The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jitneys in Seattle discussed on Seattle PI Forum

From the PI
Jitneys:Another idea pushed by some opposed to Light Rail and even current bus systems

Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 10/21/07 3:06 p.m.

Now, I admit that our current bus system does not serve everybody, but their are ways to make it better. I was listening to the Roads and Transit debate on the October 15th edition of KUOW's The Conversation, and one caller said that instead of rail, we should de-centralize our bus system, as that will be the only way to get people from where they live to where they are going. Now the caller also was the one that said the Road Construction itself would cause congestion!

Now I am all for jitneys, but not as a cure-all that displaces every fixed-route in the Metro system. I am all for Jitney Stands at SOUNDER stations in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwilla, Seattle, Edmunds, Mukilteo, and Everett. The Shared Taxi has it's uses, and it's disadvantages. It will not replace routes like the 7, 15, and other heavily used Metro routes.

The caller pushed a blog advocating Jitneys, and not much on it.

There was this link to an old John Niles commentary attacking Rail Transit.

Jitneys, also known as Shared Taxis, have there uses, and one is ironically, to answer the argument that Light Rail will only serve those who live right near the stations. That helps fuel the argument that nobody will ride it. Now regular bus routes would be re-done to better serve those stations, but maybe it might be worth trying a market-based approach to provide more coverage within a certain perimeter around the stations, especially in areas that have little bus service. Pierce Transit should try it out to make Bus Plus even more effective.

Here is a piece on the idea of a Smart Jitney, which looks more like a regular car than a shared taxi that has the capacity to meet our needs.

Now I would like to see employers use the Commute Trip Reduction Act, maybe some amendments to make more employers covered under it. Now most would opt for more vanpools, but some large employers might start their own bus system, like Microsoft did. The other employers that might be able to do it, are Boeing and Paccar.

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Posted by Tcmetro at 10/21/07 4:10 p.m. in reply to: #1503678

Jitneys should be put in at suburban locations, but in the city, bus routes are usually located 1/4-1/2 of a mile away from each other, and with decent sidewalks, they wouldn't be used much, except in bad weather. In some cities Jitneys are the transit system, but this is typically where streets are two narrow, the city is small, and highly dense, and highly centralized, and also is impovershed countries.
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 10/21/07 4:30 p.m. in reply to: #1503924

The caller that made the suggestion was calling from South King County, but 7-15 years ago, some might have called that area impoverished, I know that a show on King 5 made fun of it, and Ballard.(Not me, I got an uncle that lives in Auburn) SOUNDER continues to prove it can attract riders, and it provided transit access to Seattle that Pierce Transit never thought of, or justified. I do not think a Jitney would have done that. Now SOUNDER formed vanpools to get people from Bonney Lake to the SOUNDER stations.

Also, another reason why Streetcar and Bus Operators had the old Jitneys regulated into extinction in most American Cities? They were racing ahead of their streetcars and Buses, stealing passengers. Think anybody would want that in this day and age? Now I would want safeguards in place against somebody trying that today. Now they would need a fleet of double-decker buses to probably steal passengers from SOUNDER, and would have to speed to catch up with SOUNDER, so I would go for ticketing bus drivers for speeding, possibly Metro drivers too, like they used to.(I heard the story of the Trolleybus driver who stood up to a cop once for not having the tip of his pole clear the intersection before the light went red, kind of ended the ticketing of bus drivers).
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 11/1/07 2:52 p.m. in reply to: #1503976

One area where a Jitney experiment should be tried, is King County Metro pulling out of local service in South King County, and East King County East of Issaquah and Woodinville. Maybe even not put limits on the amount of Jitneys, but still enforce tough safety standards. See if it works out. Then if it does, extend it to under-served areas of Pierce and Snohomish Counties.
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 11/21/07 7:36 p.m. in reply to: #1509319

With the failure of Prop 1, and if any Regional Board gets set up, maybe this concept should be taken up, to enhance local service in areas that are not doing too well, or have no local service.
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 12/12/07 6:45 p.m. in reply to: #1521734

Now one route that could use a smaller bus is the portion of the 25 between the University Bridge and Montlake Bridge. There is a place on that route where one has to stop to let the other bus pass, because it is too narrow.
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Posted by Kurosawa at 12/13/07 11:08 a.m. in reply to: #1503678

Private jitneys open up a regulation nightmare. As it is, there are all kinds of problems with "town cars," with many using them to get around the taxi cab regulations and license requirements. Many town car drivers have no insurance and expose passengers to liability and risk in the case of accident and injury.

The expansion of the light rail system will naturally result in more cross-town feeder buses and area shuttles linking to LRT stations. That could obviate any need for "jitneys".

Some, of course, think that a third-world transportation system would be great...
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 12/26/07 7:31 p.m. in reply to: #1535116

Mass Transit Magazine has a little interesting article on privatization of Mass Transit. One thing is for certain, Commuter Rail and Light Rail might connect suburbs built around the automobile with each other, but internal circulation might be a problem, as the cul de sacs and outher obstructions are a bane to fixed-route services. Also fuel and labor costs will be a big factor, ironically as fuel costs are driving suburban dwellers to what public transit options they do have.
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Posted by Kurosawa at 12/27/07 12:00 p.m. in reply to: #1542353

In that case, I think you go to on-call shuttle-vans which don't follow a particular route. With an automated system, you could simply call in or connect through the Internet and give the particulars of your trip, similar to how Trip Planner works. You'd be automatically added to the driver's itinerary and you'd be provided with an approximate time for your pickup and your arrival. You could have your whole trip planned out for you, including transfers. Destinations could include a light rail station, a BRT/express bus stop, any regular bus line in the area, or other main destinations (such as shopping centers/districts, hospitals/clinics, theatres, etc.).

People could go for that, particularly with the escalating cost of gasoline and parking adding extra incentive.

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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 1/17/08 6:37 p.m. in reply to: #1542655

You have a point there. I would go for demonstrating such a system with any ST Package that goes to the voters, include mandating making the liscenses available for it.

The New Mobility Agenda suggests the idea of dynamic ridesharing as a primary mode, but using the communication tools we now have.
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 2/4/08 10:14 p.m. in reply to: #1560911
Last edited at 2/4/08 10:16 p.m.

Here is one such operation in Britain, called Texxi. They offer multiple types for different journey needs.
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Posted by diehardTRANSITadvocate at 2/24/08 12:12 a.m. in reply to: #1571878

Although Buses and Streetcars will get the nod for the land-side connections for the King County Ferry District, Jitneys would have a role as well, especially on Vashon Island. A shared taxi system would probably be more effective than The 117 and other routes on the island. The dispatching system should be an advanced hybrid version of what taxis use, and Access Paratransit.

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