New Light Rail Ridership Falls Short by More Than Half

L.A. Expo Line running almost empty with “brief” 30-minute delays.

(Page 2 of 3)

The total projected cost of both phases of the construction of the line is $2.43 billion. At that rate, it will take 34.7 years for the train to collect enough revenue to pay for the cost of construction. And that math only works if the train carries 64,000 full-fare passengers beginning right now rather than in 2030. The Expo Line has been under development since 1990, but the MTA now hopes that it can be paid for with a half-cent sales tax [pdf] approved by voters (for all traffic-relief purposes, not just the Expo Line) in 2008. This tax is expected to raise $30 billion over its 30-year life. 

The train's economics do not appear to be promising. How about its performance as a vehicle? 

Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne pans the Expo Line’s design, accusing it of lacking a Big Metaphorical Idea. This appears to be related to the “empathy” concept expounded by transit seer Darrin Nordahl, who holds that the purpose of mass transit is to provide its users with a sense of meaning. 

But Expo riders seemed generally happy with the train, which boasts broad, tall windows and rides quietly.

Nathaniel Cleveland, seen here traveling westbound through the increasingly empty city, has an eight-block walk to the station at Pico Boulevard, but the Expo Line delivers him directly to his job at L.A. County’s Museum of Natural History. He says he would be unable to make such a direct trip taking buses. 

Cleveland confirms that he has not at any time been in need of a Big Metaphorical Idea and found the Expo Line unable to supply it. 

Gerald Hinkson calls the Expo Line a “good value” that “beats the bus.” He would like to see the line complete its second phase.

“I’d have to wait a half hour to 45 minutes for the bus,” Hinkson says. “The train comes every 12 minutes or so.” 

One train rider we spoke with was traveling along the sort of very indirect route MTA authorities hope many Los Angeles travelers can be made to accept. Starting from the station at the corner of La Brea and Jefferson Boulevards, student Dean Olivera was traveling due east to Downtown L.A., then transferring to the Red Line subway to take him along a Northwesterly route to Hollywood. 

There already is direct north-south bus service between Olivera’s two destinations, on the 212/312 line [pdf] that runs up La Brea Boulevard to the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. But Olivera, who is studying to be a sound engineer, says he dislikes crowded buses. 

Most of the riders we spoke with had already taken the Expo Line a few times. 

During a rush-hour breakdown, one of us (Shackford) experienced a less enthusiastic crowd. Passengers were stuck for more than 30 minutes, in both a sealed car and at the platform, due to what has been reported as a combination of a relay switch malfunction and a stalled train. The mishap was even noticed by the Los Angeles Times, which called the delay “brief.” In the end, the trip the length of the line took almost exactly an hour. (Without delays, the Expo Line seems to complete the trip from La Cienega to 7th in about half an hour.) 

At no time did we observe any train carrying more than 50 passengers, nor did any train either of us rode carry more than 50 people over the length of its journey. 

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  • ||

    The total projected cost of both phases of the construction of the line is $2.43 billion. At that rate, it will take 34.7 years for the train to collect enough revenue to pay for the cost of construction. And that math only works if the train carries 64,000 full-fare passengers beginning right now rather than in 2030.

    Krugabe would approve, as would all those nutbar eco-theologists. "We'll make it up in volume! If there aren't enough customers, we'll simply soft mandate compliance by pricing personal conveyance out of reach! GEIA and Gaia would approve! Let us give thanks and praise!"

    More proof AGW Greenies are fundie cultists with no sense of proportion.

  • Cool Story, Bro||

    Get in here T O N Y and deploy some of your infamous logical fallacies to explain why this story misses the point.

  • tarran||

    If I had the energy I'd create a zombie tony* account saying

    "TRAIIINS.... TRAAAAIIINS...."

    *It would be a slow zombie - rotting muscles tear if they contract too forcefully.

  • sloopyinca||

    It would be a slow zombie

    Fast-moving zombies are a myth, so of course it would be a slow-mover.

  • ||

    Tell us more about the scientific facts behind zombies o.o

  • juris imprudent||

    So, if a retard becomes a zombie - is it extra slow, or is there some reaver-like transformation?

  • sloopyinca||

    IIRC, if a retard becomes a zombie, it becomes so slow as to appear motionless. Oddly enough, however, they keep their retard-strength.

  • Brutus||

    Oh, I've already had this debate with the Usual Suspects, CSB. It invariably devolves into the assertion that public transportation is a "public service" like police and fire departments, and we don't expect them to pay for themselves, doncha know.

    Of course, the same people would say we don't need to quadruple the size of our police department or put a firehouse on every corner since that wouldn't be efficient. It's about then that it begins to dawn on them, and I become an irresponsible hater and anti-government zealot.

  • Sevo||

    Brutus, you cued eric711, almost instantly.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'll bet you're on the SPLC domestic terrorist shitlist, Brutus. If you weren't before, your post above would be probable cause. Keep it up, bro.

  • Brutus||

    I think guys like Eric are dug from a mine and refined before being stamped out by high-speed presses.

  • eric711||

    There are two main problems with the arguments in this article that I will address. The first is the assumption that the train needs to make it's money back. For some reason when it comes to light rail or other similar projects people seem to forget that the intent was never to make the money back. Roads and other large infrastructure projects never make back their money either, yet they facilitate economic growth by allowing the free flow of services and goods in a more efficient manner. This is what has happened here in L.A. This light rail line has made that more possible in a city choked with the inability to create more roads or any other car infrastructure. In the area where the expo line is, there is no where else to build roads without tearing up half the city. The second assumption that this article makes that is seriously flawed is the idea that ridership at 9,000 a day, only two days after the line opened is what ridership is going to be. All the light rail lines in L.A. started initially with lower ridership and over time that ridership has grown so that now some of the lines are amongst the most used lines in the nation. I believe the blue line is in the top five busiest light rail lines in the nation. Your breakdown of how many people the expo line can serve is additionally flawed since the way in which you can accommodate more riders is by simply adding more trains as needed. It's not a locked in system, and can adapt.

  • ||

    The first is the assumption that the train needs to make it's money back. For some reason when it comes to light rail or other similar projects people seem to forget that the intent was never to make the money back.

    I'm not seeing the flaw with the assumption. Unless you support cutting spending in other areas to compensate for this boondoggle.

    The second assumption that this article makes that is seriously flawed is the idea that ridership at 9,000 a day, only two days after the line opened is what ridership is going to be.

    What length of time would be acceptable to justify the building of this boondoggle?

    This light rail line has made that more possible in a city choked with the inability to create more roads or any other car infrastructure.

    Why is the inability present?

  • eric711||

    I think you're again missing the point that more transportation alternatives are needed and yet there are no more roads that can be built. Many many projects are never intended to make their money back. What kind of money do we make back from a navy ship we build, or a new fighter jet. There is no financial reward nor necessarily a societal benefit to those projects. On the flip side the benefits are clear for a project like this. If you want an economic explanation it might not moves goods so much as it moves people and services to and from jobs, and facilitates the necessary flow of commerce and people that is needed. Roads do this every day and they also don't make any money as an infrastructure project. As far as your use of boondoggle goes the 405 widening project is going to cost over a billion dollars, that's more than the expo line cost. They're both infrastructure projects, yet the 405 widening costs more but will not last as long. The light rail line once established should be there for a very long time.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I think you're again missing the point that more transportation alternatives are needed and yet there are no more roads that can be built.


    If they are needed, then enough people will pay enough money to cover the costs.

    What kind of money do we make back from a navy ship we build, or a new fighter jet. There is no financial reward nor necessarily a societal benefit to those projects.


    That is for national defense, and no one pretends that the Expo Line is used for national defense.

  • Sevo||

    "yet they facilitate economic growth by allowing the free flow of services and goods in a more efficient manner. This is what has happened here in L.A. This light rail line has made that more possible in a city choked with the inability to create more roads or any other car infrastructure."
    Strangely, people chose to live in such a "choked" city, so the voted that the 'choking' wasn't sufficient to cause them to move.
    And what "goods and services" move on this line?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    People, Sevo. We're talking about future Soylent Green material on those trains.

  • eric711||

    On the point where what length of time should we wait. The gold line to Pasadena initially started with below expected levels of usage, but as time passed it has now surpassed those estimates. I think first off you need to wait until phase one is completed and the last two stations are opened at Farmdale, and in Culver city. Culver city is expected to be a major destination. Then I would expect you need to wait six months to a year to get a good estimate as to whether the line has been successful in attracting people to use it or not. It takes time for people to adjust to and alter the way they live their lives and travel back and forth to work, to entertainment, etc..etc...

    On your last question as to why there is an inability to create any more roads between the beach and downtown in L.A., it's because there is too much density now in the city. Why do you think they want to build a subway as well? There is no more space to say expand the 10 freeway because you'd have to tear down parts of neighborhoods, and the side streets additionally can't be expanded. Everyone that lives on the westside knows the traffic is ridiculous, and you need to plan for the future, and a train is one way to do it. You can expand, and move lots of people around more efficiently than a road can now that your out of space. You should really put some reason into your arguments considering this is the reason website.

  • eric711||

    Have you ever heard of the service economy? Additionally with an information economy you may not need to move goods, but you do need to move people to their jobs to provide the economic benefits from the information economy. Last time I checked California is a good place for the information/technology economy.

  • Eaglewing||

    Roads and other large infrastructure projects never make back their money either, yet they facilitate economic growth by allowing the free flow of services and goods in a more efficient manner.

    I disagree. The economic activity and employment facilitated by roads more than makes up for the expenditures, in tax revenue, especially when you add in the fuel taxes we all pay on top of that. Rail simply doesn't compare to roads. High overhead and low ridership in an area as spread out as Cali makes rail a dream the taxpayers can't afford.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I actually disagree with that. I say fuck government roads as hard or harder than government rail.

  • ||

    It's also bullshit that the only way to reduce traffic gridlock is to build new roads. Leave aside flyovers, pass-unders and so on. You can get substantial improvements in traffic through traffic-light synchronization.

    In fact, synchronizing traffic lights was the first thing mentioned on the Measure R ballot description. That's why people voted for it, because as anybody who drives here knows, the timing on the lights in Los Angeles has been designed by Jigsaw.

    Yet the last time I checked, no Measure R funds at all had been committed for traffic light synchronization. All the money was spent on rail.

  • ||

    the timing on the lights in Los Angeles has been designed by Jigsaw.

    It's easier to get rid Jason than it is Jigsaw. Jigsaw missed his calling as an actuary. The man could and can account for anything!

  • The Derider||

    If you think that traffic light synchronization is going to have any significant impact on rush hour traffic, you're nuts. The problem is that there are too many people on the road, period. And there are no lights on the freeway, which carries the bulk of traffic in any case.

  • Sevo||

    The Derider|5.5.12 @ 9:53PM|#
    "If you think that traffic light synchronization is going to have any significant impact on rush hour traffic, you're nuts."

    Posted by someone who is nuts, so it can be ignored.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    "The problem is that there are too many people on the road, period."

    And we know this, since dipshit knows how many people "should" be on the road, right, dipshit?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    If they are using the road, then the road must still be more attractive to those people to use than whatever their alternative to not using the road is. The right amount of people on the road is however many people continue to choose to use it given the conditions when they choose to use it.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I am pretty sure that Tuscon spent several million dollars on stoplight synchronization, and as one would expect, when Top. Men. do central planning, they fucked it up royally.

    It doesn't work for the same reason that big government doesn't work, too many individuals to micro-manage.

  • JoshSN||

    We have stop-light synchronization in NYC, have had it for a long time, and it works wonders.

    It's nicer at night, of course, when I can go 100+ blocks without hitting a light.

  • eric711||

    Tell that to all the people who take the blue line every day. It's one of the busiest light rail lines in the nation. I believe it's in the top 5 or 10 as far as usage goes. Also you haven't been paying attention, the taxes that come from gasoline no longer are enough to pay for the replacement of roads. People are using around 1 billion gallons less of fuel in this county than they did in 2005, it was about 7.5 billion and now it's around 6.5 billion. That is mostly due to more efficient cars, hybrids and electric cars. This tax shortfall is now a problem as it can no longer sustain the roads unless we raise the gas tax. I think you're missing the larger issue here which is congestion between the beach and downtown has essentially reached it's peak, and a train helps to alleviate that. Remember the cost to drivers is every increasing. For instance the 110 is going to become a toll road. It's called congestion pricing. That cost will probably incentivise more people to use the trains. Also remember the larger and more efficient the train system gets the more usage, and higher number it has. The system here in L.A. is starting to get to that point now.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The city could have just as easily not built any roads as it could have not built the rail line. People are not entitled to travel being convenient for them at the expense of others. In the absence of government providing free shit, people will adjust their behaviors over time, like move somewhere else.

  • eric711||

    Nice one genius we should also just throw everyone to the wolves. I guess when you're house is on fire it'll be okay for me to stop the fire trucks and tell them he doesn't believe in any help from the government. Sorry guys he's unwilling to pay any taxes to pay you guys. You should take that fire truck home and let this one burn to the ground. Ridiculous! You just make statements like this just to make them. There's no way you can actually believe this kind of bunk.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Yes, private fire protection services are a possibility as well, or personal fire prevention methods.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I do in fact believe that the market would have created a much more effective transportation system and made much wiser use of land if the government had stayed out of those things. Private, profitable ground transit was killed by governments, and the mess that exists today was caused by government policies.

  • eric711||

    So Death rock and skull please inform me as to when in history this method has actually worked for an extended period of time? I'm talking about a private fireman system, or a totally private road system????

  • KPres||

    My locality has a private fire department and it works fine. What the hell are you talking about?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Thomas Jefferson considered government subsidized road improvements to be unconstitutional. During that time period, there were many road improvement projects that were completely privately financed, either by adjacent property owners or other groups who wanted an improved road for some reason. Some states even passed constitutional amendments prohibiting tax money from funding internal improvements, because of previous corruption and government funded failures. When automobiles entered the market scene, groups obtained private donations and memberships to fund road improvements, such as the coast to coast Lincoln Highway.

    Even city streets are technically on private property under American common property law. The property boundary of an adjacent property owner technically extends to the centerline of the street, and the street is an easement for public right of way. This comes from the fact that historically, streets were maintained by property owners to allow access to their property, which business owners have a very good incentive to voluntarily do, and the street becomes a defacto common area or public easement under common law. If an easement is vacated in court, precedent says full rights revert to the property owner.

  • ||

    What time frame are we talking about, eric? Since 2001, total rail ridership in Los Angeles county has increased at a little less than 2 percent per year.

    Since Silver Age rail construction began in 1985, mass transit use in L.A. has actually declined, with rail today moving only about a fifth of mass transit passengers in the county. Yet MTA cut bus service by 4 percent in 2010 and 12 percent in 2011.

    One of those buses alone, the 305, carried 3,000 people a day. If you multiply the total number of MTA bus riders (1,133,636) by the amount MTA has reduced its bus service in 2010 and 2011 (16 percent), you get 181,381 daily riders whose services have been eliminated while we're waiting rail ridership to increase.

  • Sevo||

    Tim,
    "What time frame are we talking about, eric? Since 2001, total rail ridership in Los Angeles county has increased at a little less than 2 percent per year."
    To control for one variable, do we have any data on population growth during that time?
    IOWs, did it grow in excess of population, remain the same or drop?

  • ||

    Population is flat over that period: 3.7 million in 2000, 3.8 million in 2009. The important variable is that MTA's real and virtual rail capacity almost doubled over the same period. The Gold Line opened in 2003, and the Orange and Silver lines (which the MTA counts as rail [pdf] even though they're rapid bus) opened in 2005 and 2009 respectively.

  • Sevo||

    So for constant population, (capital) capacity was doubled (an added 100%) with an increase of 2% ridership over the entire line, including the increased capacity?
    Put it another way:
    Say the ridership "factor" = 100 in 2001.
    In the interim, capacity increased 100%, while ridership increased 2% between then and now.
    That means the ridership "factor" dropped to 51, if my sums are correct.
    Regardless of whether the intent is to 'make money', that's a pretty lousy result; spending more and more to sever fewer and fewer.

  • Sevo||

    Damn edit function doesn't seem to work:
    "sever" = "serve"

  • R||

    There's an edit function?

  • Sevo||

    Nope; I need to add [snark]----[/snark] to some comments.

  • R||

    Damn. I was kinda hoping for one.

    They said they were going to give us more features with this system. While I'll grant not having to listen to White Idiot/Mary Stack is pretty much worth it all by itself, it'd be nice if they fixed the other problems and actually included more functionality. Wonder what happened.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I kinda dig the no-edit button thing. You're stuck with what you type the first time, grammatical warts and all. Just like real talking, you own what you say when you say it, with no going back to 'clarify.' Hell, the preview button is cheating already.

    And such functions are abused. I had fun lighting up lefties at National Journal over Carbon Clown Peter Gleick's memo antics, on posts written by Ed Kilgore.

    But Ed 'Delete Key' Kilgore was too sensitive, and started deleting my posts. Which was funny because his lefty buddies were replying back to my originals with direct /quote bits, leaving a sort of awkward ghost of my posts in their own comments. It was so pathetic.

    So I say if the moderators can't delete or tweak my posts, only fair enough I don't either. We're all free to put our feet in our mouths and deal with it. Very libertarian.

  • ||

    Agreed, I do not want an edit function on HnR.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fcuk editing.

  • Alex X||

    WTF are you talking about Tim, those are LA City pop #'s, and you were discussing/asked about LA County #'s, which are 9.5 million in 2000, 9.8 million in 2010. Did you actually believe LA County, which is what the MTA serves, actually has a population of 3.8 million people? If so you know nothing nor have even the faintest grasp of LA and should never write about it again.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    That is still a pretty flat population change. The distinction means nothing.

  • Sevo||

    Alex X|5.5.12 @ 9:39PM|#
    ..."which are 9.5 million in 2000, 9.8 million in 2010."...

    OK. So even by your metric, pretty much flat.
    ------------------------------------
    "Did you actually believe LA County, which is what the MTA serves, actually has a population of 3.8 million people? If so you know nothing nor have even the faintest grasp of LA and should never write about it again."

    Uh, you just proved his point, regardless of the political boundaries.
    So I would suggest you don't write about anything until you grow at least one brain-cell.

  • ||

    If so you know nothing nor have even the faintest grasp of LA and should never write about it again.

    I feel the same way about people who mix up less and fewer.

  • eric711||

    I'm not sure where you get your information. This was taken directly from wikipedia on ridership. Looks like your math is a little hazy. "As of September 2010, the combined Metro Red and Purple lines averaged a weekday ridership of 148,214,[1] making it the ninth busiest rapid transit system in the United States. Taking overall track length into consideration, Metro Rail's heavy rail lines transport 9,348 passengers per route mile, making this the ninth busiest system per length. This is still far lower ridership than transit systems of New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, but roughly the same ridership as the Washington Metro, a much larger heavy rail system.

    Metro's light rail system is the third busiest LRT system in the United States by ridership, with 160,464 average weekday boardings during September 2010.[1] Additionally, the Blue Line is the second largest light rail line by ridership in the United States with an average weekday ridership of 82,840, after the Boston Green Line's daily ridership of 235,300, though the Boston Green Line has four outbound termini, so that its 25 miles (40 km) of track service a larger lateral area than the Blue Line's 22 miles (35 km), but a shorter length.[5]"

  • caseym54||

    Subways might reduce congestion, but at-grade light rail just adds a competitor to the mix, fighting for the same intersections with all the cars or creating even more congestion by adding car/rail interfaces elsewhere. There is no real reason a bunch of buses wouldn't provide the same benefit without the cost of rail construction, and less turbulence.

    Now, if you were arguing for building subways the way Pat Brown built freeways, without the 1000% added cost of bureaucratic overhead, inflated labor rates, and decade-long planning studies that we have today, then, yeah, maybe you have a point.

  • WarrenT||

    Look. What we need is a series of catapults and/or trebuchets and huge cannons that shoot people to their destination.

    Just need everyone to wear parachutes or wings so they can land safely.

    I have solved all the problems.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm sure the TSA would be happy to employ a person at the catapults to check your asshole before take-off.

  • Sevo||

    I'll bet you drove to LV.
    I don't fly to LA any longer.

  • sloopyinca||

    You're damn right we drove. Fuck the airlines and fuck the TSA. I'll only fly when it's absolutely impossible to drive or somebody I know has a private plane available.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I would have used my "it" to speed through all that desert.

  • Sevo||

    "or somebody I know has a private plane available."

    Just guessing, but I'd bet owning a private plane has become 'less expensive' with the expansion of TSA's powers, if you get my drift.
    Last year I managed to get to a small airport in the LA basin at an admittedly higher cost than commercial but with enough 'savings' in TSA-administered insults to my person and time that it was worth it.
    Not to mention the luxury of leaving and arriving when you please.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The security procedures for general aviation passengers are awesome. They should be used as a model for commercial aviation security.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 10:58PM|#
    "The security procedures for general aviation passengers are awesome."

    Uh, not sure what mean. I parked the car, walked to the plane, got in, and we prepared for take off.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'd say that's exactly what he means.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The problem with infrastructure projects like light rail (or roads) is that they DO benefit society, when the timing is right. Very few people argue that the country did not benefit from the transcontinental railroads (which, though private, were heavily subsidized), although whole rafts of books have been written about how the government's support was 'wasted' or 'stolen'. I don't think there's much argument that the Interstate Highway projects of the 1950's had a lot to do with the postwar boom.

    But if the timing is wrong, then you are pounding sand down a rathole. The recent history of light rail projects is pretty dismal. They remain popular with the City Planner fraternity for a variety of political and ideological reasons. In my more cynical moments I think its because its hard to have a satisfactory ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new bus route.

  • Sevo||

    "Very few people argue that the country did not benefit from the transcontinental railroads"

    As did the government, in spite of the politicos' efforts to turn it into a scandal; formerly worthless government land gained value and was sold to private holders.
    It was also financed by private money, with gov't 'repayment' after X completion, gamed as it was.
    -----------------------------------
    "I don't think there's much argument that the Interstate Highway projects of the 1950's had a lot to do with the postwar boom."

    Sort of depends on how you 'time' the post-war boom. The bill didn't get through congress until late '55 as I recall.
    Pretty sure the financing was also arranged to keep corruption at a low boil (I'll bet someone has a link, if the squirrels approve)

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and the first 'completions' of the system pretty much coincided with the '57 'rolling correction' (see: Recession).

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Empty land would have become more attractive for homesteading after a railroad was constructed in proximity to it anyway. The land grant idea for railroads was stupid. Instead of empty land being free to homestead, railroads and the government took control of land they did not have a legitimate right to- being that they were not actually using it- just so they could charge would be homesteaders to take possession of land that nobody was using.

  • Sevo||

    "...being that they were not actually using it-"

    Not sure this establishes "legitimate right"
    I own goods I don't use every day, and some like, oh, clothes that probably won't ever fit again. But I still own all of those.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    There is plenty of theory and precedent that forms a reasonable basis for claims to land ownership. Looking at a map and claiming the King or the Railroad President owns all the land despite that it has never been settled or set foot on is a pretty shitty concept.

    Use and occupation of land does not have to be completely continuous to remain in one's legal possession. But if someone else makes a claim, it has to be proactively protected. Usually, you have around twenty years to get around to contesting someone else's occupation of your land before you legally lose it.

    None of this is relevant to railroad/government land because no one physically took possession of it in the first place. Except Indians, who were already possessing some but not all of it.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 9:46PM|#
    "There is plenty of theory and precedent that forms a reasonable basis for claims to land ownership."

    Unoccupied land? Cite, please.
    ----------------------------------
    "Looking at a map and claiming the King or the Railroad President owns all the land despite that it has never been settled or set foot on is a pretty shitty concept."

    OK, what are you proposing as an alternative?
    ------------------------------------
    "None of this is relevant to railroad/government land because no one physically took possession of it in the first place."

    Exactly.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "what are you proposing as an alternative?"

    How about just letting people freely homestead the unoccupied unsettled land by picking a spot, marking the boundaries, and recording the claim? That is how it was done after 1862 for land that was not already arbitrarily given to railroad companies.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 10:07PM|#
    "what are you proposing as an alternative?"

    "How about just letting people freely homestead the unoccupied unsettled land by picking a spot, marking the boundaries, and recording the claim?"
    -------------------------------------
    Claim for what? Land you can't farm, since you can't get stuff there or your crops out? Repeat: That land was worthless absent the rail-roads.
    Any of the 49ers crossing the country via wagon could have stopped and 'claimed' pretty much what they wanted. They didn't.
    Similarly, anyone in St. Joe could have headed west and 'homesteaded' what they pleased. They didn't.
    Absent the railroads, the land wasn't worth squat.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Railroads were constructed early on for intercity transportation, or to access and develop known resources. Railroads would have been built to reach the Pacific coast, and the existing economy there, without subsidization. The fact that land would have been homesteaded and generated traffic anyway if a railroad was built through it would have been an incentive.

    There are at least two "transcontinental" railroads that were privately financed and built without subsidy, because they were built after the federal government cut way back on it.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 10:27PM|#
    ..."Railroads would have been built to reach the Pacific coast, and the existing economy there, without subsidization."

    OK, when?
    ------------------------------------
    "The fact that land would have been homesteaded and generated traffic anyway if a railroad was built through it would have been an incentive."

    Well, if we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs. You're not doing well here.
    -----------------------------------
    "There are at least two "transcontinental" railroads that were privately financed and built without subsidy, because they were built after the federal government cut way back on it."

    *After* the government 'subsidized' trans-con RRs were built, and convinced people (including those with capital) that un-occupied lands could be valuable once a rail-line was built.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "OK, when?"

    Who knows? Probably some time in the 1860s to 1900s, roughly the same time period.

    [the ham and eggs thing]

    Railroads benefiting from growth stimulated by construction of the railroad is pretty is not much different from railroads benefiting from growth plus controlling sales of land, except the railroads and government were able to extort more money and freedom from U.S. citizens with the latter method.

    "*After* the government 'subsidized' trans-con RRs were built"

    After the government got caught up in corruption and caused a bubble and market crash. Since when is unoccupied farmable land not a potentially valuable investment?

  • Sevo||

    "Railroads benefiting from growth stimulated by construction of the railroad is pretty is not much different from railroads benefiting from growth plus controlling sales of land, except the railroads and government were able to extort more money and freedom from U.S. citizens with the latter method."

    Explain "extort".
    ------------------------------------
    "Since when is unoccupied farmable land not a potentially valuable investment?"

    Nope, not gonna fly.
    The Gobi desert is 'potentially valuable', assuming climate change means it starts raining there.
    If that land was even "potentially" valuable, the market would have made it so, regardless of the RR. The market didn't; it was worthless.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 11:16PM|#
    "OK, when?"
    Who knows? Probably some time in the 1860s to 1900s, roughly the same time period."

    Opinions are pretty well distributed; everyone has at least one.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "Explain "extort"."

    The railroad or government made people pay for land that they should have been able to settle on for free.

    "If that land was even "potentially" valuable, the market would have made it so, regardless of the RR. The market didn't; it was worthless."

    Not so either, people were already managing comfortable lives with farming, ranching, logging, and extracting resources such as gold, silver, and lead. Land grant conditions for railroads usually required them to bypass existing towns, which was also a dumb idea that made railroads less efficient for serving population centers, because the requirement forced populations to be spread out more.

  • ArmandK||

    Your explanation is full of fail.

    Land that was still "free" existed quite close to the railroad grants. The typical "checkerboard" grant only gave the railroads half of the land within 10 miles of the right of way. The rest, with the exception of the small portion granted to the state for funding schools, remained homesteadable federal land. "Free" by your criteria.

    But this federally-owned "checkerboard" land remained valueless and unattractive to settlers until the railroads were built. Nor was there much interest in non-"checkerboard" Federal land, even land merely 11 miles from the railroad's right of way, until the railroad was built.

    Seriously, your ignorance of the facts of the transcontinental railroad are embarassing. Both for you, and the US educational system.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The government extracted payment from prospective homesteaders, until 1862. And people were not permitted to claim the title to property they already settled on unless the area of land was released by an act of congress, which they were often at risk of losing because of the process. After 1862, there were other restrictions and control over use with the result of enabling government officials to favor certain parties who wished to extract resources.

    The railroad retained land was still a restriction on free settlement. The land retained by the federal government does not negate that point. There were problems like railroad officers deeding sections to themselves so they could hoard it when the price went up. Various land grants also extended farther than ten miles from the track alignment.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    If railroad construction did not occur anywhere near the same scale because they were not subsidized, so be it.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    "I don't think there's much argument that the Interstate Highway projects of the 1950's had a lot to do with the postwar boom."

    You mean in the sense that they created construction jobs? Because we didn't have very many interstate highway miles until the 1970s (the halfway point for the originally designed system was scheduled for 1972, and it was a huge struggle to reach that point). Perhaps you remember the "great malaise" recession we endured in that decade. The country didn't really start to feel the full economic benefit of transporting goods and people via the Interstate system until the 1980s. So, prior to that, the system's contribution to the "boom" was largely due to the tax revenues that were diverted to construction projects. I think you'd get a LOT of argument that taking from Peter to pay Paul didn't create net economic prosperity, especially during the post-WWII period.

  • Invisible Finger||

    One must also realize that the demand for roads when the Interstate system was designed was a lot lower than the demand by the mid-70's because the steel-belted radial tire permitted longer-tire life and better fuel economy.

    I remember in the early 70's most middle-aged women in the neighborhood rarely drove more than 5-mile trips if they drove at all and ten years later 10-15 mile trips became the norm and almost every woman drove. I remember small shopping centers going under because women became comfortable driving further to the larger shopping centers. Safer tires also had the effect of reducing mass transit ridership to the point of bankruptcy. All the operators were private companies and they all went under and were replaced with public agencies.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    A successful continental railroad system would have been built without subsidization, as many lines were. The subsidies themselves didn't bring much benefit. Subsidies, and the strings attached with them, actually resulted in a lot of long term harm for the railroad industry.

    Intercity turnpikes and auto roads were being financed privately before subsidized road improvements made private road investment completely pointless. The interstate highways were a total demonstration in excess as by that time there was already a mature system of state and U.S. highway routes that the interstates basically duplicated. Not to mention the private freight railroad industry that went through a long period of suffering because of the massive free infrastructure provided to trucking.

  • Sevo||

    "Not to mention the private freight railroad industry that went through a long period of suffering because of the massive free infrastructure provided to trucking."

    Uh, just above you were griping about the 'free infrastructure' provided to the RR companies.
    Wanna try some consistency?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    They are private companies, even though they were previously subsidized. Sunk fucking costs. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Sevo||

    "Two wrongs do not make a right."

    But one does?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The government should have learned a fucking lesson and stopped subsidizing shit after canals railroads highways aviation high speed rail. But apparently it hasn't.

    Not all the railroad lines were built with subsidies, either. They suffered too from regulation and subsidization of competition.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 9:57PM|#
    "The government should have learned a fucking lesson and stopped subsidizing shit after..."

    You're not doing well here. Flawed as the trans-con railroad(s) were, they did about as well as you can expect of the government.
    Given (until you cite otherwise) that they wouldn't have happened absent the (flawed) government support, I'll yield to the rule that the role' of the government is to do what we can't do individually, accepting that the government will screw up everything and we can tolerate it in those cases.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "I'll yield to the rule that the role' of the government is to do what we can't do individually"

    That can be anything, including High Speed Rail and Solar Power.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Libertarians often discuss the Great Northern railroad built by James Hill as an example of a transcontinental railroad being built with minimal subsidy. That is partly a fact, but he did acquire several existing lines that had been previously subsidized.

    A less known example is Milwaukee Road's Pacific Extension, pretty much the last transcontinental railroad built. It was a direct competitor of Great Northern.
    http://www.american-rails.com/.....nsion.html
    Being that it was mostly in the mountains, it didn't even have a lot of on line traffic. The line was abandoned in the 1970s due a fluke of mismanagement, but could have turned out very differently.

  • Sevo||

    OK, you have one that wasn't really 'private', and one that failed.
    Not looking good.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The one that failed was successful with a number of advantages over other railroads, until highway competition started affecting the whole industry, compounded with the existing problems of regulation that further made it more difficult for railroads to compete with trucks. The circumstances of the failure of that particular line are quite bizarre as well.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 11:06PM|#
    "The one that failed was successful with a number of advantages over other railroads, until highway competition started affecting the whole industry,..."

    You've sort of left out the entire RR union costs imposed on the RRs.
    With their agreement, as did the Detroit auto folks in the '50s:
    'Hey, we own the world! We can toss dollars overboard!'
    Doesn't work for long as Google will discover; the competition will eat your ass.

  • Sevo||

    Death Rock and Skull|5.5.12 @ 10:29PM|#
    "I'll yield to the rule that the role' of the government is to do what we can't do individually"
    That can be anything, including High Speed Rail and Solar Power."

    OK, very good point.
    How do I *know* that RRs and highways are valid while HSR and SP aren't?
    I can't answer that without more thought.

  • robc||

    How do I *know* that RRs and highways are valid while HSR and SP aren't?

    the market will decide.

    No need for government involvement in any of them. If a highway or HSR or train line fails, then it fails.

    That is a sign of the market WORKING PROPERLY.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Railroads were always lean on unions because they were always going through one hard time or another. They don't compare to automotive manufacturing, and most functions of the business have to be unionized nationally. Being forced to negotiate with unions hurt them as much as any other company.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Antitrust and "interstate commerce" crap were a far worse influence than unions on railroads, surprisingly.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "A successful continental railroad system would have been built without subsidization, as many lines were."

    But probably not as soon. As for the subsidized land deal harming the railroads, I think that is part of the 'Railroad scandal' argument that historians have been earning their doctorates over for more than a century. My points were that the continental railroad was pushed at the right time, and the country benefited. I may be on shakier ground with the interstates, but I really don't think so; the late 1950's through the 1970's was a period when a lot of our economic growth built on the increased movement of goods by truck.

    And I'm not seeing arguments, so far, that the time for Light Rail is now.

  • Sevo||

    "My points were that the continental railroad was pushed at the right time, and the country benefited"

    I'd agree and further, that it was pushed on the government by those (private parties) who desired it. Simply, as in so many cases, the government was a 'trailing indicator'. The government didn't chose the time; it responded.
    And is *was* scandalous; what does anyone expect of government activity?
    Again, you accept government involvement means corruption, but when there is no alternative, well....
    ---------------------------------
    "I may be on shakier ground with the interstates, but I really don't think so; the late 1950's through the 1970's was a period when a lot of our economic growth built on the increased movement of goods by truck."

    Cause/effect? I'd agree it was a general positive, but see 'trailing indicator', above.
    ----------------------------------
    "And I'm not seeing arguments, so far, that the time for Light Rail is now."

    I'm seeing *no* private demand, other than the contractors and unions which would benefit.

  • robc||

    Opportunity cost.

    Like the argument I make about NASA. What would we have gained instead of the money used to fund the moon landing had been left in private hands?

    To call Apollo a success, you have to compare the gains it gave us vs that opportunity cost.

    Same for transcontinental railroads and interstate highways. And I dont think you can fucking do it.

    I will flat out claim it: We would have been better off without NASA (or subsidized transcontinental railroads, or the interstate highway system). The opportunity cost was greater than the benefit gained.

  • sloopyinca||

    I would wholeheartedly agree in the case of NASA, but the interstate highway system, IMO, is a responsibility of the federal government because at the time construction began, it helped us to be a more defensible nation. We could move vast amounts of materiel more quickly and efficiently, and the Soviet Union/communism was a more viable threat, according to the intelligence at that time.

    I'm not saying it should continue as it is, but at the time it passed muster.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The defense argument for interstate highways seems weak. First of all, adequate highway infrastructure already existed that could have moved equipment in an emergency. But highways are not highly efficient for moving huge amounts of military personnel and equipment (as opposed to small convoys you might see), and they never have been used in this way. Vehicles move by rail, supplies are containerized or go by air, and personnel are shipped by air. It would be a fucked up situation if the military was forced to put the interstate highway capabilities to use. Fuel infrastructure would probably be almost completely gone at that point.

    The other defense argument for interstate highways is that they would enable quick relocation of populations if cities were nuked. Which is completely paranoid, and also contradicted by the fact that the well developed state and U.S. highway routes also existed already.

  • ArmandK||

    Defense equipment moves by rail?

    The same transcontinental railroad you were bitching about?

    Do try to at least be consistent.

  • ArmandK||

    "[W]ell developed state and U.S. highway routes also existed already"?

    You've never spent any time driving across the US, have you?

    I have, and this is simply not true. Those "well developed state and U.S. highway routes" are still largely extant, and they remain grossly unfit for use by heavy trucks and large numbers of vehicles: steep grades in many places, usually single lanes, routed through the middle of every town, with uncontrolled access, stop lights, farm equipment and even horse-drawn vehicles in some places.

    Far more "interesting" to drive than the interstate system if one is on vacation, but a dangerous and slow nightmare if one is in the cab of a tractor hauling a 40' or 53' trailer, let alone a double or triple rig.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    It is not inconsistent to state that the government should stop subsidizing things, and that the existing position in the market of private businesses should be respected regardless of them having been subsidized in the past.

    When the interstate highway system was built, state and U.S. highway routes were adequate for the traffic that developed around them. Interstate highways may have allowed changes to road transportation since then, such as larger tractor trailers, but this does not mean that the trucking business was entitled to subsidized infrastructure for it to be possible.

    In the absence of interstate highways being built, transportation would have developed around whatever else existed.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Actually, my whole argument is that in the absence of anything being subsidized at all, voluntary interaction between people will result in consumer demands- like transportation- being met in some way that works just fine.

    You either prefer voluntary interaction over the initiation of force, or you can go to hell.

  • ArmandK||

    So that's what the flip-side of the if-you-oppose -any-government-spending-then-you- want-us-all-to-live-in-Somalia "argument" looks like.

    Nope. You're chock full of fail. Both on the historical facts, and the logic to use those facts to build a coherent argument.

  • eric711||

    See what I posted above on ridership use, and the light rail lines in L.A. Sorry looks like lots of people are using them and want them. The trains were all pretty busy yesterday afternoon when I was on them.

  • Wat Tyler||

    Governments like rail over cars because it's easier to inspect the riders with drug-sniffing dogs, checking people's papers, monitoring who goes where, and so forth.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Governments like rail over cars because, frankly, the 'City Planner' fraternity is stuck in the 'planned city of the future' vision that grew up in the 1920's and 1930's .... and never really changed much.

    Never attribute to malice what can be explained by persistent outmoded fantasy .... or something like that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    On that train all graphite and glitter

    Undersea by rail
    Ninety minutes from New York to Paris (more leisure for artist everywhere)

    A just machine to make big decisions

    Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision

    We'll be clean when their work is done

    We'll be eternally free yes and eternally young

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    That song speaks to (and, in ironic mode, FOR) me. I was born during the I.G.Y.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    When will transit proponents consider bringing people a mode that attracts riders because it is considered convenient, affordable, comfortable, and useful? Over at Heathrow airport in London, the "Heathrow Pods" Personal Rapid Transit system serving Terminal 5 and its long-term parking structure has proven so popular that the airport authority can charge a premium to park there; it adds substantial value for Terminal 5 passengers, and plans are going ahead to expand the system throughout the airport and ultimately, into the surrounding neighborhood. Apart from being popular, the system is reliable, efficient of resources, and has proven successful in its goal of reducing traffic congestion and attendant problems, allowing the Airport Authority to eliminate some shuttle bus routes and the buses that served them. The backers of PRT projects in India, Sweden, Korea, and several other places hope to replicate Heathrow's success.

    Here in the US, however, transit almost invariably means light rail or buses, modes that have never been especially well-liked or well-used, except in special circumstances, or by populations whose alternative options are even worse. Why do we keep lagging -- and wasting billions of tax dollars -- by refusing to pursue an approach that is demonstrated to WORK, not just in terms of getting people from A to B, but also in terms of enticing them to use it?

  • ||

    Why do we keep lagging -- and wasting billions of tax dollars -- by refusing to pursue an approach that is demonstrated to WORK, not just in terms of getting people from A to B, but also in terms of enticing them to use it?

    Because that would piss of GEIA and Gaia worshipers and, besides, it's much more fun to mandate and regulate behavior at the point of a gun.

    Why do you hate The Earth? Also, cum box.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Groovus, did you read that the fellow behind the Gaia hypothesis has admitted that Global Warming is not happening as predicted? That the predictions are so far off that the discrepancy reveals that, whether something is happening or not, whether humans are behind it or not, we don't know enough about what is going on to recommend action, much less take action? I thought that particular news item was pretty cool.

  • ||

    Yes, JAM, I sure did. However, it will still not deter those who buy that eco-thelogical tripe. I maintain, regardless of proven causation, that the vast majority of lichen eating nutbars overall will never back away from their pet causes since they are so emotionally invested in them.

    It gets touted how 98% of respected scientists have agreed that THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED and heresy will not be tolerated. I'm also convinced that AGW is at best overblown and the focus is not "fixing The Earth's climate" (which is a fool's errand anyway), but the micromanagement of daily living. The playbook is straight out of Plato's Republic.

  • KPres||

    Did you ever read the study where the 98% comes from? They literally got something like 70 responses out 1400 questionnaires sent out and they had 2 questions (is the earth warming?...are humans a factor?).

  • eric711||

    Seriously did you really just try to make the claim that climate change isn't happening? What do you live under a rock or something? I don't understand why intelligent people such as you accept other benefits science has given you where there is general scientific acceptance. For instance, nuclear reactors, cars, airplanes, computers, medical advances all comes from science. But when science determines there is a negative impact to something we do as humans people can't accept it. You need to move beyond the denial stage and accept it for what it is. You really believe almost all the climate scientists are in some kind of grand conspiracy for the last fifty years of science on this subject? Get with the times, buddy, and wake up to our reality. Don't fall into the same category of people in history who couldn't accept that world isn't flat, or the world is not the center of the universe or galaxy, etc..etc... Basically don't live in the dark ages, and enter the light.

  • ArmandK||

    "You really believe almost all the climate scientists are in some kind of grand conspiracy for the last fifty years of science on this subject?"

    You mean the same folks who were telling us, back in 1976, that we were facing another Ice Age?

    Yawn...

  • eric711||

    I believe that talk in 1976 was from a minority of a minority of scientists, and hyped up by a time article around that time. Double yawn. You can do better than that. You know it's funny you using what wasn't a scientific consensus at the time, and trying to argue against what is a clear scientific consensus. Man, triple yawn. What else have you got Armand?

  • Raistlin||

    For the last time! Consensus. Isn't. Science.

  • KPres||

    There's consensus that the earth is warming. There's no consensus on how rapidly or how much of a role human activity plays.

  • eric711||

    You're right Ralstlin, consensus isn't science....and for the last time science is science. It's hard to ignore science when you benefit from it every day fool. If you're going to be a luddite you might as well stop using your car, stop taking any medication you're on, and stop using your cell phone. All of that comes from the general agreement in science that says this is true, now do or make something with that knowledge. Stop wasting everyone's time with hollow arguments. Sorry I just don't have much patience for people that accept science in their daily lives, but can't accept science when it contradicts with their personal views. I mean you're writing this blog post on a computer that is all the product of science. If you can't handle what science produces then give it up and stop taking anything from science and go live in a cave.

  • Raistlin||

    "science is science."

    Yes, it is. Too bad the whole catastophic man-made global warming thing is a big fat global scam and not science. Then the rest of that moronic, bug-eyed rant might have some validity.

  • ArmandK||

    The response to be expected from a true-believer, rather than a scientist.

    Go but some indulgences from your cult-leader. He needs the money, what with the millions he just spent on a beach home and all.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Didn't follow your cum box link, but if your point is that PRT cars could be left in a disgusting state, bear in mind that there is a reject function built into any PRT system design that I have ever seen. Just reject the disgusting car and it will drive itself to the maintenance depot, while another replaces it right away.

  • ||

    Oh that cum box link is just a silly internet meme for non sequiturs, which I purposefully made. You should follow it though; the article will thoroughly astound you.

    I'm familiar with the PRT system, and it is quite remarkable. But it goes to the larger point of "enticing": when I hear that word in the context of government intervention, I immediately think of mandates, boondoggles, and cronyism. The PRT system is turning a profit and the expansions planned are intended to do the same thing, something that rail is by design intended not to do. The larger point is that this wet dream of high speed rail all over the place is neither intended to "save the earth" nor fix anything, but provide make work jobs for connected interests.

    I'm not quite sure the PRT could be expanded to meet LA's needs, but I'm not immediately poo-poo'ing the idea.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    In the "optimum coverage" design scenario, you need six miles of guideway for every square mile of service area. This allows guideway gridlines to be 1/2 mile apart. If, along those gridlines, you have stops that are also 1/2 mile apart, you guarantee that nobody will ever be more than 1/4 mile (about a block) from a system access point. At such an access point, vehicles are either there waiting for you, or arrive at your summons within a minute or two. Once on the system, travel is non-stop, without transfer, from entry to exit point, at between 30-40 mph. (Note that the average speed for full-rail "rapid" transit systems such as BART is only about 33MPH.) Using reported costs for Heathrow's system, the cost per square mile of "optimum" coverage is between $66-72M, including guideway, stop infrastructure and rolling stock. How many square miles of good coverage (5 min. walking distance from station) does LA's rail system provide, and what was the cost?

  • ||

    Boy, that's awful for the current scheme! And the Phase 2 to Santa Monica hasn't even been started yet. There's really no comparison in terms of a cost budget analysis and a service delivery comparison.

  • Sevo||

    "by refusing to pursue an approach that is demonstrated to WORK"
    What approach is that?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    The Personal Rapid Transit approach that I cited in my post, via the example of the successful Heathrow Pod system, of course.

  • robc||

    Why do we keep lagging -- and wasting billions of tax dollars -- by refusing to pursue an approach that is demonstrated to WORK, not just in terms of getting people from A to B, but also in terms of enticing them to use it?

    Because pods or automated google cars would be useful for people in the bar district.

    Combine neoprohibitionism and the money cops make off DUIs and you see why those solutions cant be considered.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    PRT networks sound a lot like more central planning and control of movement.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Only if they are, by law, the ONLY way for people to get around beyond walking distance. Are elevators central planning and control of movement?

  • HermanLame||

    The picture for this article is a black man sitting alone in the back of a train?
    Das raaaaaacisss

  • juris imprudent||

    Yo, eric711, please come back and pick up your ass.

    And thanks for registering!

  • eric711||

    I'm here, and my ass looks just fine thank you. Better luck next time with your arguments. Most of what's here doesn't have any information actually backing it up. Maybe in the next go around you guys can be more clever.

  • مركز تحميل||

    That song speaks to (and, in ironic mode, FOR) me. I was born during the I.G.Y.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    What the heck reposted my comment, from above, but omitting the byline and inserting arabic characters in the timestamp? Did the server squirrels eat some rancid acorns?

  • zamoracarl711||

    like Kenneth answered I'm amazed that some people can profit $4697 in 1 month on the internet. have you read this link makecash16.cøm

  • Kuwanki||

    The Great Northern Railway wasn't subsidized, and i believe it was the only one. i won't regale you with the built-in dubious citation, but a quick look "you-know-where" will give you the gist. FWIW

  • terrymac||

    If the Expo line follows the procedures common on other metro lines in Los Angeles, a group of sheriff deputies will sometimes check all people who leave the train; there are stiff fines for not having a ticket.

    However, I once observed someone showing a random bit of paper and walking right past the deputy.

    I lived in L.A. and O.C. for nine years, moving out in 2010.

    I am not at all surprised to find that ridership is lower than predicted.

  • MarioLanza||

    Of course, the 20 lane (un)freeways aren't paying for themselves. In fact, there is no return whatsoever for the concrete parking lots. Making them 26 lanes really won't pay for themselves.

  • Danno||

    How about an updated stat sheet on the Portland light rail? This line only open one week. Portland open since 2009 IIRC.

  • eric711||

    I'm sure no one is paying attention to these comments anymore, but I wanted to point out the ridership has already grown from 9,000 a day the first week it opened to about 11,500 about a month and a half later. That is also without the additional stations that are opening this week that will complete the opening of the line and should boost ridership further. Maybe by the fall we're talking about close to 20,000 which I think are the estimate for use.

  • ocschwar||

    http://stopandmove.blogspot.co.....-line.html

    One year after opening, Expo line ridership meeting projections for 2020
    A bit over a year ago, the city of Los Angeles welcomed its newest (and long delayed) light rail line, called the Expo Line. Taking riders between downtown LA and Culver City (and eventually Santa Monica), the line had been greatly anticipated to fill a large gap in the metro system. For one, the line would have three stops serving USC, which includes a stop at the famous and frequently used LA Coliseum.

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