Comment 101328

By tre (registered) | Posted May 15, 2014 at 17:19:47 in reply to Comment 101317

The Calgary report is unspecific about what the $0.27 number actually means, and there is no calculation to support that. I assumed this way because the report does not mention anything about fare revenue. I wouldn't even use the number because it's very vaguely defined.

And no, I don't carelessly support a conclusion that's based on incorrect statistics and misguided analysis.

The average fare per passenger is based on trips, not boardings. If your trip involves taking a bus, and then a C-Train, and then another bus (a typical journey on a trunk-and-feeder network), it counts as 3 boardings but you pay only 1 fare. This is why your net-cost calculation is incorrect, because you over-estimated revenue by a multiple equal to the number of transfers and stopovers taken. Since the C-Train serves as trunk routes into the downtown core, many of the trips involve transfering onto and off the system. Also, if you must look at this particular line in isolation: some of the C-Train boardings are within the downtown free-fare zone, for which no fare is collected.

It's the same story with the Hamilton report. The fare revenue per passenger is obtained by dividing the total fare revenue by the annual ridership on the system. While "ridership is the same as boardings when talking about a particular line", the average fare per passenger isn't the same as average fare per boarding. Again, the cost is understated when you substract fare revenue per trip from operating cost per boarding. The consolidation of serveral bus services into a single LRT line through the downtown area may also yield a net increase in the average number of boardings per trip, because some passengers will then have to transfer between the LRT and local buses at where the previous bus routes diverge. Thus, the average fare per boarding for the LRT option may be even lower.

The HSR Operational Review estimates the system ridership to be 21 million, but if you estimate from the chart, the total number of boardings from all routes is close to 26 million. In Calgary's case, the C-Train boardings roughly equals 85% of the total system ridership, but there are almost as many bus boardings as LRT boardings (http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/3716/calgarytransitaptarider.jpg), and so it's wrong to simply state that ridership = boardings.

All cities should have some sort of official plan that lays out where future developments will go, and they upgrade the infrastructures to support that development. In Toronto's case, the TTC is building a streetcar right-of-way to the portlands area that is already undergoing redevelopment.

What we know from Portland's case is that the having the LRT is perhaps better than having nothing when it comes to development. This is not saying much because Hamilton's problem is not LRT vs nothing, but LRT versus other forms of transit improvement. We don't know what it would be like if Portland opted to implement a BRT or utilized some other policy tools to stimulate development. Thus, you are merely making a conjecture, an informed opinion if you will, but I wouldn't promote it to a fact.

I suppose we can just disagree on that.

Overcrowding occurs on all major transit systems, and there is nothing unique about Hamilton's case. Overcrowding could be due to a delay or cancellation of a scheduled run, or simply just a spike in ridership at a certain time (e.g. end of classes). The problem can be mitigated by reallocating resources to high-demand routes and improving service reliability. LRT helps too, but isn't necessary.

I could have said that should we follow the footsteps of York Region, then we could expect an annual ridership increase of 9.4% "based on experience", which equates to a 492% increase in ridership by 2031, and dwarfs the measly ~50% increase for the LRT as estimated by the report. I'm not making that statement because I think it's absurd. However, this is exactly what you are doing when you keep bringing up the Calgary numbers into your calculations! Instead, I will just say that I don't believe the choice of technology will make much difference on ridership, if the system is implemented effectively.

I'm not rejecting that LRT is the optimal solution to improve transit in Hamilton; it could be. But what I'm seeing are exaggerated facts and questionable claims for the LRT, to the point where I no longer believe in what I'm reading.

Comment edited by tre on 2014-05-15 17:34:39

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