CRC, a way to kill decades of progress…

This however, is a vastly superior idea.

A Common Sense Alternative to the CRC from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

Transit Riders’ Savings Exceed Thousands Per Year!

This message is of course about out of pocket savings, which really is all we can make a market based decision on. If the Government actually allowed or made us pay the full price of transportation these numbers and savings would be even higher, but the overall cost of transportation would alsot be slightly higher. Without further ado, here is APTA’s study and results.

Despite Lower Gas Prices Public Transit Riders Still Reap Big Savings

 Individuals can save $807 this month alone by switching to public transit for their daily commute

Washington, D.C. – Even with lower gas prices public transportation still offers individuals a way to save hundreds of dollars each month.  According to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) December  Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, $807 dollars this month, and $9,69 annually.   These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the December 20, 2011 average national gas price ($3.21 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

Currently gas prices are $.15 a gallon less than last month, but still $.23 higher than this time last year. Proving riding public transit is a smart way to lower transportation costs.

APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $155.22, according to the2011 Colliers International Parking Rate Study.  Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,863.

The top 20 cities with the highest transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass and factoring in local gas prices for December 20, 2011 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*


   City  Monthly  Annual
 1  New York  $1,198  $14,375
 2  Boston  $1,106  $13,272
 3  San Francisco  $1,075  $12,902
 4  Seattle  $979  $11,749
5 Philadelphia $955 $11,457
6 Chicago $945 $11,343
 7  Honolulu  $937  $11,242
 8  Los Angeles  $880  $10,554
 9  Minneapolis $859  $10,308
 10  San Diego  $851  $10,215
 11  Portland  $842  $10,099
 12  Denver  $838  $10,053
 13  Washington, DC  $836  $10,031
14 Baltimore $817 $9,810
 15  Cleveland  $802  $9, 628
 16  Miami  $780  $9,355
 17  Atlanta  $762  $9,140
 18  Dallas  $759  $9,109
 19  Pittsburgh  $760  $9,120
 20  Las Vegas  $755  $9,064

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 12/20/11.


APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the average monthly transit pass of local public transit agencies across the country.  This information is based on the annual APTA fare collection survey and is weighted based on ridership (unlinked passenger trips).  The assumption is that a person making a switch to public transportation would likely purchase an unlimited pass on the local transit agency, typically available on a monthly basis.

APTA then compares the average monthly transit fare to the average cost of driving.  The cost of driving is calculated using the 2011 AAA average cost of driving formula.  AAA cost of driving formula is based on variable costs and fixed costs.  The variable costs include the cost of gas, maintenance and tires.  The fixed costs include insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges.  The comparison also uses the average mileage of a mid-size auto at 23.4 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on December 20, 2011 at $3.21 per gallon.  The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year.  The savings assume a person in two-person household lives with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2011 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States.

To calculate your individual savings with or without car ownership, go to

# # #

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.

It does however make me wonder, if someone is saving that much with transit usage, how much could someone save with a more intelligent and strategically located lifestyle that allows walking or biking to work? How much healthier and stronger would Americans be if they weren’t stranded in the suburbs and tied to their cars?

America Led the Way With High Class Rail…

…up until about 1955.

Now though, France smokes our efforts by orders of magnitude, while we clunk around in our slow poorly coordinated cars and roadways. Very sad, very pathetic.

“In 2007, SNCF generated profits of €1.1 billion (approximately US$1.75 billion or £875 million) driven largely by higher margins on the TGV network.”

If Amtrak was managed anywhere near SNCF and a measly $40-60 billion were put into the system (outside of the north east corridor, it can handle its own) the system could easily haul in this kind of profit!  Yeah, I said profit, NOT revenue, PROFIT!

Ugh. I could scream until the end of time, but I sadly concede that the US is pretty much finished when it comes to world class transport. Unless we get some real leadership and the market gets involved again, we’ve aligned ourselves to be relegated to third world transportation status.

Two references:

In addition we’re so close minded to our history, we won’t even allow (err, well, most politicians won’t – especially the Democrats) bidding to build out rail service!  What the…?

A Few Not So Great Shots of the Snow

…with of course a transit focused emphasis.  🙂

A Little Bit of Commentary

So almost every single bus line is either shut down, on snow routes, or almost non-operational.  Same thing happened to TriMet when it snowed and they got slammed for it.  A few people in the community even ranted and raved about how TriMet had done a horrible job keeping the buses running.  They noted that “Seattle didn’t have this problem and Seattle does way more to keep the buses running”.  I can officially say that is not the case.  The simple fact is, “BUSSES CAN’T RUN DURING THE SNOW!?!?!?!!!!”

Meanwhile in the reality of the realm of physics and serious infrastructure, Sounder and Link Light Rail are running just fine.  There was a small delay on a Sounder run this evening.  Thousands of people used this non-auto, non-bus based transport to get home without interruption or “alternate routes”.  In inclement weather (which it seems we’ll be getting more and more of over the next century) rail absolutely rules.  Rubber on road is an absolutely inferior technology for this type of situation.  Also to add, the streetcar in Tacoma and Seattle are running without interruption.  Seriously, American cities desperately need more rail.  Not BRT, not extended buses, not all wheel drive buses, but rail.  Hard care, large scale, massive infrastructure with trains and light rail on rail.  It doesn’t stop during snow, heat, or otherwise.  It is only minimally hampered in all but the most harsh weather.  But I digress, on to more winter wonderland fun…

…with two last links…

Some news about all the snow on the Capital Hill

…and some sledding/luging down Denny.

Back to the Cascades

Today I jumped aboard King County Metro Bus #26 headed south bound through downtown Seattle to King Street Station.  At this time of the morning, 6:19am, the streets are tranquil and oddly lit with the night lights.  As the bus pulls up at 6:29am, 7 minutes late with 6 passengers on board, I swipe my ORCA card to pay the fare and take a seat toward the back.

The bus rolls through the wet from rain streets.  The street and building lights glaring like golden decorations all along.  Barely a soul moves, except for the rare early riser and oddball bum or transient.  A person walking down one street howls some nonsense, as his sanity cracks.  The sky is overcast gray, one can tell even with darkness still caressing the early morning.

I get off the bus in the old town Pioneer Square are one block north of King Street Station.  I’m now running pretty late compared to my intended arrival time.  I’m glad I decided to get the bus just before the one that would theoretically get me to the station on time.  So now instead of early I’m just barely on time.  I make no dally and attain my tickets from the ticket clerk and stand in the line to get a seat assignment.

After standing in the line of the century old process of seat assignments, I text my lady after realizing I failed to provide a wake up call.  She’s forgiving thankfully and wishes me a good trip.  I bid a good day to her.

With a steady walk I roll the dice to get a good cappuccino and croissant from Zeitgeist 2 blocks from the station.  I arrive, as always when they’ve just opened there are only a few people inside and nobody is in line.  I walk right up and order.  A few minutes later the candid young lady working provides me a cap and ham and cheese croissant.  I’m set, and back to the station I go.

As I walk into the station I literally beeline straight through and onto the train.  Again, dice rolled and perfection in timing.  I’ve made the train with a decent bit of quality food and drink for the trip.  I sit down in car 8, seat 15, and sip on my cap and nibble a bit on the croissant.  The coffee is delicious, an absolutely spectacular brew.  The croissant has an elegant, light suppleness to it.  With an almost sweet aftertaste, a perfect complement to the cappuccino.

We depart perfectly on time at 7:30am.  The flanged wheel is again moving me in luxury to my destination.  The plush leather chair, not even business class but mere simple peasant class, comforts me as the breaking night gives way to the sun that can’t be seen.  The train is a perfect temperature today, people being quite at this time of the morning.  I lean back knowing that the last decade of my life, ridding myself of automobile, putting myself into walkable communities, and throwing the suburban nonsense into the trash has been the right decision.  This ease, simple and elegant, down to earth and real, sustainable in so many ways, tasteful and subtle just brings a smile as we roll smoothly on through southern Seattle.

Every few minutes though, when leaving Tacoma and Olympia we go through the desolate and lifeless suburbia where mediocrity screams out as the leading mindset.  Not a soul risen or working toward a goal.  Providing souls for urban jobs and imitation of the rural life.  However leaching off the wealth of the urban life and mocking the rural life, it holds no place anymore with the death knell of the cold war.  It just drags upon American society with vast auto dependency and no real war survival need.  Having bred cursed mentalities of land entitlement and assumed rights to jobs – suburbia is an odd and crass place.  But I digress, the beauty of the rural land surpasses the suburban ideas that frustrate me at the moment.

About 30 minutes out of Tacoma we roll through the beautiful nature, disturbing barely a soul as we traverse the country side.  The trees along both sides of the tracks break the frequent farms and fields.  Green is intense with a speckle of orange and yellow leaves among the trees.  The rural residences of the red counties caressing the land to feed the blue counties full or urban people.  The parallels of America that make this country; urban and rural landscapes.

With these thoughts of the beauty of rail travel, I bid this entry fini.