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  1. #76

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    What does the Q line do that a bus couldn't do? What am I missing?

  2. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat001 View Post
    What does the Q line do that a bus couldn't do? What am I missing?
    That is more easily answered by asking what a bus can do that that Qline can't do. Like driving around a broken down car in its path.

  3. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    That is more easily answered by asking what a bus can do that that Qline can't do. Like driving around a broken down car in its path.
    I'd add to that;
    -Extra buses can be added during peak times easily.

    -Buses can deviate past the a hospital, new mall, etc if there is demand.

    -Buses cost about 1/10th per passenger mile v.s light rail.

    -Can use any replacement bus from any company, even used buses from other places, instead of having to buy new rail cars from the one company that custom made the current rail cars.

    -Stops can be added anywhere just by installing a sign.

    -A broken down bus doesn't stop the entire system. Other buses can simply drive around the broken one.

    - Buses don't eliminate street parking (and hence crush business) like rail does when it's in the right-hand most lane (like in some parts of the Q-Line)

    -

  4. #79

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    Busses are the most logical, cost-effective, easily implemented transit solution. But they have a terrible reputation in Metro Detroit and are just not as "sexy" as the streetcar, which allows us to pretend we're Portland or Vancouver for 3 miles. Has the QLine been a net positive to the downtown area? For sure. Would a bus system with dedicated lanes and a big marketing budget be better? Probably.

  5. #80

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    Ridership in the Winter would likely be a bit higher if the heaters worked better. At best, they can warm two people at a time. They're broken at a number of stations, though. Combining that with long wait times and also inaccurately reported wait times on the screens, people would be more likely to walk, call an Uber, or hop on a bus if they're familiar with the bus system.

    I also don't understand why the design for the stations was a good idea. They provide almost no cover from rain/snow/wind. They look nice but don't do much for passengers waiting.

  6. #81
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    3,501

  7. #82

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    Today I rode the Q Line for the first time. My experiences and observations were much like those listed above. I think all are operational issues that will be worked out over time. One infrastructure issue that must be addressed though is the addition of more heat lamps. This is Michigan...no reason not to heat the entire station. They are not so big that it would be irresponsible to add 3-4 more lamps at each shelter. Hell every People Mover station has an excess of heat lamps, and those stations are much larger and more outdated.

    So I just moved back to Michigan after more than 3 years in Europe. I will say in most of the 31 countries I visited I preferred riding rails as opposed to busses and the reason is simple...the route is easier to understand and correct mistakes on my journey. It is concrete and usually easier to follow.

    This may not matter to the local citizen with familiarity to the city but to the casual visitor or out of towner, this difference can mean the world. I think the Q Iine provides a reasonable service for residents, but an invaluable resource for out of immediate vicinity visitors and out of towners. To know that many of the city's destinations are located nearby this line makes it more likely for them to use it as opposed to a bus where it could be very easy to "oops" and end up on the wrong one and cause quite a bit of time and effort to correct.

  8. #83

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    What is the daily passenger count on the Q line? Do I recall correctly
    that the count was about 6500 per day when there was no fare and
    about 5,000 per day after fare was required? Is there a website
    that reports the daily passenger counts? M-Dot has a site that
    reports detailed information about passenger counts on the state's
    Amtrak service. Business is up on those lines this year, meaning 2017.

  9. #84

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    My criticism is that a person could hop on the Q without paying. There is no turnstile or gate that has a slot to put a card in to open or turn to allow a rider through. The people mover has one. The stations are too open for anyone to jump on the train. That project wasn't too well thought out before constructing. The waiting or loading stations need more heated lamps installed so that riders could keep warm while waiting on the train. Anyone who purposely park cars in the path of the Qline should be charged a high ticket price or have the car towed away immediately to discourage anyone else from trying it just to be an asshole

  10. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by renf View Post
    What is the daily passenger count on the Q line? Do I recall correctly
    that the count was about 6500 per day.
    See post #71 on the previous page

  11. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by stasu1213 View Post
    My criticism is that a person could hop on the Q without paying. There is no turnstile or gate that has a slot to put a card in to open or turn to allow a rider through. The people mover has one. The stations are too open for anyone to jump on the train.
    I think everyone agrees that people should pay the fare, but numbers-wise, the money spent on fare collection would cost more than the unpaid fares themselves. It's not intuitive but it's how many things involving fares are.

    In this article about the People Mover it's mentioned that it would cost less money to simply remove the fare equipment and make the People Mover free than it would be to update the equipment to be compatible with a regional transit card.

    https://www.freep.com/story/news/loc...ine/971089001/

  12. #87

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    Only criticism i have is the scope of the project. I would like to see a couple miles of rail going up michigan ave, gratiot, and grand river.

  13. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdd View Post
    I'd add to that;
    -Extra buses can be added during peak times easily.

    -Buses can deviate past the a hospital, new mall, etc if there is demand.

    -Buses cost about 1/10th per passenger mile v.s light rail.

    -Can use any replacement bus from any company, even used buses from other places, instead of having to buy new rail cars from the one company that custom made the current rail cars.

    -Stops can be added anywhere just by installing a sign.

    -A broken down bus doesn't stop the entire system. Other buses can simply drive around the broken one.

    - Buses don't eliminate street parking (and hence crush business) like rail does when it's in the right-hand most lane (like in some parts of the Q-Line)

    -
    The best analogy yet. I’ve thought many of the Same things myself from the start.
    How about designing a totally different looking/functioning bus? This would break the image of a dirty old bus enough to make people wanna ride it. The train is something new and many are only riding it for amusement.
    Actual usefulness of the Q is on par or worse than the people mover.

  14. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by rex View Post
    Only criticism i have is the scope of the project. I would like to see a couple miles of rail going up michigan ave, gratiot, and grand river.
    Agreed. Considering that those areas are used a lot for public transit. We could use some rail down those spokes again.

  15. #90

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    Twice this week I've seen Q Line trains stuck in front of the DIA because people were parked right on Woodward, obstructing their path. There is a no parking sign, but they could use a couple more. Ultimately, though, there's no way to idiot-proof something.
    In spite of this I took the QLine from Canfield to Montcalm and back yesterday. The way down wasn't bad. I might have waited 15 or 20 minutes.
    On the way back I waited about half an hour. A second southbound train passed by before a northbound one scooped me up. Then, right before Mack, the train ground to a halt because... you guessed it, a parked car was blocking the tracks. The worst thing is they said they couldn't let us out because we weren't at a station. So lame. I, and several others might have gotten off after a few minutes anyway, but if a Q Line supervisor is reading this your employees valiantly tried to stop us cause it's so super unsafe if it's not at a station so please don't fire them for not continuing to hold us hostage .
    Honestly, I'm pretty over the Boug-line. I got my truck back from the mechanics, but the next time I want to take public transit up Woodward I'm catching a bus. (It's also annoying how bus stops and Q Line stops aren't near each other. Maybe it's to improve traffic flow, but I'd just as soon hop on whatever gets there first. It's all about getting from point A to point B with me.)

  16. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tig3rzhark View Post
    Agreed. Considering that those areas are used a lot for public transit. We could use some rail down those spokes again.
    For those comparing LRT vs Bus, a few notes.

    1) It matters what riders prefer. For a variety of reasons, rail can appeal as middle-class transit, meaning it will attract discretionary (choice) riders. Bus systems are rarely good at attracting choice riders.

    To be sure, some of that is 'branding' or past reputation of poorer buses than what one might see today.

    However, it is also about a 'smoother ride'. Typically quieter as well. Acceleration and braking tend to be much smoother on rail and outside of the odd turn, there is less side to side movement (lane switching, pulling in/out of stops) which can be very challenging to deal w/if you happen to be a standing (as opposed to sitting) rider. All the more so if you are elderly, or have parcels.

    ***

    There are 2 other reasons to go w/rail. One is having a fixed ROW, (ie. non-mixed traffic) clearly this does not always apply. It is, however, a common virtue in modern LRT. It is also true you can build an ROW for buses, but then you lose many of the stated advantages for buses when they have to stay w/in their ROW.

    A final and perhaps most crucial reason for LRT is capacity.

    Toronto's longest bus (articulated) can hold 77 people seated plus standees.

    Toronto's new LRT vehicles hold 250.

    Put simply, it requires 4 buses to replace a single LRT unit; and that's if they are the extra large buses.

    Again, Q Line is not that busy at this point. But this is both an attempt to induce ridership and plan for future growth.

  17. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Visitor View Post
    For those comparing LRT vs Bus, a few notes.

    1) It matters what riders prefer. For a variety of reasons, rail can appeal as middle-class transit, meaning it will attract discretionary (choice) riders. Bus systems are rarely good at attracting choice riders.

    To be sure, some of that is 'branding' or past reputation of poorer buses than what one might see today.

    However, it is also about a 'smoother ride'. Typically quieter as well. Acceleration and braking tend to be much smoother on rail and outside of the odd turn, there is less side to side movement (lane switching, pulling in/out of stops) which can be very challenging to deal w/if you happen to be a standing (as opposed to sitting) rider. All the more so if you are elderly, or have parcels.

    ***

    There are 2 other reasons to go w/rail. One is having a fixed ROW, (ie. non-mixed traffic) clearly this does not always apply. It is, however, a common virtue in modern LRT. It is also true you can build an ROW for buses, but then you lose many of the stated advantages for buses when they have to stay w/in their ROW.

    A final and perhaps most crucial reason for LRT is capacity.

    Toronto's longest bus (articulated) can hold 77 people seated plus standees.

    Toronto's new LRT vehicles hold 250.

    Put simply, it requires 4 buses to replace a single LRT unit; and that's if they are the extra large buses.

    Again, Q Line is not that busy at this point. But this is both an attempt to induce ridership and plan for future growth.

    Have you been on the "Q Line", CV?
    Last edited by Honky Tonk; December-30-17 at 05:43 AM.

  18. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honky Tonk View Post
    Have you been on the "Q Line", CV?
    No, not yet.

    Wasn't done last time I was in town.

  19. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Visitor View Post
    For those comparing LRT vs Bus, a few notes.

    1) It matters what riders prefer..................
    ...........................
    ...................... etc

    When I think of riding rail, bus etc,.. pretty much the ONLY concerns are;

    1. How many seconds or minutes am I going to have to wait to get on one,... (Times 10 if it's 5 degrees outside)

    2. How long will it take to get to my destination? (V.s. a cab)

    Last time I was in San Fran we had visitors from out of the country,.. so we thought we'd get on the cable cars. It was going to be like a 45 min wait (all tourists,.. almost no locals use it). We hailed a cab instead.

    We would have gladly caught a bus if there had been one there.

    Perhaps tourists might find the Q-Line fun and worth the hassles,... but it's not like it's an historical and world-famous cable-car going up and down steep hills,.... it's just a run-of the mill light rail car.

    I think the only advantage for tourists is what DetroitSoldier mentioned above,.. that being that it's route is Soooo simple,.. tourists won't be afraid of getting on the wrong one and ending up lost in the hood. If a local says they can take the Q to get to the DIA,.. they can relax and just jump on the first one.
    Last edited by Bigdd; December-30-17 at 09:39 AM.

  20. #95

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    When it come to public transportation, perception is reality to perspective riders. Buses are dirty, old, dangerous, rolling homeless shelters to the vast majority of people in this region. I can't see any amount of marketing getting people beyond that perception. The M1 or Q Line is seen as new, sleek, clean, and safe. Which, correct or not, is what it is.

    Living close to a Q Line station I have used it frequently for commuting and getting around for pleasure. I however have not for a second tried to figure out how the bus system works. Would a bus serve me better? Probably. Does the Q Line have glaring issues? No doubt. I have fallen victim to my own perceptions though and I am surely not alone.

    I strongly believe that extending the Q down Jefferson and Michigan would have a huge positive impact on the neighborhoods that would be serviced. Much more so more buses, even ones with their own dedicated lanes. All due to perception.

  21. #96

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    Strong points here, especially from DetroitSoldier and Canadian Visitor. Even playing to its strong suits - wealthy public transit riders, city visitors and downtown residents/workers, the Q Line wasn't well thought out and planned. That adds extra insult to those, like me who supported the idea that the Federal and Kresge Foundation monies contributed to it's creation should have been used on regional transit.

    From that Crains article it looks like Q Line is getting the message and is making changes for 2018 which is good.

  22. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdd View Post
    I'd add to that;
    -Extra buses can be added during peak times easily.

    -Buses can deviate past the a hospital, new mall, etc if there is demand.

    -Buses cost about 1/10th per passenger mile v.s light rail.

    -Can use any replacement bus from any company, even used buses from other places, instead of having to buy new rail cars from the one company that custom made the current rail cars.

    -Stops can be added anywhere just by installing a sign.

    -A broken down bus doesn't stop the entire system. Other buses can simply drive around the broken one.

    - Buses don't eliminate street parking (and hence crush business) like rail does when it's in the right-hand most lane (like in some parts of the Q-Line)

    -
    What I never hear mentioned about the cost of LRT versus bus service are the costs that go into having mechanics repairing busses compared to no mechanics needed for rail. One of the constant complaints of busses is that they break down requiring mechanics to repair them. When comparing LRT and Bus costs, are the mechanics salaries, their healthcare costs and their pensions included in the equation?

  23. #98

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    I get the impression that investors like rails over buses, because rails can't be rerouted on a whim. If I build a (cafe, apartment house, whatever), I will still be on the route next week and next year.

  24. #99
    Nero Guest

    Default Light Rail Was the Best Option for Woodward Avenue


    In the Ancient Roman Republic of Nero's day there were 53,000 miles of paved highway for private chariots, carriages, andcargo shipments. Nero lived during a period when Emperor Augustus and the three and a half emperors who followed were engaged on the issue of roads, transit, and technology so Nero should know a thing or two about the subject at hand. Nero and the Romans even had a few tosses at creating the first automobile!

    Investors might like this or that. Extension of the original roads and rails are built on the principals of land values and providing movement of goods and people. Providing utilities along the line helped gain approval and pay bills. For Rome it was aqueducts. Back in Detroit's history, that meant selling electricity from the running cables. Today that means providing Wifi service.

    The choice of vehicle type and size should probably be based on safety, capacity and cost, in that order. No one can ride something that is horribly unsafe, and no one wants to wait in queue lines for the Q Line. Cost comes into the measure here. Fare is like a web site banner ad for the Detroit News, it makes money but is only a small part of the cash flow schematical dance plan.

    Some good ideas for rebranding and relaunching bus lines have been outlined on this web site. Cost and safety is not the issue that capacity is, as is being overlooked by the casual observer. Buses have a much lower capacity when compared to light rail. If your goal is to provide a mixed-use Denver-esque streetcar shopping, sports and entertainment district that is connected to a museum and educational district, and connected to other transit lines, then light rail was the correct choice.

    The Q Line's transit related purpose is as follows:


    1. To provide an extension or second downtown circulator that connected the People Mover to the cultural district to the north.
    2. Provided a link to airport and intercity rail services via the Amtrak station.
    3. Provide a way to get to necessary everyday urban amenities for people living in Midtown and the Central Business District, not accessible by the People Mover. One could argue that buses already provided this service, but that is part of your "rails spur development" argument.
    4. Provide a way to traverse a new joint shopping, entertainment, and cultural strip or Avenue.
    5. Provide the seed test infrastructure needed for a new method of travel to be added to a regional transit system. Federal requirements were such that existing transit infrastructure must be operating in a state before federal money can go towards utilization of said transit technology.


    The high capacity needs of the stadiums and entertainment venues are precisely why the high capacity light rail trains were the right choice for this line. With light rail, trains should be able to be stacked alongside the stations when events let out, and could be supplemented with city buses if people are more concerned about getting to their destination quickly, then riding in a train. Are Nero's numbers sound?


    • Private Chariot: 2-7 riders plus driver
    • City Bus: 35-50 riders*
    • People Mover: 50-100 riders*
    • Q Line: 100-150 riders*


    The high daily ridership of the Woodward 53 is another reason that light rail was the correct choice for this line. Nero looks forward to ridership data over the coming years for the DDOT Woodward 53, SMART Woodward Express, Q Line, and Detroit People Mover. Since the expensive base infrastructure and supporting technology was built with private marks, it should now be much, much cheaper to add additional light rail lines in Detroit.

    Last edited by Nero; January-02-18 at 02:49 PM.

  25. #100
    Nero Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    That is more easily answered by asking what a bus can do that that Qline can't do. Like driving around a broken down car in its path.
    They are going to end up redoing it and either dedicating lanes, or moving the rails to the center lane. It is clear that demand is present for light rail on Woodward, Gratiot, and Jefferson. There may be a case for Michigan Avenue. Grand River, Fort, and most of Michigan Avenue should be bus. The larger light rail cars are needed to meet capacity requirements on a few select thoroughfares.

    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    I get the impression that investors like rails over buses, because rails can't be rerouted on a whim. If I build a (cafe, apartment house, whatever), I will still be on the route next week and next year.
    Any tangible investment into a mass transit line will get you that. A dedicated BRT lane or a painted line down a road would do the same thing.

    What Nero wants to know is whether or not the rails will have the same impact when the streets of Detroit look like this.



    CHEERS!
    Last edited by Nero; January-02-18 at 03:45 PM. Reason: Nero added cheers.

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