Bicycle Austin doesn't have the resources to cover the
2012-13 push for getting Light Rail in Austin, but here are some
resources that may be of interest:
- The Rail
section of our online forum.
Dahmus' blog, with blunt straight talk about the pros and cons of
- The rest of the page below, which covers the 2000 light
rail effort, which was narrowly defeated by voters. It remains
below as a historical archive.
2000 Light Rail election
We strongly urge our readers to vote for light
rail. There is NO OTHER WAY to move so many people
around the city so efficiently for the amount of money we'd
spend on it. All the arguments against light rail are
incredibly weak, and we'll expose them below.
Links to other
Letters to the
AAS = Austin American Statesman
vote for light rail
- Rail bashers are doing their best to paint light rail
as an expensive project that won't help Austin's
transportation problems. We could refute their claims
point by point (and we will), but the point that makes
all other points irrelevant is this: In cities across the
U.S. which have been smart enough to adopt rail, light
rail WORKS. The projects come in on or under budget,
ridership is way above predictions, there are fewer cars
on the road, the air gets measurably cleaner, and, here's
the kicker: even the skeptics see that rail is an
unqualified success. Check out Dallas, where citizens
recently voted to SPEED UP construction of the rest of
their rail system, with a whopping 77% voting for the
proposal. If that's not a stunning endorsement by a
community for more rail once it's had a taste of it, we
don't know what is.
- In fact, we'd like to turn the tables on the
rail-bashers: If all the negative things you say are
true, then give us an example of a U.S. city where light
rail failed or the citizens don't like it.
- The fact that light rail is so successful shouldn't
be surprising. It's fast, clean, comfortable, and moves
large numbers of people, for less than the cost of new
roadway construction. With all this going for it, how
could rail NOT work?
- And if we don't build rail, what's the alternative? A
revamped bus system? Not even close:
- Buses are stuck in the same traffic as cars. So
instead of being stuck in traffic jams in your car, you
can be stuck in traffic jams on the bus. Some
- Buses have a much higher operating cost than rail,
because you need one driver for just one small bus, while
rail has one operator for multiple large rail cars.
- Buses move fewer people than rail. A train with
multiple rail cars moves LOTS more people than the bus.
Sure, you could run the buses more frequently, but then
the operating cost would skyrocket. And you'd be putting
more vehicles on the road.
- People who won't take the bus will ride the rail.
It's crazy, but it's true. That's been the experience
with rail in countless other cities.
- Buses emit lots of polluting exhaust, but rail
- In any event, we can't choose between more buses vs.
rail, because that choice isn't on the ballot. If we
don't vote for rail, the money that Capital Metro has
been saving for it won't go for more buses, it'll go to
more roads. Road-lovers have been chomping at the bit
waiting to raid that money.
- Some people want us to improve the bus system
"before" we build light rail. Sorry, but that's not the
choice being offered to us. If light rail is defeated,
that doesn't mean that the bus system will be magically
improved. It just means we've screwed ourselves out a
system that would have been better than the best bus
system we could ever hope for.
- Some are wary of Capital Metro being in charge of the
rail system. But for all its problems, Capital Metro has
been steadily improving. As the Statesman said on 9-10:
"Over the past three years, Cap Metro has cleaned house
and received high marks from auditors. It has new
management, and its books are in order and in the black.
Bus ridership is up, operating costs are down, and the
agency is contributing increasing amounts to improving
area roads." In any event, it is MUCH easier to get rail
to run on time than it is to get buses to run on time. If
you really believe that Capital Metro is incompetent,
then you'll want to give them something easier to
schedule than buses.
- So how about building more roads instead of building
rail? Great, except for this:
- That's what we've been doing for decades, but it's
- Austin ALREADY has more road-miles per capita than
any other major Texas city.*
- Road building costs more than rail, takes longer to
build than rail, disrupts traffic much more during its
construction than rail, and costs much more to maintain
than rail. Plus roads can't even move as many people as
- Rail's greatest promise is moving people through the
congested central city. Where exactly are you going to
put a new highway through Austin? Down Lamar or
- Most importantly, more massive roadbuilding is
ALREADY planned for this area. We're getting more
roads whether we put in rail or not.
- Some people say that we shouldn't build rail because
it won't solve congestion. The reality is that Austin is
growing so fast that NOTHING will "solve" congestion, but
there are definitely steps we can take to make it better.
The point is, if we DON'T build light rail, congestion is
going to be WORSE. It's just common sense: How is moving
tens of thousands of people in compact rail cars NOT
going to have a positive impact?
- The charge has been made that rail is useless because
it would handle only 3% of Austin traffic. But Mopac
itself moves only 5%! And does anyone think congestion
wouldn't get worse if we shut down Mopac?!?
- One of the letters in the Statesman said, "If you
wouldn't ride light rail yourself, then don't vote for
it." That's just crazy! Most people don't ride the bus --
should we get rid of the bus system too?!? Or the public
schools, or the WIC program, or substance abuse programs?
In any event, any motorist who won't ride rail but wants
fewer cars in front of him on his way to work should vote
FOR light rail.
- Here's a visual depiction of light rail's promise:
This summer transportation advocates gathered downtown to
take some clever photos which show how much roadway space
is wasted by automobiles vs. rail. Check
out the photos.
- Bicyclists have another reason to support rail: We'll
likely be able to carry our bikes right onto the train,
as is common in other cities. Not only is it quicker than
fumbling with the rack on front of the bus, but rail cars
can accommodate more cyclists (no more worrying that the
rack already has bikes on it), and you won't have to
worry about your bike getting stolen from the bus
- Remember, a vote for rail doesn't raise taxes and
doesn't authorize more bonds. The project would be funded
by the EXISTING sales tax and federal grants. Rail is so
affordable it's ridiculous.
- In Austin, this will be our last chance to build
light rail for quite some time. Capital Metro has been
saving money in anticipation of building rail, but if the
election fails, that money will likely go to build more
roadways instead -- even though more massive
road-building is already planned for this area even if
light rail wins.
- The facts are simple: Rail works. It's fast,
efficient, comfortable, less polluting, a good
investment, and affordable.
- What you can do to support
- (1) Check to make
sure you're registered to
- (2) Talk to your friends about
rail. If they give you some of the trendy, lame
criticisms of light rail listed above, politely point out
- (3) Write to the
Statesman. Positive letters about rail are needed
to counter the barrage of anti-rail letters. Send polite,
short letters (150 words or less) to: Letters to the
Editor, PO Box 670 Austin, Tx 78767.
* Footnote from above: Austin has more
lane-miles per capita of high-quality roads (state and
federally funded) than any other large Texas city -- San
Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and El Paso.
Facts about Light Rail
- by Light Rail Now, Feb. & March 2000 (except
for the first item, which is by M. Bluejay)
- Much of the information below is available in a
professionally-printed two-column handout. For bulk
copies, contact: Light Rail Progress, PO Box 150116,
Austin, Tx 78715-0116, (512) 441-3014.
MYTH: We should build more roads
- FACT: A single track of
light rail can carry as many passengers in an hour as a
four-lane freeway (assuming 1.2 passengers per vehicle
which is the average in North Texas) and use much less
space. Besides, rail will primarily be used in the
central city, which is already developed, and you can't
build new highways right through the middle of the city.
Even if you could, they'd be incredibly inefficient
compared to rail. And they'd bring more noise, pollution,
congestion, and other problems.
MYTH: Light rail transit is a
waste of public money, because nobody will ride
- FACT: Across the country,
light rail services - old and new - are proving to be
extremely effective in attracting riders. People like to
ride light rail!
- Sacramento's single light rail line, for example, is
attracting approximately 30,000 riders on an average
weekday - about 30% of Sacramento's total system
ridership, which includes the passengers on 69 different
bus routes. Source: Sacramento
RT website 00/02/22
- Buffalo's Metro Rail light rail line has overwhelming
public support. In a recent Buffalo poll, 52% rated light
rail as "very desirable", and another 27% rated it
"somewhat desirable". Source:
T&UT Feb. 2000
- Portland's MAX light rail system now carries 74,000
riders on an average weekday. That sure doesn't sound
like light rail trains are running empty. Source:
Portland Tri-Met website
- What about Portland's buses? In the same period,
Tri-Met's bus ridership rose 36% ... but that's with an
increase in vehicle-hours of 25%.
- By far, one of the biggest light rail success stories
has got to be Dallas's DART light rail system. DART's
Fiscal 1999 report indicates that Dallas's light rail
system ridership grew 3.6% in the past year, while
ridership on the new Trinity Railway Express commuter
rail service skyrocketed a whopping 28.7%. That compares
to a street bus ridership increase of 3.3%. Source:
DART News Release
- "Ridership on the rail lines is exceeding 37,000
daily" reported the Dallas Morning News last fall in an
editorial which pointed to evidence of "The public's
strong acceptance of DART's current mass transit program
...." In a poll, 82% of Dallas-area respondents said they
favored DART using longterm debt to build the light rail
system more quickly. "The primary question for DART
officials is how to ride this wave of support to a
quicker completion of the rail system" enthuses the News. Source: DMN
- So much for the "nobody will ride it" argument.
- There are a lot of reasons why light rail is
especially attractive as a transit mode. It's fast,
reliable, comfortable. It bypasses traffic on clogged
streets. Because of the tracks, you know it's there and
have a better idea where it goes.
MYTH: All light rail does is
move transit riders from buses into trains. All rail
riders are taken from buses, not cars.
- FACT: This is nonsense.
While many light rail riders do indeed come from buses,
many others are attracted to light rail from
cars. In fact, the percentage of riders
diverted from automobiles to transit is typically quite
high for light rail - more than 30% in Dallas, for
example, and about 70% in St. Louis.
- 79% of St. Louis's Metrolink LRT riders are not from
buses, but are totally new to transit. 68% have 2 or more
cars available to use. Source:
Citizens for Modern Transit website
- In Portland, 92% of riders using the MAX LRT service
own autos, but choose light rail for recreational trips
and work commutes because of its convenience. Source:
- And, while anti-transit zealots promote the notion
that only new riders attracted from cars are worth
counting, bus riders who are diverted to the new LRT
service are also major beneficiaries. First, if there
were no transit, the vast majority - possibly all - of
these transit riders would have to be using cars,
clogging city streets far worse than they're clogged now.
Second, as previous trends have demonstrated, many
current bus riders have been relentlessly "defecting" to
automobiles - a trend which LRT has well demonstrated it
MYTH: Light rail will carry such
an insignificant portion of urban travel that it won't
have any impact on traffic congestion or air
- FACT: The investment in LRT
does pay off in removing cars from congested streets and
freeways. While no single light rail line will
miraculously make congestion and pollution utterly
vanish, statistics do suggest an impact.
- Cities like Houston, Phoenix, and Denver (before its
LRT system) burned an average of 550 gallons of motor
fuel per capita per year. Cities with good multi-rail
transit systems burned only 415 gallons -a saving of
about one third. Source:
Kenworthy & Newman APA Journal Winter
- As is noted above, LRT has a proven track record of
diverting substantial numbers of trips off of crowded
streets and freeways, and into transit trains. Portland
offers a good case study, with the opening of MAX's
Westside line in 1998. Coupled with improved bus service,
the new LRT line helped provide a 46 percent increase in
transit service in Portland's western corridor. As a
result, transit ridership in the corridor rose 137
percent in 1999 to 33,900 average weekday trips.
Portland's transit operator, Tri-Met, now has about
20,000 more daily transit trips in the westside corridor
than before MAX opened - most of those undoubtedly
diverted from congested roadways. Source:
- Rail opponents try to shock the public with the
overwhelming traffic numbers for motor vehicles, compared
to transit. But it's absurd. Basically, they're trying to
bash transit largely for not winning travel market share
in areas and for travel patterns where transit isn't even
in the market. There are hundreds of small urban and
suburban areas where no transit service operates at all -
Round Rock, for example -- yet those millions of
person-miles by automobile are accumulated in metro area
- Where transit does compete for travel market share --
in congested corridors into downtowns and other compact
central areas, for example, and where it has improved
facilities, such as its own right-of-way -- transit has
been winning increasingly greater shares of total trips.
And in this, rail transit excels.
- In cities with LRT, the evidence suggests that
highway and LRT modes are attracting trips in about the
proportion of the regional travel network each represents
(in terms of route-mileage), although buses appear to lag
behind. A transit system without high-quality trunk lines
(such as LRT provides) is at a definite disadvantage in
trying to compete for riders with autos.
- However, neither transit nor roadway capacity
improvements seem to have a "magic bullet" effect in
making congestion disappear. Planners are increasingly
coming to the conclusion that urban areas are going to
have to live with traffic congestion. They cannot make it
evaporate. There isn't enough money in the world to
construct enough freeways (and parking lots) to ever keep
up - and if there were, these facilities would just fill
up because of the "induced" traffic generated.
- Rail transit "solves" the congestion problem by
providing an alternative means of access between origins
and destinations, and into compact, traffic-gridlocked
areas. Rail transit is a way to bypass the congestion.
Network rail with buses running on the less-congested
streets, and you have the basis for a transit grid
-pretty much what got ripped out in this country decades
MYTH: New light rail projects
fail to measure up to their promises.
- FACT: Almost all new light
rail projects have met or exceeded their most accurate
ridership projections. In its first
year, Dallas's DART light rail ridership was 10% higher
than was forecast. "Ridership on the light rail lines to
Oak Cliff, South Dallas and North Dallas has exceeded all
expectations" raves the Dallas Morning News. Sources:
LR&MT Nov. 1997,
- For another example, take Portland's MAX light rail,
which opened its new Westside line just a year and a half
ago. "Since Westside MAX opened in September 1998,
ridership has soared 22% over projections" says
Portland's Tri-Met public transit agency. Source:
Portland Tri-Met website
- And the country's newest light rail opening -- Salt
Lake City's brand-new Trax light rail system -- is
another soaring success story. Trax was completed "well
ahead of schedule and under budget" reports an industry
magazine. And ridership is a huge success. After hitting
25,000 on the first day (with free rides), it's levelled
off at 20,000 now that fares are being charged and that
compares with just 14,000 daily riders originally
forecast. "Daily ridership on TRAX has exceeded UTA's
original projections by an average of 40-50 percent"
reports the Utah Transit Authority, which operates public
transit in Salt Lake City. Source: T&UT
Feb. 2000, UTA
- The bottom line: If properly managed, light rail
projects will meet their promised goals.
MYTH: Light rail projects always
have terrible cost overruns, so the cost of Austin's
light rail project will be much higher than
- FACT: Anti-transit zealots
repeatedly make extravagant claims of "underestimated"
costs and predictions of mammoth cost "over-runs" of LRT
projects. In reality, most new LRT systems have been
completed on time and within budget. In fact,
the final completion costs of Salt Lake City's brand-new
TRAX light rail line --opened in December -- are millions
of dollars under budget. Source:
UTA data, April 2000
- Opponents also exaggerate the "average" per-mile
costs of LRT by brandishing the cost figures from such
cities as Buffalo, Dallas, and Los Angeles, which had
substantial and expensive civil works such as subway and
viaduct construction. But light rail lines in Austin
would be routed entirely on the surface, with little need
for expensive civil works.
- New light rail construction in Salt Lake City,
Denver, and East Saint Louis should be used as the
measuring stick. Totalling 41 miles for $820 million,
that's $20 million a mile in today's dollars, with no
subways, automation, or elevated viaducts (except for
grade crossings). In comparison, the current cost of new
urban freeways is typically in the range of $50 to $100
million per mile.
- Curiously, the currently most notorious cost-overrun
scandal in the United States - transportation or
otherwise - appears to be a freeway project. Boston's
Central Artery tunnel project has ballooned by a factor
of five times from the projected cost at start -from the
original $2.6 billion to a current projected cost of
completion of $13.5 billion (and it's still rising).
- Incidentally, "urban freeway tunnels" are one of the
"innovative alternatives" (to the "expense" of LRT) being
pushed by the anti-rail, pro-roadway activists!
MYTH: Austin doesn't have the
size or density for light rail.
- FACT: Austin has been
suitable for light rail for decades. In fact, Austin once
had a "light rail" system -- electric trolleys
(streetcars) -- until the 1940s. What
really counts is not so much population density, as
travel density -- and Austin has plenty of that,
especially in the North Lamar corridor, where the first
light rail line would go. In more lightly populated
suburban areas, access to light rail stations by car
(e.g., park-and-ride) has eliminated the need for dense
population near rail transit lines.
- Road traffic congestion almost surely will never
disappear even with light rail, other public transit, or
more highway capacity. Building more roads or highway
lanes really just attracts more car travel and more
roadside development - worsening congestion. That problem
probably won't disappear, but light rail can solve the
congestion/gridlock dilemma by providing much higher
capacity in an alternative way to travel.
- And it's a pleasant, comfortable, attractive way to
travel - a mode that's environmentally friendly and
economically viable ... and the right way for
- [Ed. Note: Another point to consider is that
Austin's population is EXPLODING. We're certainly big
enough for light rail now, but even if we weren't, we
definitely would be in just a few years. And it's always
much cheaper to lay the groundwork early, rather than
trying to do a patchwork repair to a poorly-planned
transportation system years down the road when
implementation becomes much more problematic.]
MYTH: Light rail is noisy and
- FACT: Because they're
electrically propelled, light rail trains - often called
"trolleys" or "streetcars" - are exceptionally
quiet. There's no engine roar - the
only sound you may hear is a gliding whisper or a soft
woosh or rumble. They can sneak up on you (but so can
- Like any transportation vehicle - including cars,
trucks, buses, even bicycles - light rail cars can be
dangerous, especially if people are careless around them.
But, more than just about any other motorized transport
mode, light rail is nicely compatible with neighborhoods,
pedestrians, and populated areas. Throughout Europe, for
instance, road-traffic-free city-center malls are
widespread, where pedestrians walk, shop, or sit in
outdoor restaurants while light rail trains glide past -
the only transit vehicles considered compatible enough to
- Tacoma, Washington is putting in a new light rail
line, called "Tacoma Link", connecting downtown Tacoma to
the Tacoma Dome. Here's what their transit agency has to
say about light rail environmental impact: "Current
vehicle technology has produced vehicles that are
environmentally friendly with power-saving electric
design, recyclable materials and low noise levels." Source: Tacoma Link website
- In the Cincinnati area, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana
Regional Council of Governments is planning a brand-new
light rail system for their region. "LRT is quiet" says
the agency. "An LRT train is no more noisy than a car.
The noise from LRT is not constant like highway traffic.
And unlike a diesel bus, LRT produces no acceleration
Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments
MYTH: Light rail won't have any
impact on urban development.
- FACT: In city after city,
LRT has solidly demonstrated its potential for
stimulating and shaping adjacent real estate development
at its transit stops and stations.
This process both builds in ridership (e.g., trips by
people living near the stations or traveling to the
nearby activity centers) and raises the tax base (by
increasing land and property values). Together with
effective policies to manage traffic and guide land use,
transit-shaped development can be a key tool in helping
to contain urban sprawl. In Dallas, more than $800
million in private funds has been invested in development
along DART's 20-mile Light Rail Starter System -evidence
of an explosion of adjacent real estate development less
than 4 years after LRT was installed.
- Incredibly, opponents or LRT and anti-transit zealots
claim urban sprawl is just fine. A recent handout from
the local anti-transit ROAD group disparages the notion
of seeking a "superior urban form" and proclaims that
this is "counter to the values of the populace."
- At bottom, what these anti-transit, pro-sprawl Road
Warriors basically advocate is more of the same old
status quo: more asphalt, more traffic meatgrinders, more
ozone, more road rage, more sprawl. Their all-bus
"alternatives" for transit, like HOV lanes, amount to
moribund proposals to euthanize, rather than energize,
transit service. Their "innovative approaches" range from
rehashed agitation for more roadway capacity - e.g., more
and wider freeways, which have compounded, rather than
alleviated, congestion - to off-the-wall, astonomically
expensive monstrosities like urban motor vehicle tunnels.
Instead, what's needed is a new start in a new direction
... and light rail can be a first step in that new
direction for Austin!
MYTH: Buses can provide
equivalent transit service at a lot less cost than light
- FACT: Buses are not a viable
alternative to light rail transit (LRT). Buses in today's
congested traffic are slow, inefficient, and expensive to
operate -- and they've been typically losing riders to
the automobile. Rail systems -- with LRT in
the lead -- have been gaining riders. And light rail
doesn't come with the fumes, air pollution, and obnoxious
noise that motor buses put out -- making light rail a lot
more compatible with neighborhoods and populated areas,
and a lot more attractive to riders. Buses are fine for
lightly used routes and connector services. But light
rail has proven it's a lot cheaper and more efficient in
providing transit service as ridership picks up.
- The expansion of light rail service has been a key
factor in reversing the steep decline in public transit
ridership of the past 5 decades. Rail transit ridership
has climbed at a rate several times that of bus
ridership, which has comparatively remained stagnant.
Between 1977 and 1997, while motor bus ridership rose
just 5%, "heavy" rail ridership (mainly on
subway/elevated transit) increased 13%, and light rail
ridership skyrocketed an astounding 155%. Source:
Transportation Association data
- Rail opponents try to counterpose buses on freeways
as an alternative to LRT. But in today's semi-gridlocked
traffic conditions, that's a joke: Why would motorists
stuck in freeway traffic want to abandon their cars for
buses stuck in freeway traffic?
- Light rail's biggest economic advantage over buses is
in operating cost. In Portland, for example, the
operating cost per boarding bus rider is $1.67; for
Portland's MAX light rail line, it's just $1.40. In
Dallas, DART's new light rail system has plunged the
operating cost per-passenger-mile to just 62% of that of
DART's fixed-route buses -- a 38% cost drop. Source:
Portland Tri-Met website
00/02/22; FTA data, summer 1999
- Those operating cost savings are typically translated
into an overall expansion of the entire transit system.
Since 1993, St. Louis's new light rail system, for
example, has helped double the metro area's total transit
ridership in contrast with where it was headed before
LRT. In Portland, areawide transit ridership has soared
since LRT was introduced in 1986 - reversing transit's
previous downward trend, and now hitting an historic
high. Source: Austin360.com
00/04/08; Tri-Met website April 2000
- What about capital construction costs? LRT
construction costs are close to the cost of freeway and
HOV lanes - -in fact, they can even be cheaper! And,
while light rail cars cost more than buses, their
lifespan is 3 times longer and their passenger capacity 3
times greater. All told, advantages in life cycle,
capacity, and speed mean that a light rail car is
functionally equivalent to at least 11 buses for
equivalent types of service.
- Busways -- buses on exclusive roadways -- are often
touted as a cheaper alternative to light rail. But
busways often can cost substantially more than light
rail, when built to adquate capacity and safety
standards. Excluding vehicle costs, Pittsburgh's West
Busway cost $70 million a route mile, compared to an
average of about $24 million per route mile for the
Denver, Salt Lake City, and East St. Louis light rail
projects. Source: EL Tennyson,
"Transit Capital Investment per Route Mile", Sept.
- Even when the capital cost of light rail is higher
than that of bus, light rail is often still a better
investment because of lower ongoing costs, higher
ridership, much lower environmental impact, and much
greater economic benefits.
- In Sacramento, annual ridership has steadily
increased, on both the bus and LRT systems, from 14
million trips in 1987, when light rail opened, to almost
27 million trips in Fiscal Year 1999. Source:
Sacramento RT website
MYTH: Buses would have an
advantage over light rail if we ran the buses on High
Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
- FACT: HOV lanes -- freeway
lanes reserved for buses and (usually) 2-person carpools
-- are also touted as "low-cost" alternatives to rail
transit. But while buses on HOV lanes are certainly an
improvement to buses in mixed traffic, they're definitely
not an alternative to light rail.
- Busways and HOV lanes have been somewhat on the
decline. New Jersey's pioneering HOV lane program on
I-287 and I-80 - once hailed as a great success -has now
been abolished as the concept fizzled. The Shirley Busway
outside Washington, DC - once the flagship of road-based
"rapid transit" - has lost 2/3 of its bus ridership. And
Ottawa, Canada's busway system - the most ambitious urban
network in North America - has been losing riders. Ottawa
is now implementing light rail, which may replace much of
the busway system.
- First, spend money on HOV lanes, and you've come a
good part of the way in paying for a decent LRT system -
but you're still stuck with buses and all their
- Second, buses may not experience much traffic
congestion in the HOV lane ... but how about getting into
and out of the HOV lanes? Once again, as buses sit in
traffic congestion getting over to the exit ramp, or
waiting in the traffic-clogged exit lane itself -- would
motorists really yearn to forsake their cars to sit in a
bus stuck in traffic?
- Third, how do buses on HOV lanes ever stop to pick up
passengers? Answer: They don't. Typically, the buses poke
around on streets in the suburbs, picking up passengers,
then run as express buses to a central location. While
their schedule speed often equals or exceeds that of LRT,
it's an "apples-to-oranges" comparison -- express buses
compete, not with LRT, but with express commuter rail
(which has proven it attracts and keeps more
- In contrast, LRT provides an acceptable cross between
express and local service -- what's called limited-stop
service. Light rail trains stop to pick up all those
passengers along the route who are bypassed by HOV-lane
buses ... and yet LRT still offers a high schedule speed
and a ride that's attractive and comfortable enough to
compete with the automobile!
- Much of the information above is available in a
professionally-printed two-column handout. For bulk
copies, contact: Light Rail Progress, PO Box 150116,
Austin, Tx 78715-0116, (512) 441-3014