Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail (South Coast Rail)

DominusNovus

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

The whole point of startups is to make the founder (and VCs...) rich on the backs of college kids who don't know any better. Boston has lots of college kids... Fall River does not. Going cheap on office space means like Waltham, not something like Fall River.
Quite the indictment of the educational system, innit?
 

George_Apley

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Quite the indictment of the educational system, innit?
There are plenty of things that indict the educational system, but I think this specifically is more an indictment of "get-rich-quick" capitalism...
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

So, I've got conspiracy theories, bribes, political payoffs, and fear mongering. Can someone involve aliens (from outer space) in the mix as well? :D

I'm going to throw two things out there:

1) Is it possible that the driving force behind this project, as George Apley aptly stated, was FR and NB (and to some extend Taunton) are the last remaining large Eastern Mass cities without access to commuter rail, and that argument won the day through half a dozen different governors and a complete turnover of all political leadership on a state and local level since Weld's first term when this idea started gaining traction?

2) Is it also possible that some of you self style experts aren't nearly as smart as you think you are? Don't need to answer me now on that one but you might want to consider it sometime... ;)
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

So, I've got conspiracy theories, bribes, political payoffs, and fear mongering. Can someone involve aliens (from outer space) in the mix as well? :D

I'm going to throw two things out there:

1) Is it possible that the driving force behind this project, as George Apley aptly stated, was FR and NB (and to some extend Taunton) are the last remaining large Eastern Mass cities without access to commuter rail, and that argument won the day through half a dozen different governors and a complete turnover of all political leadership on a state and local level since Weld's first term when this idea started gaining traction?

2) Is it also possible that some of you self style experts aren't nearly as smart as you think you are? Don't need to answer me now on that one but you might want to consider it sometime... ;)
And now: brazen shitposting.

This is not the first time you've thrown caution to the wind and hurled a pile of poo at other posters in this very thread because Y.O.L.O. It's all right there on the previous pages. When you respond to a civil, evolving discussion with incivility and distraction...it says way more about your maturity or lackthereof than those you accuse.

If this topic is one that brings out the irrepressible temptation to behave badly, perhaps some better self-reflection is in order.
 

George_Apley

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

I don't know who you're talking about here, but the answer is undoubtedly yes, especially if it's me ;)
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

And now: brazen shitposting.

This is not the first time you've thrown caution to the wind and hurled a pile of poo at other posters in this very thread because Y.O.L.O. It's all right there on the previous pages. When you respond to a civil, evolving discussion with incivility and distraction...it says way more about your maturity or lackthereof than those you accuse.

If this topic is one that brings out the irrepressible temptation to behave badly, perhaps some better self-reflection is in order.
F-Line, I love your technical knowledge along with everybody else. But you struggle somewhat in the things that go hand in hand with technical knowledge that are crucial to getting projects off the drawing board. So, maybe lower the God complex when it comes to transit a smidge and see the world for what it is. I will make this succinct for you:

1) This is being built because its the only underserved region left in Eastern Massachusetts. Its not, as posters including yourself have suggested, about payoffs, or being owed, or land speculators, or anything else. Simply put the Baker admin committed to a workaround (Phase I, running through Middleborough) that brought the previously cost prohibitive expense of extending the rail line down to a manageable billion dollars give or take. As Good Time Charlie has most likely run his last election already, there's zero political benefit here.

2) Having said all that the people of South Coast need to put up or shut up in terms of riding the damn thing. Long commutes and all. If they choose not to ride it, then that's on them. I will remind a student of transit history like yourself of the original impressions of the Silver Line. "Boondoggle". "Nobody rides it." "It goes nowhere." "Money would be better served.." Remember all that? Now these same Nostradamus wannabee's are in the paper saying the Silver Line is too crowded, we should have committed more money from the get go, everybody could see that the Seaport was going to explode in growth, blah blah blah. Lets see the actual usage of this new line before we start planning the funeral.
 

ant8904

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

I revived this thread because I really wanted to understand this project after noticing the latest transportation bill will be including the funds to do phase 1. It is weird to me that this is the one project that the state always wants to go forward - that obstacles translates to re-assurances, that progress translates to a mum responses except by other state reps. Any other transit project that encounters an obstacle - it be advocacy groups giving pressure while the state indicating reluctance.

Following this thread since reviving this has been educative. Even though I honestly cannot truly discern what is the real truth. At least I do understand a bit more that these cities are lacking any access to rail while also learning how infrequent the train will come. I honestly wasn't aware of that.

But I have to chime in that what Rover is not shitposting. Shitposting is what "armpitsofmight" used to post here - posting with a tongue-in-cheek style that is borderline violating forum decor but yet still borderline positive contribution.

Is it broaching into a bit of hostility saying the people here might be not as smart as one thinks? Yes. But your response is truckload more hostile. And honestly, I find it less contribution. I cannot determine how correct is Rover, but I can see he isn't wrong that the previous posts did post idea that it could be bribery, payoffs, and theories that ultimately is speculation at best. That is not shitposting, that is pointing a real point that merits a rebuttal based on the validity of information we actually know rather than a hostile dismiss.
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Thanks ant. Well put. I'm not sure why this particular project generates so much hostility. Its not disrupting anybody (as Red-Blue would) nor is it crowding out any other projects.

I suspect the problem is people have their own projects that they'd like to see built, and will latch onto something to denigrate a project that gets off the ground earlier.
 

ulrichomega

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

I'm not sure why this particular project generates so much hostility. Its not disrupting anybody (as Red-Blue would) nor is it crowding out any other projects.
Sidestepping how personal things are getting, I don't agree with this. Money is a finite resource, and merely by absorbing what funds it is SCR will inevitably make more difficult projects with more potential upside. Now, I still think it's a worthy project but the fact remains that the proposed service levels will inevitably cripple the project. It doesn't matter how much the citizens of these cities want to ride the train to Boston, what matters is that they won't be able to and they'll be blamed for not doing so.

EDIT: F-Line, you mention that even Phase II is bad service. Other than the single-track section slightly limiting service why do you say that? I know you have issues with it potentially diminishing service to some NEC stations but I'm hazy on the details.
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Money is a finite resource, and merely by absorbing what funds it is SCR will inevitably make more difficult projects with more potential upside.


Which ones? The transportation bond bill is borrowing $18Bn for transit, etc and SCR is $935M. Money is finite, but the actual details show a commitment to a lot more than just this one project.

....but the fact remains that the proposed service levels will inevitably cripple the project. It doesn't matter how much the citizens of these cities want to ride the train to Boston, what matters is that they won't be able to and they'll be blamed for not doing so.
This is not a fact. This is an opinion. You may or may not be correct but you and I have no idea about the project's future ridership or the feelings of the FR and NB citizenry 5-15 years from now. A lot of people on this thread are acting like challenging their doomsday predictions is akin to arguing that rain isn't wet. I'd ask that you all take some time to figure out if your predictions are doom are in fact etched in stone or just your own personal speculation.
 

JeffDowntown

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Which ones? The transportation bond bill is borrowing $18Bn for transit, etc and SCR is $935M. Money is finite, but the actual details show a commitment to a lot more than just this one project.



This is not a fact. This is an opinion. You may or may not be correct but you and I have no idea about the project's future ridership or the feelings of the FR and NB citizenry 5-15 years from now. A lot of people on this thread are acting like challenging their doomsday predictions is akin to arguing that rain isn't wet. I'd ask that you all take some time to figure out if your predictions are doom are in fact etched in stone or just your own personal speculation.
The projections are not ours, they are from the project planning documents.

As quoted in Commonwealth magazine:

"Phase 1 as proposed provides this poor level of service at an unreasonably high cost that ranges from $900 million to $1.1 billion, according to recently published reports on the preferred phased approach. That approximately $1 billion cost figure is for a total net new projected ridership of 1,600 people. Total projected daily ridership at South Coast Rail stations is 4,400 total riders. This translates to a cost-per-rider of $200,000."
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/time-to-reconsider-s-coast-rail-phased-plan/

There is no way to slice those numbers and make them seem pretty.
 

ulrichomega

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Which ones? The transportation bond bill is borrowing $18Bn for transit, etc and SCR is $935M. Money is finite, but the actual details show a commitment to a lot more than just this one project.
Ignoring that more than half of that bond is going towards highway projects, I agree that more money for the MBTA is a good thing. But how does spending hundreds of millions on this project help other necessary projects get funded in the future? If we've got $8 Billion to spend, is spending $825 million of it on SCR the best use of funds?

Again, I want to reiterate that I'm in support of this project for the equity reasons established in this thread. That doesn't change the fact that we could be doing this project far better than we are right now.


This is not a fact. This is an opinion. You may or may not be correct but you and I have no idea about the project's future ridership or the feelings of the FR and NB citizenry 5-15 years from now. A lot of people on this thread are acting like challenging their doomsday predictions is akin to arguing that rain isn't wet. I'd ask that you all take some time to figure out if your predictions are doom are in fact etched in stone or just your own personal speculation.
The future is inherently unknowable, therefore we can't make any predictions whatsoever? I won't deny there's an element of "Disagreement means you're a bad person" on this forum sometimes, but we're talking about a line with only a small number of peak hour trains, and then 3 hour headways between those times. Ridership is going to be intrinsically limited no matter what. The OC lines have similar restrictions and get so-so ridership, but for a much shorter trip time, and it's taken them years to get to that point.

You are right though that I was wrong for using the word "fact." I apologize for that.
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

The projections are not ours, they are from the project planning documents.

As quoted in Commonwealth magazine:

"Phase 1 as proposed provides this poor level of service at an unreasonably high cost that ranges from $900 million to $1.1 billion, according to recently published reports on the preferred phased approach. That approximately $1 billion cost figure is for a total net new projected ridership of 1,600 people. Total projected daily ridership at South Coast Rail stations is 4,400 total riders. This translates to a cost-per-rider of $200,000."
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/[B]opinion[/B]/time-to-reconsider-s-coast-rail-phased-plan/

There is no way to slice those numbers and make them seem pretty.
Jeff we've already covered this earlier in the thread:

http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=1553&page=37

But let me summarize. You can't divide the total cost of a project by a one day projection in usage and claim that's an accurate take on the project or every transit proposal going would seem ridiculously expensive. You'd have to take ridership over a reasonable life of a project (say 30 years) and divide that into the total upfront cost of it to get a better assessment. I shudder to think of what the Big Dig cost on a user per one day basis using those calculations.
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

The future is inherently unknowable, therefore we can't make any predictions whatsoever? I won't deny there's an element of "Disagreement means you're a bad person" on this forum sometimes, but we're talking about a line with only a small number of peak hour trains, and then 3 hour headways between those times. Ridership is going to be intrinsically limited no matter what. The OC lines have similar restrictions and get so-so ridership, but for a much shorter trip time, and it's taken them years to get to that point.

You are right though that I was wrong for using the word "fact." I apologize for that.
No worries. Part of what I'm trying to do here is point out to people that they're so certain in their opposition that they're latching onto their opinions as unchallenged scientific facts like the Earth is round and it revolves around the sun (not directed at you personally). Like you can't support the project for the reasons stated, you must be getting a payoff somewhere. Full discloser I won't be riding this train as I don't live down there and I own no property that might hypothetically increase in value. There's a lot of misinformation going around as well. Of course we can speculate as to future ridership and whether or not those official estimates will come to fruition. That's a different argument though that "I know already this will fail and anybody who disagrees is shitposting". I'm sure there are some people, somewhere, who can see the future. I've yet to come across one however. ;)
 
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ulrichomega

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Jeff we've already covered this earlier in the thread:

http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=1553&page=37

But let me summarize. You can't divide the total cost of a project by a one day projection in usage and claim that's an accurate take on the project or every transit proposal going would seem ridiculously expensive. You'd have to take ridership over a reasonable life of a project (say 30 years) and divide that into the total upfront cost of it to get a better assessment. I shudder to think of what the Big Dig cost on a user per one day basis using those calculations.
It provides a baseline of comparison, it's not supposed to be a meaningful comparison of day-to-day costs, or to fully encapsulate the upsides and downsides of the project. In that regard it is useful as long as we acknowledge its limitations.

For comparison:
  • Sound Transit 3: $54 Billion for ~250,000 additional riders. $216,000/rider
  • Crossrail: $20 Billion for 650,000 riders: ~$30,000/rider
  • Dumbarton Rail Corridor: $1.6 Billion for 5,900 riders: $217,000/rider
  • Hartford Line: $0.517 Billion for 1,500 riders: $344,000/rider

The disimilarities in each of these examples is self-evident, but they provide a baseline of cost comparison. As long as we're not ending our analysis with such math I don't see the harm in pointing out that $400,000/rider is a large amount of money to be spending when we could be getting more riders for not too much more money by doing the thing right in the first place. Baker has made it clear that he's got billions of dollars to throw around. Let's get some of that down in the South Coast and not half-ass this thing.

EDIT: This is off-topic, but what is going on with Denver transit? I looked them up a bit doing research for this, and their light-rail system is truly bizarre. They've got two downtown terminii being fed from one trunk line, and one line that goes from one suburb out in a random direction to another (R)? And that line is the only one that connects with one of their commuter rail lines?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

EDIT: F-Line, you mention that even Phase II is bad service. Other than the single-track section slightly limiting service why do you say that? I know you have issues with it potentially diminishing service to some NEC stations but I'm hazy on the details.

On my phone so can't do a comprehensive explainer. See this post for the crux of the issue: http://www.archboston.org/community/showpost.php?p=347053&postcount=1585. There's also a post from 2014 on this very thread detailing the issues.


In short: forced skip-stopping so extensive it kills ridership and outright cuts Canton/Stoughton service levels. All because of tbe forced single-tracking and complete unwillingness to so much as model NEC impacts.
 

JeffDowntown

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

I shudder to think of what the Big Dig cost on a user per one day basis using those calculations.
Actually the Big Dig tunnels do not come out too badly in the crude calculation.

Central Artery carries nominally 200,000 vehicles per day (projected to grow to 245,000 max.)
Ted Williams Tunnel carries nominally 100,000 vehicles per day (projected to grow to 120,000 capacity).
Each vehicle carries at least one person, but we'll be conservative and only calculate moving one person.

Total cost for the Big Dig Tunnels including interest is somewhere between $22 to $24 billion. (Are we including the interest burden on SCR?)

High Cost and Today's Usage calculates at $80,000 per daily user
Low Cost and Future Usage calculates at $60,000 per daily user

That looks bad compared to SCR?
 

Rover

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

It provides a baseline of comparison, it's not supposed to be a meaningful comparison of day-to-day costs, or to fully encapsulate the upsides and downsides of the project. In that regard it is useful as long as we acknowledge its limitations.

For comparison:
  • Sound Transit 3: $54 Billion for ~250,000 additional riders. $216,000/rider
  • Crossrail: $20 Billion for 650,000 riders: ~$30,000/rider
  • Dumbarton Rail Corridor: $1.6 Billion for 5,900 riders: $217,000/rider
  • Hartford Line: $0.517 Billion for 1,500 riders: $344,000/rider

The disimilarities in each of these examples is self-evident, but they provide a baseline of cost comparison. As long as we're not ending our analysis with such math I don't see the harm in pointing out that $400,000/rider is a large amount of money to be spending when we could be getting more riders for not too much more money by doing the thing right in the first place. Baker has made it clear that he's got billions of dollars to throw around. Let's get some of that down in the South Coast and not half-ass this thing.
A good point regarding the sentence I bolded. I did some further calcs and came up with this:

4,400 daily rides x 5 days a work week x 52 weeks a year = 1.15M trips a year. Times a 20 year lifespan lets say = approx. 23M trips. 935M / 23M trips over 20 years = approx. $40 per trip subsidy. BUT, that doesn't include the cost of the ticket itself. Say that's 20 bucks on average as people will be boarding in different zones. That's $20 bucks for a trip over the 20 year span. Not bad at all and kills the "it would be cheaper to buy everyone bus tickets or an Uber" argument.
 

FK4

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

And now: brazen shitposting.

This is not the first time you've thrown caution to the wind and hurled a pile of poo at other posters in this very thread because Y.O.L.O. It's all right there on the previous pages. When you respond to a civil, evolving discussion with incivility and distraction...it says way more about your maturity or lackthereof than those you accuse.

If this topic is one that brings out the irrepressible temptation to behave badly, perhaps some better self-reflection is in order.
+1. He’s right up there with Rifleman in terms of anti-intellectual shitposting.
 

Arlington

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Re: Fall River/New Bedford Commuter Rail

Capital cost per daily new transit rider has been THE standard for comparing transit projects since sometime in the Nixon Administration (creation of the Federal Transit Administration). It was not invented in this thread to make SCR look bad. SCR is a bad project based on the traditional standard for rating projects as good or bad.
 

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