Monday, September 15, 2008

Bill Fulton Talks Metrolink

Bill has a very insightful post on Metrolink and its limits.


arcady said...

I'm not sure that it's really that insightful at all. For example, he compares BART to "L.A.'s rail transit system ... stitched together with a motley combination of rights-of-way and technologies." Has he been to the Bay Area? The Bay Area's transit system is, if anything, even worse, stitched together out of not just a patchwork of technologies (rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail) but also entirely different and not at all cooperative agencies (BART, Muni, Caltrain). In LA, at least all the urban trains and most of the buses are under one agency, and there are even free transfers from commuter rail to bus and subway/light rail.

And isn't the "patchwork of technologies" really just a matter of using the right tool for the right job? A heavy rail fully grade separated line to Long Beach would simply not have gotten built when the Blue Line was. And there's no place to run light rail on the surface in the dense urban areas where the Red Line goes, and given the density, it makes sense to use proper rapid transit cars. And for commuter rail, especially with the density of Metrolink it makes perfect sense to do what Metrolink did, namely buy rights of way and trackage rights from freight railroads and run trains as part of the national rail network. Of course it would help if there were more funding for all this, and especially LA County realized the true potential of Metrolink and funded it accordingly, but in the end, it will still be mainline trains running on mainline tracks, not some shiny retro-futuristic system like BART. And that's a good thing.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I absolutely agree with what you're saying about the patchwork, the right tool is implemented for different jobs.

And it would be silly to think that Metrolink should be a BART type system. It's not practical.

But for too long we've taken shortcuts, not investing in our future. I understand that Metrolink has done what needed to be done under the circumstances, but there was much more investment that needed to happen to make things work better. That's what I got out of the post.

Hey Arcady, shoot me an email. theoverheadwire gmail

kenf said...

Sounds like the Baltimore-Washington region.

Anonymous said...

The only failing with the bay area (and presumably LA, or though maybe less so) is that there are N different ticketing systems, and not enough timetable synchronization between the modes. If the bay area had a single ticket system (like for example Melbourne, AU) it would be fine.