Author Topic: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service  (Read 8563 times)

TheProfessor

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2011, 11:17:54 PM »
Weren't there two other trolley bus lines in addition to the Riverside Trolley??

cityimrov

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2011, 11:21:25 PM »
I have a theory on this.  I haven't gathered the facts to prove it but it's a theory that might make sense on why JTA does what it does. 

I think JTA mass transit plans does a decent job in the only thing it seems to do.  That is, bus lower class workers from their place of resident to some workplace somewhere else and back again.  That seems to be the main mission and goal of the entire mass transit system in their eyes and the eyes of the people who put them in a position of power. 

This idea of supporting a walkable district, density, etc - these are foreign concepts to JTA.  Toys, as you will.  Things like the Riverside Trolley is just a small side project to them.  Nothing really important compared to it's main mission of moving the lower class workforce who can't afford cars from it's home to their place of work.  Anything beyond that fundamental goal is foreign to them. 

To get JTA's and the people who put JTA's power in, you need to talk more about moving lower class workers from home to work otherwise they won't have a clue what your talking about. 

peestandingup

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2011, 01:12:02 AM »
I have a theory on this.  I haven't gathered the facts to prove it but it's a theory that might make sense on why JTA does what it does. 

I think JTA mass transit plans does a decent job in the only thing it seems to do.  That is, bus lower class workers from their place of resident to some workplace somewhere else and back again.  That seems to be the main mission and goal of the entire mass transit system in their eyes and the eyes of the people who put them in a position of power. 

This idea of supporting a walkable district, density, etc - these are foreign concepts to JTA.  Toys, as you will.  Things like the Riverside Trolley is just a small side project to them.  Nothing really important compared to it's main mission of moving the lower class workforce who can't afford cars from it's home to their place of work.  Anything beyond that fundamental goal is foreign to them. 

To get JTA's and the people who put JTA's power in, you need to talk more about moving lower class workers from home to work otherwise they won't have a clue what your talking about.

Well, thats what happens when you completely rip out & gut the fabric of decent public transportation (and the urban cores in general) like we have done within our cities in this country with the dismantling of our rail networks. The resulting terrible replacement system (buses) are only then utilized by the poorest of the poor who have no choice. Hence, public transportation then gets stigmatized & is largely seen as a "handout" for the less fortunate. Which is why no one wants to throw any money at it & take it seriously in places like this. Our sprawl makes this even worse because the majority of the people in the "city of jacksonville" would never use the system & would never support it.

But in reality, and certainly in other parts of the world (and even pockets in our own country), being the "poor's way to get around" is simply not the case. DC for instance. Hell, I can remember on more than one occasion riding the Metro & seeing senators & the like. Its just that a lot of sprawling car-centric cities like Jax didn't get that memo & are still stuck in a time warp. Even though all they have to do is look back into their own history to see what worked before.

But that's a hard sell right now with the reasons I've said, plus the economy & also the mistakes of past boondoggles (Skyway). The further cities like Jax go down the rabbit hole, the less likely they are to crawl out of it. That's why I'm not holding my breathe for any real, decent public transit network to become a reality here. Especially with idiots like JTA having any say so in it.

strider

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2011, 08:37:24 AM »
I have a theory on this.  I haven't gathered the facts to prove it but it's a theory that might make sense on why JTA does what it does. 

I think JTA mass transit plans does a decent job in the only thing it seems to do.  That is, bus lower class workers from their place of resident to some workplace somewhere else and back again.  That seems to be the main mission and goal of the entire mass transit system in their eyes and the eyes of the people who put them in a position of power. 

This idea of supporting a walkable district, density, etc - these are foreign concepts to JTA.  Toys, as you will.  Things like the Riverside Trolley is just a small side project to them.  Nothing really important compared to it's main mission of moving the lower class workforce who can't afford cars from it's home to their place of work.  Anything beyond that fundamental goal is foreign to them. 

To get JTA's and the people who put JTA's power in, you need to talk more about moving lower class workers from home to work otherwise they won't have a clue what your talking about. 

That is, or rather should be, the goal of all public transportation systems.  It seems to me it always has been.  The "bread and butter", if you will, of all public transportation is providing a needed service to those who must or need to use the system to get to work or appointments, etc.  Moving the upwardly mobile to have fun is simply the desert.   While in Jacksonville the "bread and butter" users may be in the lower social economic groups, in most successful cities with walkable urban cores, it is a varied mix as higher income groups (who can afford to drive cars) use the public transportation system as it is easy and convenient to do so.

Peestandingup's post sort of says why we are where we are.  Like most cities, we abandoned the urban core to the poorest of us.

While I am far from an expert, I can see that unless you include the lower income classes in any decision about routes or street car or anything involving public transportation, you are reducing your chances of success.  That group, the one that often does not have other transportation, will be the first to use that street car, for instance, to go buy their groceries, go to work at those restaurants we all want and to go make that doctor's appointment.  Without them, it seems the costs can not ever be covered.  They come (to use the system) first, the more upwardly mobile second.
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Ocklawaha

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2011, 10:50:16 AM »

If you build a system designed around the poor, you have limited yourself to that market only. If you design it around the rich, the poor will also climb on board, effectively doubling your market. Jacksonville's average citizen hasn't a clue that our rush hour buses are filled with professionals, anyone doubting this fact should stand in front of the Courthouse Annex bus stop between 4:45 and 6:00 pm.

The idea that we must cater to the poor if we ever want to "cover our costs of operation," is equally absurd. In the entire world, one can count the mass transit systems that pay for themselves on two hands.

The problem here is seeing transit as 'a ride,' rather then a tool toward a superior urban lifestyle. "Does it have good transit?" is one of the top three questions asked by relocation specialists. So if your goal is primarily to serve those who won't or can't drive, you'll never achieve the balance that makes the city a desirable place to live. Any city could have attractive infrastructure as fine as our own Laura Street, but without excellent mass transit, it is a feudal persuit.

Roads move cars, mass transit moves people. Splitting JTA into a transit agency and a road building entity would assure us that at least one municipal authority is 100% committed to mobility choice.

Mobility for the poor has been the local mind set so long that the entire JTA system is littered with half finished projects, out of date signs, poor maintenance and layers of false promises. Board the bus here and you stand in the mud and roadside garbage, board the bus there and your in a brand new shelter, read the signs and you'll go nowhere. If Nordstrom's department stores were as, "on top of their game," as JTA, they would have sold out to Wal-Mart years ago.

JTA will quickly tell you about their award winning management.  They won't tell you the good ol' boys got friendly appointments to positions of power and then awards were 'invented' for window dressing.  As a transit agency, JTA is not.


OCKLAWAHA

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2011, 11:44:48 AM »
1. Do any of our peer cities have good bus service that is responsive to customers?
2. Is it legal for private companies or individuals to compete with JTA?
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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2011, 12:10:42 PM »
Yes and yes. Gainesville carries as many passengers in a year as does JTA. St. Augustine's 'Sunshine Bus' is truly an award winning operation with recgoniction from magazines such as Mass Transit and Metro. We already have many privately held local bus operators, but they are smart enough to not to get into the city transit business.

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fieldafm

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2011, 01:14:25 PM »
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Gainesville carries as many passengers in a year as does JTA

They get a BIG boost b/c UF students ride free and there are bus lines that go through campus.

BUT, the Later Gator service that runs late night on University Blvd is something that can be easily replicated for the Riverside Trolley... hell we do it in Jax Beach. 

Taltran is a pretty good service to study that's also pretty close.  Comparable to Jacksonville(Tallahassee has similar characteristics to Jax as far as land use, albeit on a smaller scale)


urbanlibertarian

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2011, 03:25:33 PM »
When I said peer cities I guess I meant pop. 500k to 1.5 million and mucho sprawl.  I ride G-ville's Gator Aider service from DT to the stadium and back and have been very pleased.  I'm thinking private bus/van/jitney could do these specialized "trolley" routes and make money while being responsive to riders in the way that private businesses are and JTA is not.
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ChriswUfGator

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2011, 09:15:26 AM »
Gainesville, I used to take the bus every day, even though I had a car. But I wouldn't have if Gainesville's RTS had been run like JTA, where it woukd take 4 hours and 2 transfers to get to school and back. If RTS had been run like JTA, I'd have sooner taken a hot air balloon and prayed the wind would blow the right way. And no doubt I'd still have had a better chance at making it there on time than with JTA. It was free yes, you just show them your Gator 1 card and they had some deal with UF that the school paid them for student transportation they were happy to do it since that's cheaper than building a bunch of parking garages. But free or not, if it were run like JTA, I wouldn't have been able to afford using it because it's always late and unreliable, if you have anywhere to be on time JTA is pretty much a non-option, or else you better leave 2 hours early.


simms3

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2011, 11:07:13 AM »
Oklawaha, good points.

JTA's busses are about the nicest and newest I have seen, but putting people who have their own cars on typical city busses is next to impossible in almost any city outside of the really dense northern cities.

What I have noticed where I live is that a lot of professionals love the express busses.  These are $3/ride and run from Midtown/Downtown to park and ride or transfer points in the suburbs with no stops in between.  The busses themselves are coach style with comfortable raised seating.  I have never heard of any crime statistics on the express busses, but I hear of shootings and robberies weekly on MARTA city busses (I wouldn't be caught dead on a city bus).  The express busses are run by many different transit organizations: GRTA (pronounced Greta), CCT (Cobb County), Gwinnett County Transit, Xpress, and others.  There is a drop off point in front of my building at the Art Center MARTA station, and let me tell you, during rush hour there are 5 busses at a time coming and going, all full.  I can't remember how many people a day use the express busses up here, but I remember it being a large number (tens of thousands maybe?).

I think Jacksonville can have success in 2-3 express bus routes using charter busses.  You have to do the beaches.  You have to do the Avenues.  And you have to do Orange Park.  It would be a super cheap fix.

The reason why city bus service in Jacksonville can't be super successful is for three reasons: our routes for one.  Our stations are nonexistent.  And we are not dense enough to support bus service every 15 minutes, or even every 30 minutes.  There are not enough riders, even if we made route and station improvements.  I think the metric to support bus service once an hour is around 4,000 ppsm, and we barely have that in areas.

JTA does need to split into two separate agencies, though.  I don't even think there is a "road building" city agency up here.  I believe it's all a part of the Dept of Public Works and GDOT.  Lord knows whatever road building model we use up here is not the one to emulate: massive payoffs, kickbacks, corruption, etc.  Our lead GDOT guy just had to resign, as a matter of fact.  The potholes still cover the city and cost drivers millions each year, yet our 20 lane highways get a good repaving for hundreds of millions of dollars every couple years.

fieldafm

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2011, 11:15:39 AM »
Quote
I think Jacksonville can have success in 2-3 express bus routes using charter busses.  You have to do the beaches.  You have to do the Avenues.  And you have to do Orange Park.  It would be a super cheap fix.

Those express routes already exist.  They all go downtown though.  The major employment center is on the Southside now, not downtown so it would make sense for those expres routes to link up to the Southside as well as downtown... and have a much more organized feeder system once you get to the Southside.  The article Lake posted about Miami's express busses that have wifi and attract choice riders was interesting.

simms3

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2011, 12:31:10 PM »
^^^Field, wi-fi and amenities is what I am referring to when I talk about express busses.  Jacksonville does not have express busses.  It has express city busses, which are poor excuses for "express" busses.  Does JTA use charter busses?  Does JTA provide wireless?  Does JTA charge $3/ride for express routes?  Does JTA offer park and ride or viable connections at express pickups and dropoffs?  I think the answer is no to all of the above, so therefore JTA does not use express busses.  CCT, GCT, and GRTA Xpress busses move about 37,000 people a day (weekdays only).

From GRTA's site: "With plenty of legroom, reclining seats, luggage racks, electrical outlets (some seats) and reading lamps — it's a first class way to ride."  I believe CCT and GCT provide wireless on their express busses.  All three are choice rider systems.  They are too expensive for the poor and they are clean and crime free, thus attracting middle class workers.

Ocklawaha

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2011, 11:04:34 PM »
Jacksonville including all of Duval County has a density of 1,133.9 people per square mile. Atlanta might have a density of 4,019.7 ppsm, but the Atlanta Metro Area, roughly analogous to Duval County (the extent of JTA) is actually 629.4 ppsm.

Truth be told, there really is no formula of density = schedule headways. The fact is the supposed formula is trotted out by the anti-transit crowd to prove that (name any project) won't work. Every single city and every MSA has it's own unique set of population v mobility challenges. Take Orlando for example, because of lakes, 4 onetime military reservations and insanely rapid growth, you have a metro of 2,000,000 plus, with what amounts to a single main highway. It really doesn't matter how dense the population is along the east or west edges of Orlando, if your going north or south, where the main employers are, your going on I-4. Though Orlando's density is 2,134 ppsm, that entire population is forced into very few extremely crowded corridor. Atlanta has the same type situations, nobody is building apartments on top of Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Sweetwater Creek State Park or Lake Lanier, thus each corridor around those places is likely to be much denser then the average square mile of ground. 

Some cities that are much smaller might have highly successful transit operations, St. Augustine, Gainesville and Stillwater, Oklahoma are just 3 examples. Note that I didn't say 'profitable' or 'cover the cost of operations,' successful equals popular, punctual, clean, efficient, progressive, aggressive, in-demand, welcome and welcoming, mass transit. Gainesville and Stillwater both operate in cities dominated by major university's, St. Augustine has a large centrally located college and just short of 7 million visitors a year, tourism that creates a demand for thousands of service level jobs. Success isn't so much that these cities have been somehow 'blessed' with a successful 'excuse' for being winners, as it is that they recognised these demographics and responded to them.

Jacksonville grew up on the railroad, even as a teen in Jacksonville there were little flag stop stations all over the county... Greenland, Bayard, Sunbeam, South Jacksonville, Yukon, Springfield, Whitehouse, etc.. Further the city has grown up around it's river port and it's military presence creating unique crisscrossing corridors connecting the dots and strung along railroad lines, past (such as Atlantic, Beach, Wonderwood) as well as current. Our US Highways and our Interstates ALL follow historical railroad corridors. Lastly  you have to factor in the miles and miles of nothing between Cecil Commerce Center and the county line near Callahan, or the miles of empty marsh between Little Talbot Island and North Main Street. Using our historic corridors as your measure and you come up with a much denser city, denser in fact then many cities with rail based metros.

To over simplify the problem in Jacksonville, JTA simply has failed to respond to the needs and historical travel patterns in Jacksonville. Ultimately JTA fails across the board, it is not popular, punctual, clean, efficient, progressive, aggressive, in-demand, welcome or welcoming.

Is there a demand for a dedicated express bus between the Nuclear Submarine Base at Kings Bay, and Mayport or NAS Jax? Does anybody at JTA even know where Kings Bay is at?  How many times have we met with RTS from Gainesville and Greyhound Lines to discuss a real connection between Shand's and UF? Does JTA know that Camp Blanding is no longer a sleepy home for weekend warriors and does in fact train Army, Marine and other units of our military? JTA laid out 90 miles of commuter rail, how many of those miles currently have dedicated express buses? Can I get directly from UNF/Town Center/Baymeadows to Orange Park? Can I get on JTA and get off in downtown St. Augustine? Green Cove Springs? How about Julington Creek Plantation? Nocatee? Fernandina Beach? Middleburg? Are St. Augustine buses welcome into downtown Jacksonville? Locally can I get from NAS to Cecil or Mayport on a single coach? Bus? How about NAS to anywhere on a single bus? How often can I get to Cecil Commerce Center, Aquatics Center, Equestrian Center, or the Zoo? Can I ride directly from the Library to UNF, JU, FSCJ and Edward Waters? Mandarin, Lake Forest or San Jose to the Beaches seamlessly?  If not why not?

JTA fails largely because the same clueless managers, directors and planners that brought us the failed and incomplete Skyway, The Southbank Parking Garage, and plans for a Vatican City sized Transportation Center, continue to bumble along with false starts, wasteful practices, and a 'CYA' business plan. With the exception of a few newer faces, the entire organization should shift to highway planning and the city should create a responsive mass transit agency with those few bright stars at it's center.


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« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 11:31:10 PM by Ocklawaha »

ChriswUfGator

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Re: JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service
« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2011, 12:06:35 PM »
Oklawaha, good points.

JTA's busses are about the nicest and newest I have seen, but putting people who have their own cars on typical city busses is next to impossible in almost any city outside of the really dense northern cities.

What I have noticed where I live is that a lot of professionals love the express busses.  These are $3/ride and run from Midtown/Downtown to park and ride or transfer points in the suburbs with no stops in between.  The busses themselves are coach style with comfortable raised seating.  I have never heard of any crime statistics on the express busses, but I hear of shootings and robberies weekly on MARTA city busses (I wouldn't be caught dead on a city bus).  The express busses are run by many different transit organizations: GRTA (pronounced Greta), CCT (Cobb County), Gwinnett County Transit, Xpress, and others.  There is a drop off point in front of my building at the Art Center MARTA station, and let me tell you, during rush hour there are 5 busses at a time coming and going, all full.  I can't remember how many people a day use the express busses up here, but I remember it being a large number (tens of thousands maybe?).

I think Jacksonville can have success in 2-3 express bus routes using charter busses.  You have to do the beaches.  You have to do the Avenues.  And you have to do Orange Park.  It would be a super cheap fix.

The reason why city bus service in Jacksonville can't be super successful is for three reasons: our routes for one.  Our stations are nonexistent.  And we are not dense enough to support bus service every 15 minutes, or even every 30 minutes.  There are not enough riders, even if we made route and station improvements.  I think the metric to support bus service once an hour is around 4,000 ppsm, and we barely have that in areas.

JTA does need to split into two separate agencies, though.  I don't even think there is a "road building" city agency up here.  I believe it's all a part of the Dept of Public Works and GDOT.  Lord knows whatever road building model we use up here is not the one to emulate: massive payoffs, kickbacks, corruption, etc.  Our lead GDOT guy just had to resign, as a matter of fact.  The potholes still cover the city and cost drivers millions each year, yet our 20 lane highways get a good repaving for hundreds of millions of dollars every couple years.

The buses aren't the problem. The drivers, routes, headways, management, and general attitude are JTA's problem.

I don't think anyone is arguing JTA doesn't know how to sign a check to buy a new bus. Writing checks is actually about the one thing they seem to be good at. You can have the nicest bus on the planet, if the service sucks nobody will use it.