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ION - Waterloo Region's Light Rail Transit
I don't keep track of numbers. But two of my earliest trips were on 514 and 501, so that's cool.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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(06-26-2019, 07:15 AM)MidTowner Wrote: On the topic of the parking at Conestoga, when I got on for my commute home yesterday, some oldsters were having a conversation with someone about where the best place to park to catch the train is. I overheard one of them say, "well, people got on this last station, so there must be some place to park."

One then did ask me where I parked my car, to which I replied "well, I work a few minute walk from here, so I'm just on my way home." They then wanted to know, was there space in the lot? Do they have any way of knowing if a car belongs to an employee or not?

I'm happy that so many people are experiencing transit, from a few casual chats on the train it seems like the first time ever for many people. But I'm going to be happier when the free-of-charge period is over and people are on transit to get somewhere. My wife has opted not to bother trying it out until she can pay to get on. It's $2.75...

Departure information was working this morning! And it was accurate.

I'm very surprised there seems to be interest in this. I really wouldn't think the average commuter would transfer to a train from a car long term.  It's neither cost effective (even expensive parking is close to the price of a bus pass) nor is it more convenient (driving downtown is easy).  I would like to make it those things, but it's also telling that people are willing to ride the train, but cannot even conceive of riding the bus. There was a comment on facebook, that I believe was serious incredulity "what, do they expect people to take the bus to the train?!"  I think it speaks to broader problems in our society, more than it does to bussing.  I wonder if any of these people have even investigated what bussing looks like in their area.

Edit: As an aside, has anyone done any cost analysis? A parking space costs about 10k in capital costs, which is almost 10 years of transit fares. I suspect free parking would run at a loss once you include operations cost. I realize that the fact that parking costs money is a revelation to most, but this could have been an opportunity to explain how expensive it is, if the business case isn't justified.
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(06-26-2019, 06:56 AM)Rainrider22 Wrote: It does beg the question though, what if public transit didn't have a user fee ?( I wont say free because everything has a price)  What would the impact be on people's commuting choice ?  Packed transit but less cars ?  Better for the environment, better for people's stress level. encourage the system to be built out faster ?  All hypothetical, but interesting..

Really good question. One possibility that should be considered is free to use, but only during off-hours. It’s less than ideal to pack already-full trains even fuller at rush hour.

Similarly, it would be worth while considering broad road tolls, but only at rush hour. Push all travel that can happen whenever to less busy times.
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(06-26-2019, 06:56 AM)Rainrider22 Wrote: It does beg the question though, what if public transit didn't have a user fee ?( I wont say free because everything has a price)  What would the impact be on people's commuting choice ?  Packed transit but less cars ?  Better for the environment, better for people's stress level. encourage the system to be built out faster ?  All hypothetical, but interesting..

This is always an interesting question.  Ridership would probably increase.  But one must ask where these trips are coming from.  Four places:

1) People who couldn't afford transit who can now.  This is a social good (equality) but one that could be achieved for lower cost (giving reduced or free fares to low income individuals).

2) People who wouldn't have made the trip before, not for inability to afford, but not really worth it.  This is also can be a social good, mobility is a valuable thing, I took the train to Waterloo park last week for a walk.  Usually I wouldn't, it was pleasant.

3) People who would have used another clean mode like walking or biking.  This is probably neutral at best, it has some negative health implications possibly, but maybe its a wash.

4) People who would have driven, taxied, or ride shared.  This is clearly an environmental good and a social good.

The fourth category is the most desired category.  So if we just focus on that, there is only one question left:  If we spent the money that it would cost to make transit free (i.e., fares minus the cost of collecting them) on improving service instead, would we see a greater number of people using transit from category 4?  I think in our city, probably, service is the greatest impediment to car drivers using transit.

For bonus points, lets fund transit improvements by charging more for driving, at least in transit dense areas.
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danbrotherston Wrote:I'm very surprised there seems to be interest in this. I really wouldn't think the average commuter would transfer to a train from a car long term.  It's neither cost effective (even expensive parking is close to the price of a bus pass) nor is it more convenient (driving downtown is easy).  I would like to make it those things, but it's also telling that people are willing to ride the train, but cannot even conceive of riding the bus. There was a comment on facebook, that I believe was serious incredulity "what, do they expect people to take the bus to the train?!"  I think it speaks to broader problems in our society, more than it does to bussing.  I wonder if any of these people have even investigated what bussing looks like in their area.

Edit: As an aside, has anyone done any cost analysis?  A parking space costs about 10k in capital costs, which is almost 10 years of transit fares. I suspect free parking would run at a loss once you include operations cost. I realize that the fact that parking costs money is a revelation to most, but this could have been an opportunity to explain how expensive it is, if the business case isn't justified.

These were tourists. The fellow who had been talking to the oldsters before I got on told me that he was taking it today end-to-end "while it's free."

I've been saddened this week to hear so many people's opinions and ignorance about our transit system. More than a few acquaintances who have talked about riding the train, and driving to get there, have looked at me like a space alien when I asked why they didn't hop on a bus to get there instead. Yesterday on the way home from picking a kid up from school, one of the parents asked if the train would be "replacing the buses." She meant all the buses.

I've spent a lot of time pointing out to people that the whole system is free of charge until Canada Day, and you can take a bus anywhere you want in the Region for no fare. People I know to have pretty good service near their homes instead just drive to one of the malls to joy ride for a while. It's a missed opportunity that they aren't getting on their local routes this week to see what it's like and how good the service generally is.
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Saw times for the train showing on the display at Victoria park station.
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A question for everyone - is the public allowed to park in the Evolve 1 parking lot after office hours?
I ask this question as that parking lot is the closest parking to R+T Station.
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(06-26-2019, 10:19 AM)kalis0490 Wrote: A question for everyone - is the public allowed to park in the Evolve 1 parking lot after office hours?
I ask this question as that parking lot is the closest parking to R+T Station.

I suspect like most oversized parking lots, no, but it's unlikely you'd be ticketed.  Disclaimer:  I take no responsibility for any ticket.

FWIW: Parking tickets in this city are so stupidly cheap, you can pretty much just test out if you get a parking ticket.
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(06-26-2019, 09:25 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Saw times for the train showing on the display at Victoria park station.

Am getting real-time data in the apps, too. Looks like it's fixed.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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(06-26-2019, 10:36 AM)KevinL Wrote:
(06-26-2019, 09:25 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Saw times for the train showing on the display at Victoria park station.

Am getting real-time data in the apps, too. Looks like it's fixed.

The GTFS Real-time feed doesn't currently include ION at the moment. The apps are still using scheduled times for ION. There's still some verification staff need to do before they add that info to the GTFS feed.
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It's all about time cost. I had a multi bus commute prior to the ION LRT ? Now? I have multi bus + a stint on LRT. Still TBD but looks like it'll be +4-7 mins to my commute between subbing an express bus to a non express LRT and longer walk to end destination. I'm still not debating driving instead but if I was driving and debating my public transit journey I would have even more incentive to stick to driving
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trainspotter139 Wrote:
KevinL Wrote:Am getting real-time data in the apps, too. Looks like it's fixed.

The GTFS Real-time feed doesn't currently include ION at the moment. The apps are still using scheduled times for ION. There's still some verification staff need to do before they add that info to the GTFS feed.

Yes, I misspoke there; I didn't interpret what I was seeing correctly.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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(06-26-2019, 10:36 AM)KevinL Wrote:
(06-26-2019, 09:25 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Saw times for the train showing on the display at Victoria park station.

Am getting real-time data in the apps, too. Looks like it's fixed.

I just checked Google maps, transit, easygo, and transee. Still not seeing real time there for trains but for busses I see realtime . Did see the platform times updating though.
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I'm starting to feel bad for Ottawa now.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/2n...-1.5189462
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(06-26-2019, 02:13 PM)Bob_McBob Wrote: I'm starting to feel bad for Ottawa now.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/2n...-1.5189462

Looks like they have an even worse case of “think they’re the NSA” than our LRT organization.
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