Comment 49849

By jason (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 20:05:59


Good questions. The main reason justifying the higher upfront cost for the rail line is largely due to the economic development return that comes. Despite some very top notch bus systems that exist around the world, none of them ever show the sort of ROI that is common along an LRT line. Portland's mayor spoke about the $3.5 billion that had been invested along that line in the past 10 years. You simply won't find numbers or investment like that along a bus line.

The two most commonly given reasons for this are: 1. Buses aren't permanent, making it a much bigger risk for the private sector to invest heavily without the permanence that comes with rails. 2. Trains are simply more 'attractive' to the general public. I'm not sure why, but many people will never set foot on a bus, but will gleefully step on a train. Trains move more people because of this, coupled with their permanence.

Finally, despite the higher upfront costs, it has been shown that operating an LRT system on a per capita basis is cheaper than a BRT system.

You can find some great info here:

Comment edited by jason on 2010-10-19 19:06:32

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