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LRT Safety

CplKlinger

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An important thing to keep in mind is that the ETS operational budget hasn't been increased in 20 years; outside of the occasional fare increase. The previous council was so cool towards funding it properly that, according to a comment Paquette posted on reddit, when he made a motion for administration to study sustainable funding models right before the last election, he:

"had to use terms that were palatable to enough Councillors - and so terms like ‘funding formula’ because it was a phrase that would be accepted as being safe enough to not rock the boat or imply that we desperately needed a more appropriate Budget allocation for transit. Then there is the word ‘incremental’. Again - very safe, no sudden movements.

And the kicker: ‘outline of of current capacity for service growth.’ It was a way to address the fact that when the deciding Council chose to replace the old bus garage with the new one off of Fort Road and Yellowhead … THEY DIDN’T INCREASE CAPACITY. Seriously. An entirely new mega million dollar garage that wasn’t built with growth in mind. Let that sink in for a moment."

So, the staff at ETS have really been doing the best they can with a very shoestring budget. EPS raised heck when they only got a $1 million increase, but imagine if they only got a rounding error of an increase over 20 years... and then people blamed them for showing signs of the strain.

This council seems much more willing to consider giving ets the TLC it desperately needs; a number of councilors take transit or bike (not to mention Sohi's former occupation), so I think they get the need in a way that previous councils just didn't.

I'm not trying to argue that the status quo is good. It isn't. It's garbage. But if we truly want to solve these problems, we should place pressure and blame where the responsibility lies: The city council who forces ETS to operate on a pathetically inadequate budget, not the staff who are trying their best just to hold it all together.
 

EdwardEdm

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An important thing to keep in mind is that the ETS operational budget hasn't been increased in 20 years; outside of the occasional fare increase. The previous co who forces ETS to operate on a pathetically inadequate budget, not the staff who are trying their best just to hold it all together.
I am at a loss to understand what you mean that the operational budget hasn't increased, because clearly it has. ETS runs more kilometers in 2022 than it did in 2002, operates more service hours etc.
Are you talking more as long the lines of the ETS budget per capita? Or as a portion of he total city budget? or something along those lines?
 

IanO

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Resource allocation is a part of good service delivery, management and leadership.

Ever think that more people might take it if they didn't have to bring a Toonie or find somewhere that has ETS tickets.

Make it efficient, effective and EASY.
 

CplKlinger

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I am at a loss to understand what you mean that the operational budget hasn't increased, because clearly it has. ETS runs more kilometers in 2022 than it did in 2002, operates more service hours etc.
Are you talking more as long the lines of the ETS budget per capita? Or as a portion of he total city budget? or something along those lines?
That's something I'll need to try and ask Paquette to clarify, because he's the one who said that. Those are good points though, now I'm wondering that as well.
 

positive1

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I was in Scotland this year and got on the bus and paid with my iPhone - this is not new technology and I can't understand what Edmonton is doing. There is also WiFi on the buses and trains there and has been for years.
If we can pay for food or coffee without cash in a food truck, we should be able to do it on a bus or LRT. We are so far behind other countries that it is embarrassing. Jeez.
 

CplKlinger

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I am at a loss to understand what you mean that the operational budget hasn't increased, because clearly it has. ETS runs more kilometers in 2022 than it did in 2002, operates more service hours etc.
Are you talking more as long the lines of the ETS budget per capita? Or as a portion of he total city budget? or something along those lines?
While I wait for a response, the report on sustainable funding models provides some background. The stats only go back to 2014, but they help paint the picture at least.
Funding.PNG


Funding1.PNG


Funding2.PNG
 

EdwardEdm

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While I wait for a response, the report on sustainable funding models provides some background. The stats only go back to 2014, but they help paint the picture at least.
Breakdown of these graphs:
Revenue hours/ Year- remained consistent
Revenue hours/ Capita- Decreased
Cost Recovery- Decreased

While is appears on the face that Transit isn't keeping up with growth, seeing a dip in cost recovery while maintaining revenue hours means that there was a ridership decrease.

What they didn't do was a graph on revenue hours per ridership
2014- 45.3 passengers/ service hour
2015- 43.8 passengers/ service hour
2016- 42.2 passengers/ service hour
2017- 42.7 passengers/ service hour
2018- 42.5 passengers/ service hour
2019- 42.3 passengers/ service hour

No surprise, these numbers align with the graph showing the decline in farebox recovery. So why did the population increase, but ETS ridership dropped? What was the root cause of that? Would tossing more money into more service get those riders back? Or would it just reduce the cost recovery ratio?

Over a longer timeframe of 2002-2019:

2002: 30.5 million revenue kilometers, 1.7 million vehicle hours, ridership 44.4 million
2019: 43.7 million revenue kilometers, 2.3 million vehicle hours, ridership 86.7 million

2002 population 700,000ish (data missing from CoE website)
2019 population 972,223

Population growth was 38.9%
Revenue kilometer growth 43.4%

Generally funding has kept pace with City growth over the long term. Certainly, service levels did stagnant in the 2014-2019 timeframe however, ridership did drop and importantly, service hours remained intact. I feel it is important to understand the root cause of that drop in ridership. Trust me. We did see lots of growth over the years. One particularly interesting time was 2007-2010 when Edmonton received 350ish new buses in a 3 year time span. The first 230 were supposed to replace the high floor buses, but into 2009 there were still upwards of 70-80 high floor buses. 2009's 121 new buses finally killed off the high floors plus expanded the fleet. On top of that the full length of the SLRT opened, and buses and service hours not used for LRT, remained with the bus network.

Additionally, this was under the old network. How will these metrics look under the BNR?

Already we have seen a increase in funding for Transit given that the BNR kept the same budget as the previous network had, so, when the money was put into On Demand that represented growth. It sounds like too that ETS might well get to keep the service hours from the 510x when the Valley Line SE LRT opens. That will represent further growth to Transit.
Theoretically, what would happen is that once TransEd is operating the Valley Line, ETS/ CoE would reduce the ETS budget by the 510x costs and allocate that towards the monthly payments to TransEd for operating the LRT line. The 510x costs wouldn't cover all of that, however, that means without it the City needs additional funding to pay TransEd.
 

CplKlinger

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Breakdown of these graphs:
Revenue hours/ Year- remained consistent
Revenue hours/ Capita- Decreased
Cost Recovery- Decreased

While is appears on the face that Transit isn't keeping up with growth, seeing a dip in cost recovery while maintaining revenue hours means that there was a ridership decrease.

What they didn't do was a graph on revenue hours per ridership
2014- 45.3 passengers/ service hour
2015- 43.8 passengers/ service hour
2016- 42.2 passengers/ service hour
2017- 42.7 passengers/ service hour
2018- 42.5 passengers/ service hour
2019- 42.3 passengers/ service hour

No surprise, these numbers align with the graph showing the decline in farebox recovery. So why did the population increase, but ETS ridership dropped? What was the root cause of that? Would tossing more money into more service get those riders back? Or would it just reduce the cost recovery ratio?

Over a longer timeframe of 2002-2019:

2002: 30.5 million revenue kilometers, 1.7 million vehicle hours, ridership 44.4 million
2019: 43.7 million revenue kilometers, 2.3 million vehicle hours, ridership 86.7 million

2002 population 700,000ish (data missing from CoE website)
2019 population 972,223

Population growth was 38.9%
Revenue kilometer growth 43.4%

Generally funding has kept pace with City growth over the long term. Certainly, service levels did stagnant in the 2014-2019 timeframe however, ridership did drop and importantly, service hours remained intact. I feel it is important to understand the root cause of that drop in ridership. Trust me. We did see lots of growth over the years. One particularly interesting time was 2007-2010 when Edmonton received 350ish new buses in a 3 year time span. The first 230 were supposed to replace the high floor buses, but into 2009 there were still upwards of 70-80 high floor buses. 2009's 121 new buses finally killed off the high floors plus expanded the fleet. On top of that the full length of the SLRT opened, and buses and service hours not used for LRT, remained with the bus network.

Additionally, this was under the old network. How will these metrics look under the BNR?

Already we have seen a increase in funding for Transit given that the BNR kept the same budget as the previous network had, so, when the money was put into On Demand that represented growth. It sounds like too that ETS might well get to keep the service hours from the 510x when the Valley Line SE LRT opens. That will represent further growth to Transit.
Theoretically, what would happen is that once TransEd is operating the Valley Line, ETS/ CoE would reduce the ETS budget by the 510x costs and allocate that towards the monthly payments to TransEd for operating the LRT line. The 510x costs wouldn't cover all of that, however, that means without it the City needs additional funding to pay TransEd.
Thanks for the well researched reply, it paints a very different picture than Paquette's comments did. It's nice to have some numbers associated with the longer time-frame. I hope he will be willing to explain why his views differ to this.
 

_urbanite

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Thanks for the video. The payment system is so archaic, i agree with her statement that nobody carries cash or coins these days. Can't this be resolved by a simple app where users can pay on their phones instead?

Even throughout Covid with all other businesses going to a "no cash" payment system, there seems to be no attempt by ETS to adapt.

I just spent the past 4 days using contactless cards on the Tube in London. I will never use a transit system again that doesn't have this option.
 

_urbanite

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I was in Scotland this year and got on the bus and paid with my iPhone - this is not new technology and I can't understand what Edmonton is doing. There is also WiFi on the buses and trains there and has been for years.
If we can pay for food or coffee without cash in a food truck, we should be able to do it on a bus or LRT. We are so far behind other countries that it is embarrassing. Jeez.
I'm in Edinburgh as I speak and know exactly what you're taking about.

We're so stuck in the 20th century in Edmonton it's sad
 

dkazzed

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I've been beta testing Arc since January and it works fairly well. It's convenient being able to add funds online or better yet auto reload although I don't have that set very high because I can't get a replacement card if I were to lose my Arc card until it's released to the public. The biggest issue is forgetting to tap off at LRT stations. I'd almost prefer if they installed fare gates to force me to remember to tap off.

What I like vs. the other transit systems is the capped daily/monthly rates rather than having to buy a monthly pass at the beginning of the month, although I haven't come close for either yet and frankly don't know if I ever will with permanent hybrid WFH. May was my biggest month since the pandemic started, $54 spend on transit fares. Forgetting to tap off doesn't come with any financial penalties for those who commute enough to reach the monthly cap but they want to know anyway to monitor transit usage and optimize routes.
 

occidentalcapital

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ETS is weak on fare revenue. Other cities our size fund a larger portion of operations through fares.

To address this, you have to go back to transit basics. Clean, bright spaces, punctual service, schedules without excessive waiting at timing points, on time service, quick routes, direct routes, ease of use (e.g. fare options, contactless), secure environment (e.g. fare gates, active enforcement of bylaws), amenities (e.g. activation of all retail spaces, even if have to lease space for a dollar), pleasant bus drivers (e.g. customer service training), clear audio announcements in the LRT, clear wayfinding, comfortable heated shelters, no vandalism, next bus arrival signs, functional apps and useful call centre. You have to get the basics right to entice people to travel on the train/bus.
 

David A

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ETS is weak on fare revenue. Other cities our size fund a larger portion of operations through fares.

To address this, you have to go back to transit basics. Clean, bright spaces, punctual service, schedules without excessive waiting at timing points, on time service, quick routes, direct routes, ease of use (e.g. fare options, contactless), secure environment (e.g. fare gates, active enforcement of bylaws), amenities (e.g. activation of all retail spaces, even if have to lease space for a dollar), pleasant bus drivers (e.g. customer service training), clear audio announcements in the LRT, clear wayfinding, comfortable heated shelters, no vandalism, next bus arrival signs, functional apps and useful call centre. You have to get the basics right to entice people to travel on the train/bus.
I agree with the part about basics. There are a lots of things they need to work on and you have listed a number of them. I think you have to initially focus on three really basic ones - punctual service, decent routes/service frequency, safe environment and go from there.

Once people feel they are getting value for money, it is easier to look at the fares, but initially you probably need to increase revenue by getting back more (paying) users. I suspect a number of people are shying away from using transit because of safety issues and concerns, so getting that improved is very important now.
 

thommyjo

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Yeah, I think where leadership has broken down is not investing in the highest ROI projects. So the transition form cash to contactless should have been a 2010-2014 timeframe. Ridership is lower, I guarantee, because of this inconvenience. That should have been a priority and routes and other expenses should have been cut, just to prioritize that. Wifi on buses is another key one.

I know it’s easy to criticize, so I don’t want to be unfair. But all these other cities have figured it out. And honestly, I think it’s the government mindset of “just keep it going” since it’s already a loss leader vs “let’s make this the best product we can with our limited funding.” They should blow like 500k on bringing in an awesome ceo, and let that person revamp the whole thing.

To clarify, once Arc is official, will we be able to do contactless payments with credit cards as well?
 

EdwardEdm

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To clarify, once Arc is official, will we be able to do contactless payments with credit cards as well?
Eventually. I don't think that is being turned on immediately. They need to get the basic system rolled out first. Last time I checked I still cannot reload my Arc card on an Arc vending machine.
Ridership is lower, I guarantee, because of this inconvenience. That should have been a priority and routes and other expenses should have been cut, just to prioritize that. Wifi on buses is another key one.
I don't think ETS has lost $47 Million worth of riders to justify cutting service to pay for Arc and Smart Bus (which was an underlying component needed for Arc). Besides. Different budgets. Arc is a capital budget item. Service hours is an operating budget item.
 

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