Friday, July 9, 2010

Xcelsior Bus

I saw the Xcelsior bus on the Corydon route this Friday evening. It is a smart looking vehicle and the colour is fairly cool.

The bus is supposed to represent the future in bus travel as it is quieter and features lightweight materials and LED lights.

I don't know how quiet it is based on this video.

The bus apparently comes in a hybrid as well.

I don't know what to think on the LRT versus BRT debate other than the city approved a plan and now seems to have doubts. Welch's Gripe Juice details what some of those issues are.

I know one thing. Any public transit coming my way doesn't have a lot of density to work with to make it frequent enough. And then there is the issue that I travel from suburb to suburb in terms of work. The bus doesn't start early enough or run late enough for me to drop my car.

Now, I know that I could change jobs, move to a higher density area and live on a busier street but it is worth noting that people work in areas of city where there are jobs in their chosen field, live in neighbourhoods that they can afford and on the best routes possible to traverse the distances to school, work, shops and the like. It isn't always easy.

In short, planning makes it possible to consider diversity, density and distance in terms of how people live and work. The city needs to work on that.

A snazzy bus might be sexy but in practicality, I would benefit if the city went ahead and improved transit corridors so that they were attractive to employers and home and apartment builders. This would not end the use of a car in a city as spread out as Winnipeg but it would help create a new dynamic where it might be possible for me to catch public transit seven days a week.

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Unum said...

Planning cuts both ways, though. If you want transit to be a viable transportation option for yourself (some people don't care when they have 2 or 3 cars), then you should factor that in when looking for a home.

Yes, it's true that people buy houses "where they can afford them", but in Winnipeg, broadly speaking, the less expensive your home is, chances are the better your transit service is. Housing affordability is not really a barrier to good transit service in Winnipeg.

What really hurts transit is when new low-density subdivsions pop up and there is political pressure to provide service even when it makes no financial sense to do so. What ends up happening is that resources get reallocated from more central areas (that actually use transit) to suburban areas that generally don't.

I agree that transit corridors need to be improved, though.

John Dobbin said...

I also mentioned the issue of work. You can find various homes of affordability but many people find they can be quite far from where they work.

For example, some people live in central areas where transit is good and their jobs are manufacturing, services or education in the suburbs where public transit is poor.

Improving transit corridors and increasing density in housing, retail and offices along those routes will make it possible for more people to use public transit more effectively and more affordably.

I am close to one route now but weekend work makes it hard to rely on since it doesn't run early enough or frequently enough.

More care in planning higher densities on such routes benefits everyone, including me.