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Can someone explain to me how building multiple street-car lines is better then simply improving bus service?

Has there been any real cost-benefit analysis on this? As I see it, with streetcars you have the following costs that you don't have with busses:

-new tracks
-years of disruptive construction
-some sort of technology to get around the "no wires" rule
-purchase of vehicles that are more expensive then busses
-maintenance of a third type of vehicle (in addition to Metro cars and busses)

In addition, busses are flexibile. Busses can be re-routed, streetcars can't. Even a minor fender bender that blocks a lane (and the streetcar tracks) would essentially shut down service. You can also add busses if ridership requires, or take busses away if ridership goes down.

I know that streetcars give you the "cool factor," but this is public money we are talking about here. I guess I am just not sold on this yet.

by metronic on Oct 23, 2009 12:23 pm • linkreport

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