Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Anti-Rail Rant in the Deseret News

UTA TRAX Sandy train at the Gallivan Plaza sto...Image via WikipediaEver since Ivory has become head of the Deseret News' advisors it seems that the paper has taken a very large turn to the anti-transit side. This is an ironic turn of events but not all that unexpected since Ivory is an anti-transit developer.

The latest rant is from a Economics Professor at BYU. He basically says the same old garbage on how rail transit only attracts bus riders, it is a useless and commuter rail will not work. (sheeze all you have to do is change a few words and he says the same repeated message of the Road Warriors).

He starts of with saying that Commuter Rail will not attract riders only divert riders from buses. In addition he says that rail will not create a big enough share to affect congestion. Of course this is just looking from one point of view. Congestion is relieved: for anyone who rides the trains they do not have to deal with congestion. Also, once again people are more likely to ride trains than they are to ride buses.

He also says that the trains will be slow despite they traveling up to 79mph. Yes, the trains do have to stop but then they pick up more passengers. But speed is not the issue. I much rather be relaxing on the train than dealing with the idiots behind the wheel. You arrive at your destination relaxed and more ready to face the day. You are not upset at all the cars that cut you off, ran over the top of you, went 35 in a 65 and so on. Of course that is taken into account by the them.

Then he begins his attack on TRAX. Once again he gets on the same old bandwagon on how TRAX is only attracting former bus riders and that ridership hasn't gone up. Of course it flies in the face of reality where TRAX parking lots are full, its trains carry many more people than the buses it replaced, and they are many people on TRAX who would never ride the bus. In fact when you look at previous bus ridership compared to the numbers that TRAX is pulling in, it is clear even by conservative measures that TRAX is attracting about 49 to 50% of its riders from cars. You add the fact that there is currently not even a real network of lines open yet and you can clearly see that TRAX is a success.

At a time when we need more and better transit service, it is sad to see that some people still have their heads in the sand and will not see the realities that we are facing today. Of course it doesn't help when one of the major newspapers who has been a supporter of transit seems to be turning to wrong way. Today transit is becoming more important than ever, and we need to improve the system not attack it.
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