Saturday, February 23, 2008

Light Rail in Kansas City, and some transit potluck

Funkwatch: Sam's favorite politician: Kansas City Mayor Funkhouser has been in the news of late talking about regional transit issues out there. For more it is interesting to take a look at local KC political blog Prime Beef. There is a Kansas moniker for you. Makes you think of dinner I bet; for me the first thing it brings to mind are my friends doing Air Force Civil Engineering. No joke. But part of that site is a link labled A hub of news, discussion and analysis of light rail in KC. A local version could be a task for Joe Grata?

Happy Birthday EBA: My lament over the demise of the Pittsburgh Transit blog has prompted many folks to point out some of the other transit focused blogs out there (Green is Good, Peak Direction and I am sure there are others) . Brent's PeakDirection had one of those historical factoids I should have caught: Last week was the 25th anniversary of the East Busway. For more on the historical underpinnings of all regional transit I point you toward my scan of the 1967 Allegheny County Rapid Transit Plan.

More on those inconvenient elasiticies: In case you missed it, news report show that Port Authority ridership declined year over year 7% in January . The news stories imply it all is attributable to the fare hike implemented in January. Really? That is far more hypothesis than fact. Any thought that fewer routes may just be a contributing factor, and how about colder weather that hit in January? In business you often see "same store sales" reported as a metric. Maybe the Port Authority could report "same route ridership" to sort out the trends? and remember Econ 101, long term elasticities are higher than short term elasticities. But I have a question, does 7% decline in ridership translate into 7% decline in revenues? Put another way, is the marginal rider more or less likely to be a full fare passenger? Just asking the question.

Bus Ridership Up: But also in the news, while Port Authority ridership is coming down, the Beaver County Transit Authority had its 6th year of record high ridership. The PG even has an audio report on that story. Not a knock on them at all, but before anyone begins any apples and oranges comparisons, BCTA has 7 regular routes total... PAT still has how many even after the route eliminations?

Some Transit History: Just seeing what else is new that is transit related.... AMCAP has put up this winter a Harmony Short Lines Pictorial. Best is this picture from WWII showing a Pittsburgh bus with wartime advertising to promote women joining the W.A.C.

Bonus: Another topic altogether, but we will sneak it in here just to see who is still reading. Some interesting news in California as the town of Vallejo considers formally going bankrupt. Just keep an eye. and I wonder... are Valejos bonds insured?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kansas City of which you speak is in Missouri. Yes, a state line splits them. Yes, they are two different cities. This is very important. Goes all the way back to the Civil War and the fact that Missouri was a slave and Democrat state while Kansas was a free and Republican state. Border war was vicious and not pretty--like massacres of women and children in Liberty, Mo., which is now a KCMO suburb. (By the way, this history explains Kansas' historical Republican tendencies more than the religious right, despite what authors lauded by the NYT might say, but I digress.)

The light rail situation is nuts. The guy who championed the referendum (i.e., put up his own money to get it on the ballot and buy adv in its support) left town for Atlanta, and the referendum mandated the construction of light rail, but without any funding. Go figure.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 5:57:00 PM  

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