MTC Study Shows HSR Will Succeed In California

Feb 25th, 2010 | Posted by

One of the most common things we’ve found around the world with high speed rail is that it is very, very successful at attracting riders to switch from flying between two points to the train. Despite deeply ignorant claims that because Southwest Airlines offers cheap flights, we don’t need HSR, the evidence indicates that HSR will indeed thrive by drawing a chunk of its riders from planes. Here are some examples of how HSR has succeeded, often very quickly, at gaining riders on high-traffic air corridors:

Chinese airlines cut fares to win back riders on new HSR lines

Spain HSR overtakes flights on Madrid-Barcelona route, long one of the busiest air routes in the world

Taiwan airlines “reeling” from HSR success – keep in mind this is from an HSR system that needed a government bailout thanks to a flawed funding method

Acela takes over 40% of market share on Northeast Corridor – even though Acela isn’t real HSR, certainly not what we’re planning here in California

Other studies have indicated that California would experience similar benefits from HSR. The Brookings Institution produced a report last October that claimed SF-LA was one of the best corridors in the country for HSR.

That study is now boosted by a new report from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) showing that HSR will get at least 6 million riders per year from the three Bay Area airports combined:

SH&E forecasts that by 2035, San Jose would lose 12 percent of its projected passengers because of high-speed rail, followed by a 9 percent diversion at Oakland and a 4 percent loss at San Francisco. They figure the three airports would carry slightly more than 100 million total passengers without the bullet train but that each would carry about 2 million fewer travelers if high-speed rail is built as planned.

Translated to total airport activity, the train project is estimated to reduce overall operations at San Jose by 9.2 percent, at San Francisco by 5.3 percent and at Oakland by 5.2 percent….

The consultants say two-thirds of San Francisco and San Jose travelers headed to the Los Angeles area would switch to high-speed rail, and about half the Oakland passengers would do the same.

The study is based on the MTC/CHSRA ridership estimates prepared by Cambridge Systematics, and independent observers view those numbers as credible:

“There will be a giant sucking sound as you hear, especially business travelers, vacate airplanes in favor of high-speed rail,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Forrester Research in San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. “It will be less susceptible to delays, more efficient, (will go) city center to city center, and there are just some additional pleasantries,” he said.

And the local airports aren’t concerned by it. SFO has long been supportive of HSR and welcomes the station planned for Millbrae. Mineta San José Airport, in the midst of a major and welcome expansion project, is also unconcerned:

California airports have long been supportive of the rail project. Stations are planned at the BART stop at San Francisco Airport, in San Jose and near Southern California airports.

“We recognize that if high-speed rail does affect our short-haul passenger traffic at the airport in the future, that makes it even more important to protect the airport’s ability to serve long haul routes in the future,” said David Vossbrink, spokesman for Mineta San Jose International Airport. The study indicated the diversion estimates represented “total aircraft activity.”

This is because they understand that the future of short-haul flights is not bright. Rising oil prices in 2008 led to a major reduction in those flights even on the busy SF-LA corridor. Southwest has only been able to maintain its low prices through the use of fuel hedges that allowed it to lock in low fuel costs. As oil prices rise, which they will do for the foreseeable future, Southwest will become unable to keep their fares low.

That is why we should welcome this study. California must move beyond relying on oil-based forms of transportation, including flights to get around our state. High speed rail will enable us to provide sustainably powered travel with a stable cost. Further reasons to ensure HSR gets built as planned.

  1. Tony D.
    Feb 25th, 2010 at 20:30
    #1

    I heard a KCBS news clip this afternoon on this story. They interviewed a lady at Mineta SJC and she said straight up “oh yah, I’d be on that train right now.”
    One thing in the piece I disagree with is that HSR will serve primarily the NorCal/SoCal short-haul market and not act as a feeder for international passengers to SFO. This is completely false! Mineta SJC will never be a huge international, long-haul hub, as SFO has this market cornered in the Bay Area. In the future, it will be extremely convenient to catch HSR in SJ, Gilroy and beyond to Millbrae/SFO for international travel. I’m sure many others will use HSR for this purpose as well.
    In short, HSR will not only act as an attractive alternative to Southwest Airlines, it will allow Bay Area and Central Valley passengers to catch that Singapore Airlines flight out of SFO without driving.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yeah, I am skeptical of that too – HSR would indeed act as such a feeder, as the TGV does in France. It may not be as significant a part of HSR ridership, though.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’m sure if we stood in front of the security checkpoint at Mineta SJC and collected signatures for a pro-HSR petition we could have 10,000 within a week.

    wu ming Reply:

    as one of those central valley passengers, it would be a freaking godsend not to have to mess with airport shuttles or talking friends and family into driving oneself 2 hours into the city for some godforsaken midnight flight (or worse, one scheduled during bay area rush hour) and then back again.

    jimsf Reply:

    for real… when i fly to socal to visit in lbc, sometimes i cant get a good fare so i have to go into lax, and then my friend has to get all 405 and stuff from lbc and I have to hear about it all the way back to the house. apparently people don’t like to pick you up at lax at 5pm ish. in fact its my understanding that there is never a good time to be on the 405.
    of course [snarky tone] all that will be fixed once arnold double decks it huh.

    jimsf Reply:

    hmm speaking of…. it would be useful to extend the blue line from long beach to artic.

    something like this downtown to airport then via katella out to disney and artic.

    I hate to meddle in socal affairs … but .. just this once….

    jimsf Reply:

    like this

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    You see that diagonal scar running from the top left to the lower right? That’s the old Pacific Electric ROW. Why not use that first? I know there has been some discussion over the years in Orange County of using it to bring some kind of light rail through that ROW corridor.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    It’s referred to (infrequently) in metro planning documents as the “West Santa Ana Branch Corridor” and would run from Union Station to Beach/Katella and connect over to ARTIC. It’s the alignment that the mythical SCAG Maglev would have taken. Last I heard they were considering light rail or metrolink commuter rail. Getting from the corner of Beach and Katella, over to Disneyland and ARTIC is the hard part. It will probably end up as light rail, but other than some planning money (for maglev?), it’s not funded right now.

    You can see it listed on the Long Term Plan map and tablehere, though they don’t say much else about it. What is significant, is that the 2008 draft LRTP referred to it as the maglev corridor, but the final 2009 report does not specify mode.

    Joey Reply:

    Why does everyone seem to think that 30 mile light rail lines are a good idea?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Urban rail isn’t HSR, which has enough of a pizzazz factor that American supporters bother to learn how it works abroad. System maps don’t look complete unless they connect to as many suburbs as possible; service quality issues are too wonky. With HSR it leads to nationwide fantasy maps and insufficient investment in workable lines such as the NEC and the CAHSR system; with light rail it leads to extensions to the boonies.

    Another problem is that FRA regulations make it impossible to run modern commuter rail at those distances. A modernized Metrolink connecting LA with Orange County would be a great idea, but unlike Caltrain, Metrolink hasn’t even thought to consider electrification and noncompliant stock. Once the best rail transit solution is out, people might still look for second and third best.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    How long would the Blue Line be at that point?

    It’s approximately 22 miles now. Metro projects are in the works to extend it through downtown and merge it with the Gold Line out to Pasadena…. and that line has extensions planned out to Claremont. Altogether… before going to Anahiem the line would already be over 50 miles. And, Anahiem is not in the LACMTA Metro jurisdiction.

    Tho, it sounds interesting.

    jimsf Reply:

    well, I don’t know enough about la to tell it how to do things. its so huge and spread out I dont know how they get anything to work at all. Im always in a state of amazement when Im down there! BUt,im just putting in two cents…. the places I need to get too are long beach and hollywood so hopefully ill be able to do that from hsr in a convenient connection at some point.

    Joey Reply:

    Won’t you be able to just take the Blue Line from LAUS to Long Beach once the regional connector is done? It’s not really that much closer than ARTIC.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    Long-haul airlines now try to reduce expenses by concentrating on a few big hubs. That’s why all American airlines codeshare with HSR.
    An example is the link from Brussels Midi station to Paris CDG. Although the distance is 198 miles and takes 1h20 by Thalys, many travellers treat Brussels Midi as a terminal of Paris CDG.

    jimsf Reply:

    This news was all over the radio yesterday. The airlines/airports seem to already be ahead of the game, and know what they plan to do. They are just going to shift their focus, as we have all said would happen. This really is a win for everyone. It has to be easier and more cost efficient for airlines to manage larger planes for longer distances than it is to have so many 737s hopping all over the place. I know as passenger I would love it to be like the regulated 70s. Where it seemed every flight was a non stop transcon widebody flight. remember the L 1011, with 2-5-2 seating. And you got 2 full meals and hot towel service even in coach….

    Ha and just wait till the riding public gets a load of the on board comfort of high speed trains.. they’re gonna be all “hey how come nobody told us… we could have done this a long time ago”

    people are going to love it.

    jimsf Reply:

    my god….. might class and civility actually return to american living? this could be huge!

    Peter Reply:

    I think those days have sailed, my friend.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    So you’re old enough to remember the time when flying was a pleasure? The flight attendants were called hostesses. They smiled at you, and brought you food that was actually EATABLE. When a flight was delayed two hours, you were offered a 3-course meal at one of the airport’s restaurants.
    When I tell that to my sons, they think I’m making it up.

    Bianca Reply:

    Yeah, and flying cost an arm and a leg. No $59 flights on Southwest back then. But I remember getting little pilot’s wings and all kinds of other freebies, like playing cards.

    Joey Reply:

    And I presume you weren’t strip-searched either?

    Chris Reply:

    I don’t think you’d like the regulated days to come back, Jim. Do you have any idea how much airfares have dropped (when adjusted for inflation) over the past three decades?

    Peter Reply:

    But that’s also part of the problem. Airlines have had to completely and utterly cut services to keep their fares competitive.

    An even more dangerous side-effect is the lower industry standards for pilots. The crash in Buffalo last year is just one example of this problem. The problem is systemic throughout the industry. The regional airlines, for example, don’t pay pilots enough to keep their more experienced pilots. This means that passengers don’t always get the seasoned pilots they are entitled to. Even major airlines like US Airways have this problem. Capt. Sullenberger, obviously a highly experienced aviator, had to work a consulting job on the side in order to make ends meet.

    That’s the price we pay for lower airfares in the age of deregulation. Is it worth it? In my humble opinion, no.

    Chris Reply:

    It would help if we just stopped manipulating bankruptcy laws every time that one of the big boys files. A liquidation would be great for the industry, great for pilots’ pay (aside from the ones that lose their jobs, of course), and would raise the price for consumers up to decent levels – allowing the other airlines to escape the almost-file-for-bankruptcy every year cycle.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Peter, I can give you links to statistics showing that the number of terrorist attacks on airplanes per passenger has markedly decreased in the last 30 years. I believe the number of fatal accidents per passenger has decreased as well.

    Peter Reply:

    Well, I was speaking from my experience as a pilot and a flight instructor and from conversations I have had with airline pilots.

    Despite the statistics, the FAA does see pilot training and experience as a major issue that needs to be addressed and corrected over the next few years. Here’s a link to their “Call to Action.”

    http://www.faa.gov/library/reports/media/call_to_action_Jan2010.pdf

    Tony D. Reply:

    Andre,
    Interesting point about long-haul airlines concentrating on a few big hubs. That’s why I think SJ airport officials are dreaming when they think they’ll be able to attract major international airlines, long-haul routes when SFO is up the street. On other forums I’ve expressed the idea that HSR could make SJC expendable in the future; CLOSE IT! The airport’s a “cancer” for SJ development anyway, and living in S. Santa Clara County, I’ll gladly take HSR from Gilroy to Millbrae/SFO for my international/cross-country flights.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Make Diridon and Palo Alto (Mtn.View/Redwood City) HSR stations “terminals” of SFO.

    Joey Reply:

    For such short distances, it might make more sense to just use CalTrain, especially since the fares will probably be cheaper.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Excellent point Joey! SFO check-in/ticketing services up and down the HSR/Caltrain ROW.

  2. Spokker
    Feb 25th, 2010 at 20:46
    #2

    Any typos in that study?

    Matthew F. Reply:

    No but the press release did. Which Atherton NIMBYs promptly seized on as a reason to cancel the project.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Nothing but FUCKING NIMBY MADE UP STUFF…Ok you get say it so will I….”O were have you gone Spoker Diaimanigojoe A HSR nation turns its loney heart to you wooo wwooo..

    spokker Reply:

    I’ve uncovered documents that prove that the CHSRA changed the toilet design without public notice. The flush is weak and puny on the models they are planning to use. They are doing this to cut costs. The focus is on profitability now, not the public good.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    I had a good laugh on my train ride this morning reading that…. funny stuff.

  3. Risenmessiah
    Feb 25th, 2010 at 21:41
    #3

    The current alignment of HSR will not be particularly useful for feeding air traffic routes outside of people in the Silicon Valley heading north to SFO for international depatures and vice versa. Furthermore, because HSR is getting nowhere near LAX, the number of Southern California feeder passengers will also be low under the current alignment.

    Indeed, the real problem is that HSR is being developed almost independently of California’s other transportation strategies. We need a common vision of mobility in the 21st century that includes an intermodal approach between rail, road, air, and sea.

    That said, it’s true that as the Southwest Airlines business model slowly distingrates, HSR is going to look competitive and prescient.

    Joey Reply:

    I wouldn’t say that HSR is being developed completely independent of California’s other transportation networks. Major stations are all at existing (or future) transit hubs, which are only going to grow in the future. Also, assuming the peninsula corridor is designed and operated in an intelligent way (though Clem has doubts about that), then CalTrain is getting a huge upgrade and integration with HSR.

    Though I do agree that bringing HSR to LAX would have been a very good idea. It’s not easy to get to, but it’s doable. Actually, you can see LAUS in older CHSRA documents, though I’m not sure why it was eliminated. Come to think of it, they probably should have included LAX in Phase 1 rather than Anaheim.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Here’s the thing…

    California grew into such a large and rich state because in the “old” days there was a focus on mobility. Freeways and roads don’t just carry cars but ideas and money.

    HSR isn’t about novelty…it’s about rebooting the state’s infrastructure from being dependent on fossil fuels to renewable resources. It’s not Windows XP or 7, HRS is Apple’s Leopard.

    So, HSR needs to contemplate the fact that eventually it’s going to be needed to carry freight, feed local, regional transit system and air traffic, as well as assist in urban planning design to allow greater usage of electric vehicles.

    To achieve this, we are likely going to need a Dubai Logistics City approach wherein Oakland, Long Beach, and San Diego all develop and build logistics hubs that incorporate road, rail, sea, and air. Running HSR to SFO and Ontario in Southern California seems like a boon now, but it’s a drop in the bucket to what the system’s ultimate needs will be.

  4. Richard Mlynarik
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 00:31
    #4

    MTC.

    Ah yes, Quentin’s Boy.

    The people who “predicted” 30,000 daily riders at Millbrae BART station. (Reality: close to 1/4 of that.)

    The people who “predicted” an operating surplus from that BART extension.

    The people who “predicted” a $1.3 billion Bay Bridge East Span replacement. (Reality: way over $6 billion, and counting, and mounting.)

    The people behind the half billion dollar Oakland Airport Connector scam.

    The people behind Pacheco.

    The people behind the $10 billion BART to San Jose fraud.

    You know, if anybody is aware of a single instance in which MTC’s executive staff has not lied
    systematically, deliberately and outrageously about both the cost and the utility of a major capital
    project, I’d love to hear about it.

    It’s quite possible that HSR will win riders from airlines, and it’s quite possible that a well-conceived
    and well-managed and well-designed and well-operated HSR system would be a massive boon for
    California — I wouldn’t support good rail projects if that weren’t the case — but it’s unlikely to the
    point of impossibility that anything that comes out of MTC can be used by an honest or ethical
    person to support any point of position, including that one.

    Just look at the agency’s documented historical track record! It’s one of unmitigated and unrelentingly consistent fraud.

    Look for your convincing and credible data elsewhere. The further removed, the better.

    jimsf Reply:

    whatever.

    jimsf Reply:

    speaking of bart and sfo, it so happens my long beach friend is coming up tomorrow, and was thrilled that he can now get virgin america to sfo instead of jet blue to oak, why…. because the bart connection is so convenient. virgin america is in the international terminal, just steps from bart, which delivers him practically to the basement of my building at civic center in under 30 minutes.

    I do everything I can to use bart sfo instead of oak. its just the no fuss no muss option.

    I think part of the reason bart sfo hasn’t seen the ridership is that at the same time, oak and sjc were expanding and building new terminals.. and until recently the discount airlines all flew out of oak. Now you can get more southwest and virgin flights from sfo.

    jimsf Reply:

    does richard even live in the bay area?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Do we really need to rehash how there are now NO public transit options from the Peninsula/ SJ to SFO?

    Peter Reply:

    I think you should have placed your emphasis on the NOW. Things can, and most likely will, change in that respect. Millbrae station will likely have to be rebuilt anyway, so there’s no reason why they should not rebuild that section to accomodate a link more useful than BART.

    Brian Stanke Reply:

    Good point Elizabeth. How would you suggest we fix this on-going problem?

    Restart the BART Milbrae to SFO shuttle?
    Rebuild the Milbrae station replacing the BART wye with a direct Airtrain extension from SFO to Millbrae?
    Another better idea I haven’t heard of yet?

    I look forward to your positive input.

    Peter Reply:

    I’d argue for discontinuing both BART lines servicing SFO and replacing the SFO-Millbrae line with an Airtrain extension.

    jimsf Reply:

    no. why would I want to have to transfer to airtrain when I have a single seat ride now?

    jimsf Reply:

    and I’d like to remind everyone, as someone who lived in the bar area all those years, that the general public opinion was

    “if you are going to make it go to sfo, then for god’s sake take it all the way into the airport, don’t make it stop short on the other side of the freeway”

    THAT was the public sentiment so THAT is what we got. It wasn’t some evil commie plot to destroy bay area transit.

    Peter Reply:

    Because it’s really inefficient for transferring to Caltrain on weekdays.

    I would fly out of SFO more frequently if it wasn’t so complex to get to SFO from and to Caltrain.

    jimsf Reply:

    well Im not giving up my single seat ride.

    Peter Reply:

    Ok, then how about we leave the BART line from the city to SFO intact. We reconfigure Millbrae-SFO as Airtrain. That way we would still have single-seat rides to SFO from the city and at the same time fix the stupid weekday-before-7-pm Millbrae-San Bruno-SFO nightmare.

    Alternatively, rebuild SFO’s BART station as a through-station, instead of a terminal.

    The first option would likely be cheaper, with the second option more operationally efficient.

    Maybe do the first option first, then later, if/when funds become available, implement the second option.

    That’s my two cents.

    Joey Reply:

    SFO is in fact operated as a through station after 7PM. I’m not sure how fast they turn around the trains, but it works. In fact, I think the wye was intended to operate that way. Why else would they have the two approach tracks from the north cross over each other?

    AirTrain definitely needs to be extended to Millbrae though.

    jimsf Reply:

    are they currently not running the shuttle from millbrae to sfo? bart just needs to reinstate that by having the concord line, which goes into the airport, continue on to millbrae, and back.

    Peter Reply:

    http://www.bart.gov/stations/index.aspx

    Look at their map. On a weekday before 7 pm, if you want to take Caltrain, you have to take BART from SFO to San Bruno, transfer to the other direction, and take BART back to Millbrae. Operational nightmare for someone with big luggage after getting off a transatlantic flight.

    Peter Reply:

    I think the reason they don’t run it more frequently is because the union rules require a 15 minute break at the end of each line. And the unions consider Millbrae-SFO a separate line.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    They were running it but said they didn’t have enough passenger traffic.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You have to transfer to an airtrain anyway, unless you’re using the international terminal.

    jimsf Reply:

    I only use airlines from the intl terminal so I dont have to take airtrain. – currently alaska, jet blue, and virgin america. those are the only airlines I like anyway and you can walk right down the hall from bart.

    Joey Reply:

    I expect they’ll be moving those out of the international terminal once T2 is renovated. They don’t have much motivation to do it soon though.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m glad you only use the international terminal, but most people don’t.

    jimsf Reply:

    I took this once to ohare… their subway dead ends at the airport like sfo. I wonder why its successful…assuming it is…. it worked fine. though I don’t remember how far i had to walk …. that airport is huge.

    Joey Reply:

    Heh … the 3 track/2 platform terminal is eerily similar to BART’s

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Jim, BART is inherently more expensive than the L – the proprietary technology makes everything more expensive. In addition, the SFO extension involved unnecessary underground construction whereas the L is an el.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Airtrain would be nice but shuttle would be just fine with me, particularly if it was timed.

    jimsf Reply:

    anything is better than the oak murderville express.

    wu ming Reply:

    the bay bridge extension was in large part messed up by schwarzeneggar declaring a design change, and then going back on it, and delaying the whole thing while the costs went up. not as sure about your other examples, but the bay bridge was intentionally made expensive.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No. Do the arithmetic. Think for yourself.

    Just how exactly is an inflation from $1.2 billion (MTC promise, courtesy of today’s executive
    director and Kopp go-to boy Steve Heminger, who very publicly fronted the MTC Bay Bridge Design Task Force)
    to $6.3 billiion (unlikely low end, and disinterested others
    have pegged the final bill at over $12 billion of your and my tax dollars) supposed to
    be “in large part” due to The Bad Evil Governator single handedly delaying the project?

    Perhaps Ahnold used some time travel technology to arrange to secretly be pulling all the strings for the 21 years it takes to account for a 425% cost “overrun”. AND somehow compressed those 21 years into the period 2000 to 2009. Amazing!

    How do people manage to allow themselves to believe this sort of rubbish?

    Occam’s Razor suggests that MTC and its executive director systematically, deliberately, knowingly and blatantly lied about the Bay Bridge project, just as it suggests that MTC and its executive director are systematically, deliberately, knowingly and blatantly lying about HSR to SJ=BART to SJ today.
    Same house, same call.
    Past performance is an excellent guide to the future.

    Brian Stanke Reply:

    And your solution Richard? You call them all liars. Then what? We should all not build anything?

    The CAHSRA board is appointed by the Governor and the legislative leadership. MTC is also a state creation. If you want to change their organization or membership go lobby in Sacramento. Unless you do that you are barking up the wrong tree.

    Commenting over and over again how much you distrust, mock, and despise certain persons and professions doesn’t get us a bit closer to actually building a HSR system in conformance with Prop 1A though. I have to assume, based on your comments, that you lost interest in that goal a while ago however.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    Clearly not. The state is doomed! We should all stop trying.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Your toll money, not your tax dollars. Yes there’s all sorts of hidden subsidies but it’s nominally going to be paid for with tolls.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    BART SFO ridership… to be fair, those projections were for the build-out year…. 2025 years in the future. No?

    How many years has the extension been open… about 10, right?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No. “To be fair,” how about reading the documents, rather than free associating in a fact free vacuum?

    Peninsula Rail 2010 Reply:

    The BART-SFO extension has been open since June 2003. The final EIR predicted 70,000 daily riders by 2010 at the four new stations.

    http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/transactions/ta06-03/facts.htm

    Guess what time it is? It’s 2010 now. The BART-SFO extension is attracting less than half the predicted ridership. The critics correctly expected such dismal results with such a lousy design promoted by MTC and Kopp.

    Before we delude ourselves into “thinking positively” as braindead political cheerleaders, let’s understand the serious mistakes that have been made and continue to be made. Solution: fix the institutions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Richard M. is correct in complaining that the MTC is a mouthpiece for BART and construction-engineering interests. It is so politicized that it cannot render an objective analysis of the viability and worth of projects. Just look at its approval of the botched Rose Pak memorial Central Subway in SF. Quelle farce!

    And don’t count BART out of the Peninsula picture. The more the CHSRA pushes its berms the more opposition to hsr north of SJ. The November election could burst the whole stimulus-infrastructure bubble and produce an agonizing reappraisal of the hsr concept. BART Ring-the-Bay lives on, at least in the mind of Quentin Kopp and other kingpins.

    jimsf Reply:

    There is nothing wrong with the central subway and I wish people who don’t live in san francisco would butt of our local politics. If you can’t grasp the whole picture, and the reasoning behind the central subway design well too bad. Its none of your business anyway.

    jimsf Reply:

    let me explain the central subway to you. Ill speak slowly.

    the central subway will serve what is probably the most densely population area in the bay area if not the state.
    the central subway is only one segment of a larger plan.
    the central subway will fill a gap in san francsico’s sorely lacking north-south transit options.
    the central subway, connects the heart of the city’s hotel/tourist/retail with the city’s largest future growth area, the mission bay and eastern waterfront, including the eastern neighborhoods plan. You have to have followed the local politics and planning to understand the direction the city is taking with all of this and its a good plan. I follow it closely as it affects my neighborhood.

    do you know about the plans? the 4th street corridor plans? the eastern neighborhood plan, the western soma plan, mission bay and southern waterfront. bay view, candlestick point etc etc etc. if you did you would understand why this project is ahead of geary, ( which no doubt you think is a priority and the reasons for no geary subway are numerous – and again its about local politics)

    If you don’t know about those things then stay out of sf’s business. If you want to move here and put up with living here, then you can have a say when its time to vote. then you can have a say at the community meetings.

    Everything that happens in sf is thoroughly vetted and subject to years, even decades, of public input and this project is no different.

    Eventually this will extend to connect the northern waterfront, hotel/tourist district, with chinatown, the city’s most dense neighborhood, with union square, the city’s retail/hotel/ service job center/ moscone center, the city’s convention center and adjacent hotels/ the new plan for the soma 4th street corridor where and increase in height limits from 5 stories up to 20 or 40 stories may be allowed for housing/ caltrain/mission bay and and thousands upon thousands of units of housing slated for the east side all the down to candlestick. The only part of sf that will accept such growth.

    again there was ample, exhaustive public input on this project and the design detail and changes are a direct result of that. so just butt out.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Central Subway in its final transmogrification pretty much defines “boondoggle”

    http://www.theangryyoungman.com/2008/02/the_central_subway_is_stupid.html

    Joey Reply:

    The Central Subway, unfortunately, has been stripped of a lot of its usefulness by cost-cutting measures. The stations can only fit two car trains, which is fine for now, but is rather short-sighted. Additionally, it should really be extended to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, important and currently congested areas. Also they insist on using TBMs to minimize street disruption, which doesn’t help anything.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    Once again, Californians are penny wise, pound foolish. If there’s ANYWHERE in America that shouldn’t cut corners with public transit, it’s San Francisco.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    Two car trains, sounds like what they did for Vancouver’s Canada Line. Trust me, TBMs will save MUNI a bunch of lawsuits from cut and cover tunnel construction. Local businesses are still suing over lost business up north and I think they have won too.

    Peter Reply:

    But Canada line trains can be extended to three-car trains. Their stations are long enough to accommodate the longer trains (or can relatively easily be extended).

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    True, but not a full car for a 60 meter trainset. The platforms were still underbuilt for capacity and were only planned to be extended to 50 meters I believe.

    jimsf Reply:

    muni only runs two car train anyway. remember our trains run as street cars on every line. they ran some 4 car trains in the 80s, but they prefer shorter trains with shorter frequencies for more flexibility.

    Joey Reply:

    It makes sense, but I wouldn’t count on it lasting forever. The Market Street Subway already gets clogged during Rush Hour, particularly in the outbound direction.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Canada Line is driverless, which allows it to run at high frequency without busting the budget for train operators.

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    I’ve never understood this decision. 2-car trains????

    From my understanding, that is ridiculously bad decision. From here on out, any line connected to that tunnel will be limited to 2-car trains… unless they want to do something operationally impractical, such as uncouple longer trains before entering the affected stations.

    I’d really like to understand the rationale…. and I really like to hear if it’s something more than a cost cutting measure. That alone is insufficient a reason.

    Joey Reply:

    It is stupid, but think about it this way: Each station has to be excavated using cut-and-cover. The longer the station, the more excavation has to be done, and the higher the cost.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And still the cost per km is about on a par with subways in Japan with 10-car trains, going under more complex underground subway complexes than Market.

    jimsf Reply:

    see above. the reason we use two car train in sf ( and when we had 4 car trains… uncoupling subway entrances IS exaclty what they had to do) is because a) our subway is just an underground portion of the streetcar system. and b) shorter trains with shorter headways lets them run each line through the subway j- k- l- m- n- t- more often we have very short weekday and rush hour headways. Even when I get off work late at 11pm there are several trains… all the lines, in a row with short headways. in the 80s, they would run one, four car train, like an LLMM or JJNN etc, then at the portals they stop the trains and separate them. It was time consuming and we had longer head ways. As is it is now, only the N judah runs a two car train. the other 5 lines run one car trains. and as capacity needs to be increased in the coming decades, they will increase all of them to two car trains. Due to the particular design of the muni system, which has been in place since the early 1900s, the high density downtown subway core gets its capacity from so many different lines using the same tunnel. by the time the cars branch out into the neighborhoods, half the crows has dispersed. The majority of the rush hour crowds off board at castro on the KLM and at Cole Valley on the N and at 24th on the J.

    Joey Reply:

    The M runs lots of two-car trains. I may or may not have seen a few on the L line as well…

    jimsf Reply:

    it WILL be extended north but right now, there is only money to go to chinatown. they will take the tunnel toward washington square though in anticipation of extending further north and west.

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah, but unfortunately, when you divide something up like that because of budgetary concerns, you risk the second phase not being completed for 50 years.

    jimsf Reply:

    but thats the way it works. get used to it. when i was in my teens and 20s I thought god, everything takes so long why don’t they jut freaking do it. but I can now say, that this is how it works and this is how it will always work. you may as well get used to being patient.
    eventuallyit will look like this the T line, will re surface at north beach/ washington square and continue in street car mode, as all line do, in sf, to the wharf and there has been talk of using the exisisting tunnel under fort mason to take it out to the marina and it could go as far as the gg bridge. there is existing row there. ( this could provide a park n ride in, for gg bridge commuters)
    at the southern end of the T line, they will continue it up Geneva to Balboa park, where three other lines already converge and connect with bart. In all of san francisco, the only places that will see any kind of large scale development in the next 30 years, will be along the eastern waterfront. With the T build out, and the BRT lines, you will get a city that is well covered. If you are holding out for a dream subway system like nyc or something you’ll be still be waiting 100 years from now. take the map I linked, and prepare to get used to that vision. That’s where were going. mark my words.

    Joey Reply:

    We’re going to be waiting 100 years anyway…

    jimsf Reply:

    maybe, but don’t worry, a hundred years will fly by before you know it. Just try to keep busy. And with advances in medicine, you’ll be around to see it. But remember, a watched pot never boils. : (

    Joey Reply:

    Come to think of it, they aren’t even trying a phased approach. Rather than actually doing the environmental work for the rest of the corridor now, they’re just digging the tunnels a little bit farther with the vague possibility that it could be extended in the future. Things take time, sure, but they never happen if you don’t make them happen.

    jimsf Reply:

    1) there has to be a demand from the public, especially the neighborhoods involved, and it has to be loud and clear enough that the city will make it a priority. 2) there has to be money. Right now we are facing cuts, laying off drivers, raising fares, eliminating runs and routes, etc. This will all turn around when we enter another boom period in the economy and tax revenue starts flowing again. Central subway is first, followed by van ness and geary brt, and they plan to do something with 16th street as well. once those projects are completed, they will look at what to do next.

    jimsf Reply:

    syn – that link is a ridiculous joke of a blog that sounds like it was written by a high school kid. and you, as well the author of that blog, fail to see the larger picture because you are too busy being hateful. Just like you can’t see the bigger “whole” picture of hsr in california, but can only focus on a piece by piece criticism

    jimsf Reply:

    see, san franciscans get to make the decision, not anyone else.

    Peter Reply:

    I hate playing Devil’s Advocate where I side with Richard, but is the Central Subway being funded without MTC-allocated funding?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    San Franciscans can make all the decisions they want to make… as long as they pay for them. Once they start sucking great big gooey gobs of State and Federal money to do things the rest of us get to have a say in it.

    jimsf Reply:

    REally? did I get to say anything about penn station or that big fancy new 21st century subway they are building in nyc? I don’t believe I did.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, you got no say. Neither did I. But your representatives didn’t care, because of the unspoken pact that members of Congress vote for other people’s appropriations bill so that their own bills will get other people’s votes. Cost control and sound design don’t really enter it.

    jimsf Reply:

    well of course. but it doesn’t bother me either. I know how they play. I can live with it. I know that unrealistic expectations are a waste of time. Be it the perfect hsr/bart/muni whatever it is. It doesn’t really bother me because that how things are done in america. Ive gotten used to it.

    locally, all projects are subject to huge amounts of public input…. especially in san francisco which has a very hyper political constituency and a cit hall that caters to them, probably more than any large city. Developers here do not have any kind of advantage, they can’t buy their way in as easily. anyway ive gone over the whats and whys of the central subway. it is what it is. we’ll deal with it, like we deal with everything else. 9 and for those tripping on the walkway between union sq and powell, its half a block and I doubt theres a subway system in the world that doesnt have at least one such connector between a set of close stations.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Meh. I didn’t grow up in the ghetto, so I’m not used to wanton violence. When people talk about how great it is that they grew up in Brooklyn and learned to be tough the hard way, I cringe; it’s basically ghetto values repackaged in ethnic white terms.

    The corruption in American construction is the same. I’m sorry, but I’m used to competence. I’m used to subway systems that make efforts to make the transfers easy, instead of build the most difficult transfers possible on the grounds that every city has bad transfers. I’m used to construction that costs $250-500 million per km (and was admittedly shocked to see Spain does it for $80), not $600-1,700. I didn’t grow up amidst corruption, so I don’t really feel the need to idealize it.

    Joey Reply:

    You’re still stuck on BART’s world domination scheme?

    Peter Reply:

    It’s stuck in his anti-HSR phrase generator.

  5. YesonHSR
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 00:39
    #5

    Richard..you need to let it go

    Clem Reply:

    Another example of a blog comment that takes the easy way out. Not to pick on you in particular, but can you come up with anything substantive to rebut his points? Same goes for jim, etc.

    jimsf Reply:

    first of all bart to san jose is not a “fraud” what does that even mean? Didnt the voters vote on it?
    bart has been planning to work its way around the bay for decades. As a bay area resident I support that. Most bay area residents have always supported that. The fact that santa clara and san mateo opted out, was something we accepted because we respect local opinion so we lived with it. When san mateo county wanted in, the public consensus was that they should get in with out paying up front, because the other counties were still waiting for their extensions. so they paid. and santa clarans have agreed to pay. so is no “fraud.”

    As for bart to sfo, it works fine. ridership numbers are low. so. hsr numbers are going to be low too for a while. better get used to that.

    the bay bridge was held up by the public process, the public and their representatives wanted a say and they got it.

    Richard and his ilk are mad because they think their way is the only way and anything else is the wrong way.

    Well in a democracy like ours, there is no “right way” there is only compromise.

    you have to be able to play well with others.

    jimsf Reply:

    and as for the “people who brought us pacheco” that infers that there is something wrong with pacheco. There isn’t. Pacheco is the right choice in my opinion because we get the catrain upgrades AND the altamont upgrades. more finished product, more jobs, a more complete system.

    These things take time and patience and compromise. Thats just the way it is.

    but richard thinks everything is a scam and a fraud.
    The whole process for each item he mentions… was done right here in plain view, with years of public discourse and input. Just because you don’t like the outcome doesn’t make it a scam or a fraud.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    BART as an organization who predicts the numbers can be found fradulent for balatantly overprojecting ridership for the Santa Clara County extension. I still find a 4 track electric mainline for 125 mph from San Jose-Oakland to provide more benefits than a BART extension to San Jose due to commuter rail capacity. If BART will run at no more than every 15 minutes, it is not worth to pay hundreds of millions of dollars per mile to benefit one party. It would be better spent on benefiting Caltrain, ACE, HSR, and the Capital Corridor. Until BART stations in Oakland look more like TODs than park & rides, frequency is increased and the system is fully automated like a good metro system should be, I am not willing to expand BART further. Vancouver, with 1/3 the track mileage can pack as many riders in as BART per weekday.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    Not to pick on you in particular, but can you come up with anything substantive to rebut his points?

    Nope. But it is worth noting that the SFO station is the relatively successful station on the line (relatively), the ridership estimates that Richard linked to expect 17,000 boardings per day in year 12 of operation (2010 based on an opening date of 1998), it hit 10,700/day in year 5 (2008, based on an opening date of June 2003, iirc), though the economic collapse and raised fares in 2009 probably took a nice chunk out of that.

    I have no better explanation that Richard’s offer of corrupt incompetence as to why they figured that Milbrae would get 33,000/day. That’s just baffling.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    SFO station is the relatively successful station on the line

    Of course I mean the extension, not the whole line.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The concept was that Caltrain riders would switch onto BART to go to the city.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’ve done that on numerous occasions, when the timing is convenient and my ultimate destination is closer to a BART station than to 4th and King.

    Once the DTX is open to Transbay Terminal, taking Caltrain all the way in would likely be more desirable.

    Finally, one BIG thing to keep in mind is that the BART to SFO ridership issues would be much less of a problem had the extension been cheaper. Locals along the route demanded the tracks be built underground, and so they were, at a much higher cost than had aerials or an at-grade with grade separations (as in the Hayward-Fremont area) been used. In that instance a lower ridership would have been able to better cover the costs and not cause such financial problems for SamTrans.

    Peter Reply:

    Oh well, but that means that when it gets rebuilt with Airtrain the ROW will be available…

    Peninsula Rail 2010 Reply:

    Circa 1990, proposals for building BART-SFO were estimated to cost $500 million, but it ended up costing $1.6 billion (not including the substantial financing costs). It’s even more if you consider the Daly City turnback project and the Colma extension. The capital cost inflation was due to undergrounding the line and adding the ‘extra’ station at Millbrae, which wasn’t even part of the original plan. Yes, the BART boosters always intended to extend BART down the Caltrain corridor, but it was Kopp’s idea to insist on sending BART directly into the airport at enormous expense and design complication. The ‘extra’ Millbrae station was then required, because neither BART nor the airport wanted the final terminus to be at the airport. BART sought to get back to the Caltrain ROW at Millbrae to keep on going down the Peninsula at some later date. Not to forget, the massive Millbrae parking garage (also mostly empty) now sits on what was a large low-income apartment complex called Millbrae Gardens. Millbrae’s leadership didn’t really want the station, but wiping out their “slum” through eminent domain had appeal to them.

    While the capital costs were severe and especially costly to FTA and San Mateo County, the operating costs were the main problem for Samtrans. Samtrans was sold on the project by BART with the unbacked “promise” that the extension would run an operating profit. This is a standard booster line for these projects — sound familiar? Samtrans took the bait and assumed responsibility for the operating cost, thinking they would be getting an operating profit. The BART-SFO extension has never operated at a profit; actually, it has operated at a steep deficit that Samtrans was responsible for covering. This operating deficit is what has crippled Samtrans, forcing it to raise bus fares, cut bus routes, and eventually buy out of its operating agreement with BART. Some estimate that the final bill for San Mateo County and Samtrans amounted to $500 million. That’s a clusterfuck by any definition.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    Transfers don’t account for all of the projected ridership at milbrae, and they certainly don’t account for the giant parking garage. That station is both less popular as a transfer station and as a park-and-ride station than was projected.

    Another thing about the initial estimates RM posted, the 17,800 boardings per day at SFO included 5000 from Milbrae. Given that there’s no real service from Milbrae, the ridership to SFO from the north is roughly on par with the initial projections – while it started off slower, it’s growing faster based on year of completion. Also interesting is that overall BART ridership is higher than projected, even though the overall ridership included the highly optimistic Milbrae numbers.

    Peninsula Rail 2010 Reply:

    MTC’s modeling predicted that 90% of Caltrain riders would switch to BART at Millbrae. It simply didn’t happen. The modeling was wildly optimistic and wrong, especially since Caltrain offers a much more direct route into and out of San Francisco. Southern Pacific built the Bayshore Cutoff (Caltrain’s route into SF) as an improvement to its Daly City route (BART’s route). BART and MTC ignored the lessons of history and ended in failure.

    Peninsula Rail 2010 Reply:

    Can you guess which historical lesson from Southern Pacific that CHSRA and MTC are ignoring now??

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    In other words, expecting people to switch trains to complete a journey doesn’t make sense.

    Listening, “end it in San Jose” crowd?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The ENTIRE COUNTRIES of Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands (and more,
    as smart transportation engineers who look at the engineering and costs and benefits
    and don’t just parrot stupid mantras get on the case) work on the basis of transfers.
    Even chaotic France, formerly and presently the land of WTF timetables, is headed there, and quite rapidly.

    But… but… but… transfers kill ridership! Always! I read it on a blog somewhere! And the bus from Monterey sucks!

    PS Transferring all HSR passengers to Caltrain in San Jose isn’t reasonable.
    But it is no more stupid than the concept of 9 (nearly empty) HSR per direction per hour blasting through people’s back yards at 125mph while Caltrain festers.
    And no more stupid than the concept of separate HSR and Caltrain tracks.
    And no more stupid than the insane concept of separate HSR and Caltrain terminals in SF.
    And no more stupid than the extraterrestrial idea of a two level 14 track station in SJ.
    The bar of engineering idiocy has been set so low that all bets are off. Certainly picking on dimwits on the SF peninsula who want no change ever is hardly fair when people at HNTB and PBQD and Caltrain are seriously proposing far stupider and far more costly things.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Actually, Robert, in other words people transfer when there’s a reason to do so. Each transfer carries a penalty, and there has to be an offsetting benefit that justifies the penalty.

    The problem with the “end it in San Jose” crowd is that a transfer is already required for a large portion of the San Francisco catchment ridership, and the “end it at San Jose” approach would impose a second transfer on those people. It might keep many of the people in walking distance of a Caltrain station, but for anyone who transfers at TBT, its a ridership killer.

    Indeed, just like local transport … the target of a trunk mass transit corridor is to provide a large number of origin/destinations without a transfer, but the idea is not that “people will never ride if they have to transfer” … rather, that kind of trunk corridor then means that more people who do transfer from or to a lower level transport corridor only need to do so at one end of the trip.

    Joey Reply:

    the extension would run an operating profit. This is a standard booster line for these projects — sound familiar?

    If you’re talking about HSR, name ONE high speed rail system in the world that does not cover its operating expenses with ticket sales.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    What I don’t get is why did they want everyone to go from Milbrae instead of San Bruno where it is further up the line?

    Reality Check Reply:

    The big BART boosters (then SMCo. Supe Mike Nevin, then State Sen. Quentin Kopp, and many others) wanted to use the SFO extension to get BART extended as far into SMCo. as possible. The entire Millbrae station was designed with visions of BART extending further down the Peninsula, ultimately to San Jose and perhaps replacing Caltrain someday. Idiots!

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART has always wanted to usurp the SP ROW. It would be premature to count BART out of t he Peninsula. BART is a known quantity, famed for its ability to secure funding for even the most exorbitant projects, and has a large pool of supporters on the Peninsula. I wouldn’t be surprized if a professional poll showed more voter support for BART than Caltrain on the Peninsula.

    California is quite volatile at the moment. A Whitman victory would certainly start a virtual political civil war in Sacramento over budgets, state workers, taxes, projects, etc. The hsr could implode, leaving BART ready to pick up the pieces.

    Tony D. Reply:

    A Whitman victory won’t cause HSR to implode. Even she will respect the will of the majority. Besides, as CEO of EBay, she was a member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which supports and wants HSR. She won’t turn her back on her supporters!

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary she wil be compelled to go after the hsr by the party core, whose support she will need when she tries to fire large numbers of state emplyees, as promised. Otherwise she will end up a lame governor without a party, like Schwarzenegger. To put it more crudely the public employee unions will eat her alive if the hardline conservatives and teabaggers do not come to her defense. And the teabaggers are going to make her torpedo that $100 billion hsr bonded indebtedness. Yeah, nobody who lives in the real world believes in the $40 billion figure.

    Tony D. Reply:

    (for below)

    Well, if that’s the case for Whitman, then she’s gonna lose by a landslide! By the way, is she running for Governor of California or leader of the “party core?”

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And even if HSR were to be stonewalled for one gubernatorial term, what is the odds that a slash and burn Republican state government will result in a massive new BART project getting the go-ahead?

    Clem Reply:

    The separate infrastructure now being planned for Caltrain and HSR (with nearly zero integration) is certainly read-made for BART. Somebody is bound to notice that the grade separations are “dual use” infrastructure. Somebody is bound to notice that boring another four tunnels into San Francisco is a very expensive undertaking that could be entirely avoided by giving HSR exclusive use of the ROW north of San Bruno. Somebody is bound to notice that the UPRR trackage rights agreement contains a BART clause, which allows abandonment of the trickle of peninsula rail freight.

    I would say the chances of BART ringing the Bay have never been greater than they are today.

    Joey Reply:

    Clem, may I ask, where exactly does your suspicion that HSR and CalTrain will have zero integration come from? I understand that there are serious flaws with the currently planned SFFS corridor, but what you seem to be alluding to appears to be much worse than that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Another wrinkle here is the seismic safety issue. If you haven’t noticed, the Chilean 8.8 brought down elevated freeways, which look to be quite similar to California structures, like BART elelvateds. I wonder how the Santiago metro fared in the quake. Could be that tunnels are overall seismically safer than elevateds and berms and a BART tunnel would be easier to build in a place like Palo Alto than 4 track hsr-Caltrain.

    I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that the Ring-the-Bay BART would replace both the hsr and Caltrain and that the hsr would terminate in San Jose.

    Joey Reply:

    Synon: In Clem’s scenario, the peninsula would get HSR+BART, with no CalTrain.

    By the way, berms and elevated structures aren’t quite the same in all respects. I know that there is a nonzero chance of even reenforced structures falling down in an earthquake (though as technology improves this issue diminishes). Retained fill is an entirely different question, as the structure is held up by fill (held in place by rather thick retaining walls) rather than supported on concrete columns.

    And tunnels are not immune to earthquakes.

    Peter Reply:

    I’d much rather be on a berm in an earthquake than in a tunnel. *Shudder*

    Brian Stanke Reply:

    In YesonHSR’s defense, Richard post wasn’t about HSR at all. Just a long bash on MTC, personalities involved with them, and some of MTC’s worse project choices. If all he can focus on is his enmity for certain people and institutions, it doesn’t bring much light to the discussion.

    Clem, I am glad you are really able to dig deep and bring important technical issues to light. Even if I disagree with you on station locations and some other issues, your work is helping all parties be better informed and hopefully shape a better project. I wish other commenters here could take a similar attitude.

  6. TomW
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 06:09
    #6

    2 million people switching from air to HSr to all well and good, but the predicted passenger numbers imply that most HSR usres will have switched from *car*, not air. Can we see a post about where HSR has pulled passengers from the highways?

    wu ming Reply:

    HSR in taiwan cut seriously into long distance intercity bus traffic.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yep, someone just needs to look at the numbers. I don’t have as much time to do the analysis on my own.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    There are some routes where HSR should /could cream air and some where air should / could hold its own. Someone said this already, but the competition with air is a red herring as far as the ridership numbers go (although not as far as the anxiety levels of San Jose go with respect to their bizarre new expansion) . Only 12% of HSR passengers are predicted to be diverted from air.

    Matthew F. Reply:

    Just to clarify your question, are you asking about existing HSR systems that have taken drivers off the highways, or are you wondering about how the ridership studies came to their conclusions about the number of highway trips that would switch to HSR?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I tried to post but failed.

    Passengers diverted from airplanes are only about 12% of forecasted riders for the HSR. It is an interesting discussion – particularly as it pertains to San Jose airport which only has about 60% of the passengers it anticipated at this point , but not that relevant to the ultimate success or failure of the system, which will hang on its ability to attract car drivers.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yeah, I agree with you there, that HSR’s success will indeed be determined by its ability to attract drivers.

    With a travel time about half that for driving from SF to LA, and with a *much* more pleasant travel experience than a plane, and with rising oil prices, I don’t think that will be a problem at all.

    HSRComingSoon Reply:

    The figures that are being discussed are based on the Bay Area airports as the departure point. One has to assume that if this study only dealt with the region’s three main airports and capture only departures from this region, then wouldn’t there possibly an relatively similar number of riders that would ride HSR from SoCal as the departure point which would divert passengers from airports like Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, Orange County and even LAX? If so, then wouldn’t this dramatically raise the inter-regional and overall program-wide ridership?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    This deals with both – departures are both for people originating in the bay area and those returning home.

  7. Observer
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 06:33
    #7

    If you belive HSR sucks millions of passengers out of bay area airports, that also results in sucking jobs out of airports.

    I assume then we’ll start hearing some honest reporting from the CHSRA and the state agencies about the NET impact on long term jobs in California as the travel volume TRANSFERs between modes.

    HSRforCali Reply:

    Honestly, don’t you ever finish reading an article? The airports are okay with that because it’ll give them more space for other domestic flights and additional international flights. Let me know when your little head can finally come up with a legitimate excuse.

    wu ming Reply:

    if your airport’s at capacity, pulling future growth out of the airport allows you to remain at capacity without the costs of expansion.

    Peter Reply:

    If your version of “honest” is equal to “whatever fits my preconceived biases”, then no, you probably won’t.

    Joey Reply:

    Do you observe anything?

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    Job losses will only happen if airlines behave as they did in France in the eighties. Experts had predicted no ridership would be lost to the trains and they were totally unprepared.
    When they understood that train and plane had to complement each other, and not compete against each other, more airline jobs were re-created than were lost. Instead of trying to beat the TGV on its corridors, they created new links between cities that they had previously neglected.
    “The TGV has killed the airlines” is something I sometimes read in American articles. It’s false. The TGV killed unnecessary air links, but new ones were created.
    The problems we had in France in the eighties have no reason to exist in 21st century California. Everybody now knows what HSR can and can’t do. Airline executives have plenty of time to do their homework before CHSR starts operating.
    Planes won’t have to stop flying. They will just have to fly where they are needed.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    What this means for the airports is the ability to service more long-haul domestic destinations and more international destinations. More international destinations would be a huge help to SFO. SJ could handle more long haul domestics to the East Coast. Airlines rake in more money on the long haul flights, airport does not have to expand, who loses?

  8. Brandon from San Diego
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 07:00
    #8

    Do any of the reports address projected declines in air travel out of Lindbergh Field in San Diego? Another layer… respective to final station stop… at Lindbergh or downtown San Diego?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s an MTC report, so it’s focused on the Bay Area. I would expect SANDAG or some similar agency has done studies on HSR impact on Lindbergh Field traffic, but I haven’t personally seen those numbers.

  9. HSRComingSoon
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 09:27
    #9

    What I find interesting and has not been discussed is the benefits HSR taking passengers off of planes, especially as it relates to inter-regional travel. In this case, it allows for airlines to re-direct the destinations of those flights. For instance, you cannot fly direct to Portland, Oregon out of SFO, while there are only limited flights from SJC. Same goes for flights to Seattle. What I’m basically saying is that the Bay Area airports can ultimately serve more regions by not having as many planes flying between Nor Cal and SoCal, which can help make up for the lost passengers that switch to HSR. I think this should be seen as a major benefit to the region’s airports.

    Michael Reply:

    Um, I don’t know what airline you’re looking at, but United has 6 daily SFO-PDX and 6 daily SFO-SEA. Alaska/Horizion has 5 SFO-PDX and 6 SFO-SEA, and Virgin has 3 SFO-SEA.

  10. Joey
    Feb 26th, 2010 at 15:09
    #10

    I can’t say that I fully trust the MTC. I don’t think that says anything about HSR though.

Comments are closed.