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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-21-14, 07:04 AM   #51
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Then I looked at Greyhound Bus Lines, which has a terminal in my city near my home. It would have taken 3 days, with transfers to other bus companies and such poor timing and infrequent runs that I'd have to layover overnight twice! .
The last time I checked Greyhound's website (2-3 years ago) it was totally useless and gave me a ridiculously roundabout route. So perhaps there are more direct routes and they just didn't show them.

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Old 03-21-14, 07:07 AM   #52
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Nobody uses public transit anymore in Toronto because it is so ridiculously crowded.

Seriously, it is a victim of its own success. THe service is much worse than 20 years ago simply because it hasn't kept up with increased ridership.
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Old 03-21-14, 07:44 AM   #53
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Nobody uses public transit anymore in Toronto because it is so ridiculously crowded.

Seriously, it is a victim of its own success. THe service is much worse than 20 years ago simply because it hasn't kept up with increased ridership.
That's the problem with the London Underground. It will get you around London, not necessarily in a particularly speedy fashion (and by the time you've faffed around changing from one line to another, getting from road level to train level and back it adds a surprising amount of time to the overall journey), and if you travel at the wrong times of day it's like being in a sardine can but with less space to call your own. Throw in a near total lack of ventilation and it can be really disgusting in the summer. The buses have a similar problem except they get stuck in the regular urban traffic and every once in a while you get squashed very close to someone who doesn't appear to have washed in a month. I remember getting off a bus and deciding to wait 20 minutes for the next bus because I knew if I stayed in close proximity to one particular person for the rest of my journey I was going to be physically sick.
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Old 03-21-14, 07:55 AM   #54
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Our transit service is what I would consider good, most routes are on 30 minute schedules, some are 60 in non peak hours, and others run every 7 to 15 minutes.

Our light rail is expanding and the new stop will be a few blocks from my home, this will eventually take me all the way to the south side... biggest issue we have is that the city does not allow bicycles on the train during peak hours.

Along with the new light trail, the city has laid down multi use paths for cyclists and pedestrians along these corridors... my daughters will be able to ride to school next year on an uninterrupted stretch of pathways that parallel the light rail.
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Old 03-21-14, 08:35 AM   #55
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No it can't. Time is totally linear it doesn't circle back around. The old trollies represent a time past. Buses, newspapers, wrist watches, phone booths, public library's, broadcast TV and radio..... all are great things that worked faithfully and near flawlessly... in their time. But it isn't practical or even honest to romanticize sweet old fashioned technologies. Time marches on and so does progress.

No one is emotionally attached to the future... how could they be. But we all develop soft spots in our hearts for the simple old ways. It's only human. Yet the new times and ways will be some future generations old simple ways.

Mass transit and centralized living is an old dream that stemmed from the time of horse drawn carriages with streets and sewers filled with horse manure. It had a brief time in history that many still romantically and emotionally cling to... and there is nothing wrong with that. But that time is passing.

Like Stephen Hawking is fawn of pointing out: If mankind doesn't learn to travel through space and repopulate other worlds we die out with Earth. Certainly no one thinks we are going to pedal our bicycles or ride our busses into space.
Time doesn't come around again, but ideas do. There are many examples of technologies or social structures that go in and out of fashion. Bicycles are one example, democracy is another. Maybe trams will be too.
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Old 03-21-14, 10:00 AM   #56
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I posted previously about my experiences with buses in Boston -- didn't ride them because cycling or subway + walking got me where I needed to go.

Two other bus experiences:

Local bus service, which stops about half a mile away from my house. It would be fine for runs to local services like grocery shopping, banking, post office, etc., but any more than that and it starts getting long and complicated with multiple transfers needed. Assuming buses were running on schedule, to get to work 20 miles away, I'd need to do 2 transfers and it would take me 3 hours. I can bike that same commute in 1:20. And since I have a bike, local errands via bus will still be shorter by bike. So I've never used it.

There's another interstate bus service set up with regular runs from Dover and Portsmouth NH with stop in Newburyport MA, terminating at Boston, Logan airport or South Station which is a subway, bus, and Amtrak hub. I used to use it on a regular basis when commuting to Boston, and the early runs south were packed with commuters. They started having to add buses to the route and the parking lot is always full, even since expanding it. Now I use it as part of a bike-bus-bike commute to Newburyport MA.

So for me, buses are hit and miss. Hit when they coincide with an interstate commute; miss locally.
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Old 03-21-14, 10:33 AM   #57
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Maybe! I was a little surprised when I read that the big fad among celebrity's is raising chickens. Never can guess what the next "fad" will be. But centralizing a decentralized society.... that's a bigger job than moving mountains. You don't have to kill millions of people to move a land mass. Forced migrations however have always involved.... force. .
That's a straw man. People don't need to be forced to move to dense urban centres, they do it voluntarily when the conditions suit them. There's a massive condo boom in downtown Toronto right now that's been going on for over a decade because so many people want to live there. Nobody is forcing them, nobody is advocating force.

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Old 03-21-14, 10:38 AM   #58
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That's the problem with the London Underground. It will get you around London, not necessarily in a particularly speedy fashion (and by the time you've faffed around changing from one line to another, getting from road level to train level and back it adds a surprising amount of time to the overall journey), and if you travel at the wrong times of day it's like being in a sardine can but with less space to call your own. Throw in a near total lack of ventilation and it can be really disgusting in the summer. The buses have a similar problem except they get stuck in the regular urban traffic and every once in a while you get squashed very close to someone who doesn't appear to have washed in a month. I remember getting off a bus and deciding to wait 20 minutes for the next bus because I knew if I stayed in close proximity to one particular person for the rest of my journey I was going to be physically sick.
Perhaps you missed the irony. It's not unpopular because it's unpleasant, it's unpleasant because it is popular
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Old 03-21-14, 11:16 AM   #59
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What I'm seeing in these postings leads to the conclusion that lots of people use public transit, leading to severe crowding, making it unpleasant to ride, nevertheless a lot of people do use it. If the rides would cost more, perhaps the system could afford to increase its capacity. If the riders want better service, they have to pay for it somehow. Perhaps taxing vehicle registrations more and using the money for transit service capacity would shift more people out of cars and into public transit (or --shocking to even think it-- onto bicycles) which would benefit the remaining car drivers due to less road congestion. But here in California, when a governor raised taxes on vehicles, the public revolted, threw him out, and put in Arnold the Governator who had promised to lower the registration fees and actually did. Once burned, they wouldn't try that again, I think. And raising fares would tend to decrease ridership, but people still need to travel around the city, so the system would eventually recover from any shock of raising fares. There would be a lot of squawking from advocates for the low-income segment, but if they were properly explained to the public, fare increases could be done.
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Old 03-21-14, 11:36 AM   #60
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Perhaps taxing vehicle registrations more and using the money for transit service capacity would shift more people out of cars and into public transit (or --shocking to even think it-- onto bicycles) which would benefit the remaining car drivers due to less road congestion.
People often don't understand that all transportation, including car use, is subsidized in one way or another, so of course, the notion of taxing cars to fund public transit seems just wrong to them.

Yet if we do a full cost-benefit analysis, it makes far more sense to direct public support to mass transit than to private vehicle infrastructure - less pollution, many fewer deaths and disabling injuries, lower policing costs, lower construction costs, less land wastage, less lost time in gridlock, lower stress levels, better population health, and on and on.

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Old 03-21-14, 11:54 AM   #61
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There would be a lot of squawking from advocates for the low-income segment, but if they were properly explained to the public, fare increases could be done.
Sign me up as a squawker. One effect of good cheap public transit is to provide access for poor people to good jobs and educational opportunities. I think it's unfortunate that governments are shifting money away from the working poor (who use buses) and onto the wealthier people (who use trains and cars). This has already happened in Los Angeles, for example.

Also, it has been shown many times that if you raise fares you lose passengers, resulting in no net increase in revenue for buses or other public transit.
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Old 03-21-14, 12:01 PM   #62
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I'm wondering, if fares go up and ridership goes down, where are those lost riders going? They still need to get to work. Do higher transit fares raise car trips as much as they lower pubic ridership, or are these people finding rides with existing drivers, car-pooling, bicycles, etc.? And do the lost riders eventually come back to public transit anyway?
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Old 03-21-14, 12:03 PM   #63
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By the way, I think that Portland OR made public transit rides within the core city downtown completely free. How is that working out?
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Old 03-21-14, 12:40 PM   #64
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By the way, I think that Portland OR made public transit rides within the core city downtown completely free. How is that working out?
They don't do this anymore... their transit system has been under a state of distress for some time.

Massive investments in rail without enough revenue has really caused issues.
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Old 03-21-14, 01:47 PM   #65
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I'm wondering, if fares go up and ridership goes down, where are those lost riders going? They still need to get to work. Do higher transit fares raise car trips as much as they lower pubic ridership, or are these people finding rides with existing drivers, car-pooling, bicycles, etc.? And do the lost riders eventually come back to public transit anyway?
Many of the lost riders are not working. They're disabled, elderly, students, etc. If they can't afford transit they just stay home. Other lost riders are less well paid workers who want to save money, but turn to cars when transit gets to be too expensive, or else quit their jobs if they can't afford a car.
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Old 03-21-14, 02:09 PM   #66
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With continued increases in transit costs you will find that families like ours will do the math and find that owning and driving a car is actually less expensive and far more convenient... monthly bus passes are pushing almost $200.00 for two adults here and our children get theirs through the school for $92.00 / month.

My monthly car insurance is $70.00 which leaves a lot of room for fuel and upkeep... (the car is paid for).
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Old 03-21-14, 02:26 PM   #67
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Nobody uses public transit anymore in Toronto because it is so ridiculously crowded.
Are you joking?
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Old 03-21-14, 03:39 PM   #68
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are you joking?
lmao
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Old 03-21-14, 04:44 PM   #69
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Hopefully a few letters to the company and the newspapers would get their attention.
This hasn't worked. Apparently there is a file an inch thick on the behaviour of just one staff member who has a lot of contact with the public. Complaints are just dismissed as coming from whingeing masses. No improvement is in sight.
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Old 03-21-14, 04:47 PM   #70
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I apologize if my pragmatic dismissal of wishful thinking is offensive to you. A lifetime of finding real world solutions... to real world problems has hardened my edges. But I truly don't mean to offend anyone. I do believe in the power of dreams.. and the power of inspired ideas. But I can not see power in wishful thinking.
And what great solutions have you found in your lifetime?

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Old 03-21-14, 05:05 PM   #71
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People often don't understand that all transportation, including car use, is subsidized in one way or another, so of course, the notion of taxing cars to fund public transit seems just wrong to them.

Yet if we do a full cost-benefit analysis, it makes far more sense to direct public support to mass transit than to private vehicle infrastructure -

less pollution,
You've obviously never seen and tasted the dirt hanging in the air at some of the London Underground stations.

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many fewer deaths and disabling injuries,
Probably true

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lower policing costs,
Until you have to police antisocial behaviour on public transport.

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lower construction costs,
Hard to know for sure.

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less lost time in gridlock, lower stress levels, better population health,
Less time lost? Lower stress? Better health? I guess you never used public transport to get in and out of central London at rush hour.
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Old 03-21-14, 05:08 PM   #72
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With continued increases in transit costs you will find that families like ours will do the math and find that owning and driving a car is actually less expensive and far more convenient... monthly bus passes are pushing almost $200.00 for two adults here and our children get theirs through the school for $92.00 / month.

My monthly car insurance is $70.00 which leaves a lot of room for fuel and upkeep... (the car is paid for).
This is also the same in the UK. For one person travelling the cost of the train is likely to be comparable to the petrol costs of driving (and I'm basing petrol costs on my 20-year-old car that gets about 30 mpg, and UK fuel prices that would makeUS readers' eyes water). The train is likely to take substantially longer point-to-point so you're paying about the same for a vastly inferior service. Take a single passenger along and the car is more cost-effective. Throw in any children at all and taking the car is not only cheaper but vastly less stressful as you don't have to deal with a lack of seats and lack of space to put stuff, not to mention not having to deal with hauling everything from train to train.
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Old 03-21-14, 07:25 PM   #73
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This is also the same in the UK. For one person travelling the cost of the train is likely to be comparable to the petrol costs of driving (and I'm basing petrol costs on my 20-year-old car that gets about 30 mpg, and UK fuel prices that would makeUS readers' eyes water). The train is likely to take substantially longer point-to-point so you're paying about the same for a vastly inferior service. Take a single passenger along and the car is more cost-effective. Throw in any children at all and taking the car is not only cheaper but vastly less stressful as you don't have to deal with a lack of seats and lack of space to put stuff, not to mention not having to deal with hauling everything from train to train.
And what about the cost of parking the darn thing at your destination? Looking at this price guide: Price Guide for Parking Spaces and Garages, it seems that parking in London costs about 130 to 140 per month (US$214 to $231).

And I don't know how it goes in London rush hours, but when I visit relatives in Los Angeles, the freeways which are posted at 65mph limit actually travel about 8mph average due to congestion stop-and-crawl traffic flow, even worse when there's an accident or stalled car or in areas where construction is occurring (which seems is always going on somewhere in the system). So that shoots your gasoline (petrol) fuel economy way down from the rated fuel consumption, unless you drive a hybrid because they shut off when stopped. Most cars are still conventionally fueled gasoline vehicles in the US.

And there's the replacement cost of your car, which won't last forever. Spread the cost of a new car over the expected life of the car (at which point the repairs are costing more than buying a new one) plus the cost of repairs (which increase as the car gets older). Add that to your calculations.

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Old 03-22-14, 08:33 AM   #74
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Transit ridership is increasing in major US cities, according to this story on today's Morning Edition Saturday at NPR:
Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers : NPR, and it's not just the smelly street people turning to public transit; it's working folks, students, attendees at large sporting events.
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Old 03-22-14, 09:46 AM   #75
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This hasn't worked. Apparently there is a file an inch thick on the behaviour of just one staff member who has a lot of contact with the public. Complaints are just dismissed as coming from whingeing masses. No improvement is in sight.
Maybe upload or send a news channel a video of the bus leaving just as the boat docks?
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