January 16, 2021

"As mayor, I will regularly get around the city by subway, bus, or bike, because that’s the way most New Yorkers get around..."

"... and that’s how I’ve been getting around for 25 years. I will build bus rapid transit networks like the 14th street busway in every borough. I will have a fully electric bus system by 2030. [inaudible 00:10:59] electric buses. New York can move our people around in a way that’s sustainable for our neighborhoods and our planet. Building this forward-thinking transit network will require municipal control of the city’s subways and buses. As mayor, I will fight to get control of our subways and buses so we can control our own destiny." 

Said Andrew Yang, announcing his candidacy for mayor of New York City.

What vision! The transportation solution for New York City is buses. Lots of buses. They'll be electric, so that's supposed to be good for the environment, but the method of getting around is the same old method. The bus! I've lived in NYC — 1973 to 1984 and 2007 to 2008 — and the last form of transportation I'd use is the bus. Maybe 3 or 4 times in the early 70s, and never again. 

The problems were not anything that would be helped by running the bus on a battery instead of gas. It was that buses were penned in by street traffic, so the wait could be terribly long and you'd know that once you get on, the ride would be slow. There you are, standing at street level, wondering why you didn't just keep walking and whether you'd be where you were going by now if you had.

117 comments:

MountainMan said...

My experience exactly. I have never been anywhere in NYC - at least in Manhattan - in a taxi or bus that I couldn't have gotten there faster by walking. Better to take that money and put it into improving the subway system. which already can move large numbers of people very day efficiently. And it is already electric.

And Yang is supposed to be some kind of entrepreneur or something? Doesn't seem like it to to me.

Kai Akker said...

Andrew's reach is impressive. His grasp less so.

John henry said...

Where does the electricity to run the busses come from?

Coal?

Gas?

Oil?

Nuclear?

John Henry

Kevin said...

The entire goal of the left’s agenda is to force at least some white people to the back of the bus.

tim maguire said...

The buses are for people who don’t care how long it takes to get where they’re going. If you want to speed up the buses, you need to reduce traffic. When I lived in New York, I supported banning private automobiles from most of Manhattan. In NYC, cars are a dubious luxury of the rich, and not the way most people get around. The amount of public resources given to them is indefensible.

The other part of his proposal—municipal control of the MTA—makes a lot of sense. It’s treated as a cash-cow for upstate transit systems, leading to under-investment in what is the single most important piece of infrastructure propping up the state’s economy.

DanTheMan said...

>>Where does the electricity to run the busses come from?

A friend was bragging that his Prius didn't burn gasoline. I told him he was correct.
His Prius burned coal, which is how our local utility generates power.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Andrew Yang. Yang bucks to Yang bus. Common man.

Kevin said...

As mayor, I will regularly get around the city by subway, bus, or bike, because that’s the way most New Yorkers get around...

Ann rightly points out most New Yorkers get around by walking. Now that we’re transitioning to work from home that trend will accelerate.

Yang knows what he’s doing. He first has to lock down the young, stupid and woke vote.

And he can’t get there by further inciting race riots.

Jersey Fled said...

I don't understand why anyone would live in NYC. My daughter lived there for several years. She is an otherwise intelligent young woman.

Lucid-Ideas said...

A bus that burns oil
That he'll foil
Charged on coal
Now that's the goal

Breezy said...

I’ve not been to NYC for years.... what differentiates the 14th Street busway mentioned in the snippet?

tim maguire said...

Kevin said...Ann rightly points out most New Yorkers get around by walking.

Depends on where you’re going. All New Yorkers do a fair bit of walking, but most trips to another part of the city include a subway or a cab.

RBE said...

I have read that electric cars and buses are good for reducing street level emissions. Vehicle noise would be reduced. Would there be enough benefit to warrant this kind of investment? Would the quality of life in big cities be enhanced? Maybe?

Curious George said...

In Madison, most people get around by automobile. Sure there are the goofy bike riders. Running stop signs and ignoring traffic laws. Lot's of UW profs on that list. Busses? No.
Yet they have a bus system that drives those dumb things around empty just in case someone wants to hop on.

MayBee said...

This might be a stupid question and I'm happy to hear any explanation, but why is it always in our home we are supposed to turn off the lights, turn off the air conditioner, set the heat on the furnace to colder all to conserve electricity, but electric cars and buses are the future?

Wilbur said...

Where I live if you want to speed up traffic, you'd get rid of the mostly empty buses.

Andrew's just selling his virtue, and he's signaling as fast as he can.

wendybar said...

He also posted a video of himself visiting what he called a bordega which looked more like a whole foods....Never saw a bordega like that!!!

Curious George said...

"RBE said...
I have read that electric cars and buses are good for reducing street level emissions. Vehicle noise would be reduced. Would there be enough benefit to warrant this kind of investment? Would the quality of life in big cities be enhanced? Maybe?"

What's driving EV use isn't emissions...it's operational cost. And fuel cost, kw v gas, is only a part of that. Maintenance and EV cars have 20 moving parts on average, ICE 2,000. Maintenance and longevity is the play....huge saving and simplicity, especially for fleets.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Busways are designated bus lanes, which speed bus travel and slow car travel.

gilbar said...

electric buses?

where's the electricity going to come from?
Couldn't be Natural gas... No pipelines
Couldn't be Windmills... Don't want them off OUR shores
Nuclear? Get Real!
So; will it be Coal fired power plants? Or Oil fired ones?

Greg Hlatky said...

20th century technology at 21st century costs.

Next up, high-speed Zeppelin service!

Temujin said...

Forward into the past.

Curious George said...

"MayBee said...
This might be a stupid question and I'm happy to hear any explanation, but why is it always in our home we are supposed to turn off the lights, turn off the air conditioner, set the heat on the furnace to colder all to conserve electricity, but electric cars and buses are the future?"

That's a great question...I sell RV chargers and it's one I asked. Wants even more puzzling are the electric utilities who are giving rebates for consumers and businesses to move to electric saving things like LED lighting, solar, and more efficient appliances and HVAC. Makes sense....they want to keep consumption within generation capabilities because new power plants cost billions. But some...not many...offer rebates for putting in EV chargers. I believe they are looking to sell KW in off peak periods. People come home, plug in their car, and charge it over night.

The only utility in WI offering incentives for EV chargers is Alliant Energy, which is in central WI...not Madison though. $1,500 rebate.

Owen said...

Curious George @ 7:11: “maintenance.” But what about all the good union jobs in the maintenance business that will disappear? Why is Yang killing careers for working men and women?

gilbar said...

Sounds like, What NYC NEEDS, is a MONORAIL!
there's nothing on earth, Like a genuine, bona fide, Electrified, six-car Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!

Jeff Vader said...

As the problem with NYC buses are the old people who take 5 minutes to get on at 1st avenue and then another 5 to get off on 2nd avenue, the combined efforts of Cuomo and DeBlasio should greatly reduce this population and the issues they create.

Tommy Duncan said...

The problem with progressive solutions is that they sound much better than they really are.

Tommy Duncan said...

Blogger John henry said...

"Where does the electricity to run the buses come from?"

John Henry, you are a silly muggle. Electricity is magic.

iowan2 said...

Battery disposal?

Glenn posted yesterday, his Tesla battery degradation is on track to be replaced under warranty. The old toxic waste batteries go where?

Rusty said...

MayBee said...
"This might be a stupid question and I'm happy to hear any explanation, but why is it always in our home we are supposed to turn off the lights, turn off the air conditioner, set the heat on the furnace to colder all to conserve electricity, but electric cars and buses are the future?"
Our electric grid can't handle a major introduction of another electrical drain. To go more green we'll have to build more power plants. Not wind mills of solar panels but reliable energy sources. Natural gas, coal, falling water or nuclear. All estimates I've seen tell me there is only about ten years of easily available lithium in the ground. Either we find more or we develop another energy storage source or both.

Fernandinande said...

Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others

alfromchgo said...

"ten years of easily available lithium in the ground."

Back to the past and use the storage that ws used for more than seventy years, LEAD ACID". Lets see if Mr Yang can get his head around that concept.

Or as above just use magic....

Lurker21 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker21 said...

Yang has also promised that as mayor he will live in a cardboard box under an overpass, because that's where things seem to be headed for most of the city's residents.

John Lindsay rode the subways too. It didn't make him a better mayor, though time spent on the subways probably wasn't time spent passing along social diseases to Florence Henderson, so I guess there's that.

Richard Aubrey said...

Was on a tour bus in Manhattan about twenty years ago. A cop jumped on and said to follow that car. About two minutes later, he jumped off and started running.

Jeff C said...

He's obviously never actually rode a bus, especially in NYC, has he?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Has anyone clued him in that a lot of people have fled NYC and may not be coming back?

Francisco D said...

If the WuFlu continues to be a problem, urban public transportation is truly screwed.

However, once the Democrats institute their permanent majority and subversive speech is eliminated, the WuFlu will no longer be a problem. It served its purpose.

Wince said...

...buses were penned in by street traffic...

I'm thinking of something that could step over vehicle traffic.

Like the War of the Worlds Tripods, except friendlier.

h said...

Couldn't the buses be pulled by horses? No GHG emissions, plus free fertilizer for our roof-top gardens. Do it for the children.

JML said...

Why don't they go back to the horse and buggy? Collect the horse poop and use it to fertilize rooftop gardens and grow their own food. Kill and eat the horses when they (the horses) get lame. If they do this, they won't have to depend on the deplorable midwest for subsistence. Shoot - he could start a new party- The Horse Shit party. If elected, he could be the Shit Head.

Leland said...

The problems were not anything that would be helped by running the bus on a battery instead of gas. It was that buses were penned in by street traffic

Super easy, barely an inconvenience; simply ban the street traffic, or at least any of it not running on a battery. Buses work great in London.

jim said...

"Has anyone clued him in that a lot of people have fled NYC and may not be coming back?"

But, they want to go back.

For years my job took me to the city from home in central PA every month or so. My bosses were generally there and many of our customers.

Now I haven't been there for a year, my company has closed our office, and I really don't know if I'll ever be back. I always enjoyed the vibe, I hope that's not gone forever.

robother said...

Yang appears to be conceding the subway system to the homeless, who have effectively occupied the system since COVID lockdown. It will take one lawsuit by a handicapped homeless person to eliminate the turnstiles (why should only the agile homeless who jump them be given free access to the subways?)

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Where does the electricity to run the busses come from?

...

John Henry


Unicorn farts and magic pixey dust. Plus Andrew Yang's mighty brain.

wildswan said...

There's a lot to be said for a mayor riding public transportation and generally using the same public utilities as everyone else. He'd be realistic about what they're like. Riding them to speeches is an especially good idea, as this one simple trick would quickly cut down on the number of speeches even imagined as possible and probably the mayor'd be late for the few left on the schedule.
There's just no large-scale solution in or near a city to the problem of getting to school or the job except subways and buses. But, overall, things have changed since I used to ride public transportation in DC and NYC, back in the day when doing so wasn't too bad. Now the systems are rundown and way over-crowded. Maintaining them has become too difficult and expensive for anyone, public or private to do so. This change is what those deeply invested in socialist solutions can't grasp (or won't acknowledge if they do get it.) As usual they're back in the last century and in Thirties of that century, mostly. In the Twenties of the 21st century, there's no solution except for a lot of people to leave. And Covid has shown that working from elsewhere is possible for a lot of people.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Electric vehicles are so silent that when traveling below 18 mph they have to generate artificial noise so pedestrians can hear them coming. So, with the busses traveling at 5 mph at best, it's going to be a cacophony of eerie sounds, hip-hop, classical music and rock and roll. Just what's need to make the city silent.

DavidD said...

When I first got to Ft, Sam Houston I would take a bus to the mall and back—it was a 45-minute ride each way.

When I got a car I found out that the mall was less than 15 minutes away.

daskol said...

The quiet part, that Yang didn't say out loud re his bus plans, is reducing the number of cars through innovative solutions like congestion pricing, taxes, etc. Yang is interesting but he has a fetish for public action. He claims he's an entrepreneur. While not what I'd consider an entrepreneur due to his minimal private sector experience and lack of founder status, he is an entrepreneur of politics and of public-private partnership. That's quite scary, but even Yang would seem like a relief right now from DeBlasio, who is not very bright or likable. Yang seems bright and likable, but there's a real chance his entrepreneurial ways and fetish for public action could make him as bad for NYC as our dim-bulb fake Italian mayor.

daskol said...

Bloomberg rode the IRT downtown once in a while, not always for a photo-op. Upside for Yang is a Bloomberg like technocrat with better style and personality.

daskol said...

If we're going to elect a Yang from NYC, I'm thinking just for the press conferences and official mayoral twitter feed, this is the Yang we've been waiting for.

daskol said...

In NYC, cars are a dubious luxury of the rich, and not the way most people get around. The amount of public resources given to them is indefensible.

Spoken like a true provincial Manhattanite. You may only have spent a few years living there, but you've fully absorbed the ethos. Outside Manhattan, really beginning somewhere around 95th st, it's all about the cars, including private vehicles, taxis and most especially now ride shares like uber/lyft and especially vibe and uber/lyft's true shared ride options. Ride share apps transformed transport here, and are most certainly not limited to the affluent. Nor are private vehicles, which are as much a necessity of life in most of the non-Manhattan areas as they are in the suburbs.

daskol said...

Like cigarette and alcohol taxes, the punitive anti-car measures will be incredibly regressive taxes. Because rich Manhattanites and the people who have absorbed that ethos actually really don't like having poor people around.

daskol said...

Especially not people from Staten Island or outer Brooklyn or Queens or the Bronx.

Michael K said...

The left loves mass transit. The lefty Mayor of Irvine CA wanted to build a light rail system. It took out two lanes of the streets and went from the University to the City Hall.

Blogger robother said...
Yang appears to be conceding the subway system to the homeless, who have effectively occupied the system since COVID lockdown.


Good point. Not that I have ever ridden the NYC subway. Pretty soon, the "homeless" meaning the crazy people on the streets will be the majority of cities' population.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

h said...

Couldn't the buses be pulled by horses? No GHG emissions, plus free fertilizer for our roof-top gardens. Do it for the children.

Now, now! Horses fart, too!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Yang has always been, at least to me, the perfect example of someone who's book smart, but has very little "walking around" sense.

Openidname said...

So right now, the city doesn't have control of the bus sysemt? He's promising to fix some other agency that's outside of the mayor's jurisdiction? Why not promise to fix Baltimore's bus system, while he's at it? Or Bolivia's?

daskol said...

Wesley Yang understands NYC. NYC needs Yang, just not Andrew.

The main (sole?) reason to live in a city rather than the country during a pandemic is the abundance of order in options

Arashi said...

So he is going to use public transportation or ride his bike? And how many security folks will it take to keep the 'people' at arms length and how many actors will it take to make all his trips the perfect photo op, as one of our former mayors in Seattle was want to do (detail in multiple SUVs bring mayor and bike to near photo op, then mayor gets pout of SUV, gets on bike, makes photo op, keaves immediate area, gets back in SUV - detail keeps the proles at bay, always)?

As has been pointed out, our current electric grid cannot handle the level of EV use that people like Andrew Yang are advocating. Without updating the grid and building enough capacity to handle the daily load - not the proposed off peak charging, which does not work for public transportation nor for daily commercial use in a city - which will mean a lot of coal, gas, oil or nuclear power plants constructed.

But maybe it will all work out when the population is reduced by 3/4's or so and the elite bring us hunger games for real?

daskol said...

The sad reality of NYC politics is that unless an outsider with some charisma throws hit in the ring, we'll get a Dem machine hack, which for about two decades means a race-hustling identity politics automaton winning the Dem primary. Usually in NYC that's meant someone has to win the GOP primary, because party discipline has ruled in the Dem primaries. If Yang can run as a Dem and break the stranglehold of the Dem machine, that's a good thing even if he turns out to be a bad mayor. Don Trump Jr. vs. Andrew Yang would make good TV.

Ambrose said...

NYC buses are already green - natural gas I think. They haven't been buring diesel for a long time.

Caligula said...

"The problems were not anything that would be helped by running the bus on a battery instead of gas."

And it's not just traffic (which includes assorted delivery services that New Yorkers tend to use heavily, as well as deliveries to retailers who mostly lack off-street parking) but that in Manhattan there's a traffic light at just about every intersection. And with about twenty (crosstown) streets to the mile, there are plenty of intersections.

It's true that the avenues mostly have synchronized lights, but, since a bus must make frequent stops it won't be able to keep up with those synchronized lights anyway.

Is it necessary to point out that the limitations of surface transport in New York City were well recognized by the late 19th century, and it was this that lead to the construction of elevated and then underground railways?

The reality is that after a period of rapid evolution in the second half of the 19th century (horse-drawn omnibuses ->horse-drawn streetcars -> cable cars -> electric streetcars -> elevated trains and subways) there's been precious little substantial improvement in urban mass transit since the NYC subway opened in 1904.

So, you can now get an app that will tell you how long you'll have to wait for the next bus (and sometimes it's even accurate). And there are stored-value fare cards now, so you don't have to use coins or tokens. And (this one, at least, is seriously important for visitors) Google Maps can help you navigate your way through the NYC subway system.

But today's buses aren't really significantly better than those of 1920. In any case, the root problem remains that a public transit vehicle can't provide you with door-to-door transport, and can seldom provide you with a single-seat ride to your destination.

It's that walk-to-the-bus-to-the-subway-to-another-bus and then more walk that makes the trip take too long. And it is this never-fixed problem that limits the performance of all mass transit, regardless of how fast any particular mass-transit vehicle may travel. This is what sets a low upper limit on what can be done, and therefore any solutions which do not address this will provide only small, often costly, incremental improvements.

Skippy Tisdale said...

I believe they are looking to sell KW in off peak periods. People come home, plug in their car, and charge it over night.

I just retired after 20 years of working with the corporate officers of one of the largest electric utilities in the nation. Twenty years of seeing presentations from every facet of the company (not the blacksmith shop though, and yes we had one*) and you are exactly correct about the push for electric vehicles, sir.

* I learned we had a blacksmith shop because some of the replacement parts for electric generation plants have to be fabricated as they are not available anywhere else.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Not wind mills of solar panels but reliable energy sources. Natural gas, coal, falling water or nuclear.

Gas powered peaking plants are the current go-to for backup generation.

Skippy Tisdale said...

If Yang becomes Mayor, will the media be celebrating New York's first Asian-American Mayor?

EAB said...

So, Yang wants to wrestle the MTA from state authority into city authority. Unlikely. Does he really want that budget nightmare of vast subway signal and track upgrades that are urgently needed? He also must mean expanding bus lanes - likely increasing both bike lanes and bus lanes to keep car traffic locked into fewer lanes and help public transit move faster. (It’s not perfect, but it does help a lot on some routes).

I use all forms of transit in NYC. I’m in minority here. I like the bus. Didn’t ride it for years. Never. I ride it more now, because where I live it sometimes makes sense. (There’s no 2nd Ave subway below UES and few crosstown routes) And...in the summer, I’m okay with a bit slower to be in AC as I go across town rather than do 2 transfers on the subway, not knowing how long I’ll stand on an oppressively hot platform and get into a massively crowded train. It’s all about efficiency and having options. My guess is Yang thinks making buses more efficient is a quicker win than what’s required for subway,

walter said...

"The problems were not anything that would be helped by running the bus on a battery instead of gas. It was that buses were penned in by street traffic, so the wait could be terribly long and you'd know that once you get on, the ride would be slow."

Currently, they have an effective traffic reduction approach.
But if that fails and traffic levels return, you can add the prospect of the battery going dead while waiting.

daskol said...

Thoughtful post Caligula. And yes, NYC Buses will be moving entirely to natural gas anyway, but the fleet is still mixed.

Important point re delivery vehicles: it's gone way beyond UPS/DHL/USPS/Fedex. There are all kinds of small couriers who drive around in regular cars delivering packages at all hours (food delivery is approaching 100% electric bicycles now, which are also still 100% illegal, although that's not enforced 99% of the time or so). Even if the city were successful in convincing most private people to keep their cars out of Manhattan, the people whose lives depend on it will still comprise a large mass.

Which makes me think...putting on my Andrew Yang hat, we've seen the convergence of "human and cargo" transport with the people delivery services branching out into food delivery. Not only has this led to a healthy competition that benefits the restaurants beyond what choices they had when it was Grubhub/Seamless or die, but it means, per Wesley Yang, I can order via Uber or Caviar from restaurants in my old neighborhood in Williamsburg even though I'm in south Brooklyn now. We're no longer restricted to the delivery zones of the restaurant's own delivery services, which is neat. But back to Andrew Yang, if airlines can move cargo and people, and NYC (for now anyway) still has lots of cargo and people to move, can there be a convergence? Could buses be used for cargo too? Something creative would be necessary to make a big impact on surface transport, something beyond just squeezing NYers who want or need to drive in Manhattan. The bus is the very bottom rung of public transport, the choice of last resort for most people. I've been fortunate enough that I've only relied on the buses during winter for walkable commutes made unpleasant by weather, which is about what it's good for if you've things to do and places to be on a tight schedule. Predictability is not the bus' strong point, so if you really need to be somewhere, for the punctilious among us, it means budgeting something like 100% extra time for a trip.

John henry said...

One thing (still) president Trump does not get enough credit for is the remarkable progress we've made in the past 4 years in nuclear power.

Some from private industry, some from doe initiatives.

Small (10-50mw) modular 4th & 5th generation plants may be coming on line in commercial use in the next 5 years or so (we live in hope!)

If this comes to pass, an all electric future looks pretty bright.

If that comes to pass, electric busses would make a lot of sense.

Not now. Not generally at least. They will still be coal /oil /gas powered. Just that the pollution is transferred out of the city.

That's democracy for you. The majority, in the city, gets to decide where the pollution goes. They minority, outside the city can go fuck themselves.

All together now:

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

(needs drum circles)

John Henry

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Michael K,

The left loves mass transit. The lefty Mayor of Irvine CA wanted to build a light rail system. It took out two lanes of the streets and went from the University to the City Hall.

But buses are the opposite of light rail. Lefties love light rail because it goes only where they want it to, and routes can't be changed after the system is built. Buses are far more flexible that way.

I live in Salem, OR, and my only complaint about our bus system is that there isn't enough of it; I have to walk 25 minutes or so even to get to the nearest stop. (Straight-line distance isn't as bad as that suggests, but we have a lot of steep hills here.) There is a central depot like a train terminal with no rails; there are bays marked out for particular routes, and overhead arrival/departure displays. Every 15 minutes the entire terminal fills up, and then they all depart almost at the same time; that must have been a very nasty traffic-planning problem. Take a bus to the terminal and then transfer to a second to go anywhere you like (within reason). The buses are all natural gas-powered, and don't involve stairs. (Well, they do now, b/c with COVID they've made them free, but also mandated entrance and exit through the back door, where half of the seats aren't to be sat in . . .)

Since I don't drive, and can't bike with these hills, walking and buses are how I get places. Salem's is better than the others I've tried. In the Bay Area, AC Transit (East Bay) is decent but very unreliable on major routes; Golden Gate Transit (North Bay, up to Sonoma County) is much nicer, though there the major routes tend to be badly overcrowded (but on time!); SF MUNI, which includes some light rail as well as buses, is pretty hopeless. At least the buses are; the few times I took light rail, I was pleasantly surprised. SamTrans (San Mateo County -- peninsula to SF) I've only taken a few times, and liked it. There is also Amtrak and, of course, BART over the whole Bay Area.

Yang, I'd say, had better be clearer about what changes (taxation, traffic "weeding") he wants. But I'm not going to poop on him for boosting buses, as such.

The real problem with Manhattan is that its subway is (1) ancient; (2) unsafe; and (3) the NYC equivalent of a homeless shelter. It will be even worse now that COVID means there are fewer people in it.

daskol said...

If Yang becomes Mayor, will the media be celebrating New York's first Asian-American Mayor?

Yes, although it may be awkward at first to reassert minority status to Asians, but they look different so it will happen. My hope is that if Yang were to win, it would finally rid us of this meddlesome member of the clerisy. This guy is a particularly powerful race-hustling scumbag who every day dreams up ways to fuck up NYC's remaining good schools, and with COVID, has found his opportunity to push through the very least popular ones that were successfully shouted down back when people could gather and yell at him.

BUMBLE BEE said...

On a recent trip in a suburb, I observed a powerline tree trimming operation. 5 Altec boom trucks and multiple support vehicles for shredding, tool crib and personnel. With about 14 people in support of that operation, all vehicles idling. I saw $thousands right there for an afternoon. Now, rewire America underground for 3 cars per household capacity? I'm old enough to say I won't live to see it or pay for it. Petroleum remains the cheapest per BTU. and millions more coming across Biden's, (not ours), border. I'm not gonna miss seein that!

BUMBLE BEE said...

Repeal the law of thermodynamics now!

walter said...

Blogger Skippy Tisdale said...
..presentations from every facet of the company (not the blacksmith shop though, and yes we had one*)
--
Thank you for that. I had images of old school blacksmiths working flip charts.

John henry said...

Several have alluded to the lumpy nature of electrical use. Lots of use at 6 at night. Not so much at 3am

One of the things we really need is time of day pricing.

If night time pricing were half daytime, because baseload is spread out over 24 hours instead of 12,we would see a lot of use shifting. Running water heaters and dryers at 3am and so on.

If anyone has a chance to advocate for time of day pricing, we will all thank you.

John Henry

rehajm said...

I once rode a crosstown bus in NYC. Once.

rehajm said...

It's as if Democrats aren't good at thinking of ideas that actually help people.

Old and slow said...

The bus system works quite well in Dublin. They have bus lanes and it's often faster than driving. Of course you have to stand in the rain while waiting at some stops... Light rain in Dublin (the LUAS) just made traffic worse for cars.

Bus lanes are also reserved for licensed taxis. I used to do IT work for a lot of Dublin law firms, and it wasn't unusual for them to have a staff driver with a taxi roof sign on a luxury car so partners could get around town faster. Of course, no fares were ever picked up.

Old and slow said...

We have time of day electricity pricing in rural Arizona and it is dramatically cheaper off hours. I also had it in Ireland for electric storage heaters.

Richard Dolan said...

Agree completely about the bus thing. I've lived in NYC for 45 years and have taken a bus maybe 5 times (and then only because I was with someone who refused to use the subway). But Andrew Yang is very likely to be, far and away, the least crazy Dem running for mayor, and probably the only one who doesn't fully subscribe to the progressive, 'it's all about race' shtick that is so dominant among the Dems (politically active ones anyway) today. The other candidates on the Dem side run the gamut from lefty loon to really really lefty loon.

FullMoon said...

Santa Clara County, California.

According to Google, at this particular point in time, an 8.6 mile trip to Costco by automobile would take 16 minutes.

By bus, 93 minutes.

Bus takes almost six times as long. HOWEVER, according to Google, bus is slightly faster than walking human or trotting horse.

Readering said...

I had same experience with nd reaction to busses when moved to Manhattan late seventies. To be fair to Yang he is touting dedicated bus lanes like 14th St. But there was holy hell over getting that one route installed. LA has dedicated bus lanes and they seem to work ok. My LA bus problem is long distances with gazillion stops except for express busses. (LAX express bus pretty good btw)

FullMoon said...

San Francisco had electric buses that connected to special dedicated overhead wiring.
Connected by spring loaded pole attached to back of bus. Not sure if they still do

Kinda fun for kids to jump on back bumper of bus at bus stop, ride a couple of blocks and pull on pole to disconnect from overhead power source and stop bus.

Bus driver has to get out and reconnect, while shouting pleasantries and making hand gestures.

Adding to the fun, bus driver generally made eye contact with kid at bus stop and could read his mind but was helpless.

n.n said...

Anything would be an improvement over the man from Planned Parent/hood.

They'll be electric, so that's supposed to be good for the environment,

It depends on the generating technology. The preferred Green technologies are gray and large-scale shared/shifted/obfuscated environmental hazards. Save the birds, whack a wind turbine. With polar bear populations reaching a peak, donate to World Walrus Foundation. Go green, clear the Green blight.

DavidUW said...

To be fair, buses are the worst form of public transportation everywhere, except possibly for the few locations that have special lanes devoted entirely to buses so that they aren't subject to the same traffic as cars.

SF still has those electric buses, and I took a bus in SF exactly once, in the days before uber and when my bike was stolen. It took 1.5 hours to go about 5 miles and I decided I would never take it again as walking is faster, never mind biking or using a car. Also one of those hooks fell off a bus awhile back and killed someone. So clearly Muni needs to be banned, if it would save just one life.

I have spent about 1/3 of my adult life in NYC. No I never "lived" there, but that was my regular work travel. I have never taken a bus in NYC. Subway, walk, taxi/uber, even citibike but never a bus. It's obviously faster to use literally any other mode of transportation in NYC. Oh that reminds me, my metro card is expired. Thanks pandemic.

My modest proposal: eliminate buses, unless there are dedicated lanes for them (which would usually require wider roads than exist in most cities so impossible). Use the bus budget to fund Uber-type vanpools with more limited stops, like shared airport shuttles that do the rounds picking people up and dropping them at the airport.



Churchy LaFemme: said...

Blogger John henry said...

"Where does the electricity to run the buses come from?"

John Henry, you are a silly muggle. Electricity is magic.


All has been foretold!

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Super easy, barely an inconvenience; simply ban the street traffic, or at least any of it not running on a battery. Buses work great in London.

Banning street traffic is tight!

daskol said...

One advantage buses have over trains is much less opportunity for corruption and graft, since there is no land to reclaim and no permanent track to lay. It's also a system that lends itself better to experimentation, whether in routes or vehicle tech. It's also possible to experiment and get feedback on approaches quickly. It's a good topic for Yang to lead with, because it distinguishes him from the local establishment that exclusively pushes light rail and subway expansion.

Godspeed, Yang. Our last line of defense in the Dem party agains the Corey Johnson or Tish James or even Mark Green, who just won't go away.

tcrosse said...

Ralph Kramden approves.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

FullMoon, SF MUNI's buses are still run that way. electric power via an amazing tangle of conducting wires above. You look at a major intersection, bus routes on both streets, and wonder who conceived of the thing and why it works even as poorly as it does. I didn't know about kids tugging the poles off, but it surprises me not at all.

DavidUW, as I said, I can't agree; I have seen cities w/o dedicated bus lanes where buses work quite well. That said, they are not generally big cities, but more sparsely populated places like Salem, or Marin County, CA. (Marin now also has light rail, with a pedestrian and cyclist path beside it; we left for OR long before it opened in 2017, but my husband -- who has been back to the Bay Area a few times -- says it makes his old bike commute, from Novato to San Anselmo, vastly more doable.)

Douglas B. Levene said...

Obviously, the unstated premise of Mr. Yang's bus plan is to increase the costs of driving a car in the City to the level where lots of car drivers give up - either sell their cars or move out of the City.

Readering said...

Only true of manhattan. Outer boroughs lots of cars. Especially post pandemic.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

daskol, just so. Light rail and subways are super-cool for lefties, b/c they decide where the lines go, how housing is zoned around stations; &c.; endless planning opportunities. Whereas buses, as you say, are much, much easier to reroute, adjust, fiddle with when conditions change "on the ground." This is a negative for lefties, for whom all change "on the ground" is supposed to be made by them, not by the poor sods who actually live and work there.

Besides, buses are icky. (They must not have seen the insides of the Golden Gate Transit buses that run to The City -- I mean, the stock market corner of SF -- early in the morning and return mid-afternoon; they look like business class airline seats, only with higher seat backs. Individual lights overhead, you name it.)

The best part of Bay Area commuting is the ferries. For several years I lived in San Rafael and commuted thus: Ten-minute walk to SR Transit Center; shuttle bus to Larkspur Ferry; ferry to Embarcadero; duck into BART; five stops down to 16th St./Mission; ten more minutes' walk to workplace. About 70-80 minutes altogether, half an hour of it on SF Bay, at or before sunrise. Glorious!

MadisonMan said...

As I watch empty buses drive around Madison, it occurs to me that Madison could likely save money by having people user Uber/Lyft to get from Point A to Point B, and then be reimbursed by the City (or have the City pay Uber/Lyft drivers directly). I wonder if this would work in NYC too.
I know, I know it'll never be implemented because there are Union Bus drivers.

MadisonMan said...

And didn't I just see a news report about a bus that drove off a bridge, by a driver who (surprise!) refused a drug/alcohol test at the hospital? (I have to wonder: why was he give a choice?) (Link.
At least he's been suspended. I wonder for how long.

Kirk Parker said...

MDT,

1. What is the farebox recovery rate for Salem's transit system?

2. Why don't you learn to drive? Zillions of your less competent fellow citizens manage to do so...

Kirk Parker said...

"Buses work great in London."

When did that start? (Haven't been to London for quite a while.)

Balfegor said...

I've taken the bus crosstown several times. That's not because the bus was good, though -- it's because crosstown subway service (E) was so unreliable. My impression is that NYC subway service has also deteriorated significantly since I lived there (2005). Other than the Times Square - Grand Central shuttle, it's usually faster to walk crosstown than to try and go by subway in my experience. And the bus is actually faster than walking.

All that said, I kind of like Andrew Yang. He doesn't seem consumed by his hatreds like so many other young Democratic politicians. I hope he does well. He could hardly be worse than DeBlasio.

MayBee said...

I want to stick up for bus transport a little. I've lived in 4 major cities where I've taken the bus a lot. Two in Asia, in London, and in Chicago.
I like being able to see where I'm going, which you can't in the subway. I don' t like going deep into the ground to take the subway. I don't like the feeling that I might jump, fall onto, or be pushed onto the rails. And I have liked the closeness of the bus stops that are near me. I wouldn't walk far to get to a bus stop, but there were often convenient bus routes that stopped near my home.
I do have to say that the buses in London are where the crazy people are. There was one person in particular who terrified me in a scary clown kind of way.

daskol said...

Only true of manhattan. Outer boroughs lots of cars. Especially post pandemic.

You can't get to NJ without crossing Manhattan, unless you go way far south through Staten Island or far north through the Bronx. Which is why the SIE and CBE are in perpetual competition with the LIE for world's longest parking lot. But the major Hudson crossings are in Manhattan. Punitive congestion or other car related taxes will almost certainly fall hardest on the poor, or to put it into COVID terms, the least essential people.

daskol said...

The working class, to be more precise, since they have things to do that require crossing the Hudson, whether employment related or shopping, etc.

Unknown said...

Martin Crane: Wow. Frasier, what happened?

Frasier Crane: What happened? I went six months without replacing my pollen filter in my car, so it was in the shop. Couldn’t get a cab, so I took the bus home. Which splashed me! And I fell down, missed my stop, and had to walk home ten blocks in this downpour!

Frasier: It’s just been a rotten day. You don’t even know the topper — there was an enchanting young woman on the bus. Just when I’d worked up enough nerve to go and talk to her, I slipped on something that I can only hope was an old burrito!

mockturtle said...

Is he depending on the American taxpayers to fund the bill for these ambitious plans? NYC is fresh out of spare change.

StephenFearby said...

Yang: "I will build bus rapid transit networks like the 14th street busway in every borough."

The effect has been (even before COVID-19) a disaster for small businesses on 14th Street, originally built as a 6-lane crosstown commercial thorofare. 14th Street is now basically a ghost town at night with no traffic except the busses and an occasional truck because private vehicles and taxis are banned from operating.

The template for Polly Trottenberg's [DOT Commissioner 2014-2020] politically-correct folly was the Chestnut Street (Philadelphia) Transitway in 1976.

"...That project, the mis-implementation of an idea by Edmund Bacon, did the opposite of what its builders intended. Instead of becoming a pleasant promenade with electric tramcars plying its middle, it became a thruway for hundreds of SEPTA buses emitting noise and fumes—a pedestrian repellent if ever there was one. Save for lunchtime, the street became a place people on foot avoided, and soon the stores followed the shoppers either into oblivion or onto Walnut Street."

http://hiddencityphila.org/2013/04/chestnut-street-schizophrenia/

The project was pushed by Trottenberg because the 14th Street crosstown subway to Brooklyn was scheduled to be shut down for 15 months or so to repair the flooding damage to the tunnel under the East River caused by Hurricane Sandy. (Never let a crisis go to waste.)

But it turned out the subway wasn't shut down during the day (and had reduced service only at night).

When it comes to the negative effect of busways in Manhattan, Yang doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Kirk Parker,

1. What is the farebox recovery rate for Salem's transit system?

I don't know, but would guess quite a bit higher than for (say) SF MUNI. Salemites are mostly uninterested in petty theft, and generally polite. It's true that South Salem (where I live) might be different in this regard from, say, Northeast, but in general I don't see any of the blatant fare-stealing that MUNI drivers don't even bother to stop these days, because they are mostly older than the perps, weaker, and can't even get to the scene of the crime, since it's usually the back door of the bus and there are a few dozen standees between the driver's seat and there.

2. Why don't you learn to drive? Zillions of your less competent fellow citizens manage to do so...

It's a bit more complicated than that. I can drive; had a proper NYS license and all. Unfortunately the license vanished when I was living in England, after undergrad study in CA. This was, as it happens, also when it was due to be renewed. Getting a temp license while in London, then returning to NY to get a new permanent one, and then going back to CA (where I was going to grad school and could easily find housing close enough to campus to bus there, if not walk) seemed . . . excessive. My boyfriend, now husband, was managing fine w/o a car, as I did as an undergrad. I didn't see any immediate need for one.

Thing is, the difficulty of managing w/o a car increased, very slowly but inexorably. We moved from hubby's rental near campus to place in Emeryville, to place in Rockridge, to San Rafael, to Novato, each one meaning more time devoted to transit. In Novato, we finally bought a house. Only two years later, husband got lured to Salem by a very diligent and persistent school music administrator, and we sold that and bought another. Been here ever since, over ten years now.

Anyway, I don't drive, but he does. We now have . . . wait for it . . . a Tesla. So if he wants to go anywhere, or I need transportation to anywhere, we have it, subject to his work schedule. A bit of a bummer when I want to travel long distances and he's not free, b/c I don't walk well any more; there's something screwy in the base of my spine. But we make do, and my own work -- recording reviews, mostly -- I can do sitting right here.

Michael K said...

But buses are the opposite of light rail. Lefties love light rail because it goes only where they want it to, and routes can't be changed after the system is built. Buses are far more flexible that way.

The light rail system Los Angeles set up 25 years ago was nice if you were going where it went. One place it did NOT go was LAX. Taxi lobby fixed that until a couple of years ago.

Kirk Parker said...

MDT,

Thanks!

I think, though, that I either did a very poor job of asking, or you misunderstand the technical term "farebox recovery". It has nothing to do really with retail level consumer fraud; it's a measure, rather of how highly subsidized a system is.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Kirk Parker,

Oh, that. No, I have no idea. I think the system is pretty heavily subsidized, but don't know how to find out by how much. I rather think that most of Salem public works is pretty heavily subsidized.

That said, the place works well, certainly better than anywhere I lived in NY or CA. The municipal vehicles with "Salem At Your Service" on the side don't occasion the guffaws you'd hear anywhere else I've lived. There are road repair projects, always announced long in advance and starting and ending when you've been told they would. That I have never seen anywhere else I've lived.

Gospace said...

Building new subways is very expensive. In NYC even more so. Nobody, no one organization, actually has a map of underground NYC. It’s riddled with subways, water mains, electrical conduits, steam lines, natural gas and other fuel pipelines. I’ve read there are still wooden pipes in place bringing water to Manhattan.

Elevated rail is expensive to construct. Steel wheels on steel rails that require wood ties and some flex...

The solution to more mass transit in Manhattan would be elevated monorail. Personally I like a SAFEGE type system such as the one in Chiba City Japan. All weather operations. Rather than digging deep for support pillars you could put the supports on giant pads that could be walked over, with some minimal anchoring to prevent drift. Again, drilling for support posts in Manhattan- is difficult.

NYC used to be the home of innovative things, like subways when they were innovative. Vacuum tubes for mail. (And for one subway IIRC) No more. Busses, subways with steel tracks and wheels, ferri, they’re both the past and the future of NY.

Several NYC lines and PATH lines are very old and in serious need of rehabilitation. Components for much of the NYC subway electrical system and signaling system are no longer made. With a preplanned shutdown and proper prior planning a brand new ALWEG type system as seen in Disneyland could probably replace the rails in the PATH tubes for less than rail and tie rehabilitation, and faster.

Readering said...

Now that's something I never heard before. Will have to google.

Readering said...

Michael K it will finally go to LAX in time for Olympics.

Readering said...

Congestion pricing since 2003 helped with london bus system. Top deck of double deckers my schoolbus until old enough for tube. If I die of lung cancer ....

daskol said...

Anytime I need to traverse from one side of London to the other, or get out of town, I think about Robert Moses. They didn't have some powerful guy with the vision and brutality to lay highway without regard to history or community and neighborhood. And in many ways London is a more charming place for it, which is good, because you get to spend a good long chunk of time fully immersed in it when you travel.

Robert Cook said...

"I've lived in NYC — 1973 to 1984 and 2007 to 2008 — and the last form of transportation I'd use is the bus. Maybe 3 or 4 times in the early 70s, and never again."

I actually enjoy riding the bus in NYC on those infrequent occasions that I do. It's leisurely and allows one to observe the city one is traveling through, unlike the subway. However, as said, it is "leisurely," that is, it can take a while to get one to one's destination, so I only use the bus for the rare occasions (typically, going crosstown) where it is the most practical choice.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't understand why anyone would live in NYC."

In a possibly apocryphal and oft-retold anecdote, a woman asked Fats Waller, "Mr. Waller, what is jazz?" and he replied, "Madam, if you have to ask, don't mess with it!"

(The anecdote is also told with the jazz great in question being Louis Armstrong.)

Robert Cook said...

"I’ve not been to NYC for years.... what differentiates the 14th Street busway mentioned in the snippet?"

Private automobiles are prohibited from all but the most limited use of that route between 3rd and 9th Avenues between 6:00 AM to 10 PM, every day.