Monday, December 14, 2009

Some Of The Work Ahead For Lextran

Here is a quote for the day.
For the bulk of the day, and on quieter routes, the average city bus usually undoes whatever efficiencies are gained during the few hours a day, on the few routes, where transit is at its peak.
Unfortunately, this is how many people think of Lexington's transit system. The many times that we see these buses, moments when we can take the time to estimate the current ridership, they are nearing the ends of their respective runs, either downtown or out in the suburban areas. And, as the quote says, during the "off peak" hours.

To all of the above, I can agree. Yet all of the above points out, to me, the need for Lextran to alter its thinking on some of the "off peak" routes and maybe all of its routes in general.

The current thinking for all routes appears to be "to get people from home to work". To that end all routes NEED to run from residential clusters, past job locations(shopping optional), past transfer opportunities, to residential clusters in order to start the cycle again. In this scenario, one can live at either end of the route and avail ones self to multiple instances of the middle opportunities. This seems to be very efficient, or would be if EVERYONE worked shift work or flexible hours.

Then there is this need for the destinations that are different than work/shopping and home. Destinations that are not ON a Lextran route. These are parks, schools and other special interest locations and may include some of the smaller shopping areas. Places that people also go to, in the middle of the day.

All in all, Lextran's system is less than efficient and it may not qualify for being "green". But is it less "green" than the mass of private vehicles plying the roads of Central Kentucky?

The personal auto may be proven to consume far fewer BTUs per passenger mile than transit vehicles, as per an article in the Vancouver Sun, but a majority of these said autos will be daily traveling nearly three times the distance of transit.

Adding to that, the yearly cost of ownership of personal autos which, on average, are used only 5% of the time. The other 95% is spent in some sort of storage, a garage, a parking lot or on the street, and the cost of maintaining said space should be factored into the expense ratios to transit.

Considering the environmental, economic and land use factors involved, Lextran has a great deal of work to do in order to become as efficient as they can be.

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