9-line access access management access point accessibility ADA air quality alignment amenity antiplanner atlanta BART benchmark BID bike Blogs boston branded bus corridors brookings brt bus Bus Rapid Transit BYU capacity car pool car pool lane cars central link Centrality certification commuter rail condo congestion congestion pricing connections consistency coverage crossings CRT cycling DART dedicated dedicated right of way density denver depreciation developers development economics efficiency Envision Utah equity eugene exclusive extension FAQ favela Federal Funding Flex Bus florida free fare zone freeways frequent network frontrunner frontunner Gallivan garden cities gas prices geotagging goat Google grade-separation Granary District growth headway heavy rail hedonic High Speed Rail history housing housing affordability housing bubble housing prices HOV income infill innovative intersections intensity ITS junk science LA land use Land Value Economics LEED legacy city light rail linear park location LRT lyft M/ART malls mapping maps metrics metro MetroRail missoula mixed mixed traffic mixed-traffic mobile mode choice Mode Share multi-family MXD neighborhood networks news NIMBY office online op-ed open letter Operations parking parking meters peak travel pedestrian environment phasing Photomorphing planning Portland property property values Provo proximity quality_transit rail railvolution rant rapid rapid transit RDA real estate redevelopment reliability research retail Ridership ridesharing right of way roadway network ROW salt lake city san diego schedule schedule span seattle separated service branding shuttle silver line single family SLC SLC transit master plan slums smartphone snow sprawl standing stop spacing streetcar streetscape streetscaping subdivision Sugarhouse Sugarhouse Streetcar Tacoma taxi technology tenure termini time-separation TOD townhouse traffic signal tram transit transit agency transit networks transit oriented development Transit Planning transponder transportation travel time TRAX trip planning trolley tunnel uber university of utah urban design urban land UTA UTA 2 Go Trip Planner utah Utah County Utah Transit Authority value vmt walking distance web welfare transit Westside Connector WFRC wheelchairs zoning

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Danger of Service Cuts

Providing premium transit has done wonders not only for transit agencies bottom line, but for their political capital. It has changed them from a 'social service' agency providing essential services to a few (and so ever vulnerable to cuts) to a 'utility' that requires funding to continue providing a valuable service for many.

Part of the reason for the furor that so often surrounds mode for transit projects is the association of mode with service quality. Neither streetcar nor light rail inherently provide better transit then a bus. But because of the New Starts funding criteria, rail has become associated with service quality.

With recent cuts to TRAX service (It now comes every 20 minutes on Saturday, rather than 15), I worry about further declines in service. New Starts already mandates service levels necessary to receive funding for new projects, but there is already a lot of existing transit. I'm opposed to Federal support for transit operations on principle--I'd rather see the roadway subsidy eliminated than a competing subsidy for transit created. But I expect that any operations support will come at a price--mandatory service standards. I'd be pleased to see that--I'd rather have a few good routes then a lot of bad ones.