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Need to market bus transport in US to save on rail lines

Report shows buses are faster than trains despite riders' anti-bus bias

Published Tue, Feb 10, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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New York

"BUS-BASED public transit in the United States suffers from an image problem." That fact, laid out in a 2009 report from the Federal Transit Administration, isn't surprising, but it has led to a perverse outcome: transit agencies are spending millions of dollars on new rail infrastructure that is no faster than existing bus service, simply because riders perceive a train as being better than a bus.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed AirTrain link from La Guardia Airport in New York could be the latest example. It might cost US$450 million or it might be more like US$1 billion - Thomas Prendergast, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, wavered between the figures in a public hearing last month - but either way, from most places in New York City, it won't be faster than taking existing bus service to the airport, because it will run south-east from the airport, away from Manhattan.

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