Transit fuel costs will adversely affect usability which is already treated as an unimportant frivolity by transit managers during rapidly rising costs or any other time.
As gasoline zooms past $4/US gallon transit use is climbing by folks that can't afford to be real gas guzzling Americans and transit managers are happily going broke as high fuel costs kill bus service. Many transit systems across the country are having 10+% increases in ridership.
Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill, NC has had about a 20% increase in transit use according to a National Public Radio (NPR) story this morning June 16, 2008. Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill is known by the Twin Cities sports industry as the "Golden Triangle" because of the success of the perpetual media fiction of the "they are stealing our sports teams" threat. This same old tired excuse is used to extract sports stadium after stadium out of the taxpayers instead of transit investment here in Minneapolis - St Paul, and after 20 years I kind of wish they would steal a damn team already.
Well, I am happy to hear that transit use in North Carolina is going up while the transit system is going broke from high fuel costs and even better, the "Golden Triangle" is cannibalizing its future Light Rail Transit (LRT) money to keep an inadequate unusable old stinky bus system going that is choking on its 2 mpg fuel costs. That's right, instead of using regulated fuel transit such as electricity powered LRT, the Golden Triad is betting that 2 mpg "free market fuel" buses will some way be cheaper to operate in the long run. Or rather the short run because they will go out of business, oil will not go back to $.50/gallon fuel costs.
In the NPR broadcast people were having trouble finding their way using the bus asking the driver for directions, etc., and on radio at least it sounds like Raleigh - Durham has as crappy and unusable a fare hiking bus system as we do in Minneapolis - St. Paul. Take that you sports team stealing bad transit managers! Like they even know our moguls use them as a boogy-man sport team stealer threat. Hah.
Another solution touted by the Golden Triad mob is, of course, raise the fare, a proven usability problem and a sure fire way to drive down transit use. The fare systems in the Golden Triad are already high, a $2 base fare which is complex and has special rules spread between multiple transit jurisdictions. A little more complexity and some jacking up the fare and there will be no more problem of too many transit users in North Carolina, they will extract more money from fewer people and make cars seem affordable again in comparison.
And the best thing yet is that the "Golden Triangle" has shown us the way to totally destroy our Twin Cities Metro Transit system. Now that Governor Pawlenty-o-nuthin has heard of the slick way to divert train system development money to a crappy bus system I am sure we will follow and destroy our future rail transit money as well. Time to start up the "dead pool" and take bets on how long: one month, two months, six months before we again have the central corridor LRT delayed and the commuter rail stalled.
Soon our war economy will not be able to support any new transit infrastructure and the old unusable fuel hogging bus transit will collapse like our Minnesota bridges as we too jack up the fares. Iraqastan will make the economic exhaustion of the 1970's Vietnam war aftermath look like an economic boom. Maybe Governor Pawlenty will next suggest eating transit passengers like they did during the Siege of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War.
Transit Usability Articles