Transit Experts Weigh in on Tech Buses

By : missionlocal – excerpt

To be less irksome to neighbors, they could be smaller and the routes could be restricted to larger streets, but transportation experts say the tech buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley basically do a good job at what they do — effectively shuttling approximately 35,000 people a day and most likely keeping thousands of cars off the freeway…

The speed aside, putting tech workers onto the current public transportation system would not likely be a viable option because the public transit system is over capacity, the study’s authors said.

“Caltrain is completely at capacity at peak hours, so is Muni,” Weinzimmer said. “It’s a miracle that people rely on it as much as they do.”…

The existing situation’s impressiveness makes it challenging to envision an alternative that would be as efficient and move through San Francisco’s dense neighborhoods less, they said.

For example, if the shuttles were forced to load and unload commuters at a central terminal in less dense and less residential parts of the city, experts said the network of private shuttles would not only be less efficient than they are now, they could also cause undue stress on the public transit system.

“Most people dislike more access times,” Deakin said. “It wouldn’t matter if it’s a beautiful terminal or if there’s some sort of Maginot Line where buses aren’t allowed to cross, you’d still have to get across town.”…

For Shaheen, who is primarily interested in these shuttles’ ability to take cars off the street, their benefits should ideally be expanded to more people.

“I wonder, could these types of services be modeled so other people could access them and perhaps these other individuals wouldn’t need cars to commute?” Shaheen asked. “Could this be expanded to a much larger suite of individuals?”

Papandreou is skeptical about whether a public system could be modeled after the private one…

All the experts we talked to shared one common wish: in their ideal system, there would be more public options for every Bay Area commuter…  (more)