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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”

Metrolink Safety

One of the biggest problems affecting Metrolink safety is that police in the various jurisdictions along the routes have radios with different frequencies. The county taxpayers had approved a small sales tax increase to address this issue. The money is there but the issue remains unresolved. Why? Written by Paul Dribin

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Metrolink Failures Continue

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, Metrolink has lost 39 million riders since 2004. Why do we want to expand it? Isn’t doing over again that which did not work the sign of insanity? Written by Paul Dribin

The Future of Urban Public Transportation

The New York Times last week had an article which described the discussions being held by transportation planners about the future of urban transit. Many are beginning to adhere to my view that we should think about getting away from light rail and utilizing Uber or self driving cars. Critics say we don’t know when self driving cars will be readily available.

I am please to see there is a serious discussion about this subject. For most communities, light rail is simply too expensive and may not end up going where it needs to. More people are working at home and need transportation to travel considerable distances during the work day. Trains are also very expensive to maintain.

I would recommend that public transit companies partner with organizations such as Uber and Lyft or buy self driving cars when available rather than invest in expensive and obsolete rail systems. Written by Paul Dribin

Metro Could Have Saved Money if St. Louis County Had Cooperated

The outgoing head of Metro has stated that the agency could have saved significant sums of money by refinancing its’ bonds. County Executive Stenger was unresponsive to this request and the opportunity has been lost. This of course is very disappointing and a sign of the difunctional nature of our governments. Written by Paul Dribin

Loop Trolley Again

The Post wrote yesterday that there is still not a definite date for the start of the Loop Trolley. This is not a surprise. Furthermore when it does begin it will operate only from Thursday to Sunday from noon to 6pm. Does this sound like a winning program? (By the way last week I almost ran into a trolley when I was trying to turn right onto Lindell at the History Museum.). Written by Paul Dribin

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

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

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