Connections, Transfers

Connection Fare Penalties: Why They Happen

Is it fair to have to pay more if your trip requires a transfer or connection?  I’ve argued that it isn’t, but I also have an appreciation of the difficulty of eliminating these penalties.  So when complaining about a fare penalty, try to understand the situation from the transit agency’s point of view.  Not because they’re right and you’re wrong, but because you many need to help them solve the problem that it presents for themContinue Reading →

The Peril of Low Base Fares

Are transit fares in Los Angeles cheaper than in San Francisco?  That’s the impression you’ll get from a direct comparison of the base adult cash fare.  The travel blog Price of Travel just compared the base fares of 80 major tourist cities around the world and noted that, while San Francisco Muni’s base fare is $2.00, that of the Los Angeles County MTA is $1.50. Continue Reading →

The Horrors of “Transferring” in 1974, and a Happier Future

Connections, or transfers as North Americans depressingly call them, are the foundation of a simple, frequent transit network that’s there whenever you need it.  I laid out the basic argument here, but in brief, a transit system that tries to run direct service from everywhere else (so that nobody has to make a connection) ends up as a confusing tangle of hundreds of overlapping lines, few of which are frequent enough to rely on or simple enough to remember.  Continue Reading →

Good Question of the Week: Transfer Penalties

A frequent commenter on HT asks this in an email (the links are mine, not his):

On Second Avenue Sagas, one of the discussions went on a tangent that left me wondering about transfer penalties. If you need to walk from one station to another on the street to transfer, do the ridership models assign a higher penalty than if there’s an enclosed corridor between the stations? In addition, for systems that have faregates, is there an extra penalty for transfers that require exiting and

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Singapore: Transfer Penalty Eliminated, Complaints Predictable

IMG_0263 Singapore’s weekend Straits Times was full of debate about the recent fare system changes, which finally eliminated fare penalties for connecting from one service to another.

Eliminating these penalties is a crucial step in creating an integrated and versatile transit network, because (a) networks designed around connections are more legible and frequent than those that aren’t and (b) transferring is already enough of a hassle without these penalties.  The new system means that your fare from A to B will now be the same regardless of the path you take and the number of times you transfer.  This, in turn, will allow the transit agency to design a simpler and more reliable system. Continue Reading →

Karlsruhe: A Ride on the “Tram-Trains”

Sparked in part by a suggestion from a reader, I spent two days last month in Karlsruhe, a pleasant but not touristed small city in the southwest of Germany.  In rail transit circles, Karlsruhe is famous for inventing “tram-trains,” a vehicle and service type that can operate in the street as a streetcar/tram, but can also go onto standard railway lines, often shared with intercity passenger rail and freight, to go longer distances into the surrounding suburbs.  This means that the service you board in your outer suburb can flow right into the city’s core streetcar network, and  get you closer to your inner-city destination than the train station would be; thus saving you from having to make a connection.

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Vienna: Weaving A Total Network

In talking about transit planning I’m constantly stressing the need to think in terms of interconnected two-dimensional networks, not just the one-dimensional “corridors” that are the focus of so many transit studies.  It’s a hard point to convey because (a) interconnectedness implies connections, also called “transfers,” which people supposedly hate, and (b) networks are complicated and abstract and hard to think about, which is why I’m always trying to create and promote tools for making them simpler.

What’s more, network effects are really hard to photograph.  The closest you can come is a photo of a really smooth cross-platform connection, such as this one I observed in Vienna:

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Why Isn’t Through-Routing More Common?

All-new-york-rail-lines-3A reader asks:

[Alon Levy’s] post on The Transport Politic about through-routing commuter rail in New York brought up a question I’ve had for several years regarding transit systems. Why isn’t through-routing more common? This applies to rail, BRT, regular bus, etc. It seems that through-routing all or most of a city’s lines via a central transit center provides all the benefits of the “hub-and-spoke” model but also eliminates the need for transfers for a significant minority of people. Is there a downside or cost that isn’t apparent at first?

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