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Rubber tire trolley - bridge the gap before light rail

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Rubber tire trolley – bridge the gap before light rail

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  • #95335

    InnerCore
    Participant

    Given the growth in the urban areas of Columbus and the realization that light rail probably wont be here soon I was curious how people felt about a rubber tire trolley. This is something that was implement here in Miami and it seems to be working well.

    The route would basically be from the brewery district to campus gateway up and down High st. You wouldn’t need to look at any schedule or bus numbers just look up for the red trolley and if your on the east side of the road you know its going north and vice versa.

    You’re in town for a conference but want to visit the rest of Short North, Brewery District or campus, just hop on the trolley. You living in Highpoint and want to meet for drinks in the short North, just hop on.

    Then the ridership from the trolley could be used to gauge interest for light rail along the same route.

    Now obviously since its basically just a local line bus the same trips could be made on COTA. But for multiple reasons people are reluctant to ride. By combining some of the benefits of light rail line it the trolley here has been able to attract people who would otherwise not ride the bus. It’s also free which encourage ridership among people as well. And it doesn’t really take away from bus ridership because it only goes along a specific route so most people which means you’d have to transfer and pay anyway.

    #529708
    Stephen43215
    Stephen43215
    Participant

    Is this the free trolley the city of Miami provides? I was in Miami a few months ago and used the red trolley to go all over downtown. Best thing about riding is its free!!

    #529709

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    #529711

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    #529713

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    #529710

    GCrites80s
    Participant

    COTA already tried it. It didn’t seem to create much economic development if any since it didn’t have the permanent infrastructure in the ground of rail.

    #529712

    mrpoppinzs
    Member

    I used to think COTA ran this one (saw it at several weddings) but it seems to be private.

    http://trollyrental.com/bus/ohio/columbus-7162

    #529714
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    The idea for rubber tire trolleys were re-floated by COTA circa 2007/2008 and the committees that I sat on that heard the idea pitched directly by COTA reps didn’t really like it too much. We want trains, and not buses that just look like trains.

    #529715

    heresthecasey
    Participant

    mrpoppinzs said:
    I used to think COTA ran this one (saw it at several weddings) but it seems to be private.

    http://trollyrental.com/bus/ohio/columbus-7162

    I think COTA sold off the vehicles when they eliminated the service.

    #529716

    InnerCore
    Participant

    Walker said:
    The idea for rubber tire trolleys were re-floated by COTA circa 2007/2008 and the committees that I sat on that heard the idea pitched directly by COTA reps didn’t really like it too much. We want trains, and not buses that just look like trains.

    That’s weird I thought you’d be more receptive. I think its obvious that I definitely want trains as well. But it seems pretty likely that its not going to happen anytime soon. We’ve seen here that the trolleys increase ridership beyond regular buses helping to make the argument for bringing trains.

    In Miami there are two separate rail systems already downtown and the trolley buses are paving the way for street cars. It seems odd to put down rubber tire trolleys as “buses that look like trains” when there is no alternative. Especially from someone who is constantly wants to encourage more bus ridership.

    If you prefer I can put it another way. How would you feel about a dedicated free bus that only runs along newly growing urban areas like brewery district, Arena District, Short North , etc. The bus will be painted a distinctive color so their is no need to look up routes or schedules. Just hop on or off.

    #529717

    mrpoppinzs
    Member

    I think a distinctive colored free bus running up and down High would be great. I think it would get a ton of use. That is the busiest route in Cota’s system. It could alleviate some of the parking issues in the area and let shoppers/diners/drinkers move about more freely while getting them used to taking a bus.

    #529718

    heresthecasey
    Participant

    mrpoppinzs said:
    I think a distinctive colored free bus running up and down High would be great. I think it would get a ton of use. That is the busiest route in Cota’s system. I could alleviate some of the parking issues in the area and let shoppers/diners/drinkers move about more freely.

    +1

    I think a free bus service going up High St from maybe Livingston to Goodale would be an excellent investment to make.

    For kicks, here’s a picture of the old downtown Cota Link bus in the 90s which did basically the same thing, but cost maybe 25 cents I think.

    (As a bonus for nostalgia buffs, it’s even wrapped in an ad for City Center)

    #529719
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    InnerCore said:
    We’ve seen here that the trolleys increase ridership beyond regular buses helping to make the argument for bringing trains.

    True. Though the #2, which serves much of the route you mentioned (as well as the late night #21) is one of the busiest bus routes in the city, if not *the* busiest. #2 buses are sometimes overcrowded to the point where they don’t let anyone else on. If the goal is to increase ridership, it sounds like a less adopted route might be a better starting point.

    InnerCore said:
    It seems odd to put down rubber tire trolleys as “buses that look like trains” when there is no alternative.

    The better alternative is to push forward with building trains. The Streetcar project was shelved and can be un-shelved with some of the preliminary work already completed still usable. I wouldn’t be surprised if we couldn’t have a High Street streetcar operational within 2 years with civic leadership that pushed it forward. Would probably take the same amount of time to procure new trolley buses and get them on the street (the ordering/manufacturing window for new vehicles can sometimes take over a year, no?).

    InnerCore said:
    How would you feel about a dedicated free bus that only runs along newly growing urban areas like brewery district, Arena District, Short North , etc. The bus will be painted a distinctive color so their is no need to look up routes or schedules. Just hop on or off.

    I’ve always been a fan of a free Downtown circulator route, though I think a Downtown Loop (within the innerbelt connecting the Arena District, High Street, CSCC, CCAD, Franklin, Grant Hospital, RiverSouth, Cap Square, etc) is probably more needed than more redundancy on High Street already served in portions by a dozen existing lines.

    I just don’t necessarily think the bus needs to resemble a trolley to make it work. ;)

    #529720

    columbusdreamer
    Participant

    how do we make it happen yesterday?

    #529721

    InnerCore
    Participant

    Walker said:
    True. Though the #2, which serves much of the route you mentioned (as well as the late night #21) is one of the busiest bus routes in the city, if not *the* busiest. #2 buses are sometimes overcrowded to the point where they don’t let anyone else on. If the goal is to increase ridership, it sounds like a less adopted route might be a better starting point.

    I guess I was talking about increasing ridership in the terms of people who don’t ordinarily ride buses. I’m talking about all the people moving into all the new urban upscale housing downtown, conference visitors at the new Hilton etc. These people by and large aren’t going to get on the #2 for the sheer reason that it’s the #2.

    What we found here in Miami is that by creating a dedicated route for downtown and making the bus look separate from the typical bus system it makes it convenient for people only moving around downtown and therefore inconvenient for everyone else. So the people going further than Short North to the North and Brewery District to the south tend not to get on. So what you get is a bus that is predominantly filled with downtown residents, professionals, visitors and people going out, shopping, dinning, etc. This goes a long way in getting people in $500k condos to leave their BMW’s at home and instead hoping on the buses to grab drinks.

    Walker said:
    The better alternative is to push forward with building trains. The Streetcar project was shelved and can be un-shelved with some of the preliminary work already completed still usable. I wouldn’t be surprised if we couldn’t have a High Street streetcar operational within 2 years with civic leadership that pushed it forward. Would probably take the same amount of time to procure new trolley buses and get them on the street (the ordering/manufacturing window for new vehicles can sometimes take over a year, no?).

    How is that a better alternative when I’m saying you do both at the same time. I think you might be arguing a bit mainly because it’s me and my debbie downer arguments. Of course you push ahead with rail, the name of the thread implies that. This is just to fill in the gap over the interim. Construction would take at least 2 years for light rail so even unshelving the old plan and getting approved is likely to take 3 – 4 years if there was serious movement on the issue today. If I had to bet the over/under on 5 years I’d probably take the over.

    And why would it take 2 years for Trolley buses? All you’re going to do is order them. The longest part would be getting the approval. Once we approved the Trolley’s here we had them running on the streets months later. And federal stimulus money covered half the cost. We could have them running in Columbus before most of these new units are completed.

    Walker said:
    I’ve always been a fan of a free Downtown circulator route, though I think a Downtown Loop (within the innerbelt connecting the Arena District, High Street, CSCC, CCAD, Franklin, Grant Hospital, RiverSouth, Cap Square, etc) is probably more needed than more redundancy on High Street already served in portions by a dozen existing lines.

    I think the more you get away from high st. the more you go back toward areas where a traditional bus system works. Maybe COTA should run a circulator to those areas.

    But having circulator that goes just up and down High st. basically along the potential street car route filled with downtown residents, tourist goes along way to conniving people a street car is needed. You and I both know everyone who doesn’t ride the bus thinks its primarily for poor people. But you get a guy from the suburbs to drive to SN for dinner and then sees everyone hoping on the circulator to go from Hubbard grill up to Spruce to get drinks and that does a lot to change perceptions.

    Here is an example of what happens here in Miami. All the girls will drive down to a friends house in Brickell and park (so for Columbus let’s say Highpoint). Since the girls don’t want to walk 15 min up the street in their $800 Louboutin heels they hop on the trolley and ride over to the bars (in this case SN). So you’ve got 5 girls dressed up on a bus. It’s not too crowded because it’s only servicing that area. This changes peoples impressions fast. Ask those those same girls to get on a bus and they’ll laugh in your face.

    Here is an article that talks about transportation in Miami’s urban core:
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/23/v-print/2865271_by-train-bus-bike-new-transportation.html

    And notice the picture they used for article, its from the trolley:

    Walker said:
    I just don’t necessarily think the bus needs to resemble a trolley to make it work. ;)

    The trolley looks helps to differentiate it from the normal bus system.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 78 total)

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