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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “light rail”

Commute Times in St. Louis

A recent study has shown that St. Louis has a relatively high number of people whose commute is 90 minutes or more each way. On the surface this seems surprising. But these long commutes are not people driving in from Columbia or Cape but low income people who rely on public transportation.

Interestingly it is our region’s investment in Metrolink that contributes to the problem. Due to Metrolink we do not have a robust bus system which runs frequently and takes lots of routes. Think of how much better off we would be if everyone could get by bus to work in a 1/2 hour or less. It is possible with the right planning and leadership. Written by Paul Dribin

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Loop Follies Revisited

An article in the Post Dispatch indicated that the Loop Trolley will begin at 2/3 capacity. That is because one of the cars will not be available due to repairs that are needed for it. These repairs have taken a very long time to complete because the parts have to be made in Germany. When the service will begin in any capacity is still a mystery. If you understand any of this you are a better person than me. Written by Paul Dribin

Families Living in Areas With Access to Good Public Transportation do not Necessarily Spend Less on Transportation

nlihc.org/article/study-questions-whether-transit-rich-neighborhoods-lower-household-transportation-costs

This article based on heavy research concludes that people who live near transit that takes them to jobs do not necessarily spend less on transportation. The reason they spend less is that they have lower incomes.

Metrolink Again

The light rail system in St. Louis, Metrolink is just too easy of a target. Ridership on the system is down and crime is up. The Post Dispatch reported on its editorial page that there is still not a common approach to policing the trains, and that the police of the 3 entities responsible for policing cannot communicate with each other by radio. Metro which runs the trains and the St. Louis County police point the finger at each other for the problems. All of this and Metro wants to expand the system. Go figure. Written by Paul Dribin

A Tale About Metrolink

I have a retired friend who has an interesting job. He gets paid to ride Metrolink and report his findings to Metro. Here is what he has found:

1. In hundreds of rides no one has asked him for tickets.

2. Security personnel did not challenge dangerous passengers

3. All stations and routes were dangerous.

4. Police would load criminals onto trains to offload them to another location.

He does not have a very good image of the whole program. Yet we want to expand it. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Security

The rapid transit system in St. Louis known as Metrolink is an albatross. Mostly due to security concerns ridership is down and the operating deficit is increasing. The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article today about Metrolink which is quite disturbing. There is still no overall security plan linking St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County. The standards for policing these three jurisdictions are all different. The prosecutor in St. Louis County will not allow prosecutions for riders who do not pay fares. St. Louis City hardly provides any policing at all. Why are they talking about expanding a system that does not work now. Written by Paul Dribin

North South Metrolink Expansion

This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Post-Disptach on the subject of Metro Link expansion. It is self explanatory.

Written by Paul Dribin

I am writing to express my displeasure with the idea of Metro Link expansion and especially the north-

south route.

When you look at the overall costs of Metrolink and the number of people served it is a financial albatross which will only get worse. Expanding the routes will not help and will only hurt the problem. Security will continue to be a major issue.

More important, fixed light rail is an obsolete mode of transportation. It was really an early 20th century invention created to get masses of people to work when most everyone worked in the downtown and fewer people had cars. This is no longer the case. The job market is widely spread in the St. Louis region and we don’t have the population density to support light rail. The density in the city and county will probably lessen.

Finally new technologies are speeding the demise of Metrolink. More people work from home, work multiple jobs, or need a car to call on clients. Ride share services will increase their market share. Soon people will be able to call up self driving cars which will take you directly door to door. Why would someone ride Metrolink where you endure security challenges and the odds are you will still need transportation once you finish your ride.

If Metro wants to get ahead of the curve, they should dramatically increase bus service and even provide van pools for workers. They could invest in their own ride share and driverless car technologies so all our citizens can be served by these opportunities.

We should not be chasing federal dollars just because they are there. Redoing the same thing that did not work in the first place is the definition of insanity.

Light Rail

St. Louis is going ahead and holding meetings with regard to the north-south expansion of metrolink. This is a farce. Light rail is extremely expensive and in St. Louis has been a dangerous mode of transportation. Furthermore, new technology such as ride sharing and driverless cars will make the technology obsolete. We need to invest short term in buses and cities developing some relationships with ride sharing company so that poor people can avail themselves of these services. Written by Paul Dribin

Trolley Follies Again

This story just gets worse. Les Sherman, President of the Trolley Group has now said they need $500,000 or the trolley will be never begin. This is worse than a fiasco, it is borderline insane. What makes anyone think people will want to ride this thing. To add to the woes, I now hear concerns about security.

Comparisons are made to the success of the trolley in Kansas City. In KC, the trolley is a popular means for taking people from downtown to Westport for lunch etc. That is a popular destination, something we do not have. Furthermore, Kansas City does not have a light rail, so the trolley serves as a means of transportation. Written by Paul Dribin

Trolley Follies Again

The St. Louis Business Journal has written an editorial called Trolley Follies, criticizing the trolley effort in University City. I am disappointed they stole my headline and more disappointed I have been proven correct on this issue. Now we are stuck with the unsightly tracks that disrupt traffic flow. When will we learn? Written by Paul Dribin

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