10 June 2010
The High Cost of Serving the Suburbs
While at Pierce Transit's PT Tomorrow meeting last week, I came across a few charts and diagrams that showed quite clearly how much more expensive it is to provide transit service to areas with less activity. The first picture above shows a few routes with certain styles of service and their respective costs. It starts out quite well per rider with trunk route 1, but then gets worse and worse until it gets to Shuttle service which provides door-to-door service.
Tacoma Tomorrow discovered that this latest round contained 33% more service hours than the previous alternatives, which was primarily due to calculating geographic coverage. Martin Duke over at Seattle Transit Blog noted that expanding or contracting geographic coverage can have a large effect on how many service hours are available to a transit agency. The following two pictures below really show the effects of how much more terrain the growth alternative must cover due to ADA requirements:
So after seeing this affect, it really begs the question on what the best way to serve the suburbs is after seeing how much more resources it takes to provide transit service per person.