How rail travel can work Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by European Traveler, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:21 am
Just returned from a trip to Europe where I used multi systems of public transport. I found it fast, clean, efficient and at first sight very expensive, but there were plenty of buts to travel.
I found my ticket expensive, but discovered I could take my kids (up to 16 and as many as 6) for peanuts. The overall family cost was acceptable.
I found that if I started my trip after 10.00 am, it was cheaper.
I found that one ticket could take me to the capital city and be used all day on various public transports without additional charge.
I found that if I booked in advance it was cheaper.
I found that the more that traveled together (group tickets) the cheaper it became.
The signs (electronic and maps) were all very helpful for those who were not familiar with the system and all staff were knowledgeable and helpful. All modes of transport were clean and user friendly.
Locals were not complaining about how much tax it cost them to have a useful service. They all realized the benefits to them as individuals and to the country in having efficient public transit. There was no question as to whether transportation funding should be considered versus education funding or any other kind of funding. Taxes on fuel was heavy. Gas and parking is expensive in Europe and unless there was a good reason to go by car, public transport was always considered a good choice. Even commuter monthly tickets could be purchased which could also be used for additional trips at no extra charge.
I used commuter services as well as long distance and was very impressed.
Posted by European Traveler, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm
Agreed, and perhaps it is time that the Government here started to do the same.
Subsidizing road transit is causing so much of the congestion we have in our urban areas. There is no incentive to improve public transportation when the public is happy (?) to sit in congested traffic jams for hours because there is no alternative. Then when the problem of a fire on BART or police activity on the Bay Bridge causes gridlock, drivers have few alternatives but to be delayed!
Posted by European Traveler, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 7, 2012 at 9:37 am
Sharon's pov shows all the reasons why local transportation doesn't work here. It is these misconceptions which are preventing a true innovative system with well thought through interactions and interdependency being invoked here, both in the Bay Area and the State.
For those who depend on public transportation to get to where they are going, they can see the benefits and the potential of how much better our system needs to be to make it truly competitive with road travel and even short haul air travel.
As an example, how about trying to get from Palo Alto to SFO or SJC, or even to Great America or the Great Mall. All these popular destinations are much quicker by car, but they shouldn't be. There is a big fallacy that public transportation is just for commuters or business travel.
Posted by pavoter, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm
European Traveler you've got a point although I oppose Brown's pushing HSR because we can't afford it. You are right about getting to those destinations and that they should be easier than they are right now. I'd be more impressed if the HSR project wasn't setting up a link in the middle of nowhere, and instead Brown was working on improving connections here in the Bay Area. As the HSR plan stands, it strikes me as silly to focus on a segment in the middle of nowhere. Frankly, I don't understand how this is supposed to improve our future.
I agree that Europe has some fantastic transportation links. But don't forget that it is also very densely populated.
Posted by passenger travel, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm
Sharon's link is indeed an odd website, basically a privately run email list. Not exactly scholarly research. Web Link
Mexico is indeed interested in high speed rail, and beyond one line as Sharon suggests.
"The Secretariat of Communications and Transport of Mexico proposed a high-speed rail link that will transport its passengers from Mexico City to Guadalajara, Jalisco, with stops in the cities of Querétaro, Guanajuato, Leon and Irapuato; and a connected line running from the port city of Manzanillo to Aguascalientes. The train, which would travel at 300 km/h, allows passengers to travel from Mexico City to Guadalajara in just 2 hours at an affordable price (the same trip by road would last 7 hours). The network would also be connected to Monterrey, Chilpancingo, Cuernavaca, Toluca, Puebla, Tijuana, Hermosillo, Cordoba, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Colima, Zacatecas, Torreon, Chihuahua, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Mexicali Saltillo and Acapulco"
Beyond all that, isn't comparing the United States with Mexico aiming just a little low? Most Americans I know like to think we can do things better than all other countries, not be compared to Mexico as an example. Maybe Sharon and I travel in different circles.
Posted by European Traveler, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jul 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Another good thing to see in European cities is they have a one day (or two or three day) rover pass for unlimited travel for all types of public transport. These are particularly good for tourists who can travel as much as they like for one set amount. It is a shame that San Francisco can't do the same thing, as every trip on Muni, BART, ferries or Caltrain charge for each trip. For a city that touts tourism, this would really be a good idea.
Posted by passenger travel, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm
Sharon - I politely asked you to substantiate your claim because I googled it and did not find it to be verifiable. For you to pull this is ridiculous:
"In response to your question - In the 21 century we have Google and Bing If you do not know how to use a computer -go to the Palo Alto library and they will help you to the best of your ability"
I also googled your Iran claim - also a complete absurdity.
Sharon's false claim: "-Iran has also converted most of its vehicle to natural gas"
reality: 2.86 million Iranian LNG vehicles out of 7 million vehicles, along with 8 million motorcycles
But you're correct Sharon, I've only used these new fangled computer thingies since 1981 at work and I bought my first one in 1982. Golly gee, maybe I'll get the hang of it your your generous advice.
Now I'll ask again, in a different way because you didn't recognize a politely asked question the first time:
Your claim about "Mexico plans to convert 90% of vehicles to natural gas within 5 years" doesn't ring true, nor could I easily find anything to substantiate it. Is it another one of the legendary Sharon falsehoods posted in these forums or can you back it up?
Posted by passenger travel, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm
Sharon - your link does not address your claim AT ALL.
- your claim: "Mexico is harvesting its own natural gas reserves and plans to convert 90% of vehicles to natural gas within 5 years"
- the entirety of discussion regarding Mexico at your link: "Mexico - The natural gas vehicle market is limited to fleet vehicles and other public use vehicles like minibuses in larger cities. However the state-owned bus company RTP Of Mexico City has purchased 30 Hyundai Super Aero City CNG-Propelled buses to integrate with the existing fleet as well as to introduce new routes within the city."
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jul 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
Rail travel works in places (like Europe) where the transportation at the destination is also available. In cities like Boston (with the T), Chicago (the El) , New York subway - rail works because. Do we have a subway in San Francisco? LA? Buses just don't cut it for most non-commute travelers.
It is also silly for us to be planning to build a train from SF to LA when you can't get to SFO, San Jose or the Oakland airport by rail.