ne plus ultra wrote:Here's the wrap-up on the Lakewood experiment:
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091 ... r+Lakewood
30 pax a day (meaning 15 people inbound and then 15 out). They're saying they never intended to consider a permanent train from Lakewood. That this was just about publicizing the availability of the existing train to people in the Lakewood area. Maybe that's true. If not, it's a decent retrospective excuse, I guess.
From my experience, it turned out about right. The few passengers that live in Lakewood & work downtown can go to the Donelson station & pick up a Lebanon Road MTA bus that offers more frequent service & free parking. Riding the bus takes you to the fancy new downtown bus depot where you have a nice place to wait for another bus. The MCS train station is not near the bus depot. Too bad the 2 could have not been combined in some way to provide more bus/train links.
10 years ago the bus system was also bad & slow. Who wants to ride an old smelly bus with no A/c? not me. The mayor has spent a lot of money replacing the bus fleet to make it attractive. Ridership seems to be holding on with gas prices higher than a year ago but well under $4.00/gal or $3.00. Prices seem to be holding steady at $2.65.
I'm becoming concerned the MCS is a poster child on how not to have a commuter rail. You can't use old equipment on an old rail & make it look new & fancy. We'd have to use some diesel tilting technology to get speeds over 40-60mph on the curvy single track line. It will be a harder sell to get something running on CSX track.
The new BRT seems to be working fine. The new bus has a distinctive shape. So far, limiting the number of stops cuts 10 minutes from the trip by not having to stop at every block. The bus alternates with the slower local services. The concept may be extended to other heavy use routes. This may be the future for Nashville in having something with a frequent & flexible schedule to ride on.