GCA10 186 days ago [-]
I'm liking this idea, particularly as a low-cost, MVP version of Lyft/Uber that could solve some transit needs of people on really tight budgets.

A case in point: There's a big Safeway grocery store right by the Othello light rail station. If you live a mile or two east of that station, you've got poor grocery shopping choices in your immediate neighborhood, and you'd much rather have access to the Safeway.

But walking a mile with two or three bags of groceries is not going to be a pleasant experience, especially for older people or people in poor health. Getting this new van service at an affordable cost means you can get a lot better food and appreciably cheaper food into your life.

TheGRS 186 days ago [-]
I'm wondering if Seattle offers something like the LIFT service we have in Portland. If you qualify for the service you can basically order a minibus to your door to take you directly to a destination. Used a lot with the elderly folks at my church. http://news.trimet.org/2018/11/trimet-and-lift-paratransit-s...
cdubzzz 186 days ago [-]
King County has a fare reduction service for low income riders called ORCA LIFT [0].

They also have a program called DART [1] for ordering a pickup or getting pick ups in areas that are not well covered.

Direct pick up for people who need assistance getting to stations and a ride share program where you can essentially rent a van with a group of people [2] are also options.

[0] https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/fares-orca...

[1] https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/travel...

[2] https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/travel...

sandworm101 186 days ago [-]
>> But walking a mile with two or three bags of groceries is not going to be a pleasant experience, especially for older people or people in poor health. Getting this new van service at an affordable cost means you can get a lot better food and appreciably cheaper food into your life.

But how is that any better than the person just owning and using their own car, driving themselves to the train station? If it is only a mile or two, the van is going to have to drive at least a few miles to get to the person, miles that the private vehicle would not have to drive. Maybe the van can pick up multiple people, but for trips lasting only a few minutes I doubt this would ever be commonplace.

It might reduce the need for parking at the train station, but a parked car is a lesser evil than a van driving around empty to pick people up.

GCA10 186 days ago [-]
Some people can't afford to own a car. The bottom 20% of Americans, according to Federal Reserve data, have household income of $16,000 or less, and total net worth of $7,000 or less. Finances get excruciating at that level.

So if you're looking to minimize environmental impact, yes, the van puts a little more carbon in the air than having these people stay home all the time. But it makes their quality of life meaningfully better.

dgzl 186 days ago [-]
Are tuktuks not an option for Americans?
bo1024 186 days ago [-]
No, auto-rickshaws aren't common in the U.S. (anywhere, as far as I know).

Probably part of the reason is historical, but one problem is the weather in winter. And I'm not sure population of non-drivers is high enough except a couple major cities.

186 days ago [-]
rayiner 186 days ago [-]
Also they’re hugely polluting.
sandworm101 186 days ago [-]
And wildly dangerous. They are arguably more dangerous than riding a motorcycle.
ChuckMcM 186 days ago [-]
That use case though, it reads like it only goes too transit not away from transit. So you get a lift to the light rail, get your groceries and get back to the same light rail station and then, ... well it seems you are on you own for getting back to where you started?
GCA10 186 days ago [-]
It takes a bit of scrolling down in the original article to get all the details, but they have done the decent thing and allowed you to use Via in either direction.

From paragraph 16: one end of the trip must be to or from the light rail station within the service area.

loeg 186 days ago [-]
It's definitely bidirectional. It would be farcical to take people one way to transit and then abandon them for the ride home. Why would you assume one way only? Seattle's not that dystopian.
sandworm101 186 days ago [-]
>> It would be farcical to take people one way to transit and then abandon them for the ride home.

Like every day I have to work a night shift? All sorts of buses are eager to give me a lift when I want to go to work at 1500 (3pm). Where are they at 0230 when I want to get back home? One-way options are not unusual when it comes to realworld transit systems.

GCA10 186 days ago [-]
You're right that late night coverage right now is an issue. I think weekday service stops at 11 p.m., and it doesn't go past the early evening on weekends. But this is a start.
sandworm101 186 days ago [-]
Ridership is up, but is traffic down?

It doesn't matter how many people are using this service. What matters is which people are using it. Cities are realizing that most new transit schemes aren't getting people out of their cars. They are leeching people away from other forms of mass transit. Getting someone out of a bus and into a van is not a win.

What is needed is an actual competitor to the private car, something that can truly replace it. The buses in my area stop at 11pm, and the nearest passenger train is a hundred km away. Until that changes, if want to keep my job, I need to keep driving my car. Offering me a shuttle between my door and the bus stop means literally nothing if there is no bus to get.

chrisseaton 186 days ago [-]
Leeching people from busses into trains seems good, though?
sandworm101 186 days ago [-]
That's an interesting question. The head of Ryanair used to talk about how air travel was sometimes lower carbon than the equivalent train journey (Ryanair flies to the smaller airports, and highspeed rail is far from zero carbon). There is certainly a tipping point where the train clearly wins, but there are also a great many areas where the slower and more direct bus service is probably best. This is doubly true in places like Vancouver that have been using electric buses for literally decades.
cagenut 186 days ago [-]
First of all, there is no chance outside of some absurd contrived scenario for a jet to have lower co2 emissions than a train. When a CEO says something that transparently bullshit they are obviously lying in their interest you really shouldn't do their lying for them by parroting it.

Second, carbon dioxide (which I assume you were shorthanding as 'carbon') is not even half of the greenhouse-gas/radiative-forcing effect of air travel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_aviati... So even if this CEO was technically right, he'd still be wrong in terms of what actually matters.

sandworm101 186 days ago [-]
No. He did not say that the jet burned less fuel. He was commenting that a highspeed rail journey, with the necessary connecting car/bus/light rail legs on each end, can sometimes require more carbon than a more direct aircraft flight. There are breaking points where an all-economy flight can be the most energy-efficient option.

My home town (on an island) is a good example. I could take a direct flight to another city, or drive the 100's of KM by car+boat to the nearest passenger rail. And then I'd have to rent a car and drive several hundred more KM after stepping off the train. In such circumstances the direct aircraft connection is the lower-carbon option.

cagenut 186 days ago [-]
I see what you're doing even if you don't. This level of nitpickery and contrarian noise is the functional equivalent of denying reality. All you're doing is sewing doubt and throwing sand in the gears to make it harder for everyone else. You cannot continue to apply marginal optimization tactics to a solve for zero problem. It is simply a failure to understand and address reality.
rayiner 186 days ago [-]
Building HSR lines is extremely carbon intensive and only extremely busy lines will offset the cost of their construction: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2011/11/how-green-hig.... You basically need a line to be as busy as the northeast corridor in the US, otherwise you’re underwater carbon wise.
redis_mlc 185 days ago [-]
> there is no chance outside of some absurd contrived scenario

Well, in the USA, any train that is interstate is required to be built as if it was a freight train, even if it's only carrying passengers 1 mile.

And jet engines get 1% more efficient per year.

So it is possible that a jet airplane will be more fuel-efficient for interstate travel than a train at some point.

chrisseaton 185 days ago [-]
The first time I saw a Caltrain (small commuter train local service in the Bay Area) train pull into a station I thought it must be a Soviet ballistic missile train it was so huge and heavily armoured.
ijidak 185 days ago [-]
Isn't Uber pool accomplishing this?

The Uber pool model seems to be the most realistic gap filler between mass transit and an individual automobile.

Rather than mass transit buying vehicles specifically to fill this gap, using the spare vehicular capacity of the car driving public seems like an efficiency.

For example, my wife and I, in Las Vegas, now have only one car because Uber fills those rare moments where a second car is absolutely necessary.

And Uber pool is even more cost effective, while also being a higher utilization of the car the Uber driver is driving.

MithrilTuxedo 186 days ago [-]
Seattle mass transit usage is up. I ride the bus where these vans are operating, to/from the Rainier Beach light rail stop. There are a slew of neighborhoods in this area underserved by buses where these vans fill the gap.

What is needed, to my mind, is a lowered expectation of what a private car is going to be able to do for you in a densely populated city. I got picked up from work Friday to go on a trip and after an hour we'd only gone eight blocks.

hannob 186 days ago [-]
I can see how such services are helpful in sparsely populated areas.

I don't know Seattle personally, but in any larger city something like this begs the question: Why not improve the normal public transport service and also provide light-rail or busses to the areas that have "little east-west bus service" according to the article?

intopieces 186 days ago [-]
Seattle is improving the normal transport service, too. They are tearing up streets and putting in trains, they are eliminating parking(!) in favor of places to hang out. Seattle is becoming fantastically more car-hostile by the day. Seriously, the last time I visited one street had eliminated street parking in favor of a protected bike lane, potted plants and some chairs.

There are 27 distinct, voter-approved transit projects in progress:


news_to_me 186 days ago [-]
Is that a bad thing, though? I mean, it is for people who like to drive, but I think the benefits to everyone else outweigh the preferences of car owners.
glloydell 186 days ago [-]
I read "fantastically car-hostile" as a pro car-hostility statement.
loeg 186 days ago [-]
I had the opposite take. Usually when I read opinions colored by "car-hostile," it's from authors who advocate for car-maximized infrastructure.
intopieces 186 days ago [-]
I used to term car-hostile as a step beyond "pro-transit," because cities can be pro-transit while still not doing enough to actively reduce the number of people getting into cars.

Seattle is not just making riding transit more convenient. They are making driving more inconvenient.

mjevans 185 days ago [-]
As someone living in the suburbs near Seattle... You're half right. Mostly about the making driving (and parking) more inconvenient.

In programming terms they're ripping out a deprecated interface without having first provided a replacement to transition to. Yes there are park and ride facilities outside of the core city, but they're specced for local capacity. The gateway interface would be much more like replacing several warehouses near the tram line and freeway with GIANT, actively police monitored, parking garages. On the north end something similar probably needs to happen near the northgate mall, and if the extension up through the U doesn't go there it needs to.

THEN after the pre-requisite work is done, they should just ban all cars from the city outright.

Transfinity 186 days ago [-]
The Rainier Valley where this service is being tested is a long north-south residential corridor, bordered by Lake Washington on the east and a steep ridge on the west. It's a few miles wide, just wide enough that it's not reasonable to expect people to walk from the edge to the center to catch the train. Because it's relatively sparsely populated and most trips would be short last mile trips, there's no way running full bus lines would be cost effective.
gmanley 186 days ago [-]
What I don’t get is why routes need to make money. This is a public service, sure it’s a good thing to have it pay for itself but the focus shouldn’t be on that.
rayiner 186 days ago [-]
"Cost effective" does not mean "profitable." This is a straw man that transit advocates like to throw up. No transit system in the entire U.S. is held to the standard of "mak[ing] money." All transit in the U.S. loses money on an operating basis, even excluding capital costs: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/06/how-much-mone.... (Contrast many other countries, where transit often at least breaks even on operating costs, if not capital costs.) The issue is the magnitude of the public subsidy on a per-trip or per-mile basis.

Right now in D.C., transit advocates are fighting battles for service that costs $20-30+ per trip (late night Metro service and the streetcar). That's just a waste of taxpayer money when subsidizing Uber/Lyft could allow those same trips to happen for lower cost. Even more generally, rail service is subsidized, on a per-passanger-mile basis, about an order of magnitude more than automobiles. (While roads receive several much more funding than transit, they comprise about 50x more passenger miles of travel.) https://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=15144

hannob 186 days ago [-]
> Even more generally, rail service is subsidized, on a per-passanger-mile basis, about an order of magnitude more than automobiles.

Only if you completely ignore carbon emissions and other externalities.

rayiner 186 days ago [-]
No. Congestion, pollution, accident, and climate change externalities add up to about $0.10 per passenger mile: https://media.rff.org/archive/files/sharepoint/WorkImages/Do... (p. 14). That's vastly more than the $0.01-0.02 direct subsidy for cars from road construction/maintenance, but much lower than the $0.87-0.90 per mile subsidy for transit: https://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=15144; https://www.newgeography.com/content/005596-reason-1-end-tra....

And of course--those pollution externalities can be greatly reduced by switching to electric cars.

rayiner 186 days ago [-]
EDIT: I don't really understand the downvotes. Nobody seriously disputes that, on a per-passenger mile basis, transit is more heavily subsidized than driving.

The $0.10-0.20 per mile calculation of externalities from driving is well supported. For example, the Freakonomics authors calculate $0.10 per mile for externalities: https://www.treehugger.com/cars/pay-as-you-drive-payd-insura...

> With roughly three trillion miles driven each year producing more than $300 billion in externality costs, drivers should probably be taxed at least an extra 10 cents per mile if we want them to pay the full societal cost of their driving.

Meanwhile, the subsidies of public transit systems are easy to calculate from public sources: https://www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/300...

In 2014 the D.C. Metro spent about $1.35 billion on rail and collected about $600 million, leaving a net subsidy of $750 million. WMATA customers travelled 1.5 billion passenger miles on rail, resulting in a net subsidy of $0.50 per passenger mile. Even without accounting for the pollution externalities of Metro (which are significant, most electricity on the east coast still comes from coal and natural gas), that's a much higher subsidy than for cars.

trophycase 186 days ago [-]
Do these calculations also include things like mandatory parking minimums, parking lots, etc? IMO the big problem with cars is how they ruin city layout and are generally poor for land use
rayiner 186 days ago [-]
You can include lots of things but then you’re getting into pretty subjective territory. There are advantages to nice walkable streets, for sure. But there are also advantages to being able to pull right up to your destination and park, instead of schlepping half a mile from a subway to hour final destination in heat, humidity, rain, etc. The study I cited above puts parking costs at 3-10 cents per vehicle mile, which still doesn’t being the driving subsidy near the transit subsidy.
ncallaway 186 days ago [-]
Sure, but saying "it's not cost effective" isn't the same as saying "it's not profitable".

If a low-use bus route ends up costing the city $25 per ride that's not cost effective to the point that a different transit option would be a better use of resources and still meet the communities needs.

tathougies 186 days ago [-]
If you want anything to last and not become subject to the whims of the next idiot in charge then its in your best interest to make it break even or make profit. Then no one would oppose it.
resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
East west travel in Rainer valley is hard because of hills and freeways. The north south bus routes are fine but the east west one doesn’t work well
hinkley 186 days ago [-]
That east-west problem is not just Rainier Valley. That’s the whole county.

The light rail system needs to be shaped more like a ladder, so you have some options to go cross-town. It’s coming, very slowly, but it won’t be enough.

resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
Unfortunately there isn’t that enough demand to go east west to justify building light rail. Light rail going up those steep hills is even more expensive so I don’t think a “ladder” approach would work well.

More RapidRide buses are expected to cover the east west gap though

loeg 186 days ago [-]
Yeah light rail's scale east-west is a bit wider than that.[0] But it seems like the area might be served well by east-west bus routes instead? I mean, whatever, I don't care. If this is the most cost effective way to get people to transit, I'm all for it. It seems to have a convenience aspect that bus lines certainly don't have.

[0]: http://soundtransit3.org/map#map

grogenaut 186 days ago [-]
Anecdotally density seems to follow light rail placement long term. Not sure if this is backed by data
hinkley 185 days ago [-]
People live where they can get housing.

When the route was finalized a bunch of housing speculators bought up a strip of land all along that corridor and build apartments and townhomes. There's something on the order of a mile of route down near the Central District that is virtually all new construction.

I was curious about the progress of the LR project so I drove the at-grade sections a couple of times during construction and a lot of those properties were for sale/lease about the time they were still stringing wires (and then the city allocated like 8 months for system testing to follow construction prior to launch). So there must have been people buying houses a year before the rail was there.

dangjc 186 days ago [-]
"Via’s cost per ride to the operator is about $10."

This doesn't sound sustainable. I wonder how much of this can be reduced.

NotSammyHagar 186 days ago [-]
Lot more expensive to build big parking garages that we all drive our cars to, to get on the bus. These feeder vans should cost way less per passenger than buses, if they can get a reasonable number of passengers.
ac29 186 days ago [-]
> These feeder vans should cost way less per passenger than buses, if they can get a reasonable number of passengers.

I'm curious why this would be the case - I'm under the impression the vast majority of the cost of operating a van/shuttle/bus is the cost of the driver.

NotSammyHagar 186 days ago [-]
You have a less skilled driver in the van. The one I often drive is just a 3 seat van. The driver is making $12 an hour I think they told me. It's a 6 month experiment.
Retric 186 days ago [-]
I don’t want to say less skilled, but you need less training which probably lowers costs.

However in terms of passengers, shorter trips means it’s better to compare passengers per hour rather than the number in a bus at any one time. If they can average 8 passengers per hour the service would be making money on it’s own and 4+ could probably be worthwhile as part of a larger network.

cle 186 days ago [-]
> This doesn't sound sustainable.

That's why we have taxes...

Of course, the program should be efficient, and there's a discussion to be had about whether it's worth having at all, but it's not a requirement that it be self-sustaining. I guess ultimately it's up to the voters to decide if it's worth subsidizing.

DoctorOetker 185 days ago [-]
^ This: it's not because something is subsidized by central plan, that doing the same thing physically would not survive in a hypothetical free market: one should not look only at the subsidy in one direction, but also in the other: taxation on the organisation and the employees involved results in a large subsidy towards the central plan. So one should invest towards the goal of expected "(taxes paid and alternative environmental externalities avoided) minus (subsidies received and environmental externalities caused)" instead of neurotically focussing on the subsidies
josephpmay 186 days ago [-]
That's actually not that far off from what many cities end up spending per-ride for lesser-used bus service

The best way to reduce costs is likely to get more people to use the service, which will result in more trips being shared with more passengers. They could also look at usage data and consider developing fixed, regular routes which if done right will congregate more people into fewer vehicles

petra 186 days ago [-]
They could also develop trips with a fixed time-table(to help people coordinate) from general area X to Y and a variable on-demand route(to shorten the trip).
caymanjim 186 days ago [-]
I don't know about Seattle, but in NYC that would probably be more expensive than your average taxi or Uber ride without any bulk discount or subsidy. I know that in this case the city is eating most of the cost, but it sounds outrageously high.

Not that a service like this is needed in NYC, since you're never more than 10 feet from a subway or bus stop.

empath75 186 days ago [-]
Per ride or per rider because that’s a significant difference.
resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
Per rider
carapace 186 days ago [-]
What I want is a minibus towing a little flatbed trailer. All it does is take people and their bikes from the bottom of the hill to the top.

For example, there's a place in San Francisco, West Portal to the top f the hill where Portola meets O'Shaughnessy, where you have about a mile to climb about 220 ft. Google maps bike route, shows elevation profile: https://goo.gl/maps/zmcb8RkBtNGzUqFi7 From there most of the rest of the city is downhill, including all of downtown and the Mission district.

If there was a bike-shuttle service for that uphill, and another from, say, Castro station to Diamond Heights, I think you would get a lot more people commuting by bicycle.

Lndlrd 186 days ago [-]
In Seattle I know many people who live on flat routes and don't bike. I don't think the hills are the main deterrent. Anecdotally, it sounds like fear factor (especially riding near cars) and sweat (even if office has a shower) are the big ones.
noodlenotes 186 days ago [-]
There's a lot of social pressure for women to wear makeup which is especially hard to pull off if you bike to work. A woman with tasteful makeup is perceived as more professional, even if it's just subconsciously. I'm sure there are men here who will object to that statement, but 9 times out of 10, when a guy thinks a woman is wearing "no makeup," she's actually wearing primer, foundation, concealer, mascara, eyebrow pencil, lipstick, and blush and just hasn't done anything too obvious.

Because of this illusion, women don't want to be seen bare-faced by their coworkers (because society's expectation of what a woman looks like without makeup is actually a woman wearing a lot of makeup so the real no-makeup look is shocking). Now a woman who wants to bike to work has to decide if she'll hope her makeup stays looking good after a bike ride, do her makeup twice, or go without makeup for the bike ride (and risk being seen without makeup going into the office). This doesn't bother all women, but it's no wonder that a lot of us choose not to go through this minefield of issues.

WhompingWindows 186 days ago [-]
Those are the two biggest obstacles for me personally, as well. I live in Providence and it is VERY unfriendly to bikes. I routinely get honked at for going slowly (10-15 relative to what cars want, 30ish). Cars don't look out for me, there are often "bike lanes" that are really just painted pictures of bikes (wow, such safety), and there are hardly ANY other bikers. Then, I get to work and it's just a run of the mill government office, no shower, no bike room, no bike racks...
jackyinger 186 days ago [-]
Yeah sure, but let me tell you biking from Ballard to Montlake on the Burke Gilman was awesome and easy. Now I live on Capitol Hill (Seattle) and don’t bike cause the climb is a killer.
NotSammyHagar 186 days ago [-]
You can bike part way and put your bike on the front of a bus to go up a big hill. You can rent ebikes for pennies to go up the hill, you can get your own ebike for 500 bucks.

All of these things apply to me too :-) I live by a big freaking hill, 300' up and whenever I ride I have to take a shower. If I had a flatter hill I'd ride my bike the 4 miles to the p&r a lot. Instead I drive my stupid car.

bahmboo 186 days ago [-]
Ebike rentals aren't pennies. My last ride was $4 for about a mile. I was surprised.
c22 186 days ago [-]
I always bike to the UD or the ID (depending on what side of the city I'm on) then grab the light rail to Broadway station.
acdha 186 days ago [-]
Buy an e-bike: they’re perfect for daily commuting without that one hill being a disincentive.
resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
Yeah Burke Gilman should get even better whenever the missing link is completed.
jdietrich 186 days ago [-]
Bristol, England is notoriously hilly, but 7% of all peak-time journeys are made by bicycle.



ryanmarsh 186 days ago [-]
I’m somewhat of a risk taker. I first rode a commuter bike in DC, a slow traffic biker-friendly city. I did so for about two years. Many years before that (as a teen) I did BMX and half pipes. I’m competent on a bike.

Much of the time I spent on the bike commuting was fucking terrifying.

I would guess commuting on a bike around cars is prohibitively scary for many folks.

bobthepanda 186 days ago [-]
Don’t forget bike parking. I don’t trust locking up my bike on the street in Seattle; I’ve known people who’ve had bikes stolen out of “secured” parking rooms. And there aren’t too many places to chain a bike either.
loeg 186 days ago [-]
Seattle has crap for actual bike infrastructure. We dropped some lines at random on a map with no connections, and especially no east-west routes. It's getting better but man if the Burke is still basically the only east-west MUP in the city.

Here's the graph: http://seattlecitygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/inde...

Note that only the red/orangey color (MUPs) and bold blue lines (protected cycle lanes) count; the rest are just paint on roads.

Neighborhood greenway = tons of speed bumps, nominally cars should depart after a block or two; otherwise ordinary residential road.

Sharrow = just a road.

Non-protected Bike lane = debris-filled shoulder, or worse, parked car door zone.

cortesoft 186 days ago [-]
There is also the time factor... I have to get my kids to school/daycare in the morning and then pick them up before 5:30 when daycare closes... I already feel squeezed by these hours at work, and having to add time to my commute is a non-starter.
dominotw 186 days ago [-]
> fear factor (especially riding near cars)

a credible one at that.

livueta 186 days ago [-]
Yeah. I used to commute by bike in Seattle but stopped after hamburgerizing my face trying to dodge a car coming out of a garage on the hill between 2nd and 3rd. I have plenty of coworkers with similar stories of accidents or near-misses that spooked them out of bike commuting.

I still enjoy cycling in the area in general, but downtown during rush hour is a meat grinder.

the_watcher 186 days ago [-]
Hills might not be the only or even the main deterrent but they are definitely a deterrent in SF. In college we'd joke that someone should install a chairlift, and while I'm not sure that's the solution, I still think something similar would reduce the reliance on Ubers, Lyfts, etc.
Shivetya 186 days ago [-]
because bicycles are fair weather solutions to transit and even then if the distance is within the rider's ability which far too many over estimate. then throw in convenience and security.

still this solution of theirs isn't really worth the money being sunk into it, there is no reason to not work along side ride sharing services to get people between their destinations and light rail or bus stops

nharada 186 days ago [-]
I know you're talking about doing this at scale, but FYI: Muni buses in SF already provide this service. Nearly all have 2 or 3 spots for bikes on the front and you can throw your bike on and take it up the big hills for no extra charge.

For the route you posted, the 48 does exactly what you want.

carapace 186 days ago [-]
Yes, but for $3 it's not worth it.

I'm really glad that they put those bike racks on the buses though.

soperj 186 days ago [-]
Just get a pedal assist bike and call it a day. If you bike it regularily you'll get used to the hills pretty quickly also...
andyfleming 186 days ago [-]
Why not a bicycle lift (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zipZ5kwhFfs)?
semi-extrinsic 186 days ago [-]
At least this design for a bicycle lift would never be allowed in the US. It's pretty tricky, the first couple of times people usually fall off. Instant lawsuit overe there, I'm sure.

In fact it was closed for quite a few years pending EU safety regulations approval.

naravara 186 days ago [-]
>At least this design for a bicycle lift would never be allowed in the US. It's pretty tricky, the first couple of times people usually fall off.

Isn’t that all literally true of riding a bike too?

semi-extrinsic 186 days ago [-]
Trouble is, it's a lot harder introducing a new technology with risks, compared to just keeping an old risky one around.
gmanley 186 days ago [-]
I was thinking the the same thing. My city (Chicago) and I assume many others, have pay per use subsidized bike sharing. How does liability work with that if someone falls on one of those?
narvval 186 days ago [-]
> At least this design for a bicycle lift would never be allowed in the US

I don't think this is very different from a "surface lift" used in ski resorts all over the world including the US?

semi-extrinsic 186 days ago [-]
It's pretty different, it's a small metal bar (probably 1 inch wide 10 inch long) that you stand on with one leg, while remaining seated on the bicycle. The design is a lot more compact, so you can retrofit it to normal streets.
narvval 186 days ago [-]
Sure the design is different, but the risk that the "first couple of times people usually fall off. Instant lawsuit overe there, I'm sure" looks the same to me. And yet t-bars and the like do exist in the US.
loeg 186 days ago [-]
When you buy a ski pass at US ski areas you sign a huge disclaimer of liability. It's hard to imagine doing that for this kind of in-city infrastructure. Also, falling on snow is a bit different than pavement. :-)
TylerE 186 days ago [-]
Those disclaimers are legally meaningless. They have no teeth. Just like those signs on dump trucks that say “Stay back 500ft”.
loeg 185 days ago [-]
That's a pretty strong claim. Do you have some citation for "this is a dangerous activity, participant assumes all liability" contracts being "legally meaningless?"
sachdevap 186 days ago [-]
Then a better design maybe? Shuttles for bikes are honestly an awful solution.
semi-extrinsic 186 days ago [-]
Yeah, it needs a better design. The trouble is, you need to make it easier, while retaining the features of this one: no way for bystanders (including kids) to pinch fingers/hands inside moving machinery.
sachdevap 186 days ago [-]
I agree that it isn't an easy problem. We need to get creative.
LegitShady 186 days ago [-]
Not nearly enough rocket engines.
thejerz 186 days ago [-]
That's an unnecessarily hard route. Take Dewey around to Laguna Honda and turn onto Portola. Then you can coast down Market or Clipper to your heart's content.
dillonmckay 186 days ago [-]
schoen 186 days ago [-]
That photograph is really beautiful!
naravara 186 days ago [-]
There’s an even easier way than a bus: https://www.boredpanda.com/bicycle-escalator-cyclocable-tron...

Bike escalators!

carapace 186 days ago [-]
Oh perfect! A bike cable car!
stouset 186 days ago [-]
Out of curiosity, why is West Portal station one of the endpoints of the proposedd route? It almost makes sense since it's a public transit hub, but you can't take your bikes on MUNI metro anyway. So why not just have a terminus further down Portola instead of at a MUNI metro station?
quotemstr 186 days ago [-]
Don't electric bikes basically solve this problem another way?
luckydata 186 days ago [-]
you essentially need the bike version of this


not a bad idea

erikpukinskis 186 days ago [-]
Do a kickstarter to pay the first year of costs.
nostromo 186 days ago [-]
> The $3.2 million [...] so far, the service has exceeded Metro’s daily ridership goals and served up more than 70,000 total rides.

So far this has cost Seattle $46 dollars a ride.

Now, it looks like we're just 6 months in, so a simple projection would halve that number to $23 per ride after a year, potentially less if they scale up.

Why not just subsidize Lyft and Uber rides? For these short distances, it'd probably be less than $5.

flyGuyOnTheSly 186 days ago [-]
>Why not just subsidize Lyft and Uber rides? For these short distances, it'd probably be less than $5.

They are already subsidized, by billions and billions of dollars of venture capital.

When you pay less than $5 to get from one side of your city to the other in the middle of rush hour, that's not covering the entire cost of the trip.

TylerE 186 days ago [-]
You could pay 2x the market rate and still be paying less than half of what they are now.
rayiner 186 days ago [-]
It's worse than that, because the trip will take the passenger to the light rail, which itself will cost an additional $4 per trip subsidy. For the $27 each ride is being subsidized, Seattle could easily subsidize a point-to-point trip downtown from the suburbs.
vidarh 186 days ago [-]
That misses the point entirely, which is to get more parts of people's journeys over onto public transport. That has a substantial value in reducing congestion and allowing higher density growth, allowing expansion of public transport and reduced dependency on these services over time. As a permanent solution feeder routers are always likely to be expensive. But as a means to change user behaviour they can be highly beneficial over time.
namdnay 186 days ago [-]
Omly because the negative externalities aren’t correctly priced. Whether you’re talking pollution or traffic, public transport is going to be better for everyone else
caymanjim 186 days ago [-]
Except the comparison here is between a Via car or an Uber/Lyft. They're identical in externality-cost.
NotSammyHagar 186 days ago [-]
There's yet another last few mile transit option in testing too, called "Ride 2" [1], free with bus transfer. There's 2 zones in West Seattle, one on the east side. Free transfer if you bus ride. It's perfect for those places that have lots of buses at a central area but not enough feeders, not enough parking and ride space. King county is trying really hard to make it work on transit and they are doing a great job in my opinion.

1. https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/programs-p...

whenanother 186 days ago [-]
> “It would be a mistake for transit agencies and cities to rely on this kind of last-mile connection to the exclusion of making better walking and biking connections to transit hubs,” he said. “Those are also very low-cost ways to make it easier to connect to transit.”

so a lot of people are taking the minibus because there are no way to safely physically get to an actual bus stop. if towns were planned around public transportation this would not be a problem. we have planned towns around automobiles for too long. this creates an artificial need for cars.

flyGuyOnTheSly 186 days ago [-]
All the talk about 'government waste' in this thread makes me think of my home town, where you still regularly see massive city buses driving around town without a single passenger riding in them.

Moving people on demand is definitely not cheap, but surely it is more cost effective that casting a net of mostly-empty buses around the city for half the day.

resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
It’s the coverage vs frequency (ridership) decision. https://humantransit.org/2018/02/basics-the-ridership-covera...

This via service is for coverage not ridership that’s why people are comparing the wrong thing.

Many American cities aka San Jose being the most recent example are retooling their bus routes for fewer but more frequent routes at the cost of cutting the coverage routes.

WhompingWindows 186 days ago [-]
How does this compare / differ from those people ordering Uber/Lyft to do the exact same thing?
astura 186 days ago [-]
Much cheaper?

>Rides cost the same as taking the bus: $2.75 for adults, $1.50 for low-income riders with ORCA Lift cards.

Just looked up an Uber ride I took for less than a mile (.7 mile) - that had a cost of $6.45.

Oh top of that the cost is predicable - no surge pricing.

seattle_spring 186 days ago [-]
On top of that, it's actually basically free because it counts as a transfer.
outerspace 186 days ago [-]
I recently moved from the Bay Area to Seattle. I was looking forward to the move because I love cycling and Seattle was rated #1 in bike infrastructure last year [1]. While the infrastructure is indeed somewhat better than the BA, I was shocked by the widespread hate for cyclists everywhere in Seattle and surrounding areas. Getting honked at is a regular occurrence here, and people will actually stick their head out of their cars to make sure you hear the insults they are shouting at you, while simultaneously giving you the finger. It gets worse: a couple weeks ago somebody hiding behind some trees threw a rock at me while riding on the Burke Gilman trail. Fortunately they missed me. The rock (fist-sized) shattered a few feet in front of me on the trail pavement. The hate is incessant and I definitely understand why people don’t feel comfortable riding.

[1] https://www.bicycling.com/culture/a23676188/best-bike-cities...

dang 186 days ago [-]
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20793527.
EB66 186 days ago [-]
FWIW I've lived in Seattle for the past 13 years and I typically commute by bicycle a few times per week in the spring/summer from North Seattle into downtown. I've never had anything like that happen to me.

I have however dealt with a lot of oblivious drivers nearly running me off the road.

The new dedicated bike lanes with the reflective pylons are helping (especially the two-way barrier-protected bike lane on 2nd Ave of downtown), but there's still a lot more to improve.

eagsalazar2 186 days ago [-]
Regarding the cases where people in cars are yelling at you, are you riding slower than traffic in the car lane when this happens? Doing so defensively away from curb to avoid being door'ed but at the same time blocking cars from passing you?

Not agreeing with drivers, just guessing as this does attract a lot of driver rage.

liability 186 days ago [-]
I think there are two schools of thought here: cyclists who say "we have every right to this road, the same as any car." And the upset drivers, who say "If you were in a car going this slow, I'd still be pissed off."

Me? I have a bike and a car in Seattle, but almost always walk or take public transit. It's low stress that way, which I like. At intersections, cars and cyclists both hassle pedestrians in their own way. The cars, because they are too accommodating and make you feel almost obliged to run across the street when they stop for you even though they could have easily kept going without coming close to you. And the cyclists, because a horrible minority of them are totally blind to pedestrians in a way that drivers in Seattle aren't. Most cyclists are fine, but you've got to stay on your toes for the few that aren't.

eagsalazar2 186 days ago [-]
Also fwiw, I rode daily all over Seattle for several years and had this happen to me exactly zero times. I've never met someone who, unprovoked, would yell at or menace a cyclist and have a hard time imagining someone who would except a rare crazy or 16yr old idiot trying to impress his friends. I have however talked to many people who are driven nuts by cyclists who obstruct traffic (in their opinion)
InitialLastName 186 days ago [-]
FWI(still)W, from talking to cyclists in my area (NYC and surroundings) whether somebody gets yelled at depends on a lot more than how they're riding. As an example, the women I know who ride bicycles (just as competently) get menaced a lot more than the men.
outerspace 186 days ago [-]
Usually this happens on weekends when I go on long rides. Smaller roads without a bike lane are worse than bigger multi-lane ones. Places outside Seattle proper are the major offenders: Bellevue, Issaquah, Renton, Enumclaw, to name a few. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m wearing a cycling kit that ticks people off.

My commute to work is usually uneventful, about 10 miles mostly on dedicated bike paths along with many other commuters. It’s a few miles longer than it should but it’s definitely the safest route to work.

eagsalazar2 186 days ago [-]
No shoulder?
Arainach 186 days ago [-]
Shoulders are full of glass and other debris that makes them an intense hazard to ride in. That's why they're the shoulder, not a lane.

In plenty of the areas mentioned (Issaquah, Renton, etc.) there isn't much of a shoulder to speak of. When I take a longer loop around Lake Washington+Sammamish, here's one of the roads I go down:


eagsalazar2 185 days ago [-]
Looks like enough room to scootch over into if you have cars behind you (just like drivers do for each other). Not saying you don't do that but going back to ggp post, I think it is obstructing traffic that causes the rage. Being flexible can go a long way. If you do make such an effort on your rides, what is your experience with getting yelled at?
Arainach 184 days ago [-]
Huh? There's perhaps a foot of pavement there. I'm wider than that. My bike is wider than that. There's no room for safely passing in the lane - drivers can go into the oncoming lane to pass just like they would for any other vehicle.
resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
You're supposed to ride in the car lane if there's no bike lane.

And take the car lane fully not half way.

It's technically illegal to ride on the sidewalk

gedy 186 days ago [-]
I see people do that riding slowly uphill in two lane 35mph+ streets, and it's just very obnoxious when there's a line of cars behind them and no attempt is made to let them pass. People get very enraged..
eagsalazar2 186 days ago [-]
Parent and gp posts are the problem in a nutshell.
liability 186 days ago [-]
I don't commute by bike but I ride on the Burke Gilman trail fairly regularly and have never experienced any animosity whatsoever. It sounds like you had a freak encounter with a run of the mill wackjob. The city is full of them and the police are essentially worthless... My guess is that encounter probably had more to do with his mental problems than the fact that you were on a bike.
zwkrt 186 days ago [-]
Seconding sibling comment that aggressive pedestrians or drivers has never been an issue for me biking in Seattle. The biggest reasons for me biking less than I could are weather (traction is an issue on hills) and not wanting to leave my bike around outside.
EB66 186 days ago [-]
Yeah theft is definitely an issue -- particularly at the light rail stations. I had my bike stolen in broad daylight underneath a security camera even while secured with a sizable cable lock. The responding SPD officer told me you need a beefy U-lock or it's going to get stolen eventually.
quotemstr 186 days ago [-]
I don't experience this hate at all. I'd consider myself more multi-modal than anything, and I do have a car. I do, however, use Lime bikes pretty often, and when I'm on one, I don't get any hate at all. I've never heard of anyone I know being jeered at, much less being pelted with rocks. I don't think the experience you describe is typical.
enjo 186 days ago [-]
I’ve noticed that in Denver that the more the bike infrastructure improves, the more people hate cyclists. Partly because cyclists often refuse to actually use the infrastructure instead riding on busy car laden streets one block over.

Also because the bike infrastructure came at the cost of parking or lanes of traffic.

I bike around the city every day and it’s definitely becoming more contentious.

mertd 186 days ago [-]
That's interesting. There must be a reason cyclists prefer the busy street over the said one. People are not that irrational.

I have seen cases of "improved" cycling infrastructure, for instance, like adding an impractical bike lane someplace, where the real intent is to mop the cyclists out of the way of the motorists.

I have bike commuted all over the US and almost all municipalities get this wrong. When building cycling infrastructure, optimize for the convenience of cyclists and not of motorists and people will use it.

resonantjacket5 186 days ago [-]
That means the bike Lanes were built on the wrong roads and the road they're using provide a direct route
draw_down 186 days ago [-]
In my experience, people online usually attempt to justify this type of behavior by retorting with anecdotes about cyclists' behavior.
Proven 186 days ago [-]
Like Uber, but paid for with stolen money. Success!
lightgreen 186 days ago [-]
This is another false protection of women. In the same places where women need to wear makeup for credibility, men have to wear suits which are also quite uncomfortable for biking. These places do not have any bike disadvantage for women compared to men.

In other jobs (like software engineer or cashier) nobody really cares if woman wears makeup or not (makeup may help, but a lot of other inconvenient things can help men too).

The pressure against women is imaginary in context of biking availability.

Also there’s no need to try to bring the issue of discrimination in completely unrelated discussions.

dang 185 days ago [-]
Please don't take HN threads further into tedious gender flamewar. There is zero intellectual curiosity in it, so we neither need nor want it here.

We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20795013 and marked it off-topic.

4rt 186 days ago [-]
I like the idea but so far it seems like it's $40 per customer per journey.
awakeasleep 186 days ago [-]
>According to Metro, Via’s cost per ride to the operator is about $10. Compared to Metro’s systemwide cost per boarding of $4.92, that’s expensive. But high ridership bus routes have a lower cost per boarding than low ridership routes, meaning Via’s costs are not wildly out of line with costs associated with low-rider routes.

What am I missing there?

NotSammyHagar 186 days ago [-]
maybe they thought of 4 passengers? Building more roads costs a lot more when they are a billion dollars a mile in Seattle (i90, 30 years ago). Or the 520 bridge.

We need to do all the things to make traffic in Seattle better, light rail, buses, road improvements, last mile transit services. Would we really be better off if we dropped all this "wasteful" transit spending and had really worse traffic? Of course not.

briandear 186 days ago [-]
It would be cool if one side of the route didn’t have to be to a light rail station. Or, if the trip wasn’t limited to a two mile area. I think it would be cool if you could order a ride on an app, a vehicle comes to your exact location and then takes you to your exact destination. That would be a real innovation! Transportation that takes me to other transportation that then requires walking the last mile isn’t exactly efficient. This service is Uber Pool that forces you to go to a train station instead of your exact destination? Why not just go to where you really want to go instead?
kempbellt 186 days ago [-]
Wow, that's quite the negative response.

> It would be cool if one side of the route didn’t have to be to a light rail station.

The whole purpose of the program is to get locals interested and used to mass-transit systems - so that would defeat the purpose.

> Or, if the trip wasn’t limited to a two mile area

It's a new program. What do you expect?

>I think it would be cool if you could order a ride on an app,

There is an app....

>a vehicle comes to your exact location and then takes you to your exact destination.

As you mentioned later in your post, Uber does exactly this. If you want to use Uber, then use Uber...

Why such a negative view about a new alternative? I think you missed the whole point of this project.

briandear 186 days ago [-]
I think the point of the project is pointless: getting into an on demand car to take you to someplace that isn’t where you are going. You use an app to call a car. You walk potentially a few blocks, then wait, to get in the car. That takes you somewhere else where you wait again to get on a train, to then take you to another train station which incidentally isn’t your exact destination either. It sounds like a good way to make a 20 minute trip turn into an hour trip.

Regarding Uber — correct, Uber does solve this problem, so why have a taxpayer funded version of Uber that isn’t even as good as Uber? For the disabled and others with limited mobility/mental capacity, this does sound like a great program however. A system with specially trained drivers to help highly vulnerable people is welcome. But a taxpayer subsidized Uber-light seems like a waste of money. You can already take an Uber Pool to a train station if that’s your thing, so what problem is this actually solving that the market isn’t already solving?

TheGRS 186 days ago [-]
It's probably helpful to think of the service as like a mini bus that provides an extra transfer point. You're getting some great efficiencies from all of the services that way. If you keep a few of these vans in a neighborhood instead of going from south of Seattle to north of Seattle, you can keep using the vans for that area over and over again. Going straight point A to point B in an Uber means it needs to now pick someone up at point B to gain any efficiency.

> why have a taxpayer funded version of Uber that isn’t even as good as Uber?

Because that's not the point of the service at all. Its to get you to your next transfer point and that's it. The problem with everyone using an Uber is that it doesn't scale, but public transit does scale.

marcinzm 186 days ago [-]
>I think the point of the project is pointless: getting into an on demand car to take you to someplace that isn’t where you are going. You use an app to call a car. You walk potentially a few blocks, then wait, to get in the car. That takes you somewhere else where you wait again to get on a train, to then take you to another train station which incidentally isn’t your exact destination either. It sounds like a good way to make a 20 minute trip turn into an hour trip.

Yes, it's public transit, you trade money for time, like all public transit. It also lowers road congestion for the city.

By your logic all public transit should be abolished and replaced by cars, right?

rayiner 186 days ago [-]
> By your logic all public transit should be abolished and replaced by cars, right?

We did that. It’s called the entire south. And that’s why cities like New York lose more residents to Phoenix, Atlanta, and Dallas than they get from those places.

TheGRS 186 days ago [-]
I would love to see the data that suggests people are moving out of New York to Phoenix because they couldn't stand the public transit anymore
rayiner 186 days ago [-]
The public transit is part of an overall package: bad schools, expensive housing (or small housing for the price), etc. If you’re a family do you want to live in 1,000 square feet and shlep to your kids’ activities in the rain, or drive exactly where you want to go?

The commutes in New York are far longer too, because of public transit. 94% of New York commutes on public transit take more than 30 minutes. https://www.geotab.com/time-to-commute. 29% take more than an hour. Meanwhile, half of all car commutes in Houston are 30 minutes or less, and just 1% are more than an hour.

Don’t get me wrong, I personally love public transit. I get on the train, and I can do work because I’ve got a professional job with flexible work hours and locations. Oh, and I have an au pair to schlep my kids to school, gymnastics, and play dates. For ordinary families, being able to do a quick detour on the way to work to do day dare drop off is a god send.

sachdevap 186 days ago [-]
> The commutes in New York are far longer too, because of public transit.

Are you saying that no public transit would improve the commute times? I think you are discounting all the cars that would take their space cause people can no longer commute without them. And what of the reduction of mobility for the low income group?

The problem is not public transit, it is population density and too many vehicles on the road. NY needs better public transit, not lesser public transit. It's a problem that all cities are trying to solve. As infeasible as public transit overhaul in NY is, making a highway in NY is more difficult.

marcinzm 186 days ago [-]
>We did that. It’s called the entire south. And that’s why cities like New York lose more residents to Phoenix, Atlanta, and Dallas than they get from those places.

That's mostly due to those places being cheap to live in. Which implies, as we're a capitalistic society, that people value living there a lot less than they value living in NYC. NYC is full and yet people will pay ever more money to live here.

selimthegrim 186 days ago [-]
New Orleans would like a word with you as soon as they’re finished fishing cars from Katrina out of the drainage canals.
egypturnash 186 days ago [-]
what problem is this actually solving that the market isn’t already solving?

Taking the bus/train/light rail generally uses less energy per passenger than driving a bunch of cars. Burning less fuel to get where you’re going is definitely a bonus IMHO.

It’s going to take more time, but it’s also a lot cheaper - $3-5 vs $20-40 for an Illegal App Taxi to go downtown or to the airport or whatever.

Also it is a way to get people in the suburbs used to using public transit, so maybe they’ll actually be willing to vote for improvements to it.

rayiner 186 days ago [-]
If the reason we want mass transit is for poor and disabled people, why not taxpayer subsidized Uber? Why force low income people to waste time on mass transit? Why force disabled people to deal with the challenges of navigating transit systems where elevators may or may not work?
ad404b8a372f2b9 186 days ago [-]
In my experience subsidized ride services are not financially viable. There are just too many disabled people for it make financial sense, so what happens is the government gives the contract to companies that do their best to lower their operating costs, that means grouping rides regardless of destinations and you end up with shuttles of disabled people driving all over the city/state taking hours to go to places that are only 15/30 minutes from their homes. In addition the drivers are under heavy pressure so you get the same behaviour as delivery companies that throw their packages out of the car window except it's vulnerable people being manhandled out of the car.

Finally even with the subsidy a large amount of money is left to be paid by the user, personally I pay more than twice what it'd cost me to own a car myself and that's limiting myself to only going to and from work.

The solution would be to make public transport accessible and then I'm sure all disabled people would not feel forced but relieved at the opportunity to use them.

chrisieb 186 days ago [-]
That sounds a lot like the issue we have here in Paris regarding poor transit services for the disabled. The service - called PAM75 - is just bad, slow and expensive for what it is.

I do think however some of the aspects of the uber model could be applied to this situation to mitigate at least some of the problems you cited, namely lousy driver behavior and ride grouping. Even just a simple app to book rides would be light years ahead of the current offering.

All in all, I've found this PAM75 service is a decade late, and has not by any means been affected by the arrival of the uber model, at least compared to how the taxi industry has been afflicted.

caymanjim 186 days ago [-]
What planet do you live on where downtown in any large city can support the number of private vehicles that would be required to absorb the riders if mass transit went away? It's certainly not any major city I've ever been to. It's already literally faster to walk in midtown Manhattan than it is to drive (or, unfortunately, take the bus, since bus lanes are not well-policed enough to keep them moving quickly).

I've lived in or spent a lot of time in many large cities in the US, and the only one I can think of where there's room for even a few more cars is Phoenix.

seattle_spring 186 days ago [-]
Uber Pool costs money, and is therefore reserved for people who have money to burn. Via Transit (the service referred to in OP) is $2.75, but counts as a transfer against the train, so it's effectively free if you were already planning on taking the train. Its goal is also to get people to use mass transit, which is can be a ton faster than driving/Uber Pool in Seattle too. I've used Via a lot and it turns a 22 minute walk to the train station into a 3 minute walk and 3 minute drive. Light rail from that point takes 18 minutes to go downtown, versus what would have been a 25-45 minute drive in Uber Pool. All for $2.75, versus $9-$15 on Uber Pool, or $20+ in UberX.
topkai22 186 days ago [-]
Except, since the article states that the average per ride cost on Via is $10, that total cost including the subsidy is more like $12.75, more if you include the rail subsidies. For commuters using the service every work day, that’s >$2000 in subsidies per person. That’s a pretty massive subsidy.
jhatax 186 days ago [-]
Your calculations disregard the fact that rides can be shared. These are vans, likely with room for 4-passengers. So, the average ride will have 2-passengers.

Secondly, I laud Seattle for finding ways to reduce congestion. It can take 45-minutes to go 4-miles by car from Beacon Hill to downtown. Particularly, they are trying to find a solution that is affordable to a large swath of the population, not just the tech-rich.

Finally, all public transit systems are designed to be subsidized, one way or another. To wit, every rider who pays $2.75 on a bus is getting a subsidy of $2.17 (each rider costs $4.92). At what point is the subsidy “too much”?

topkai22 186 days ago [-]
The definition of “ride” is ambiguous, but I’m relatively confident that the majority of hails are going to be single rider, and the subsidy is averaging at least $7/ride before they get to the transit station.

The article also has plenty of transit advocates stating the obvious- this cost more than even low ridership bus routes, so isn’t a long term solution, and strong fixed route transit solutions are needed.

The subsidy here is large enough that if the investment is worthwhile, then it would also be worth investigating what would happen if we gave small, low cost electric vehicles (bicycles, scooters, or covered variants thereof) to households in the service areas.

egypturnash 186 days ago [-]
A quick search on “uber lose money per ride” suggests that they lose an average of $.58 per ride, and I doubt that figure includes amortizing the cost the driver spends on maintaining their vehicle.
somebodythere 186 days ago [-]
They're just applying the VC model to mass transit.
stochastic_monk 186 days ago [-]
If it costs them 10 to administer and they’re paid 2.75, don’t you subtract what they’re paid from their cost?
topkai22 185 days ago [-]
Right, I skipped some thoughts there- it’s $12.75 total cost if they a getting a $10 subsidy + the fare, which means other ridesharing services would be competitive (which shouldn’t be a surprise).

I skipped stating my subsidy calculation though- 5 workdays at 40 work weeks at $10/trip is $2000 (I’m factoring in lots of days off and assumptions about not always taking rail to work). Also assuming “rides” translates to “individual rider,” which may not always be true, does seem to translate to individual orca taps.

And now I realize I made a huge error there. I only factored in a one way trip. The subsidy is something like $4000/commuter for round trips (or $3000 if you assume that the fare drop is recovered by the program.)

sokoloff 186 days ago [-]
It turns a 22 minute walk into a 3 minute walk, an N minute wait, and a 3 minute drive, does it not?
seattle_spring 186 days ago [-]
Yes, though N happens before the walk and not after. It's like Lyft Line Saver, where it tells you how much time is left, where you need to walk, and where the driver is enroute.
oakesm9 186 days ago [-]
I would assume that the idea is to funnel people towards more efficient forms of mass-transit rather than relying on small cars, even if they are shared with others.