For Mass Transit to Work, You First Need ‘Mass’

 

In my experience, mass transit works best in densely-populated cities.  There is a lot more actual demand for mass transit, and city systems can be full at least during rush hour.  Unfortunately, the Leftists who run West Coast cities are enamored of mass transit, and totally ignore the fact that they simply lack the “mass” to make it work.  Seattle is in love with “light rail,” and their mostly-leftist voters voted to increase taxes on everything (sales, property, cars) to pay for a light-rail system.  That system is partly running now, from north Seattle to the airport, but it really isn’t drawing many riders.

Of course, they hadn’t counted on a pandemic of respiratory disease that shut down the system for months, then had few riders when it re-opened; they had successfully persuaded citizens that they should fear all their fellow citizens, which doesn’t contribute much to the demand for packed rail cars or buses.  Of course, Sound Transit bemoans its funding shortfalls, which could have been expected in any case.  Then, they let kids ride free, contributing even more to the funding shortfall.  And their trains have become rolling homeless shelters, making legitimate riders very uncomfortable.

Now, they are extending the light rail to Tacoma, and there are some very unhappy business owners there, as shown by this story today: Construction Delays Pile Up. Here’s a quote:

The extension is set to have six new stations as free bus shuttles will replace Tacoma Link service for a few weeks this summer while crews connect the existing line with the Hilltop extension.

“They broke ground in front of my shop in summer of 2019. Fast forward three years, they’re still closing roads here all around my shop,” Salamone said. “They still got construction materials and construction vehicles strewn about alongside road signs, closures. They’re still digging up parts of the rail that they already installed, and then just chip it all out. And, you know, I can’t even imagine what the carbon footprint of this project is.”

Salamone stated a dip in sales occurs immediately with each closure or construction project that his business has to work around.

“The more trouble people have coming to patronize your business, the less people are going to come,” Salamone said.

Exactly what we would have expected.  But the Left never listens to reason, they just go by their feelings.  And WE pay, and pay, and pay.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    On the one hand, I’ve lived in places (Innsbrueck) and visited places (London, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, Venice, Washington DC, New York City) where you could do fantastically well without a car.  I loved it. Like this guy, I hate needing a car, which I do where I live.

    Multiple factors have to come together to make it a nice, civilized experience. BART and Minneapolis are going in the very wrong direction. 

    • #151
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    LOL

     

     

     

    On the one hand, I’ve lived in places (Innsbrueck) and visited places (London, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, Venice, Washington DC, New York City) where you could do fantastically well without a car. I loved it. Like this guy, I hate needing a car, which I do where I live.

    On the other hand… the economist in me annoyingly insists on asking, “Would I be willing to pay what it costs to consume that product?

    Darn economists.

    We’ll never know (I didn’t have to pay for the product when I consumed it. Somebody confiscated the money and paid it for me).

    The nice thing about replacing coercion with markets is that we would find out just what is worth it, and what is not. Maybe I would not want to own a car at all!

     

    Or maybe you would come to see it like I do.  My individually-owned automobile is my Liberty.  It takes me anywhere I want to go, whenever I want to go there, with no permissions.  It operates on my schedule, and can take me across town, or across the country.  The infrastructure to keep in fueled-up and maintained exists nearly everywhere in our country, so I never worry about it breaking down or running out of fuel.  It enables me to take a job in my city, or in any place where I can drive.  It enables my freedom to do just about anything I want to.  And I pay for 100% of its costs, and am happy to do so.

    Just think of the dilemma of a “battered wife” who has no car, and little money.  How difficult would it be for her to leave her husband, without a car?  It would be much easier if she could pack a suitcase, get into her car, and drive to whatever shelter she chooses.  Can you imagine her needing to use government transportation after midnight? 

    I’ll keep my car, thank you.

    • #152
  3. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    It is impossible to beat the overall utility of individual vehicles and roads. 

    • #153
  4. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    On the one hand, I’ve lived in places (Innsbrueck) and visited places (London, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, Venice, Washington DC, New York City) where you could do fantastically well without a car. I loved it. Like this guy, I hate needing a car, which I do where I live.

    Multiple factors have to come together to make it a nice, civilized experience. BART and Minneapolis are going in the very wrong direction.

    The very wrong direction that all of these “charitable, compassionate” givers of what you and 95% of the public think is free stuff, in cases OTHER than BART and Minneapolis, are going in is this: trying to convince you that it’s free stuff.

    There is no free stuff.

    Everything has a cost and that cost has to be paid. The socialistic politicians may invest other people’s money in wonderful products, perfectly maintained in perpetuity.  But it’s still a loss to society, 80 cents on every dollar they so “efficiently” spend.

    • #154
  5. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    LOL

     

     

     

    On the one hand, I’ve lived in places (Innsbrueck) and visited places (London, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, Venice, Washington DC, New York City) where you could do fantastically well without a car. I loved it. Like this guy, I hate needing a car, which I do where I live.

    On the other hand… the economist in me annoyingly insists on asking, “Would I be willing to pay what it costs to consume that product?

    Darn economists.

    We’ll never know (I didn’t have to pay for the product when I consumed it. Somebody confiscated the money and paid it for me).

    The nice thing about replacing coercion with markets is that we would find out just what is worth it, and what is not. Maybe I would not want to own a car at all!

     

    Or maybe you would come to see it like I do. My individually-owned automobile is my Liberty. It takes me anywhere I want to go, whenever I want to go there, with no permissions. It operates on my schedule, and can take me across town, or across the country. The infrastructure to keep in fueled-up and maintained exists nearly everywhere in our country, so I never worry about it breaking down or running out of fuel. It enables me to take a job in my city, or in any place where I can drive. It enables my freedom to do just about anything I want to. And I pay for 100% of its costs, and am happy to do so.

    Just think of the dilemma of a “battered wife” who has no car, and little money. How difficult would it be for her to leave her husband, without a car? It would be much easier if she could pack a suitcase, get into her car, and drive to whatever shelter she chooses. Can you imagine her needing to use government transportation after midnight?

    I’ll keep my car, thank you.

    Sorry, I have miscommunicated badly.  Of what I meant, I communicated nothing, and of the ideas you think I meant, I meant none, and reject all.. 

    • #155
  6. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    LOL

     

     

     

    On the one hand, I’ve lived in places (Innsbrueck) and visited places (London, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, Venice, Washington DC, New York City) where you could do fantastically well without a car. I loved it. Like this guy, I hate needing a car, which I do where I live.

    On the other hand… the economist in me annoyingly insists on asking, “Would I be willing to pay what it costs to consume that product?

    Darn economists.

    We’ll never know (I didn’t have to pay for the product when I consumed it. Somebody confiscated the money and paid it for me).

    The nice thing about replacing coercion with markets is that we would find out just what is worth it, and what is not. Maybe I would not want to own a car at all!

     

    Or maybe you would come to see it like I do. My individually-owned automobile is my Liberty. It takes me anywhere I want to go, whenever I want to go there, with no permissions. It operates on my schedule, and can take me across town, or across the country. The infrastructure to keep in fueled-up and maintained exists nearly everywhere in our country, so I never worry about it breaking down or running out of fuel. It enables me to take a job in my city, or in any place where I can drive. It enables my freedom to do just about anything I want to. And I pay for 100% of its costs, and am happy to do so.

    Just think of the dilemma of a “battered wife” who has no car, and little money. How difficult would it be for her to leave her husband, without a car? It would be much easier if she could pack a suitcase, get into her car, and drive to whatever shelter she chooses. Can you imagine her needing to use government transportation after midnight?

    I’ll keep my car, thank you.

    Sorry, I have miscommunicated badly. Of what I meant, I communicated nothing, and of the ideas you think I meant, I meant none, and reject all..

    That’s OK, and I won’t hold it against you. I have been an Econ buff since I had to take it at the community college. Everyone needs a basic understanding of economics to really be an informed citizen. Too bad there are so few these days. 

    • #156
  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    It gets to be kind of a downer at 4:00. This is going to be one hell of a risk. I suppose the Fed will “pay” for all of it. lol

    Minneapolis doesn’t have the limits to sprawl like Seattle does and the Fed is still going to “pay” for the choo-choo train. lol 

    The other thing that is amazing on this is, they are going to fix the train vertically to the floating bridge. Supposedly they’ve got it all figured out how it isn’t going to collapse into the water during an earthquake. OMG. 

    If you’ve never seen how cool Seattle is this is a very good video.

     

     

     

     

     

    • #157
  8. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    It gets to be kind of a downer at 4:00. This is going to be one hell of a risk. I suppose the Fed will “pay” for all of it. lol

    Minneapolis doesn’t have the limits to sprawl like Seattle does and the Fed is still going to “pay” for the choo-choo train. lol

    The other thing that is amazing on this is, they are going to fix the train vertically to the floating bridge. Supposedly they’ve got it all figured out how it isn’t going to collapse into the water during an earthquake. OMG.

    If you’ve never seen how cool Seattle is this is a very good video.

     

     

     

     

     

    Great video, thanks!  Seattle truly is an exquisite gem in the crown of America.  I trust that it will survive the current occupation by the statists and achieve its potential. 

    The production system for transportation services is badly broken (I’ve had to commute on I-5, and you can take my word for it just from that, even though I don’t live there). Mass transit is one way to potentially improve its efficiency. Individual vehicles with improved integrated systems for (a) traffic data collection and control and (b) energy distribution are another.  A symbiotic combination of the two is better than either by itself.

    The statists in charge will accidentally do the right thing to some degree, even if for the wrong reason. 

    But as an economist I say, “You could do so much better were you to learn to think rationally.”

    Market economics, or what von Mises called catallactics, by itself cannot tell us what policy is most beneficial to the public. Catallactics is inherently limited in these ways:

    • Policy requires collective value judgements; catallactics is wertfrei.  Loosely translated: “values-free”.  Sounds like VAIRT-fry but with “r’s” formed in the throat).
    • Market prices can’t signal externalized costs and benefits, only those that trade on markets.
    • In its current primitive state, scientific economics employs a Fallacy of Collection (one of the rare cases where modern mainstream economics is sometimes more correct than Austrian economics.)

      For example: Many individuals have these value rankings, from highest to lowest:

      • drive my car on I-5 with light traffic
      • ride public transit
      • sit in my car on I-5 in a traffic jam. 

        If each of these people optimizes his behavior, he will choose to drive his car. That will result in the worst result for all of his group than if each chose his second highest preference. To say that individual optimization will lead to collective optimization is “Fallacy of Collection”. Austrians often seem not to acknowledge it.

    But that doesn’t mean that you can just throw the conclusions of catallactics out.  Market economics disproves the arguments that most of the statists rely on for collectivizing the economy, including this part of the economy.  Thus, they can only be right by accident.

    • #158
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Downtown Seattle in places resembles San Francisco now.  Homeless tents everywhere, high crime, graffiti.  County judges have been assaulted on their way into the County Administration building.  But those same judges release serial offenders most times, allowing them to offend again.  Store owners are leaving, citing theft, assaults, break-ins, homeless blocking the entrances to their stores.  Seattle police are leaving at an alarming rate, causing police response times to crime to go up.  Seattle used to have the quickest response time to medical emergencies, but that no longer holds true.  Police and fire department employees are under a Covid vaccine mandate, and they are quitting rather than be vaccinated.  Still think Seattle is a gem?

    We do have beautiful scenery and a mild climate most of the time, but cars parked at trailheads are getting robbed while the owners are hiking.  We have the second-highest gas taxes, plastic bag ban statewide, and a high-priced real estate market.  Nice place to visit, but you might not want to live here.  In spite of the benefits of climate and scenery, the state and Seattle are losing population, even for techies.  Facebook, Google, Redfin all have operations here, but people are still leaving.

    • #159
  10. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Downtown Seattle in places resembles San Francisco now. Homeless tents everywhere, high crime, graffiti. County judges have been assaulted on their way into the County Administration building. But those same judges release serial offenders most times, allowing them to offend again. Store owners are leaving, citing theft, assaults, break-ins, homeless blocking the entrances to their stores. Seattle police are leaving at an alarming rate, causing police response times to crime to go up. Seattle used to have the quickest response time to medical emergencies, but that no longer holds true. Police and fire department employees are under a Covid vaccine mandate, and they are quitting rather than be vaccinated. Still think Seattle is a gem?

    We do have beautiful scenery and a mild climate most of the time, but cars parked at trailheads are getting robbed while the owners are hiking. We have the second-highest gas taxes, plastic bag ban statewide, and a high-priced real estate market. Nice place to visit, but you might not want to live here. In spite of the benefits of climate and scenery, the state and Seattle are losing population, even for techies. Facebook, Google, Redfin all have operations here, but people are still leaving.

    Doesn’t sound all that great to visit, either.

    • #160
  11. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I’m listening to Howie Carr right now. It sounds like Boston is just as bad as any of them. 

    I’d like to see a list of the ones that aren’t a disaster. Especially the ones with new choo-choo trains. 

    • #161
  12. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    We do have beautiful scenery and a mild climate most of the time, but cars parked at trailheads are getting robbed while the owners are hiking.  We have the second-highest gas taxes, plastic bag ban statewide, and a high-priced real estate market.  Nice place to visit, but you might not want to live here.  In spite of the benefits of climate and scenery, the state and Seattle are losing population, even for techies.  Facebook, Google, Redfin all have operations here, but people are still leaving.

    Funny how beauty only permits a little rape, robbery and pillaging before one’s priorities are altered.

    • #162
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