Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Raleigh Transit Throws Mungowitz Under the Bus

As all of you know, I am ALL about the greening of my life. So, as part of my renewed dedication to making easy things difficult, and reducing my productivity by wasting my time on useless pro-environment symbolism, I thought about taking the bus from my house to the airport. It's a trip I make often, and I wanted to know if the huge public subsidy to the bus system actually provides anything we can use.

Because, my suspicion is that our bus "service" is mostly designed to provide sinecures for bus drivers. Since the busses are nearly always empty, I assume this meant that the drivers find actually stopping for passengers to be annoying.

Anyway, I went to the Triangle Transit central web site, and asked the crack computer staff (yes, I think they smoke crack) to plan a route for me. Here is.... that first route they suggested:

Walk - 3.25 miles From:
08:31PM - 10020 bushveld ln, Raleigh

To: 09:45PM - Brennan at Creedmoor
33c - CAT - Glenwood-Creedmoor Connector - 0h 21m
Get on: 09:45PM - Stop #8693 - Brennan at Creedmoor
Get off: 10:06PM - Stop #8367 - Duraleigh at Glenwood

Walk - 6.86 miles
From: 10:06PM - Duraleigh at Glenwood
To: 12:43AM - RDU Airport at Terminal 1


Okay, got that? They suggest I walk three miles, then take a bus, then walk 7 miles from there to the airport. Not exactly excellent service. That's 4 hours to get to the airport, and that's assuming I can walk at a pretty good clip, carrying luggage. But, to be fair, there was another suggestion....

Walk - 6.95 miles
From: 09:07PM - 10020 bushveld ln, Raleigh
To: 11:46PM - RDU Airport at Terminal 1


In other words, by simply walking, I can make the trip in only 2.5 hours. What I like about this is that the computer actually suggests this as a viable route. Doesn't say, "no service." It says, "Hey, fat ass, I gots yer bus route right here: WALK!"

To paraphrase Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction," I'd have more respect for the bus system if they just told me to go to hell.

Of course, that was in the evening. Maybe there is a better way in the morning, right? The computer suggested:

Walk - 3.25 miles
From: 09:16AM - 10020 bushveld ln, Raleigh
To: 10:30AM - Brennan at Creedmoor
4 - CAT - Rex Hospital - 0h 41m
Get on: 10:30AM - Stop #8693 - Brennan at Creedmoor
Get off: 11:11AM - Stop #8273 - Hillsborough at Friendly

Walk - 0.03 miles
From: 11:11AM - Hillsborough at Friendly
To: 11:11AM - Hillsborough at Dixie
105 - Triangle Transit - RTP/Raleigh - 0h 25m
Get on: 11:45AM - Stop #8241 - Hillsborough at Dixie
Get off: 12:10PM - Stop #1000 - Regional Transit Center (RTC)

747 - Triangle Transit - RDU Airport Shuttle - 0h 9m
Get on: 12:20PM - Stop #1000 - Regional Transit Center (RTC)
Get off: 12:29PM - Stop #1576 - RDU Airport at Terminal 1


Remember, this is less than 7 miles. At the BEST, the bus system can get me there
in 3 and 1/2 hours, with 44 minutes of wait time.

No wonder the computer I suggested I walk. The computer knows how messed up the bus schedule is!

14 comments:

Norman said...

To me, the moral is clear: 60+ years of subsidized urban sprawl cannot be remedied by subsidized public transit.

Anonymous said...

But if the buses went to the airport, who would ever take a taxi?

Anonymous said...

To echo what Anon #1 said, if they took you to the airport, who would park (or rather pay to park) in that new-fangled 12-story deck they finished building at RDU, couple years back?

And to echo Norman, you shouldn't blame the ills of your viable transportation options on CAT/Triangle Transit. Blame more likely rests on Smedes York and all the wannabe Roarks of Raleigh.

To illustrate: 2 years ago, I assembled an electric bike, with the purpose of taking it from my home (W. Raleigh, near State) to my office (North Raleigh, near Millbrook/Falls of THE Neuse.) Approximately 7 miles. I finished it just in time to change jobs. Now I'm heading to RTP instead (~20 miles.)

Despite having a 4 mile stretch through Umstead, and a 2 mile stretch of placid State campus, and 8-10 miles of suburban/bikeable route, and a battery with a 25 mile range, (and an auto commute reminescent of LA County or Metro Atlanta,) I can't make this journey.

Why? Briar Creek. There is a cordon around Wake County at around the airport that essentially makes non-auto transportation from N.W. Raleigh into S.E. Durham suicidal.

You can call it the 540 force-field.

We have had 40 years of sprawl that has given us such beauties as Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, filled with individual-minded folks who are apt to emulate the Cobb/Gwinnett example rather than present non-drivers a chance of a viable transportation (or life itself.)

As a libertarian, I would hope that you have some self-awareness that our density issue is not the fault of CAT. Thanks to our collective individual choices, it cannot be something that CAT can answer when the OPEC bell starts ringing. Our lack of viable options will be the death of our community.

Anonymous said...

You should have just stopped at the introduction to CAT web page

"Welcome to Transit

        "Driving in Raleigh can be a hassle with parking, traffic and traveling costs. Make your commute easier and catch a cat! Whether it is to take a trip to the mall, go to work or run errands around town, Capital Area Transit (cat) provides service throughout the city of Raleigh to make your commute an easy one."

See clearly Airport is not on the list.

Anonymous said...

Did someone force you to live somewhere where there is no bus service?

If you want to take the bus to the airport, move to a location where you can actually walk to a bus line. I take the bus to the airport all the time (just did it yesterday in fact). Oh, and I purposely moved to a location that is on a bus line.

Seriously, what else should we bring you in your new subdivision north of I-540? Would you like a walkable downtown area? A 5-minute bike ride to your work? Anything else?

Sheesh.

Green Ghost said...

The previous anon makes a very good point. Public transit isn't around just to employ bus drivers, it's also a tool policy makers can use to influence where people decide to live.

Anonymous said...

Anon, bus rider, and Green Ghost, the question is why does the 95% that virtually never ride transit have to pay for atleast 80% of the cost for the 1% that do ride transit. Could it be that comparative advantage and markets could produce much better green economics?

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Martin said...

Another reason why I actually prefer living in Germany. But, oh wait, maybe the German State just wanted me think this by subsidizing public transport big time.

Higheranonymous Bosh said...

Sounds like your MSA needs some light rail, stat. Then the buses can be turned into shuttles connecting housing developments to rail stations. Then when nobody rides the trains you can boost gasoline taxes to cover the operating losses.

See how easy it is to be a city planner? That's why our cities are in such good shape.

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