Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
DanPatchToget
Foshay Tower
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Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby DanPatchToget » February 8th, 2021, 12:52 pm

Of course the suburbs weren't receiving service that matched the amount of funding they were putting in. What do they expect when the majority of the development in their area is hostile towards anyone who doesn't drive? Besides express service to downtown from park & rides it's difficult to make local and suburb-to-suburb service feasible. It's just that now it's gotten slightly easier with an increased population and technology that makes on-demand service like MVTA Connect and SW Prime possible. However, the opt-out's bread and butter was express riders to downtown, and since that has fallen off a cliff due to COVID it's hard to justify their existence when Metro Transit can easily do the same thing as well as bridging the gap a little between former operator territories.

Tom H.
Rice Park
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Tom H. » February 8th, 2021, 12:59 pm

Even prior to COVID, I assumed that SW Transit was expecting some level of ridership "cannibalization" (from their perspective) from SWLRT opening up. Probably most days commuters would choose the standard express bus option due to comfort and running time, but on days with inclement weather I could see riders switching for the reliability of the train. Plus, anyone working more on the west / northwest side of downtown might have a slightly shorter walk to the office from the LRT stop than Marq2.

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Tcmetro » February 8th, 2021, 1:53 pm

Of course the suburbs weren't receiving service that matched the amount of funding they were putting in. What do they expect when the majority of the development in their area is hostile towards anyone who doesn't drive? Besides express service to downtown from park & rides it's difficult to make local and suburb-to-suburb service feasible. It's just that now it's gotten slightly easier with an increased population and technology that makes on-demand service like MVTA Connect and SW Prime possible. However, the opt-out's bread and butter was express riders to downtown, and since that has fallen off a cliff due to COVID it's hard to justify their existence when Metro Transit can easily do the same thing as well as bridging the gap a little between former operator territories.
Well of course most places want their tax money to go into services for themselves. The MTC was in pretty bad shape at the time, underfunded and generally at odds with the Met Council. Most of the suburbs were only getting a few buses a day, and the route structure was way worse than it is now. There was also an image problem, for example general system vandalism led the agency to buy buses with uncomfortable plastic seats.

DanPatchToget
Foshay Tower
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby DanPatchToget » February 8th, 2021, 2:09 pm

Then why should urban tax money go to transit services that don't benefit them? Why should they have to pay part of the cost for huge park & ride facilities, fancy coach buses with fabric seats, and service that typically only goes to downtown in the morning and back to the suburbs in the evening?

The fact is some amount of our taxpayer money will go to something that doesn't benefit us directly or indirectly. So when suburbs pay for transit service, a certain amount is going to urban services that don't really benefit them, but that's the reality when their built-up landscape is hostile to anyone who walks, bikes, and takes transit (except park & riders). And a certain amount of urban taxpayer money will go to suburban transit, mainly benefiting suburbanites who commute to downtown.

The only difference with having opt-outs is the suburbs have a service brand they can identify with and they can more easily lobby for funding, some of which will go to things that are in my opinion wasteful like large park & ride lots/ramps, fancy coach buses, and experimenting with local and suburb-to-suburb service that only gets a handful of riders per trip.

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
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Joined: May 31st, 2012, 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Tcmetro » February 8th, 2021, 2:43 pm

Well it's not the ideal case, but that was the reality of the situation when the opt-outs were created. The legislature was supportive of the vocal suburbs and allowed them to create their own transit agencies. It was never a "city vs suburb" issue as Metro Transit and the Met Council went on to build tons of parking spaces and run commuter buses. It was more of a case of incompetence with the MTC, as bus service in the city wasn't that great either.

I believe the governor's blue ribbon committee reviewed the opt-outs and said that they didn't agree with the idea, it's too late to claw them back.

DanPatchToget
Foshay Tower
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Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby DanPatchToget » February 8th, 2021, 3:10 pm

I don't agree that it's too late to bring everything back under Metro Transit, however at the very least there should be pressure on the Met Council, Metro Transit, and the opt-outs to play nice with each other. Multiple transit operators should be collaborating and complementing each other, not competing and putting up virtual barriers around territories.

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
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Joined: May 31st, 2012, 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Tcmetro » February 8th, 2021, 3:16 pm

Yes, there's definitely a lot of dumb things that happen that make things worse for users. There's more than a few missing links and other duplication of service problems (like the Red Line fiasco).

COLSLAW5
Metrodome
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Joined: April 11th, 2018, 1:20 pm

Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby COLSLAW5 » February 9th, 2021, 1:37 pm

Personally I think at the very least it would be nice to have the opt-out brought under one branding umbrella of Metro Transit. This would for suburban customers to become familiar with the brand and hopefully have a better view of the system as a whole. Metro transit even operates and maintains all of maple grove's buses for them already.

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby talindsay » February 11th, 2021, 8:42 am

You're not wrong, but I think the concept of "opting out" makes it a little hard to integrate them into a "branding umbrella of Metro Transit". Those are suburban groups that specifically don't -- or at least, a few decades back, didn't -- want to be "familiar with the brand".

I do think the politics of the suburbs have changed substantially: they seem to understand better that their fates are tied to the success of the central city, and to identify with the urban issues that have long dominated city politics. They're probably not changed enough for them to openly welcome all their transit money going to Metro Transit, and a branding scheme would run squarely against that.

If the Green Line Extension ends up being as successful as the Blue and Green Lines have been (at least pre-pandemic), then it might well push public opinion in the southwest suburbs toward dropping their opt-outs altogether, which would be better. Without the big MVTA / Southwest Transit fleets visibly bolstering the concept of opt-outs, it would be easier to address the remaining holdouts.


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