Comment 101317

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 14, 2014 at 22:28:59 in reply to Comment 101315

Are you sure that Calgary's LRT figure of $0.27 is the total operating cost, not the net cost? If it is the total operating cost (without revenue deducted) then the LRT would actually have a net operating profit of $1.16 based on the average fare per passenger of $1.43. Since Calgary only recovers 47% of its costs from fares overall, I would be surprised if the LRT is really making such a big net profit.

That makes LRT look extremely good, although I am doubtful it could really be that efficient. However, if you can confirm this I am happy to start saying that Calgary's LRT makes a net profit of $1.16 per boarding, not a net operating cost of $0.27! Why aren't you supporting such an efficient service?

You do not give a source for the $2.88 figure, but it comes from the libertarian Frontier Centre for Public Policy:

It is an extremely misleading figure as it starts with the $0.27 total operating cost and then adds on: the cost of park and ride parking charges, the transit tax credit, the university student pass, the cost of policing, and an annualized total capital cost for the system. Since it doesn't add the cost of fares, this backs up my interpretation that the $0.27 figure is net of fare revenue.

The Rapid Ready Report uses ridership for the entire system and boardings for line B. (see figure 10 and p 86). In any case, ridership is the same as boardings when talking about a particular line (HSR counts the number of people boarding to get the figure!). The boardings figures are available in the 2010 HSR Operational Review

The economic development argument is well-justified by a many different examples, notably Portland which has measured the net increase in economic development near the line compared with other areas. It is simply not true that LRT is only built in areas with already planned development. It is a tautology to say that the areas that have seen development must have had a high development potential.. that potential would likely not have been realized without the catalyst of LRT!

This is particularly true in Bordeaux, which has seen a huge boost in property values, and attendant development, due to LRT. I know this because I had a long chat with the head of economic development in Bordeaux a few years ago: they are convinced the development would not have happened without LRT, and there was certainly no sign of it before LRT was built. Anyone seeing the moribund decrepit state of much of the downtown and especially the waterfront before the LRT was built would not believe that it was just on the point of massive renewal!


As someone who takes the bus regularly from downtown to McMaster, it is simply not accurate to claim that overloading is isolated during peak hours. Many buses are full to capacity by Dundurn and do not stop! And the problem is getting steadily worse each year.

I'm not sure why you deliberately refused to quote the next sentence from the operational review: "However, there are several routes where 10% or more of the buses are operating over capacity on some segment of the route during peak period. These include King, Barton, University, Cannon, B-line, Upper Wentworth and Mohawk." Having acceptable peak capacity is essential for a transit system and it is deceptive not to acknowledge that many bus routes are unacceptably crowded during peak periods! Since the operating costs of LRT are so low (possibly a net profit of over a dollar per boarding according to your interpretation), it is better to run LRT than buses because they can provide both the peak and off-peak capacity efficiently. And, despite your claims to the contrary, the evidence is clear that LRT systems greatly boost ridership.

I also disagree with your claim that LRT does not increase ridership more than BRT, which is also in contradiction with the 8% day 1 increases quoted by GSD in the Rapid Ready report on the basis of experience of other systems. And no one is claiming that BRT does not also increase ridership, just not as effectively as LRT!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-05-14 22:53:48

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