Thursday, October 13, 2005

Transit Alternatives

If we gave out addictive drugs on the corner of the worst urban
neighborhooods we'd be accused of pandering to those least able to make
good life choices. BUT when we hand out transit in the same manner,
well then we are doing good. Here's my plan with Volvos to end transit
addiction.

100,000 Volvo Station Wagons would cost about a billion dollars and
deliver the same number of passenger miles as the MTA with its' billion
dollar budget. Sure road traffic would increase 4% but we'd also take
2300 buses off the road and gain hundreds of miles of new general
purpose lanes that are currently bus only.

The lease payment on a 2004 V70 crosscountry retails for $469/mo. x12
x100,000 = $562,800,000 so we have enough to give them $300/mo expenses
as well. $300/mo buys 1500 plus miles of operating expenses. Hey, and
did I mention? We get to buy another 100,000 more next year! Every
year until top of the line nearly new safe fancy station wagons are so
common that people won't bother to "own" them they'll just leave them
around.

Alright, forget that last sentence, I got carried away. Not really
because extremism in freeing the poor from dependency is no vice.

Any bets that instead of top of line 2003 XCs we can get brand new
stripped vehicles with fleet discounts for less than $300/mo? More
like $200/mo but I don't need a sharp pencil to get every decimal place
when a broad brush will do. I'll leave the careful figuring to the
accountants.

Anyway those 100k Volvo station wagons driving 14,500 mi/yr with an
average of 1.6 passengers will total 2.3 billion passenger miles driven
normally. For comparison that's about 50% more passenger miles than
the LAMTA delivers. If instead we wish to replicate transit perfomance
those 100k vehicles need only drive 26 miles per day to match the LAMTA
system.

There are less than 600,000 transit "customers" so about 400k Volvos
would
cover the entire transit using population. To buy those 400k would take
a few years so we'll either
have to phase this in or sell off the MTA transit assets and go the
liquidation route.

Anyway let's do this right with additions to the fleet of Volvos with
some Ford Escorts and mandatory chauffeur service (to keep the MTA
employees working if nothing else). This is necessary for the mobility
dependent who cannot drive and cannot be the .6 part of the 1.6 average
occupancy.

Did I mention?, we are talking about providing transportation to the
masses for less TOTAL cost than operating costs ALONE are running now.
That's the magnitude of inefficiency and dependency and bueauracracy we
are discussing. This plan provides better mobility at less cost and
saves additional billions in capital expenditures.

There are problems of course. FI, How much space is taken up autos?
More in urban areas but less than you might think. According to the
FHWA and NPTS, the average auto has dedicated to its' use about 110
lane feet parking and roads. That makes my 100k Volvos liable for 2700
acres of pavement. A patch 2.2 miles on a side spread out over the
LAMTA service area. We need those 155 lane miles anyway to meet the
areas' unmet demand and under may Volvos for the Masses plan deleting
transit frees up lots of new r-o-w and money to pay for it.

Question: And what about all the people who ride transit because they
are unable to drive?

Yes! Needs testing. Very good. Back to my Ford Escorts with Escorts.
Needs testing for the small number that aren't covered by the free cars
program can easily be handled by demand service even at their high
costs. Just because I'm exposing most transit users as ungrateful
freeloaders don't mistake that for a lack of compassion for societies
most needful.

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