Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Ban the Bus! (and the rail)

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 LAMTA 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 330,000 transit "customers" so about 200k Volvos would cover the entire transit using population. To buy those 200k would take a two 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? (See; Earth First! blog) 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.

1 comment:

Seb said...