Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Metro

Washington's 29-year-old Metro system is deteriorating due to mismanagement, says The Washington Post, which has begun detailing the decline in a four-part series that started today.

The 106-mile subway system is still popular - ridership is up 18 percent since 2000, the paper reports. But delays have doubled in the same period delays are up 64 percent in three years. What's at stake? "In a region with some of the worst traffic in the country, access to reliable mass transit could determine whether the area continues to attract businesses and residents."

Metro is planning a 23-mile extension to Dulles International Airport.

3 Comments:

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

So we've gone over this before...but delays won't get better without removing more seats. In my neighborhood in Clarendon, there are 3 20 story residential buildings coming in a block down the street. It's the same all around Arlington. Building over the next year will add at least 1000 new riders per day, in my estimation.

There's no other way to put it: Metro is headed to hell!

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

"In a region with some of the worst traffic in the country, access to reliable mass transit could determine whether the area continues to attract businesses and residents."

One reason we have some of the worst traffic in the country is too much business in one place. HOT lanes and congestion fees are designed to help adress this.

But if both Metro and the highway system are deteriorating due to age and mismanagement and insufficient due to lack of capacity, then what does that tell us?

Again, is the purpose of Metro to reieve congestion or to promote business. If the former, is it working, if the latter, who is paying?

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Metro might be deteriorating because it is 29 years old. Maybe the situation for Metro is the same as for the highways: we eventually get to the point where the cost of maintenance precludes further construction. (Absent more money,of course.)

I don't see that removing more seats prevents delays. Part of the delays are due to the number of people trying to get on and off the trains.

With an increasingly aging population and longer trip lengths as stations are added, standing nose to nose is a lousy way to avoid congestion.

Centrist's observation is confirmation of the U shaped demand curve. No matter what transport system you use, it can be overloaded by excess local population or excess local jobs.

 

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