Saturday, December 15, 2018

Transit woes in Marin---and SF

Richard Hall cites the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on the SMART train:

...SMART’s average rider is 46 years old, lives in a household of three, earns $97,300 a year and has the option to drive but instead chooses to take the train. The majority of participants in two online SMART surveys and an in-person sampling conducted by the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission, identified as white (77 percent) and English speakers (95 percent)...

Just 15 percent of riders classified themselves as Hispanic, with 4 percent citing Spanish as their native tongue. As of July 2017, Sonoma County’s Latino population was estimated at 27 percent compared to 16 percent in Marin, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Hall's comment:

So we are using scarce transportation dollars to provide an alternative to wealthy non-minorities who already can afford to drive---this should be right at the bottom of our list of transportation priorities. There are many surveys showing that access to a car makes an immense difference to those on low incomes---enabling them to travel to get to a job, and to get there reliably and on time.

Hall on Marin's election results:

...74.70% of voters obediently voted yes to Measure AA which opened with this claim: "In order to relieve traffic congestion on Highway 101 and local roads..." By far the majority of the proceeds, 55%, will be spent on Marin Transit that provides local bus service within Marin County. These buses are apparently the silver bullet deserving the majority of our funding to relieve traffic. 

But how many voters when voting knew that this would be the claimed solution, and that Marin Transit buses according to officially reported Department of Transportation data carry an average of just 4 riders?...Marin Transit is running giant buses with a capacity of 30+ riders, but most of the time carrying just 4 riders on average according to the data...(emphasis added).

Rob's comment:
San Francisco's Muni system has the same problem: giant buses that are well-used during commute hours and mostly empty the rest of the day and night. What about a fleet of jitney-sized buses to plug in during off-hours?

One of the glaring examples in San Francisco: Muni's #37 Corbett line, on which I've never seen more than two passengers. Why not run a much smaller jitney-sized vehicle?

Hall is right that working people need cars. See the Urban Institute's 2014 study: Driving to Opportunity.

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Up in the Valley

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