The city of Detroit decided not to build a light-rail line down Woodward Avenue, so some private foundations are trying to raise the $137 million to build it instead. Are they nuts? Do they really think this is the best use of their money?
In 1996, the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union forced the county transit agency to restore bus service that had been cut in order to pay for rail service. The Bus Riders Union strongly believes that buses work better than train, but the injunction expired a few years ago and the agency has cut service again. However, the FTA has ordered the transit agency to restore the service.
Tampa voters rejected a light-rail ballot measure in 2010, but the rail nuts think it was only because voters were “confused” about the proposal. One thing that’s clear: the main reason many Tampa officials want rail is they hope it will bring billions of federal dollars pouring into their city.
Bolt Bus is starting service between Portland and Seattle on May 17. Four buses a day are scheduled to make the trip in 3 hours and 15 minutes, compared with 3-1/2 hours for Amtrak and 4 hours for Greyhound. Fares start at $1 (1 seat on every bus) and go as high as $25 compared with $32 on Amtrak.
Meanwhile, the New York Port Authority wants Megabus to stop using the curb outside of its New York City bus terminal. The bus company’s permit to use the curb expires this month. Greyhound and Peter Pan–which, ironically, co-own Bolt Bus, whose buses pick up riders curbside near Penn Station–protested that it was unfair that Megabus got to use curbs for free while they had to pay to use the terminal.
While the Obama administration spending billions on not-very-high-speed passenger trains in Illinois, the real problem is slow freight trains in Chicago. Of course, the administration thinks the solution is for the government to spend another $3.2 billion on Chicago’s rail network, when in fact all that investment should be made by the private railroads.