut in half and go up to $1.25; while MetroRapid will replace the #101, add frequency to the few stops it serves, and cost $1.75.

Presented with minimal comment

In response to the post I spent two hours writing on the plane on Thursday:

Twitter conversation on Thursday

 

In response to Jace’s excellent livetweet of MetroRapid as judged by the BRT standard (spoiler: it didn’t do well):

More twitter

Head asplode!

 

It’s time to talk about Rapid Bus again.

So the PR machine is out in force trying to make Rapid Bus sound great so people are distracted from the fact that the densest, most active, most vibrant corridor in the city – not only now but 40 years from now – isn’t going to get rail until the 2040s, if then. In the meantime, we’re planning on building another hugely subsidized line to suburbs that don’t pay any Capital Metro taxes; and an urban rail line to a “new urban” development that is new, but isn’t urban; and even when fully built out will have far less people and far less travel demand to the core than Guadalupe/Lamar do today.

Was that sentence long enough? I pay by the period.

Anyways, so Rapid Bus? Snakes like JMVC are pitching the hell out of it and talking about it in the same breath as light rail and commuter rail as “high capacity transit” – which is a way to make people in Central Austin think they’re getting equal or nearly-equal quality.

This is bullshit.

So apparently I need to do this again – and this time, for the maximum possible fairness, I’m going to start with the BEST POSSIBLE CASE for Rapid Bus – the Burnet/Lamar corridor, where no express service currently exists.

Joker-here-we-go

bookface

A page for the crackplog on the bookface. Because let it never be said I didn’t copy ideas from the other members of the urban-development-echo-chamber, for good or for ill.

Note on the blog

I set up this new site in January and did the big import back then and promptly failed to finish. It’s still a work in progress but I plan on posting new content here now and migrating the January-through-August content over when I get some time. My friend Baba’s done a great favor to me over the years by hosting this blog; but since I got tired of Movable Type and have had my own hosting for quite a while, it seemed like time to get my act in gear – especially since I finally got the crackpot sports blog up and running a few weeks ago over here already.

The current masthead as of 9/1 is a real picture of the downtown station my stepson took for me while we did a quick detour on the way to Austin High so I could count riders one morning last Spring. It was glorious. Click below for the full image.

Talk about 1000 words

Talk about 1000 words

Update on lack of updates

  • Very busy with new position at day job. Unlike most of the people who write or advocate on transportation, I have a non-transportation, non-government, job in the private sector; and it’s now consuming all my possible time and then some. Turns out you get a lot more time to write in between builds than you do when writing planning documents. Who knew?
  • Not much to report on anyways. Ridership is back down, despite anectdotal reports to the contrary.
  • Despite that, we’re going to start running even more trains to places almost nobody wants to go (shuttlebuses) – making the operating cost subsidy even more monstrously high; resulting in even more cuts to bus service that actual Capital Metro taxpayers actually use. Chris Riley and Mike Martinez have done absolutely nothing to get Capital Metro on the right track here. I am critically disappointed, especially in Chris.
  • My long-range plan is still what it was a month ago – move content to WordPress on my own domain to give my gracious host a long-deserved break; start building back story to refer to from new posts to make them easier to write (and the older ones easier to refer to without having to wade through current content which is no longer current).
  • In the meantime, it’s difficult to get enthusiastic about crackplogging anyways – thanks to a couple of local sites which apparently think that even though people still call the damn thing light rail; people still think it can be expanded to serve the city’s core; people still think it just needs better connections – that somehow I’ve been beating a dead horse. Or that Capital Metro would change their plans if I just eased up on them.
  • It doesn’t help that local rail and downtown advocates keep sucking up to the people who got us into this mess. Every time I see one of these guys ‘like’ some irrelevant piece of news about the Red Line on facebook, l want to scream – you idiots; don’t you realize that this thing is killing urban rail right this very minute? Where would you rather be able to take a train in ten years from your downtown condo – a cow pasture in Leander or the University of Texas? The middle of a huge parking lot a half-mile from Lakeline Mall or the Triangle? You can’t have both; you’d better make up your damn mind.


So there’s where we are. I recommend you pay attention to the twitter for short comments on whatever’s going on in the meantime.

Hold Your Horses

So a train started running today, for reals. Know what? Right now is the time for the uninformed on both sides to have their day – it’s too early to say anything really useful.
In the meantime, I spent the 2nd half of Spring Break in Houston, and yes, rode the train. Was gonna write a TFT post but baby had other plans involving the being sick of and on and all over; am now in work, late, on 2 hours sleep. Maybe tomorry.

Update and link

The reminders to write crackplogs are now piled up at about 5 on my outlook calendar; still not enough time for a real workup on any of them. In the meantime, check out some Austin coverage at the Transport Politic, a good transit blog I just discovered.
You could also have heard this on the twitter machine. Just saying.

New local urbanist blog

Semi-local, anyways. Welcome Urbanism South, written by a local planner and a good read so far. (Thanks to Keep Austin Wonky for being the discovery link here).

New link and upcoming story

1. Fare Enough, local blog by Larry Schooler, covering some Austin transit and has some experience with Tri-Rail. Welcome.
2. Cap Metro has come out with their service recommendations for 2020 and they’re awful – just off the top of my head, running the #5 on San Jacinto because Guadalupe is “too congested” (hint: it’s congested because that’s where all the good stuff people actually want to go to is located); completely eliminating 3 superior express bus routes in favor of the objectively inferior Red Line + shuttle-bus solution, destroying the utility of the #21/#22 for the schoolkids; etc.
The usual narrative with light rail, which I find to be inaccurate, is that forcing bus riders to transfer to light rail is a degradation of their service. IE, people in Houston in the pocket of the anti-rail lobby stirred up bus riders with objectively false claims that their service would be degraded – when it would actually be improved (shorter ride in traffic on bus with new congestion-skipping ride on rail, no change to endpoint of service). The problem in our case isn’t that we’re making people transfer from bus to rail, it’s actually that we’re making people transfer from congestion-skipping rail to traffic-snarled bus at the work end of the trip, which as South Florida has conclusively shown with Tri-Rail, is the kiss of death among ‘choice commuters’. People with real jobs don’t want to have to worry about whether their shuttle bus back to the train station will make it or whether they’ll have to wait a half-hour for the next train; they want to be walking from the train station to their office and back again, period.
More on this tomorrow I hope.