September 1992 Home   Newsletters

October 1992

November-December 1992

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony before the Planning Commission 9/2/92 (Arlene Ellis)
League Recommendations on Proposed Charter Amendments
Statement on Policy and the Environment - 1 (Astrid Monson)
Statement on Policy and the Environment - 2 (Jean Aoki)
Statement on Policy and the Environment - 3 (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony on Bill 122, Excise Tax Surcharge (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony on Bill 122, Excise Tax Surcharge - 2 (Astrid Monson)
Rail Opponents Challenged to Find Alternatives (Astrid Monson)
Letters to the Editor - 1 (Arlene Ellis)
Letters to the Editor - 2 (Muriel R. Roberts)
Letters to the Editor - 3 (Katherine Kocel (P.K.A. Loew) & Susan MacKinnon)
Letters to the Editor - 4 (Barbara Farwell)

Rail Opponents Challenged to Find Alternatives

Rail transit proponents, having lost their battle at least temporarily, have been taunting opponents to "come up with an alternative". Ever since League's consensus was reached in April 1990, we have repeatedly and consistently urged a state-of-the-art alternative which many disinterested transit professionals and scholars have long recommended --bus rapid transit. It was included in the last section of the "con" arguments in League's Pro-Con report of March 1990.

The so-called "TSM-bus" alternative set up in the City's 1990 Alternatives Analysis was an unrealistic, expensive, and unworkable bus proposal proposing doubling the present bus fleet and letting 1000 buses loose with almost no measures to get them through existing traffic at any acceptable speeds.

In July 1990, the City Council called for a study to formulate a bus alternative which would increase transit ridership or vehicle occupancy and reduce travel times of buses and other high occupancy vehicles, including "measures that include major capital improvements." In our testimony we urged "a viable TSM-bus system, combining all of the state-of-the-art non-rail measures now available."

"The City", we alleged, "never asked a consultant to develop a non-rail proposal that would work, and no consultant ever did."

"If a real non-rail alternative is not formulated," we asked, "what will you do if the national deficit crisis results in cancellation of funding new rail starts? ... If private investors do not come in with viable proposals?. . .If their costs are higher than the city estimates, if they offer to finance only a small part of these costs? ... If they demand unacceptable concessions in land or development rights?"

"If you have no alternative, we continued, "what will you do if ... fares have to be raised to $1.50 or more, as in other rail cities? ... If the private and public revenues available do not begin to cover the annual debt service and operating losses?... If private investors demand guarantees against such losses?"

A study of TSM measures currently is. in progress, not as an alternative to rail but as "complementary," and it does not include busways or bus rapid transit.

This means that we have to be ready with a comprehensive, workable alternative program to implement "bus rapid transit." See Astrid Monson's September 30 testimony for a few measures to start with. And, if you haven't already done so, see our TV show, "Bus Rapid Transit vs Rail," every Wednesday at 5:30pm in October on Channel 22.

Astrid Monson
Chair, Rail Transit Study Committee

September 1992 Home   Newsletters November-December 1992