Amtrak Ridership Continues to Rise

Apr 10th, 2013 | Posted by

At some point it should become screamingly clear to the American news media that people love passenger trains and will ride them regularly if only given a chance. The latest record-setting Amtrak ridership stats tell the story:

Amtrak ridership increased in the first half of FY 2013 (Oct. 2012 – March 2013) and March set a record as the single best month ever in the history of America’s Railroad. In addition, October, December, and January each set individual monthly records.

Rebounding strongly from service disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy and other severe weather, Amtrak ridership grew 0.9 percent in the first six months of FY 2013 as compared to the same period the prior year. In all, 26 of 45 routes posted ridership increases and Amtrak expects to end the fiscal year at or above last year’s record of 31.2 million passengers.

Among the routes with the biggest ridership gains were the Coast Starlight (up 10%) and the San Joaquin (8.9%), indicating high demand for trains on key north-south routes in California.

One of the drivers of this increase is a long-term shift in rider preferences. For shorter trips, rail is becoming the mode of choice, according to Brookings:

A recent Brookings Institution report found that on shorter trips, passengers are shifting to rail. That’s partly because airlines are scaling back on short haul flights, which aren’t as profitable for carriers.

All of that means Amtrak has been slowly but steadily gaining travelers who used to fly, especially on the Northeast corridor.

All of this is solid evidence that people will ride passenger trains if you give them the chance to do so, especially on the short-haul routes of the very kind that California high speed rail will serve. We can now say, with certainty, that any claim that HSR will struggle to get riders is complete nonsense that flies in the face of the evidence.

  1. Evan
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 18:25
    #1

    Surprised to see that Capitol Corridor ridership fell. Wonder why that happened.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah, something called Superstorm Sandy, Dad was so right in not naming My Brother Sandy during WWII, He was overseas and had His Dad get My Brothers name changed…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Capitol Corridor is Sacramento to San Jose.

    VBobier Reply:

    That might be, but I was talking about the ridership that fell cause of Sandy on Amtrak, not the capitol corridor…

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The comment was specifically about the ridership decline on Capitol Corridor.

    VBobier Reply:

    Not this part, Ok?

    Amtrak ridership increased in the first half of FY 2013 (Oct. 2012 – March 2013) and March set a record as the single best month ever in the history of America’s Railroad. In addition, October, December, and January each set individual monthly records.

    Rebounding strongly from service disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy and other severe weather, Amtrak ridership grew 0.9 percent in the first six months of FY 2013 as compared to the same period the prior year. In all, 26 of 45 routes posted ridership increases and Amtrak expects to end the fiscal year at or above last year’s record of 31.2 million passengers.

    Joey Reply:

    The original question was why the Capitol Corridor’s ridership specifically fell between FY12 and FY13.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    I took the Capitol Corridor for a bit, commuting from the South Bay to Oakland while I briefly had an
    engineering job there, and I was surprised at just how sparse EB train 524 was in the morning (the
    main commute hour train). Sometimes WB 543 in the evening was full (esp on Friday night with UCD students) but still, it was disappointing to be on the train each morning with so many vacant seats.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Capitol Corridor is running frequencies similar to LA-San Diego, Milwaukee-Chicago, and NYC-Albany, on a route of similar length. All of these have a commuter commuter element to their service as well as the intercity element.

    All of those have had worse ridership performance than longer corridors or shorter commuter routes — probably because people are avoiding extreme commutes.

    However, if you compare, you will see that the Capitol Corridor is the weakest of the four. Milwaukee-Chicago has better located stations, bigger cities, and is quicker. LA-San Diego has bigger cities with a tighter economic connection (and better located stations). NYC-Albany is quicker, and has the massive connections available in NYC… and while Sacramento has had large job losses recently, Albany NY hasn’t.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    NYC-Albany is quicker, and has the massive connections available in NYC… and while Sacramento has had large job losses recently, Albany NY hasn’t.

    Albany has had job losses and the state workers are required to take unpaid time off. The unions came to agreement with the state that state workers hours would be cut instead of cutting state workers.
    Albany-NYC is faster than driving. Even without traffic. If you are reimbursing an employee for mileage, tolls and parking, Amtrak is cheaper. Gas and tolls with my car would come to 58 dollars. Amtrak fare is 82. Parking at Albany is cheap but not free. I seem to remember 5 dollars a day. So an overnight stay would be 10 bucks. 68 dollars. …and it’s ridiculously easy to park in San Francisco compared to almost anyplace in New York City not Staten Island.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Albany has had job losses and the state workers are required to take unpaid time off. ”

    Ugh. I haven’t been following the machinations of that ass Cuomo and our “worst legislature in the United States”. Thanks for updating me.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It was cut everyone’s hours 10 percent ( or whatever it was ) or cut 10 percent of the workers…

    joe Reply:

    Look at Sacramento.

    “The downturn in hiring is another sign of the state’s continued fiscal distress and, along with a flood of boomers entering retirement, has produced a workforce that is about 6 percent smaller than two years ago.

    “In some ways you’ve got to give the governor credit,” said Pepperdine University political scientist Michael Shires. “He’s proposed budget cuts and followed through with them.””

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is there a distribution of ridership by station? If so, this suggests the ridership decline on Capitol came specifically from Sacramento and not from the intermediate stations…

    Peter Reply:

    There’s also the issue of the Sacramento station being under construction.

    jimsf Reply:

    Even as the bay area economy recovers, its not the kind of boom period that has people doing long commutes en mass. Once the statewide economy is in full recovery and housing prices start rising again, more people will be traveling longer distances to accomodate affordable homes with good paying jobs resulting in more ridership.

    jimsf Reply:

    Also, leisure mid day travel would be expected to be lower right now as people are still pinching pennies and foregoing frivolity.

    blankslate Reply:

    I can’t find detailed ridership by station but this report states that Sacramento ridership is down 7%, Roseville 24% and Rocklin 9%. The weak Sacramento economy may be having an even larger effect in Placer County; in Sacramento itself it may pull in both directions, decreasing in-commuters but increasing mega-commuting out of Sacramento to the Bay Area.

    The report also states that mid-day trains are performing poorly, and may see a reallocation of resources to peak periods – definitely an idea I would support.

    blankslate Reply:

    The Sacramento station has a horrible redevelopment project going on right now that has moved the train platforms 1000 feet from their former location without moving the station itself. This adds about 5-8 minutes to the trip in each direction and can’t be doing wonders for ridership. The original plan was to move the station itself up there as well but that plan is stalled. All this was part of a deal the city was making with the local basketball team to move their arena to the current station site; at present time they are either going to build the arena in a different Downtown Sac location (at significant taxpayer expense) or move to Seattle. And does anyone wonder why Jerry eliminated redevelopment???

    jimsf Reply:

    “This adds about 5-8 minutes to the trip in each direction and can’t be doing wonders for ridership”

    you must be kidding. if that is true then we must be dealing with a pretty lame bunch of folks. Honestly, who makes a decision based on 8 minutes.

    “Gee I was gonna go to the store but, golly, that extra eight minutes detered me.”
    “Hmmm I wanted to take the train, but you know, that whole eight minute thing is enough to make or break my entire quaility of life”

    “I would go but I might have to walk 1000 feet, so god forbid!!!”

    you can’t possibly be telling me that the american public is so lazy and so retarded that they can’t handle 8 minutes of anything. If tha’ts the case this county may as well put up the closed sign.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    You’re making it rather less competitive with competing transportation modes, significantly so for many journeys from Sacramento. 8 minutes is indeed important.

    blankslate Reply:

    Yes, convenience has effects on mode selection. 8 minutes can be the difference between trip times that are and aren’t competitive with driving. Besides the time itself, the way you spend your time makes a difference. When asked why they take the train, people frequently mention the environment that they spend their time in as a major deciding factor – they’d prefer to be sitting in a comfortable seat with wi-fi, leg room, their food and laptops and whatnot spread out on their tray table, and bathrooms available, rather than stuck in traffic, sitting on a bus or cramped into an airplane. Spending 8 minutes walking into the middle of a railyard because some city planners decided it would be “progress” to move the platforms out there without moving the station is unpleasant, and people remember that. It’s not just 8 minutes, it’s 8 extremely annoying minutes.

    Your point of view is typical of an agency employee rather than an end user.

    jimsf Reply:

    “Your point of view is typical of an agency employee rather than an end user”

    Excuse me. I have spend my whole life as an end user of public transit. I know all about walking, waiting for buses, hanging out at bus stops in the rain with no shelter, being caught up in bart and muni meltdowns. 45 years of riding public transit in the bay area.

    An 8 minute walk is not annoying. If it is. You are lazy. And as an “employee of an agency” need I remind you that the staff has to walk out there too?

    Unless you are in an ambulance having a stroke, 8 minutes is not a significant part of anyones day and if it is, they need to re evaluate their priorities.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Gee I was gonna go to the store but, golly, that extra eight minutes detered me.”

    Happens quite a lot. Decision time: 3 minutes to the supermarket, or 11 to a cheaper one. Usually I go to the more expensive one.

    “Hmmm I wanted to take the train, but you know, that whole eight minute thing is enough to make or break my entire quaility of life.”

    On the margins, why not? There’s a difference in ridership between an hour and two hours. Now increment it by eight minutes each time. Somewhere you’re going to see a ridership drop. Not a huge one, but still.

    jimsf Reply:

    I go the extra 8 minutes to the cheaper store. What else do I have to do with eight minutes, start watching another episode of restaurant impossible?

    When I moved to the 23rd floor in SF, I went from being on the 2nd floor facing the muni entrance, to being a block away on mission street, plus a 23 floor elevator ride. This was in addition to the distance to the trains which, inbound pulled all the way down to the far end of the platform. It impacted my travel time to work. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the view from the 23rd floor, and it didn’t stop me from going to work everyday. We’re talking about 500 feet. come on now. 500 feet people.

    I will say that they should have put in some moving sidewalks for an extra couple of buck, it was cheap and lame of them not too.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    There is also a consumer psychology issue, such as you see with $X.99 vs the next penny up for a round number price.

    jimsf Reply:

    well i just did some measuring, that walk is less than the one block from BART

    jimsf Reply:

    i mean, less than the one block walk from bart on market over to mission street. San franciscans walk one block with giving it thought, many time per day. Can sacramentans not walk one block? This can’t have anything to do with ridership. riderhship is down due the economy. period.
    you know its also less then the distance from a mall parking space to the inside of the mall. its also less than the distance of the length of the mall…. or the total of the grocery aisles you traverse doing weekly shopping.

    joe Reply:

    This can’t have anything to do with ridership. riderhship is down due the economy. period.

    Right. A block walk for a public transit rider who walks isn’t going to push them into a car. Fare increases will and studies show it true.

    We have all seen people circle a mall parking lot or idle for a few minutes waiting for someone to load up and back out just find a closer spot.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “some city planners”

    I call these people “city shplanners”, because the sort of shenanigans they’re pulling in Sacramento aren’t planning.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s also worth noting that the Southern Pacific originally had the station in the current location, and moved it back in, IIRC, the 1920s for passenger convenience. This is a deliberate reversal of that.

    blankslate Reply:

    Well, I have spent most of my adult life on both sides (user of transit and transportation professional) and have reached a different conclusion. The little annoyances really matter. One of the things people hate the most about using transit is the loss of control over their situation, the feeling of being delayed or inconvenienced for reasons that are illogical or unexplained. Moving a train platform 1000 feet from the train station when it was previously right next to the station falls into this category. Plus, the project is stalled, and the bottom has fallen out of the reasoning behind the move. My prediction is that when I take the train to Sacramento 20 or 30 years from now there will still be a station sitting there 1000 feet from the platform as a monument to the overreaching arrogance of Sacramento’s civic leadership.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    They have been ridership issues with their off-peak trains for about six months now.

  2. synonymouse
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 18:39
    #2

    Amtrak also got a new union contract – that will probably increase the losses.

    Meantime China is up to the old tried and true scapegoat:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/world/asia/liu-zhijun-former-chinese-rail-minister-charged-with-corruption.html?_r=0

    14 mistresses – how does he find the time? Gimme a break – one lousy fall guy. If they don’t shoot him maybe he can land a job with Tutor Saliba as a diversity token.

    Earth to all hsr cheerleaders: if Bako does manage to slap a speed limit of 115mph on CAHSR in its environs how long before every other Valley burg does likewise? This is where your gold-plated AmBART thru 99 backyards ends up. Fuggedabout 2:40.

    Could be this was one one a number of salient points on Van Ark’s mind when he recommended revisiting Tejon. Between longer times on the blend and now Valley AmBART you are definitely going to need those precious 15 minutes saved by Tejon.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    He’s not American; the fuck would they hire him?

    Eric Reply:

    A lot of obscenities from you lately, what’s wrong?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I was on a plane recently.

    VBobier Reply:

    I doubt those speed limits would hold up in court, prepare to be defeated Syno…

    Clem Reply:

    Do you envision the CHSRA would sue itself or its contractors? They are the ones who came up with this 115 mph plan!

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Wells Fargo managed it…

    VBobier Reply:

    I doubt this 115 would be for HSR, more likely for Amtrak and Syno did say Bako and the other cities, so this is not a CHSRA speed limit, it’s a city that wants to impose a speed limit where it has no authority to do so.

    Clem Reply:

    115 mph is the physical speed limit of the tracks (because of a couple of 6000 ft radius curves) in the Bakersfield Hybrid Alignment which is now favored. No matter what kind of train. It’s in their EIR, so it must be true…

    VBobier Reply:

    First its Bako saying they want a 115mph speed limit, then it’s the CHSRA that wants one, which is it? both doesn’t sound possible and I’ll not believe a newspaper, the truth is very scarce there these days, since they want to make money over the truth, since the truth would sell less papers than something salacious and possibly either exaggerated or made up out of thin air…

    Joey Reply:

    The CHSRA doesn’t want that speed limit of course, but they’re favoring the hybrid alignment because the city prefers it.

    Incidentally, is 115 mph stated specifically in the EIR, or is it derived from the curve radius?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    120 mph is cited in the EIR under section 3.5.6. I think synonymouse is grandstanding over 115mph because he knows that General Electric and Rahm Emmanuel are lobbying the Feds to consider a train that travels at 110 mph as “HSR” when current rules require no slower than 125 mph for federal procurement/designation.

    The same section of the EIR claims though, that the alignment can tolerate up to four minutes of diversion and still succeed at meeting the 2:40 requirement: the EIR claims Fresno to Bakersfield should take 37 minutes, but the alignment except for the hybrid in Bakersfield would accomplish it in 33 minutes. Thus adding a whole minute back to do the hybrid in Bakersfield still leaves them three minutes to the good.

    My guess is that this means that Hanford West was chosen after the the Authority realized it had no other choice threading through Bakersfield and needed a straighter shot.

    VBobier Reply:

    Well if the EIR is true, then the speeds of even 115/120mph fall way below the 220mph of Prop1a and so this alignment is a problem in My mind.

    Joey Reply:

    1a states that the system must be capable of 220, without specifying where it must actually be able to do that (other than overall end-to-end travel time). Do you think trains are going to be doing 220 in the Transbay station throat?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As the peer-HSR-operator review of the CAHSR plan indicated, the amount of schedule cushion is insufficient. If you have 4 minutes of padding on a route that’s technically 2:36, then you don’t have a 4-minute cushion; realistically, you have -2 minutes of cushion.

    VBobier Reply:

    @ Joey: At an endpoint, No. At a thru point like a station, Yes, since TGV can do that and so can Shinkansen, then HSR in CA should be able to do too.

    Joey Reply:

    VBobier: trains go full speed though greenfield stations, but it’s common practice to slow down through city centers; the Eurostars slow down to 270km/h at Ashford and 200km/h (125mph) at Lille. To my knowledge, there is no precedent for trains going faster than 270 through city centers – if you want full speed, you need to avoid the city altogether. And this wouldn’t be the only intermediate slowdown on the CA route … Sac-LA trains will have to slow down to about 240km/h or 150 mph on switches at Chowchilla, and the mountain crossings will probably limit speeds to 200 km/h or 125 mph. There’s no legal requirement about where the train needs to attain what speed.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, the 120 mph speed in Bakersfield should eliminate all of Clem’s hysteria about OH NOEZ HIGH SPEED TRAINS WILL BE LOUDZ KEEP OUT OF DOWNTOWNZ

    Nathanael Reply:

    Alon: the Prop 1 timings are not intended to be timings with cushion, they are intended to be ideal (“pure runtime”) timings. That seemed clear to me by the way it was written.

    Howard Reply:

    How fast can a tilting high speed train go around that curve?

    Joey Reply:

    Depends on how much it tilts. But the trains used in the end will either tilt not at all or very little (Japanese or Bombardier designs).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    241 km/h, if superelevation is taken to the maximum that exists on HSR today, on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

    swing hanger Reply:

    At JR Central’s Atami Station, there are curves of radius 1500 and 1900 meters- N700 trainsets with 1 degree of tilt are restricted to 195km/h (121mph) passing through this station. The Bako curve radius is 1828 meters.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Interesting… I thought the N700s could do 270 km/h on 2,500-m curves, i.e. 2.25 m/s^2 lateral acceleration in the horizontal plane. The 241 km/h figure above assumes 2.5 m/s^2, which combines Tokaido’s 200 mm cant with the E5/E6’s ~175 mm cant deficiency.

    The Talgo 350 can do 180 mm cant deficiency, so it’s 2.5 m/s^2 in the horizontal plane.

    Nathanael Reply:

    FWIW the FRA has finally revised the cant deficiency rules to be more European. Now if they will just revise the built-like-a-tank rules….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Kind of. But it doesn’t really matter – those trains do Acela cant deficiency anyway. Pendolino cant deficiency at >250 km/h does not exist on any train today.

  3. synonymouse
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 19:42
    #3

    I suggest there are two “visions” for these elevated ROW’s. One has no speed restrictions; this is the blight version populated by the voiceless, silent, quiescent, poverty stricken. As in Oakland. The other has speed restrictions; it actually has people and interests of means along its route.

    People who have a pulse are going to piss and moan, bitch plenty, about very objectionable noise and vibration levels. You either accommodate them or they leave. And are replaced with the underclass, the desperate, the downtrodden, the addicts.

    The CHSRA asked for this when they decreed a neo-BART along 99. Remember BART tops out at 80mph and Amtrak at 79mph. So I guess 115mph can be hyped as a big improvement.

    The other Valley towns will demand equal treatment. That’s America. And as far as the Chinese hsr fall guy goes, it was a joke. Hey but where was the 10% homeless hiring requirement in Prop 1A?

    If you watch free Italian TV news(each and every different province)from Sicily you will see the story about the unhappy and worried locals getting the permit pulled for the US Naval MUOS radar installation. And AFAIK radar does not make any noise.

    Derek Reply:

    And are replaced with the underclass, the desperate, the downtrodden, the addicts.

    Affordable housing is good. And so is keeping those most likely to commit crimes in a central location where they can be easily monitored.

    Jon Reply:

    Thank you, Heinrich Himmler

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Panopticons FTW!

  4. joe
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 19:59
    #4

    Merced Sun Star

    Our View: Foes should get on track with rail plan
    Four points from the report are worth reiterating:

    Public funding: “Heavy reliance on public-sector funding is not unusual for a project of this size.” Remember the interstate highway system and the transcontinental railroad?

    Phasing: Construction will begin in the Central Valley — a 130-mile “backbone” from Fresno to Bakersfield, with groundbreaking scheduled for this summer — and proceed to other sections only as funding becomes available. As the GAO report notes, “This type of ‘phased’ funding is typical for major transportation infrastructure projects.”

    Private investors: “Based on our past work on high-speed rail, successful projects require significant and sustained financial commitments from the public sector before private investors will participate, and the authority’s plan reflects this funding model.”

    As in Japan and Britain, the California project plans to sell an operating concession, using the proceeds of the sale to help complete construction of the system.

    Cost estimates: “Cost and revenue estimates for large projects are, by their nature, imprecise; these estimates endeavor to predict many years into the future within the confines of what is known today.” Clearly, estimates will have to be updated continually and refined over time as more information becomes available.

    Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/04/09/2931730/our-view-foes-should-get-on-track.html#storylink=cpy

  5. synonymouse
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 20:05
    #5

    “California project plans to sell an operating concession”

    To whom?

    Veolia? The same guys in charge of San Diego doodlebug maintenance?

    Branson gonna dig the DogLeg?

    You are looking at Amtrak, with Jerry trying to nationalize the operating losses.

    Greece cannot happen here. Keep repeating that mantra.

    jimsf Reply:

    with palmdale and vegas, branson may well be very interested. He’d eventually wind up with a two state high speed rail network capable funneling the entire population of california in to vegas on a whim.

    jimsf Reply:

    all he’d need to top it off is a virgin casino resort.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Reached by Virgin Air.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought no one from California was going to want to go to Las Vegas once the local bingo halls open.

    StevieB Reply:

    Virgin Rail Group

    This successful partnership has transformed a struggling rail artery into the UK’s most used and most popular long-distance route. Running from London to major cities in England and through to Scotland, fast and frequent services now provide a genuine alternative to the plane and the car.

    We’re keen to explore how our approach can help in other countries.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Right idea, wrong airline.

    Virgin wouldn’t sacrifice being nonunion to pick up high speed rail service. Also, SFO is a horrible hub for such a purpose.

    Eventually, Alaska might do it…but Oakland is better suited to host a large airport complex that would be able to handle more international flights.

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    Blame CPUC for the Sprinter brake problems:

    Rapid wear on the non-powered wheel discs is the result of the extraordinary high brake rates for this weight vehicle that was required by CPUC for operation in California. The problem is compounded by the fact that the inboard discs are trapped on the axle by the mounted wheel and can’t be replaced as part of routine maintenance. Also the design is unique to the 32 NCTD vehicles and not found on any of the other 600 (or so) Siemens Desiro Classic vehicles running in Europe.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Ah, “unique conditions” rears its ugly head again.

    Derek Reply:

    I don’t understand why the CPUC requires those oversized, nonstandard brakes. If it’s to avoid collisions with freight trains, then the requirement is unnecessary because the commuter trains only run during the day and the freight trains only run during the night.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Cue a Richard M. comment.

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    It seems to be a side effect of the Sprinter trains being classified as LRVs for regulatory reasons. The KPBS story says:

    Before service began in March 2008, SPRINTER-manufacturer Siemens added additional brakes on the vehicles to make them compliant with the California Public Utilities Commission’s standards for light rail vehicle brake rates.

    This seems to mean that, having established the legal fiction that Desiro Classics are light rail vehicles, NCTD was thereby obliged to make them brake as quickly as genuine LRVs.

    Nathanael Reply:

    CPUC reform seems to be as important as FRA reform, but is making less progress. What to do about this?

  6. JJJ
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 20:07
    #6

    I for one am shocked that in an era where people want to be looking at a monitor 24/7, to text, tweet, blog, watch and play, people prefer to get places with someone else doing the driving.

    5 hours with eyes locked on the road in front of you, dealing with drifting trucks, idiots doing 55 in the passing lane and pesticide bombs….

    Or a similar amount of time on a comfortable train, where time will go buy quickly because youre watching Game of Thrones on your tablet?

    Decisions decisions…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Who’d want to do that when can enjoy friendly company while you play Game of Thrones on your tablet. Not the slightest chance of any “pesticide bombs”, no sir.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Those people are just collecting salaries and showing you videos in endless loop about their K-9 units. I (granted, as a white person) haven’t seen anyone get harassed by them at Providence Station.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Twice in my life I’ve had assault weapons pointed right at me. Both times, it was during a bomb “threat” VIPR exercise on transit.

    JJJJ Reply:

    But didnt you feel so much safer?

    Nathanael Reply:

    The purpose is to intimidate the population. It’s already failed; people cannot and will not live in a state of constant fear.

    Therefore, the actual result has simply been to make the population consider the government which hires the thugs to be illegitimate. This is really a pretty stupid move, and will have interesting results in coming decades.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s already failed; people cannot and will not live in a state of constant fear.

    If you were from where I’m from you wouldn’t say that.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s something I call “fear fatigue”; adrenal overload perhaps.

    You can get people running in repeated cycles of fear, which is not the same as constant fear. In Israel they have to have short periods where they claim everyone has been made safe before ratcheting up the fear again. For some reason they tried constant fear here….

  7. joe
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 20:39
    #7

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2147483788

    Scott Jarvis assistant chief program manager to oversee project delivery, transportation and commercial planning, right-of-way and environmental planning.

    Jarvis comes to the Authority from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), where he was serving as the Assistant Chief of Construction. Within that role he was responsible for overseeing and executing the statewide construction program, consisting of approximately 650 projects valued at over $12 billion. Prior to this position, he has held several other management positions at Caltrans since he started with the department as an engineer in 1986, and has gained a thorough and diverse range of experience and knowledge in the engineering field throughout his tenure.

  8. Howard
    Apr 10th, 2013 at 22:45
    #8

    When is Caltrain going to publish their Feb 2013 ridership counts (report)?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2013/4-4-13+JPB+Agenda.pdf

    Howard Reply:

    Key Caltrain Performance Statistics
    o Monthly Performance Statistics – January 2013 compared to January 2012
     Total Ridership was 1,232,312, an increase of 10.9 percent.
     Average Weekday Ridership was 45,111, an increase of 9 percent.
     Total Revenue was $5,247,032, an increase of 13.6 percent.
     On-time Performance was 94.2 percent, an increase of 0.2 percent.
     Caltrain Shuttle Ridership was 7,695, an increase of 3.4 percent.
    o Year-to-date Performance Statistics – January 2013 compared to January 2012
     Total Ridership was 8,959,793, an increase of 11.9 percent.
     Average Weekday Ridership was 47,846, an increase of 11.9 percent.
     Total Revenue was $39,426,967, an increase of 17.2 percent.
     On-time Performance was 90.4 percent, a decrease of 3.1 percent.
     Caltrain Shuttle Ridership was 8,247, an increase of 19.5 percent

  9. Ben
    Apr 11th, 2013 at 04:36
    #9

    The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is holding a hearing today on the upcoming Amtrak reauthorization. The hearing will be broadcast on the Committee’s website.

    http://transportation.house.gov/hearing/amtrak’s-fiscal-year-2014-budget-starting-point-reauthorization

    VBobier Reply:

    Watch House Repubs(Teabaggers=Astroturf!!!!) try and fire all the Amtrak employees, defund all of Amtrak and sell off the rest of Amtrak(rails, stations, MOW equipment, trains, etc, etc)…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Expect nuttery at the hearings.

    However, Schuster is from a Pennsylvania district which cares about Amtrak service, so it’s unlikely that they’ll actually do the defunding.

  10. John Nachtigall
    Apr 11th, 2013 at 10:30
    #10

    My parents contributed 2 round trips to those numbers. They took the train out from Colorado to me in California to visit. 33 hours each way, my father absolutly hates air travel with a burning passion. Only cost them $400 for a sleeper because my dad has an Amtrak credit card and used points. No wonder Amtrak is losing money on the long trips. They got the sleeper and free food for 60+ hours total for $400.

    They said the train was 100% full, but the demographic was an interesting mix. Not really young but not all old. Some families on the train for “the adventure”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I forgot to mention. No Wi-Fi. Weird

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There has to be a cell tower around someplace. People survived in the 1990s without Wi-Fi. They survived in the 70s without computers.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I was just surprised because it is everywhere now. My company has it in our commuter vans! Plus it was supposed to be a benefit of trains over driving

    People used to live without lots of stuff (antibiotics, democracy, electricity, etc.). It does not mean we want to go back

    joe Reply:

    I agree – we should fund Amtrak so they can setup free WI-Fi.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @John Nachtigall:

    Your company’s commuter vans run through an urban area with plenty of cell towers around to provide the next part of the uplink. Long-distance trains go through some pretty sparse areas at times, and as adirondacker12800 alludes to, cell towers are few and far between. For those trains, its cheaper to equip trains with satellite uplinks than to build out a network of cell towers solely to support Amtrak levels of service.

    Amtrak has a list of trains and stations where they provide wifi. Capitols, San Joaquins and Surfliners have them through the whole train (wifi to cell repeaters in each car), and the Coast Starlight has it in just the Parlour car (likely a single sat uplink). I don’t see any cross-America trains listed (yet).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not everywhere. I moved up here to the wilds of the Adirondacks in March of 2006. We were supposed to get cell phone service in October. It never came. When we ask it’s always “in October”. There’s a data network of some sort here, when UPS or FedEx deliver a package it’s on the tracking information within minutes. But no cell sevice. No TV. A few FM stations but that’s because they are close the signal is bouncing off the mountains. AM is halfway decent at night…..

    http://prfamerica.org/briefs/NorthwayDeath.html

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They’re installing wi-fi on the routes progressively, and have already done so on the NEC. I’m typing this from a Regional that’s one hour late.

    Nathanael Reply:

    13 roomettes and 7 bedrooms in a Superliner. The Bedrooms go for double what the roomettes go for. $400 x 13 + $800 * 7 = $10,800 in revenue per full sleeping car for one day. Incremental cost: one attendant and a little maintenance.

    FWIW, January – March are the cheapest months, and your Dad got a bargain — AGR points via the credit card are probably underpriced. Though I believe Amtrak gets some sort of kickback from the credit card company in exchange for the points.

    Bluntly, the sleepers pay for themselves; the dining car (with 5 employees and no revenue seating) doesn’t.

    The dining car exists because most people won’t tolerate a trip without a dining car if it runs too many hours. The sleepers have “free meals” simply to encourage more extensive use of the dining car, to spread those 5 people in the dining car out over more customers. Without the freebies, people end up eating in the dining car maybe half or a third of the time, but they still won’t travel if there isn’t a dining car.

    Dining cars are a serious issue for the economics of passenger trains, which is why they are avoided whenever possible. Dining cars are necessary, roughly speaking, on a trip which runs across two mealtimes.

    If it only runs across one mealtime, it can be avoided; people are OK with a snack car for a single meal. Thus, on the Chicago-East Coast and Chicago-New Orleans trips, making the trips only a few hours faster (under 17 hours or so) would be sufficient to allow removal of the dining cars without a severe impact on ridership.

    Denver to California is such a slow route it’s always going to be an issue…. but it’s a link between other trains. I’ve actually done it now, with two roomettes, and we paid a lot more than your Dad. In February.

    More importantly, we also bought tickets from Sacramento to LA, from Chicago to Denver, and from Syracuse to Chicago, which are all significantly more viable train routes than Denver to California. But we wouldn’t have bought the tickets if Denver-California hadn’t been present — network effect! Yes, I hate flying with a passion… but I was *also* with three people with illnesses who had very good reasons not to fly, *and* I was picking some of them up at the intermediate points, which determined the route.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The large majority of long distance train travelers travel without access to a dining car (since dining cars are, by all accounts, frequently de facto or even outright stated by crew as sleepers only). And of course there are alternative solutions such as contracting with restaurants to bring food to the train at particular spots (such as fuel stops) or simply letting them buy food from the cafe.

    Let’s note, incidentally, that a sleeper car patron pays no more per mile than a regular coach passenger from Los Angeles to San Diego (and significantly less than that of a Regional or Acela passenger) while incurring significantly higher costs. It’s not just the cost of a sleeper attendant and maintenance, it’s also the additional fuel, locomotive, various amenities, and the cost of the free meals for sleeper passengers. That last one in particular is 10% or more of sleeper revenue straight off the top.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “(since dining cars are, by all accounts, frequently de facto or even outright stated by crew as sleepers only).”

    Simply false. Try again, and this time don’t make stuff up.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Anecdata from rail boards.

    Nathanael Reply:

    For reference, 50% of diner patronage on the Lake Shore Limited was from coach when Amtrak wrote the PIP.

    Nathanael Reply:

    (Approximately.)

    Nathanael Reply:

    “And of course there are alternative solutions such as contracting with restaurants to bring food to the train at particular spots (such as fuel stops)”
    This has not been intensively tried. It essentially requires a dining car, though it might be a way of cutting the cost of operation from 5 employees to 2.

    By the way, there are extremely few fuel stops, and they’re often located in the middle of the night. So delivering fresh food at a fuel stop is a non-starter; you’d have to have the food heated, to make it decent you’d have to cook it, and at that point you’re running a whole dining car staff.

    The purpose of dining cars is to allow trains to run across mealtimes without annoying people. You haven’t studied the history.

    ” or simply letting them buy food from the cafe.”

    I told you, if you run over multiple mealtimes people won’t tolerate the cafe being their only option.

    You are not paying attention. This is extremely lazy of you.

    The average coach passenger taking one of these really long runs will go to the diner for maybe one out of every two or three meals. Remove the diner and you remove the end-to-end traffic, even in coach. (Remember, a bunch of the coach passengers aren’t running end to end.)

    Nathanael Reply:

    The idea of contracting to have food dropped off at various stops — not just fuel stops but any stop — might actually work. It’s been used for delayed trains.

    But, unfortunately, it would only work reliably if you could get the trains to run on time. So, good idea, we can do it as soon as the trains are running on time. It ALWAYS comes back to running the trains faster, and on time.

    I forgot to mention that throwing all the food-demanding passengers into the cafe would overwhelm the cafe in about 20 seconds. If you have to operate a second cafe, and then you have to have waiters in order to get the people out of the aisle, you are operating a dining car.

    Nathanael Reply:

    First question when someone considers taking an overnight-plus-longer train: “Does it have a dining car?” Happens every time.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    By the way, there are extremely few fuel stops, and they’re often located in the middle of the night. So delivering fresh food at a fuel stop is a non-starter; you’d have to have the food heated, to make it decent you’d have to cook it, and at that point you’re running a whole dining car staff.

    So move the fuel stops as needed in order to best accommodate such.

    I told you, if you run over multiple mealtimes people won’t tolerate the cafe being their only option.

    You are not paying attention. This is extremely lazy of you.

    I do not accept assertions made without source. Do you have an actual study regarding the sensitivity of passengers to diner frequency?

    The average coach passenger taking one of these really long runs will go to the diner for maybe one out of every two or three meals. Remove the diner and you remove the end-to-end traffic, even in coach. (Remember, a bunch of the coach passengers aren’t running end to end.)

    The point of the long distance trains is geographic equality of rural-urban travel, not cheap vacations from urban to urban.

    joe Reply:

    Took a overnight from VENICE

    Paul Druce Reply:

    And is that run by Amtrak?

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Do you have an actual study regarding the sensitivity of passengers to diner frequency?”

    All there is is anecdotes. But the anecdotes are all on my side.

    The removal of full-service diners from various Amtrak and pre-Amtrak trains at various times has caused large and noticeable drops in ridership. That’s as good as you’re going to get for data; and there are confounding factors present in every case, there’s nothing approaching a controlled experiment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who don’t care whether or not there is a diner won’t ask about one….

    Nathanael Reply:

    “So move the fuel stops as needed in order to best accommodate such.”

    Now, this is an idiotic suggestion, since the fuel stops are driven by when the train needs to be refueled, and doing anything else is a time-waster. Why do you want SLOWER trains?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Let’s note, incidentally, that a sleeper car patron pays more than twice as much per miles as a regular coach passenger from LA to San Diego.

    Which sleeper car patron? The one going from NY to Chicago.

    It’s worth noting that it frequently costs LESS to go from Chicago to LA on Amtrak than it does to go from NY to Chicago. The “long-distance” trains are not all the same, and the ones which cross the Rockies have particular problems.

    Nathanael Reply:

    If you wonder why I keep beating on people who make the sort of criticism you do, it’s that your uninformed criticism is likely to cause counterproductive damage to train service from NY to Chicago.

    Train service from Denver to California is admittedly marginal, mainly useful for the disabled and airplane-hostile population. Train service from NY to Chicago is another matter entirely.

    Yet people criticize the Denver-California route — the slowest and most equipment-intensive of all the routes across the Rockies — or the LA-Chicago route — and then they somehow, thoughtlessly generalize this into an attack on all long-distance trains, or all sleeper service, or something. It really, really shouldn’t; the single-level long-distance trains (Cardinal aside) are entirely different beasts, more time-competitive and commanding higher prices. Relatively small improvements could make them extremely competitive; the same cannot be said for Denver-California.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the same cannot be said for Denver-California.

    Denver to anywhere not in Colorado. Well maybe Laramie and Cheyenne – maybe. Denver is hundreds of miles from any other population center… Chicago is closer to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. Atlanta, Memphis… than it is to Denver.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    They don’t pay twice as much unless you’re purchasing a two person room at last minute for a single person. Not a terribly valid comparison.

    jimsf Reply:

    you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Oddly, enough, I do, having just checked the numbers. And for the record, the average sleeper ticket fare on the LSL came out to 34¢ per mile in 2010, which is rather less than double the coach fare per mile between LA and San Diego (currently 28.9¢).

    Derek Reply:

    Single or double occupancy?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Average of all sleeper passengers.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh, you’re just dividing total revenue by total ridership. Not meaningful.

    For example, at the moment, there’s some pretty clear evidence that AGR tickets are underpriced. Of course it gets used on overnight trips, not on San Diego-LA.

    Nathanael Reply:

    If you can average sleeper revenue over *paying* sleeper passengers, I’d be curious to see the result. Right now, I think you’re seeing the results of underpriced AGR trips.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The anecdotal evidence is how many people say “I just put XXX on my AGR credit card… it’s so much cheaper than buying tickets!” I think Amtrak did not think through the AGR credit card program and is not getting paid enough for it.

    jimsf Reply:

    why are you comparing costs between la and san diego when there is no sleeper service between la nd san diego

    Paul Druce Reply:

    I’m pointing out that a simple coach service rates a higher per mile fare than do most sleeper services.

    jimsf Reply:

    so whats your point. are you arguing against having sleeper service?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    In so far as it requires subsidies, yes. I have no objection to a revenue neutral or profitable sleeper service (which is not currently the case with Amtrak).

    jimsf Reply:

    sleeper passengers do not get subsidized. The irs and congress put a stop to that years ago along with putting a stop to free travel for employees. Only rail fare portions of a trip are subsidzed.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Coach passengers on the LSL don’t pay $0.289/mi.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You are making a fabulous argument for existing legislation under PRIIA.

    The state supported routes make so much money, why not let Sacramento or Albany or Springfield or _________ pay for them!

    The long distance, while viable, are harder to scale so the federal government should continue to subsidize service directly for coach passengers and indirectly for those on sleepers.

    Federal tax dollars actually paying for important services that can’t break even? No way! Services that are commercially viable handled by private (or pseudoprivate) entities? Unbelievable! Adam Smith is applauding from his grave.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Okay, when Alabama and Mississippi start paying for the their rural cell phone networks and North Dakota starts paying for it’s Interstates and red states in general start to pay for the services they get.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Paul… you’re comparing to a last-minute coach purchase for a single person, so yeah, it is a valid comparison. Thbbtt!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Dining cars are a serious issue for the economics of passenger trains, which is why they are avoided whenever possible. Dining cars are necessary, roughly speaking, on a trip which runs across two mealtimes.

    People whine endlessly about how the Albany-NYC trains don’t have a cafe car. They found a vendor who would staff one. And then people complained that coffee cost three dollars a cup and refused to patronize it. The vendor didn’t make enough money and left. They found another suc… vendor and the same thing happened. People want Starbucks at McDonalds pricing in a railroad car that costs lots more to rent than a storefront.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Albany-NYC doesn’t even run across one mealtime. It does OK without a cafe car.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you get on the 6AM train it does. Or the noon time train. Or the 6 PM. People complain bitterly about it. But they don’t want to pay Cafe Car prices either.

    Nathanael Reply:

    If the people on the noon train really care that much they can take the 1:15 train… because it continues to Buffalo, it does have a cafe car….

    Right now, that doesn’t work for the 6PM train due to the schedules. The trend seems to be to extend more and more of the NY-Albany services beyond Albany in various directions, which will probably lead to the restoration of the cafe car on each extended service.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Taking the 1:15 kinda sucks if you have to be back to pick up the kids or get back to the office while the 1:15 is still toddling through Hudson.

  11. morris brown
    Apr 11th, 2013 at 11:06
    #11

    The Reason Foundation has released its “updated” due diligence report on the California High Speed Rail project.

    The summary can be viewed at:

    http://reason.org/files/california_high_speed_rail_summary.pdf

    How any fair minded person can continue to support the project is amazing. Yet I am sure Robert will be right back with his old stale arguments, the first being this comes from the Reason Foundation, which is supported by the Oil Industry and can’t be trusted by anyone.

    Read for yourselves. this summary is 12 pages in length.

    The full report is at: (all 81 pages)

    http://reason.org/files/california_high_speed_rail_report.pdf

    202_cyclist Reply:

    The same Reason Foundation, Inc. that calls for privatizing our roads like this: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-tollway-20130410,0,1370451.story .

    The Government Accountability Office approved of CA HSR Authority’s ridership forecasting just last week: http://gao.gov/products/GAO-13-304 .

    thatbruce Reply:

    SoCal’s most recently-opened toll lanes (110) resulted in greater congestion in non-toll lanes. We’ll need to wait until the toll lanes have been running for a year before making any definitive statements however.

    Derek Reply:

    A congested lane, unless it’s really congested, can move more traffic than a free-flowing lane. So it isn’t surprising that uncongesting one lane will increase congestion in an adjacent lane. But if all the lanes got the express toll treatment, then there would be no congestion on any of the lanes, and the tolls would be lower.

    And the fact of the matter is, people who sit in traffic congestion do so because they prefer it to the alternatives. If they preferred the alternatives, they would be doing those, instead.

    joe Reply:

    A congested lane, unless it’s really congested, can move more traffic than a free-flowing lane. So it isn’t surprising that uncongesting one lane will increase congestion in an adjacent lane. But if all the lanes got the express toll treatment, then there would be no congestion on any of the lanes, and the tolls would be lower.

    Which means tolls can violate the conservation of mass.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_mass

    Toll a road and you reduce congestion – and what else do you reduce? What’s the trade off? You never seem to that the next step.

    Derek Reply:

    Toll a road and you reduce congestion – and what else do you reduce?

    Air pollution, gasoline consumption, respiratory illnesses, the freeway’s burden on taxpayers, etc.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Employment. The economy. A full-blown economic collapse, starting industries with low-paying service jobs, progressing from there to lower-paid professions like teachers.

    Because the low-paid — or even medium-to-well-paid — people, can’t *afford* the tools to drive on the all-tolled lanes during peak commute times. because (if they *could* afford it, the lanes would be congested again. *Duh* And so in Derek’s ultra-reactionary world, the tolls would rise again. *Duh*.)

    I though you said a couple of weeks ago that you didn’t *want* recessions or Depressions (whether Great, or Long).

    The sad thing is, Derek has admitted that he’s wrong (and that Paul Krugman is right). But Derek weasles out, by saying he (Derek) is right “in the long term”. Which is simply weasel-words for saying that society hasn’t been inveesting enough in transport infrastructure, in the long term. And, sure enough, society has not. Anyone can look up the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) annual scorecard. In 2009, ASCE reported the cost of necessary repairs at $2.2 trillon, over the next five years.
    Current projection, from 2013, is $3.6 trillion by 2020.

    And Derek’s response to Reagan-esque non-investment in infrastructure: charge tolls until there’s no congestion. Grow up, Derek.

    joe Reply:

    Amen. You nailed the entire circus argument.

    And like congestion, death is inevitable.

    Healthy living, diet, exercise, avoid smoking, none of these actions prevents death – eventually we die. death is inevitable like congestion – we should not do anything. Puff away on those camels.

    In the long run we all die.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I can’t remember whether the dishonest anti-rail hack who writes for Reason is Kotkin, Cox, or O’Toole. One of them lies for “Reason”, one of them lies for “Cato”, and one of them freelances. I can’t even tell them apart any more.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Cox: Reason plus a lot of thinktanks that are basically him by a fancy name like Demographia.

    O’Toole: Cato

    Kotkin: freelance, owns New Geography (which occasionally publishes reasonable things, written by other people)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Thank you, Alon. :-)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It seemed like half of the Reagan Admin. we were talking about our crumbling infrastructure. We eventually raised gasoline taxes to help with that. Then elected reactionaries who don’t want to spend any money on anything that doesn’t involve the Defense Department.

    Derek Reply:

    Employment. The economy.

    Subsidies reduce demand for alternatives, and that stifles innovation, employment, and the economy. Tolls reduce road subsidies. Therefore, tolls improve employment and the economy.

    Because the low-paid — or even medium-to-well-paid — people, can’t *afford* the tools to drive on the all-tolled lanes during peak commute times.

    Why must everyone drive solo on the freeway every day during peak commute times? Why can’t they carpool, or move closer to work, or find a job closer to home, or take mass transit, or bike, or telecommute, or commute outside of peak commute times when the tolls are lower or free?

    And Derek’s response to Reagan-esque non-investment in infrastructure: charge tolls until there’s no congestion.

    Setting the price of something below the market-clearing rate is never a good long-term strategy. Ask anyone who understand supply and demand well enough to be able to read a demand curve.

    joe Reply:

    And my Crackerjack box has a decoder ring.

    Oh well you got the econ-jargon-tatoo booklet and I got the decoder-ring.

    Jonathan Reply:

    “Who is this fuckwit who does not understand that public roads are a *public* good?”

    Jonathan Reply:

    Why must everyone drive solo on the freeway every day during peak commute times? Why can’t they carpool, or move closer to work, or find a job closer to home, or take mass transit, or bike, or telecommute, or commute outside of peak commute times when the tolls are lower or free?

    Derek, are you really a stupid as the above comment implies? People in low-wage jobs don’t get to choose their work-hours They often can’t afford to live closer to work — say, in Palo Alto, or Atherton, or even Mountain View. It’s not easy to carpool, because the mesh of residential locations and workplaces — in the Bay Area — is just too big.

    I’m getting to the point of appealing to Robert to ban Derek, for the same reasons we’ve given up on other persistent monomaniacs who are impervious to facts.

    joe Reply:

    Econ-troll refers to the Market clearing rate

    from wikipedia:

    In simple terms, this means that markets tend to move towards prices which balance the quantity supplied and the quantity demanded, such that the market will eventually be cleared of all surpluses and shortages (excess supply and demand). The first version assumes that this process occurs instantaneously.

    If, for example, a community is subject to a terrorist attack, its members might become more anxious and insecure, leading to an increased demand for means of protection (such as weapons). The market will be temporarily out of equilibrium, suffering from an excess demand (shortage). But if markets are free to operate (i.e., if prices are free to change), and given enough time, prices will increase causing (1) manufacturers to produce more weapons in the short run and (2) new companies to enter the market in the longer run. This increase in production brings supply into balance with the new demand. The adjustment mechanism has cleared the shortage from the market and established a new equilibrium. A similar mechanism is believed to operate when there is a market surplus (glut), where prices fall to end the excess supply.

    Even if we could set tolls at the “market-clearing rate” The market solution is to build more roads to meet demand.
    More roads and lanes. That is the market solution.

    Tolls are really a form of rationing by wealth. Subsidized roads are rationed by a fee.

    Derek Reply:

    “Who is this fuckwit who does not understand that public roads are a *public* good?”

    Wikipedia, for one: “In economics, a public good is a good that is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others.” Freeways fail the “non-excludable” test when there are more people who want to use it at a time than there’s space available.

    People in low-wage jobs don’t get to choose their work-hours…live closer to work…carpool…

    Some of them can choose their work hours. Some of them can live closer to work. Some of them can carpool. Some of them can take mass transit. Some can bike. And some can telecommute. That takes care of a good chunk of them.

    For the remainder, employers will just have to pay them more if they want workers. Would that be such a bad thing?

    I’m getting to the point of appealing to Robert to ban Derek…

    First I think we should ban those who call others “stupid.”

    Derek Reply:

    Even if we could set tolls at the “market-clearing rate” The market solution is to build more roads to meet demand.

    Or alternatives, such as high-speed rail.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Derek,
    last time I looked, roads in California were *not* free-market , laissez-faire, private-enterprise roads. The few that are, are not stellar successes. Because Duh we, as a society, have chosen to subsidize roads, and to treath them as a public good. Anyone who reads this blog more than occasionally cannot miss the (true) statements that US roads are <b.not a free market; they’re heavily subsidized.

    And I remind Derek: your primary thesis was that there’s no point in building rail, or transit, or more road lanes; because induced demand will soak up any spare capacity. You are the one arguing that we shouldn’t build transit.

    And yet above, you res[pond to Joe';s comment,

    Even if we could set tolls at the “market-clearing rate” The market solution is to build more roads to meet demand.

    with:

    Or alternatives, such as high-speed rail.

    I therefore contend that you’re a troll. And a very poor one: you contradict yourself. Your statements are internally consistent. But so far, you seem better than a Markof-chain Bot.

    Mr. Cruickshank: do you really want self-contradicting trolls lowering the signal-to-noise ration on your blog to this extent?

    Derek Reply:

    You are the one arguing that we shouldn’t build transit.

    Not exactly. I’m arguing that transit would be more competitive with driving if driving were desubsidized, and that transit cannot have a lasting effect on freeway congestion (because freeways in growing areas always get congested with or without transit). However, there are other reasons to build transit–for example, to increase rush hour transportation capacity (often at prices lower than widening freeways), and to provide a way for the poor to get around.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Ahah, so Derek believes that the world beings and ends with economics.

    Right. Emergency rooms are congestd, so clearly we aren’t charging enough for them.
    We should price emergency rooms so that there’s no congestion.

    I didn’t say “stupid”. It seems you need remedial readin glessons — as well as some lessons on partial derivatives; and an understanding of what happens when one is drawing a large fraction of a *finite* pool, to travel at a time when there is a strong disincentive to do so.

    Some of them can choose their work hours. Some of them can live closer to work. Some of them can carpool. Some of them can take mass transit. Some can bike. And some can telecommute. That takes care of a good chunk of them.

    In the real world, that’s not a significant fraction. *D’oh*.

    For the remainder, employers will just have to pay them more if they want workers. Would that be such a bad thing?

    Thus re-creating congestion. Derek, you need to get beyond Econ 101 texts and get some intution of how the real world works. Why don’ tyou tell us: how much does someone working as a hair-dresser in Palo Alto, or Menlo Park, or Mountain view, make? how close to work can then *afford* to live? What are their viable options for getting to work, at the hours which they have to work (and don’t choose).

    Mr. Cruickshank, I submit that “Derek” is actively reducing the signal-to-noise ration on this blog; and contributing nothing which is both of substance, and relevant.

    Derek Reply:

    Thus re-creating congestion.

    Not if the price is adjusted to the new market clearing rate.

    Instead of creating congestion, those people who then are being paid more will be more able to afford alternatives to driving solo on the freeway during rush hour. Some of them could commute on the bullet train.

    When we subsidize driving, we discourage alternatives such as high speed rail.

    joe Reply:

    “When we subsidize driving, we discourage alternatives such as high speed rail.”

    Now you’re kissing blog ass.

    Duncan Black (PhD economics brown U) writes that a subsidized public transit system has the same economic effect as a congestion toll.

    Magic of tolls will not force employers to pay employees more. The counter-exampled exists in as the working poor. It is well documented that employers do not pay more when they underpay employees. Wal-Mart employees are often so poorly paid they are on public assistance.

    Lack of Food and medical care is apparently not so important but paying a toll – well that’s going get the Waltons to pay more fer sure.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Guys, can you argue earlier at night? I need to wake up in less than 6 hours and although this exchange helps me sleep, it’s too late now.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Libertarians are like cats: feed stray ones at your back door and they will always come back.

    thatbruce Reply:

    here we go again.

    A congested lane, unless it’s really congested, can move more traffic than a free-flowing lane.

    Usually that’s cited the other way around, unless you’re using a different definition of congestion than the rest of us.

    So it isn’t surprising that uncongesting one lane will increase congestion in an adjacent lane.

    You need to read the article. In this instance, the reporter cites other reasons for the non-toll lanes becoming more congested than they were prior to the introduction of the toll lanes. Previous solo drivers in the carpool, previous carpoolers unable to afford the ongoing cost of a transponder (or paranoia stopping them from getting one), people reading the new toll signs etc.

    In general, the expectation is that uncongesting (making more free-flowing by introducing restrictions like carpool, tolls, lexus cars only etc) one lane will decrease congestion in adjacent lanes. That’s the main benefit that proponents keep touting.

    But if all the lanes got the express toll treatment, then there would be no congestion on any of the lanes, and the tolls would be lower.

    Fascinating. Let me know if you convince an elected representative to get behind you on that, because political suicides are fascinating to watch from a safe distance.

    And the fact of the matter is, people who sit in traffic congestion do so because they prefer it to the alternatives. If they preferred the alternatives, they would be doing those, instead.

    By your logic, because I’d prefer to be commuting to work in a helicopter, I should be doing that rather than sitting in traffic. But because I have neither the license required to operate a helicopter nor the income level required to sustain its operation, it isn’t a viable alternative. So I sit in traffic rather than one of my preferred alternatives.

    Oh, I’m not being realistic? I guess I could take a toll lane, which for my current commute means going quite a few miles out of my way, pay, then have to work my way back after enjoying the congestion free road taking me tangentially away from where I need to go. That’s an alternative, but it isn’t a viable alternative, save for avoiding a severe traffic jam that I know about ahead of time. I could take the side streets, but while it seems that I’m moving, the time lost to traffic lights, and the congestion from other people trying to do the same thing results in it not being faster than the congested freeway. That’s another alternative, again, only for rare occasions when it needs to be used. I could carpool with others who share the same general residential area and work area, but any local carpool scheme assumes regular working hours, which I don’t have (sometimes I’m here until midnight, other times its 9 to 5). An alternative, but not a usable alternative.

    I end up sitting in traffic congestion, despite the availability of and my preference for various alternatives, because the available alternatives aren’t viable on a regular basis. Your broad assumption is incorrect, as has been pointed out previously. A better phrasing would be:

    People sitting in traffic congestion are there because they don’t have any viable alternatives which would let them avoid traffic congestion.

    joe Reply:

    Imagine if one was a working parent with school children and a fixed start and end time. There are many constraints in life which are not negotiable. A toll isn’t really offering a choice to a parent with child job and fixed time tables.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Derek lives in a fantasy world where all decisions are made by Homo Economicus….

    joe Reply:

    Yes. Interesting species.

    There’s a nugget that needs to be completed – we are offered this choice: A free Caltrain and VTA pass or BUY an annual parking pass and walk 10-15 Min. One or the other. We choose the free transit pass.

    Subsidized transit built along congested corridors offers drivers a choice. Why not toll a lane and use revenue to help improve alternative transit along that congested roadway?

    No incentive to maintain congested roads – the toll payer helps get cars off the road buy funding an alternative and the driver gets the benefit of fewer drivers.

    Average Joe in the traffic gets benefit for toll payers helping people on to transit. for those days when being late is BAAAD – pay the toll.

    Derek Reply:

    I’d prefer to be commuting to work in a helicopter [but it] isn’t a viable alternative.

    Then why did you even mention it? Let’s try to stick to the real world from now on, please.

    joe Reply:

    Sitting in a car or sitting in car and paying a toll.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In the 1950s the state of New Jersey commissioned a study for solutions to the growing volumes of commuters into Manhattan. They came up with “trains” as the cheapest answer with “buses” as the alternative. They did a tiny little bit to make the trains cheaper to run by diverting the commuters on the Central of New Jersey to Newark instead of sending them to a ferry terminal in Jersey City. ( Ferries are very expensive to run ). The bus ridership grew so much that they created the Lincoln Tunnel eXclusive Bus Lane in 1971. And grew even more, so much that they had to expand the Port Authority Bus Terminal. By the late 70s train ridership had grown so much that they were discussing expanding capacity at Penn Station. Same thing was happening on Long Island… the MTA has been talking about East Side Access for the Long Island Rail Road since there has been an MTA. They even built the tunnels for it – completed in 1972. The tolls for the river crosssing have gone up greatly since the 70s. Train ridership on NJTransit has quadrupled since NJTransit started running the trains in 1983….. the TV crew will go out to the toll plazas every once in a while and ask people why they are driving into Manhattan when there is an hour delay at the tolls. They will, with a straight face, tell you it’s faster. It takes a half hour to get almost anywhere in Manhattan from the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Penn Station. Half an hour bus ride gets you far out into the inner ring suburbs or more or less the same place on a train. Unless traffic comes to a stand still and stays that way for hours people will tell you it’s “faster” or “cheaper”. or “more convenient” or some combination. Why shouldn’t the road be tolled to pay for their use of it?

    joe Reply:

    I’m for tolls on bridges when there is a quality public transit alternative.

    I lack deep experience with NY/NYC BUT in SF they have the tolled Bay Bridge with BART tunnel as the public alternative (buses too on the bridge). Toll the bridge to cover expansion costs and run BART and Buses.

    Our example, we can either pay for parking pass or get a free transit pass. I’ll take the pass and not buy the parking pass.

    Tolling and not doing anything isn’t a solution. The market solution has the toll paying for the road’s cost and some profit and then the market is free to supply more roads/lanes to meet demand.

    Absent the capacity expansion, tolling is just rationing and taxing the middle class.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Absent the capacity expansion, tolling is just rationing and taxing the middle class.

    Well, taxing the working class. It’s as regressive as Thatcher’s Poll tax; even the Tories kicked out Thatcher over that one. (Fact.)

    But there is a certain kind of person who looks at tolling public roads to avoid congestion, and tihnk that that’s a *good thing*.

    Fuckwits only generally care about themselves and this is evident in their overall attitude toward everything and everyone else.

    Fuckwits always know absolutely everything in the history of everythingness.

    Fuckwits talk lots and listen little.

    Fuckwits never allow evidence to prevent them continuing to be a fuckwit.

    Fuckwits, basically, are fuckwits.
    There is no cure.

    You’ll know when you meet a fuckwit.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Very few things are regressive as Thatcher’s Poll Tax, which charged a tax merely to exist. Homeless and out of work? Pay your tax!

    There are more regressive things. There are debtor’s prisons (making a comeback in Ohio). There is the scheme by the Orban dictatorship which has taken over Hungary to *fine people for being homeless*.

    Compared to those, taxing the working class seems positively progressive. At least the working class has an income.

    Derek Reply:

    Libertarians think we should give welfare to nobody.

    Democrats think we should give welfare to the poor.

    Republicans think we should give welfare to everyone (subsidized roads, etc.).

    thatbruce Reply:

    Then why did you even mention it? Let’s try to stick to the real world from now on, please.

    Yes, that’s what we’ve been trying to get across to you.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A lane moving at the speed limit moves the most vehicles. If it’s moving slower than the speed limit it’s not.

    Derek Reply:

    A lane moving at the speed limit moves the most vehicles.

    False. Maximum traffic flow occurs at 60 mph, below the freeway speed limit and free-flow speed.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t know what hick town you live in, but over here in the Northeast, the expressway speed limit is about 60-65 mph.

    blankslate Reply:

    In California most freeways have speed limits of 65-70 mph.

    Derek Reply:

    Then there’s this graphic which claims that the operating speed at Level of Service “F” (1.00 volume to capacity ratio) is <53 mph.

    The Caltrans Guide for Traffic Studies, January 2001 sets a goal of maintaining a target LOS at the transition between LOS “C” and LOS “D.” Caltrans defines the volume to capacity ratios for LOS “C” and LOS “D” as 0.68 and 0.85, respectively.

    Keeping a freeway running smoothly requires running it below capacity, to help absorb any temporary interruptions in traffic flow that would quickly degenerate into stop-and-go traffic when the freeway is running closer to capacity.

    As long as the goal is to keep the LOS between “C” and “D”, you can’t blame an express toll lane running at that LOS for congestion in the adjacent free-flow lanes.

    joe Reply:

    As long as the goal is to keep the LOS between “C” and “D”, you can’t blame an express toll lane running at that LOS for congestion in the adjacent free-flow lanes.

    But that is not THE goal of Caltrans nor the intent of the text you quoted. You quote a section under the heading:
    WHEN A TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY IS NEEDED.

    What you cite is a trigger for a study – not a rational for a toll.

    And 53 MPH is a performance indicator for road set at 65+ MPH speed limit. It doesn’t indicate the 53 MPH is ideal – only that the speed of 53 is significant when traffic is trying to maintain 65 MPH conditions.

    Derek Reply:

    You quote a section under the heading:
    WHEN A TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY IS NEEDED.

    No such heading exists in the document.

    Anyway, which Level of Service do you think is ideal for rush hour?

    joe Reply:

    Just me on the road. That’s my Ideal for rush hour. It’s perfectly correct answer – in fact why would I want anyone else on the road in my way?

    VBobier Reply:

    Of course on some more remote stretches of freeway in CA, the speeds can be as high as 85 at times, unless there has been a freeway clogging accident, then it’s a parking lot, albeit a very long thin one.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Not on a road with 45 MPH curves in it.

    Steven H Reply:

    @Derek, we’re not in this position because we don’t understand market economics; we’re here because of some intellectually dishonest politicians who rail against higher gas taxes as “socialism” even as they dip into the general fund to subsidize highways.

    When the rubber hits the road, Americans don’t want to live in a capitalist utopia; they frequently, secretly fund each other’s freeway subsidies. We just need to get them to admit that fact, get them to commit to honest methods of subsidizing transportation, and encourage them to diversify the portfolio of transportation options they invest in.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do get some perverse pleasure in watching ideologues squirm on the petard of their own ideologies (i.e. the UK music market’s recent declaration that–ding, dong–the witch is dead… the market said so, so it must be true); but I don’t think Americans want to, or should, turn their transportation options over to Reason or Cato. Congestion pricing can be useful as part of a wider funding package for certain corridors or projects, but ultimately we need to make peace with the notion that we are now, and have always been, subsidizers.

    Steven H Reply:

    Edit: I guess you can’t actually squirm on a petard, since it’s apparently a bomb. I always assumed it was a pike, or something. But no. You can be hoisted by a petard, but not squirm on one. My bad.

    joe Reply:

    And longer to see if tolls and congestion are an disincentive for government to resolve traffic problems.

    Reducing congestion reduces toll revenue. Anyone with a brain can see where this leads.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Privatization of the public roads. D’oh!

    JJJJ Reply:

    The same Reason foundation who argued that the LA expo line was a failure because opening month was 13,000 and there was no proof that ridership would rise over time?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Same one. Anything to oppose rail. Kotkin/Cox/O’Toole don’t have any consistency, it’s “throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks”.

    They’re also funded by oil companies. Quelle Surprise, as Yves Smith would say.

    VBobier Reply:

    In particular KOCH Industries, which is a part of Big OIL and Big AG(AGriculture) and is owned a by pair of OLD billionaires with a Libertarian bent that fund all sort of Republican/Teabagger concerns, but then they started the Tea Party…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Even reactionaries can be correct from time to time. There is no question that DogLegRail will require a substantial subsidy and the project has deviated substantially from the provisos and general intent of Prop 1A. It has devolved into a welfare-workfare project and a state-run railroad in the Greek manner. Does not the 10% homeless hiring requirement coming out of nowhere tell all? And it is probably going to get even more pandering. Who’s to object? Certainly not Jerry Brown. Kopp’s litigation stands very little chance of success. It is deeply compromised by his own record and actions – the Tehachapi detour which he endorsed is a much worse dumb-down or dilution than the Blend.

    There is no way this is going to be a turnkey thing and your interim concessionaire is likely to be a Veolia. But that won’t last long when the TWU, etc. go on strike and the party machine supports it and the State has to take over day to day ops like a big BART.

    With such large losses maintenance will take a back seat and speeds will be lowered to save money. You’ll be lucky to get the 160mph that the UP CEO estimated.

    HSR in the US will be a rocky road. What a laff-riot if the Texas approach turns out to be the most successful. But they will have to keep PB out of it.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Reason aren’t reactionaries, they’re full on Liberals (as is all of libertarianism, though they try and claim the mantle of “fiscal conservative”). I’m of a mind to believe them a successful plot by the Kremlin to discredit and destroy conservatism in the West, merely delayed in its success until after the fall of the Wall.

    VBobier Reply:

    Reason is funded by Koch Industries, makers of Brawny Paper Towels, Angelsoft toilet paper, Charmin toilet paper, etc, Koch Industries started up the Teabaggers(Tea Party=astroturf)…

    The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party

    Reason Foundation/SPN: Aiding ALEC & Spinning Disinformation in the States

    The Reason Foundation is a self-described “libertarian” [1] think tank. The Reason Foundation’s projects include NewEnvironmentalism.org and Privatization.org, as well as Reason Magazine[2] It is part of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation network.

    The Reason Foundation is funded, in part, by what are known as the “Koch Family Foundations,”[3] and David Koch serves as a Reason trustee. [4]

    According to the Reason Foundation’s 2009 Internal Revenue Source 990 return form, it took in $6 million in donation income against $6.7 million in expenses, with only $639,236 in subscription revenue and $113,575 in ad revenue.

    Koch Family Foundations/SPN: Aiding ALEC & Spinning Disinformation in the States

    Koch Family Foundations consist of the David H. Koch Foundation, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation,[1] and the Knowledge and Progress Fund.[2] Charles and David Koch lead Koch Industries, one of the richest privately held corporations in the world, and they are two of the twenty wealthiest people in the world. David leads the foundation that shares his name; Charles leads the foundation that shares his name; and Charles and his family sit on the board of the Lambe Foundation, which is led by one of the brothers’ long-time confidantes in advancing their ideological agenda, Richard Fink. Charles leads the Knowledge and Progress Fund, and Fink is the President.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Kind of, sort of. Yes, historically, conservative liberalism is a descendant of liberalism. But on contemporary issues, classical liberals basically split in two, so now you have ones on the left (e.g. most US liberals, the Canadian Liberals, the British LibDems for the most part, etc.) and ones on the right (e.g. US libertarians, the Dutch VVD, the Australian Liberals).

    Tellingly, although nominally those organizations are pro-choice and pro-gay, they never endorse based on those issues.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “I’m of a mind to believe them a successful plot by the Kremlin to discredit and destroy conservatism in the West, merely delayed in its success until after the fall of the Wall.”

    Hee hee hee. You’re arguably correct about that. It’s worth noting that many of the so-called “conservative thinkers” from the 1970s onward were *FORMER MAOISTS*, and appear to have retained the same attitudes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s the neocons, not the libertarians. The more hardcore libertarians (the Paul clan, Rockwell, Rothbard) and the paleo-cons (Buchanan, Lind, most people who write for The American Conservative) split from mainline conservatism over its welcoming of the neocons. Mind you, Rothbard himself was an anti-American nationalist in Orwell’s sense of the term, to the point of cheering when Saigon fell.

    Of course, even though Rothbard founded Reason, since the Koch coup Reason is basically your vanilla corporate conservative outfit, only it pretends to be more urbane. It’s like the Manhattan Institute.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Thanks for the details. It can be hard to keep all the vicious right-wing groups straight.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I though it was in the Mexican manner. That they were gonna wait until it’s electrified and then rip it out so they could run diesel hauled freight on it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The consensus on this site has been that neither Tejon nor Tehachapi lines would be acceptable for the typical freight operations of a class one. Especially if it were hazmat, an important cargo for US railroads. Who else is going to transport large quantities of anhydrous ammonia?

    I was under the impression the CHSRA was scurrying to find even enough money to electrify the Orphan ARRA segment.

    Difficult for me to grasp why the Cheerleaders want this thing to lose more money than necessary. Go for the most efficient alternative if you want the best outcome.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A concensus you ignore. You are the one who gets in a lather about the only thing it’s good for is hauling freight over. Either pass, it seems to depend on what phase the moon is in when you get worked up.

    They aren’t scurrying to find money to electrify, it’s not even on there to-do-next-year list. On this planet it doesn’t make sense to electrify until there is a path into San Francisco or Los Angeles. YMMV on your planet.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    who is Veolia?

    VBobier Reply:

    Seems to be involved in transit from what I can tell…
    veoliatransportation.com

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    If you are going to make a statement of fact please cite the source, for examples on this subject have a look at Wikipedia

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    To VBobier and Paul Druce, to be clear my comment about statements (Re. Veolia) was to Sy

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Transportation and other associated stuff company. Hold operating contract for Sprinter and I believe some MOW contracts for Metrolink. Held operating contract with Metrolink until Chatsworth.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Reason can’t be trusted because it makes elementary mistakes in pretty much every content sentence regarding transportation. The oil funding is an explanation for this, but I could write (and have written) thousands of words debunking those reports without once mentioning the funding sources.

  12. jimsf
    Apr 12th, 2013 at 14:51
    #12

    The simple way to reduce road congestion is to stop requiring so many people to go to work at the same time. There is plenty of capacity on the state’s freeways. Those of us who have spent a lifetime doing shiftwork know that. Its one of the advantages of not having a 9-5 so called “professional” job because you go to work at odd hours – very early – mid day- late at night – mid morning – etc etc. Just get rid of “rush hour” if more 9-5 ers were working 5a-1p or 10a-6p or 1p-9p it would spread the traffic out and make better use of the infrastructure investment.

    Its also great for transit. Doing shift work I rarely had to ride muni metro for instance, at peak time…smashed in like a sardine. I got to ride off peak with ample room to myself.

    Same goes for groceries by the way. Nothing beats doing your groceries at 11pm after work when the store is nearly empty. No annoying housewives blocking the aisles.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and by 11 the shelves are already being restocked and if you really want something that hasn’t been restocked you can see if it’s on the pallet at the end of the aisle. 5 or 6 AM is even better. it’s just as deserted and almost everything has been restocked.

    joe Reply:

    Bay Area commuters de facto commute this way now (with longer hours). It’s still too many people. 101 is backed up at 9:30 near 85. In the PM both 101/@87 & 85@280 backup by 3PM if not sooner.

    Long distance commuters will use this proposed time for car pool and relatively light traffic in that lane otherwise they too are backed up.

    We are really that bad now.

    Derek Reply:

    If employers weren’t forced by city governments to overbuild their parking lots, they would be more flexible with their work hours and would find other ways for their employees to get to work.

    jimsf Reply:

    That is the dumbest thing Ive ever heard.

    Derek Reply:

    If you say so.

    joe Reply:

    I did not know it was parking.

    Yahoo demands employees come to work during regular hours. http://www.newslyne.com/yahoo-ceo-marissa-mayer-demands-telecommuters-report-to-the-office/

    Ditto for Google , they apparently are motivated by the parking requirements to get workers in on buses at the congested times.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Derek, you assume sane employers. Sure, Yahoo and Google run their own private bus services.

    But there are plenty of businesses which pay absolutely no attention to their employees’ need to get to work. Yes, it’s bad business, but *they do it anyway*, and *no, they do not go bankrupt in the short or medium run*.

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