Friday, April 10, 2015

Transport Talk

The Frau can accomplish a lot from a car in America.

Today, for instance, she returned books to two libraries and visited an ATM—without ever leaving her car—or NPR News.

Yodelers, The Frau has gotten lazy. It only took six months after 8+ years without a car to not think twice about getting behind the wheel. Even for short, walkable trips.

Sigh.

Is The Frau assimilating?

Yes and no.

Yes because she does drive to Toddler M’s school and her local library—at least when the weather is bad and she is in a rush—even though they are both walkable.

But no, because she will never consider going to the Starbucks drive-through. At least, she hopes she will never stoop so low.  Also, for now, her family has only one car, something quite rare in American families, where the average household has more vehicles than drivers.

In another interesting bit of transport trivia, statistics from Metra, Chicago’s commuter train system, make it (get this!) more punctual (95%) than the SBB (87.7%). Granted the SBB runs across an entire country and considers much more than just trains in its stats (and probably also considers "on-time" in a much less forgiving way), but still. The Frau was very surprised.


9 comments:

Hattie said...

Yes, I know what you mean about cars. For years I did not drive and walked or took public transport mostly. It was hellishly inconvenient, let's face it.
These days, being retired, I drive somewhere maybe twice a week on essential errands.

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Anonymous said...

"Granted the SBB runs across an entire country and considers much more than just trains in its stats (and probably also considers "on-time" in a much less forgiving way), but still. The Frau was very surprised."

Well, you already mentioned it.

In general Metra considers being late only, if „on-time is defined for this analysis as those regularly scheduled trains arriving at their last station stop less than six minutes behind schedule."

6 minutes or more. AND only at the final station. And only of a single train composition

Vice versa SBB: more than 2 minutes late (3 and more) of every customer from his/her starting point to the end point INCLUDING possible changes of trains. Therefore the so-called Customer-weighted connection punctuality (97.1%) is much more important to SBB: How many costumers made their intended connections on time on the broadly distributed network vs the star-network by Metra with one center (Chicago)!

Further Metra makes "tricks" such as: "Planned construction projects or special events can adversely affect on-time performance. Metra occasionally publishes full temporary schedules, which supersede the standard published schedules, to inform riders of possible delays or modifications to regular service. Metra also may publish informational notices to accompany temporary schedules. On-time performance is calculated using the temporary schedules and any accompanying notices."

How goes the saying? Do not trust any statistics which has not been modified by yourself. ;-)

Anonymous said...

And yes, the size is remarkably different (metro: 2013, SBB: 2014):

- Average number of passengers per day: 74’886 vs 1.18 million (16 times more)
- Passenger miles/Passenger-km (millions) per year: 2’942 m km (1’828 m miles) vs 18’231 m km (5 times more)
- Vehicle Revenue Miles/Train paths sold: 69 million km (43 m miles) vs 178 million km (not that much more!)
- Passenger Locomotives (including compositions): 559 vs 1086
- 703 weekday trains (per day), 296 Saturday trains and 163 Sunday trains vs 8’420 trains on the network, or an average of more than 155 trains PER ROUTE and day
- Network length (paths, not tracks): 1598 km (487 miles) vs 3173 km

And imagine, Metra writes: „It would take 29 additional expressway lanes to accommodate Metra riders“ to Chicago. Just for 37’443 (50% of total) passengers!

http://metrarail.com/content/dam/metra/documents/ridership_reports/Perf_Meas_20140917.pdf
http://www.sbb.ch/en/group/the-company/facts-and-figures.html

Summary said...

Just to summarize the above: SBB's spidernet-like infrastructure is about the double size of Metra's star-like network, SBB's train frequency is about 6 times as large as Metra's, while SBB transports 16 times as much people per day as Metra, Swiss people tend to travel 5 times as far per year as Illinois' people, and SBB's trains travel about two and a half times as far per year as Metra's trains. And still, most (87%) people reach their destination 2 minutes late or even less, even though many of them have to change trains on their route to their destinations, and almost all (97%) of them can succeed the tight (2-12 minutes) transfers.

Finance said...

And in order to break the rumor of teh "socialistic" Europe, here the financial view:

Oerational costs (2013)
by Metra: 1 billion $ of which 50% (!) are subsidized by (state?) funds

By SBB: 8 billion CHF (or PPP-adjusted: ~5 billion $) of which 25% are subsidized by tax.

So SBB uses five times as much operational costs for its above mentioned service!!!

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