Derek wrote:lordhelmut wrote:benners wrote:Same problem with the damn Light Rails here in Denver! Where is my incentive to use mass transportation for the commute to work when driving myself is both cheaper and less annoying?
Amen. Mass transit in this state sucks.
Why dont either of you like it? What makes it more annoying than driving? (Not disagreeingat all, more just curious.) I'm from Michigan, where mass transit every place I lived was non-existent, so its possible that maybe I just dont know what "good" mass transit is.
I take a bus to work some days (on days that I dont ride my bike) and dont have any issues. Always on time and predictable. I think its been about 5 years since I've drove to work, and I shudder to think about ever having to do it again. That, and I get a lot of reading in on the bus. Never been a light rail rider though, although one of the new stops for the golden line will be 2 blocks from my house.
My truck turns on once a week, just to head to the hills. (**edit- and for random mid week beer runs. )
Here's the breakdown (assuming you aren't a student or an employee of a company who pays for RTD passes) :
LOCAL passes are 79$. That covers 1-2 zones. If you look at a map, anything within 1-2 zones in Denver is probably bike-able and/or pointless to wait/pay for a RTD pass for just a few stops.
EXPRESS passes are 140$. If you live 3 zones out, you probably live, on average, 12-14 miles outside the downtown area (assuming you work there). If you have a vehicle that gets 25mpg, thats a gallon of gas each day, to and from work. At today's regular gas rates, thats $3.70, which is $18.50 a week, $74 a month, nearly 50% that of a RTD pass. The RTD has additional downsides. There is parking (if you aren't within walking distance), there are wait times (potentially in the cold) and there are crowds (specially during school years). I've seen rail cars so crowded, I need to lock up my bike and board without it due to a lack of room. The only way it would make sense to buy a RTD pass is if your vehicle got less than 12mpg's. Parking downtown, you can find a number of "early bird" spots on the eastern edge of town for 2$ for the entire day. That's 40$ more a month. 74 in gas + 40 in parking, thats $114, a whopping 26$ cheaper than RTD, not to mention much quicker. Also, you might have a friday where you plan on jetting right after work, so you have to drive in anyway.
REGIONAL - I won't bother getting in to this option. If you live further than County Line, Littleton (Mineral) or Lincoln and commute all the way downtown, you need help. With that being said, if you live that far out, you probably live in Highlands Ranch, own a Suburban and have a soccer mom wife who drives a Sequioa, so RTD might actually make sense for you, but you probably dont have much sense in the first place, so the study would be lost on you regardless.
As for trains in general, like people have said before, people like convenience and they like their cars. The Ski Train to Winter Park wasn't popular because it was overpriced, it took 2.5 hours and it dropped you off at 930am, a far cry from first tracks. Amtrak back East, despite the I-95 corridor's legendary traffic jam's and congestion, isn't popular either due to its absurd rates. Even the Narrow Gauge Railroad in the San Juans is frowned upon. Aside from the price, what are people's 2nd main concern (other than getting pelted in the face with black smoke and steam)? The people. Hikers these days have gone to great lengths to avoid having to share a rail car with a group of tourists, sporting Grand Canyon National Park Hoodies.
I'm ignorant to the facts, but I'm still trying to figure out why there isn't a light rail option to the airport. FasTracks is about 10 to 15 years overdue, IMO, but I don't know crap about city planning and/or the budget, so I'm just looking at it from a common sense standpoint and comparing to other cities similar in size. Does anyone know why the line to Golden was approved before the one to DIA? Wasn't the city of Golden fighting a light rail line adamantly for years on top of all this?