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November 19, 2017, 01:52:44 pm
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Author Topic: Bio-Diesel Shuttle Project for DT Tulsa...  (Read 5283 times)
Conan71
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2012, 09:04:12 am »


No more parking garages downtown, instead put in the starter bus route and begin to bend the curve, up on pedestrian/transit friendly growth, and down on car dependent growth.  

Well now wait.  Why not have a few parking garages on the perimeter of downtown with circulator stops at each one?  We are light years away from having rail from Jenks, BA, or Owasso yet a downtown circulator would be practical right away.  The sooner we could get rid of the need for all the surface parking in downtown, the sooner more residential and retail development can happen.  Right off the BA between Detroit and Cincinnati would be ideal and then somewhere off the north leg of the IDL as yet another.  Incorporate major bus interchanges at each garage for those who ride the bus downtown.

I have to think outside my box and realize not everyone thinks a 15 minute walk is short or that riding 20 miles on a bike doing errands on Saturday morning is a fun jaunt.  I think if you can offer a few convenient parking outposts then a shuttle route which minimizes walking distance, that would be the best starting point.

I think Tulsa Transit needs some sort of transformation to make it appeal more to a broader spectrum of riders.  A friend of mine who is in the PR business was working on a potential project a few years ago for TT trying to “upgrade” the image of the bus system.  They are aware that most people view the system as being only for the handicapped or the poor.  I think people who have not ridden the system are convinced they will be seated next to a hobo swilling MD-20/20 if they get on a bus.  I don’t know how you change that perception other than through a very strong promotional effort and offering convenient and timely routes through all parts of Tulsa.
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2012, 09:48:54 am »

Implementing an effective and successful (really the same thing) circulator system is going to require a real leap of faith by Tulsa.  Essentially, we have to go all in and buy enough buses/trolleys, etc. to offer frequent and reliable service over long periods of times.  Anything more than a 10 minute wait between buses will not work.  Even then it will take time to get people to use it in sufficient numbers to make a real difference in parking needs, etc.  That is going to be expensive and I doubt any private company or group voluntarily subsidized by some restaurant and bar owners can raise the capital to start or continue to operate such a system for very long. (This is one of the reason I think Vision 2 locking up available sales tax $ until 2029 is such a bad idea because that is the kind of funding that will be needed to get something like this started).

Alternataively, Tulsa could implement a part-time circulator system in downtown on nights when there are BOK shows, downtown festivals or other events that will draw a crowd.  We could use existing city buses (when few city buses are running regular routes) and run a downtown circulator loop from 5:30 - 11:00 or whatever makes sense.  While this would still cost money, it would involve a much smaller investment than developing a system from scratch with its own buses, etc.  It could essentially operate as a test to see if Tulsans will actually "park and ride" for downtown events and could pave the way for a larger specifically dedicated system that could expand beyond downtown.

I wish this new venture well, but it does not sound promising.  One used bio-diesel burning bus is not going to provide enough coverage to make this work.

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TheTed
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2012, 11:15:37 am »

There was a downtown circulator on BOK event nights when the arena first opened, but only for the larger concerts.

I just tried visiting the Tulsa Transit site to see if it still existed. Their site redesign has me unable to find the simple routes/schedules page without using a trip planner or downloading the entire book of route maps/schedules.
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RecycleMichael
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2012, 11:30:20 am »

I love this project, but am skeptical on it's sustainability.

Buses just cost a lot of money and fares can't cover the cost. Advertising helps, but advertising on broken down buses won't.

A glance at Tulsa Transit expenses are fascinating. They operate 63 buses. They have operating expenses of $19.6 million ($311,000 per bus). Fares only bring in $2.4 million and advertising brings in $600,000 a year (combined they equal $47,600 per year per bus).

Each bus needs a subsidy of $263,000 a year.

Luckily, the feds kick in $8.8 million, the city kicks in $5.8 million and the state $1.2 million. For every dollar made from riders and advertisers, somebody else pays $5.50.

I am just not sure a private funded bus system can last.

All that being said, I want to help. I can help with the bio-diesel part and would certainly consider advertising.
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2012, 11:55:37 am »

I wish this new venture well, but it does not sound promising.  One used bio-diesel burning bus is not going to provide enough coverage to make this work.

I wish them well too but having only one vehicle for regularly scheduled service will be marginal.
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TheArtist
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2012, 11:56:39 am »

I love this project, but am skeptical on it's sustainability.

Buses just cost a lot of money and fares can't cover the cost. Advertising helps, but advertising on broken down buses won't.

A glance at Tulsa Transit expenses are fascinating. They operate 63 buses. They have operating expenses of $19.6 million ($311,000 per bus). Fares only bring in $2.4 million and advertising brings in $600,000 a year (combined they equal $47,600 per year per bus).

Each bus needs a subsidy of $263,000 a year.

Luckily, the feds kick in $8.8 million, the city kicks in $5.8 million and the state $1.2 million. For every dollar made from riders and advertisers, somebody else pays $5.50.

I am just not sure a private funded bus system can last.

All that being said, I want to help. I can help with the bio-diesel part and would certainly consider advertising.


So about 300,000 per year for a bus.  Is that a large or small bus and would that make any difference?  Just a few small shuttles during most times would be perfectly adequate, larger busses perhaps during events, until you build up ridership.

I would think 2 small busses to start out with downtown making a "circulator route" (perhaps 3 during busy times) would get you a short enough wait time.

Now compare that to the millions of all the planned/asked for parking garages that have and will keep cropping up. 5 mill here, 10 mill there, 3 mill on another, etc.  And it seems to me that using the parking we already have better with those busses would be quite competitive cost wise and would over time enhance the economic base by allowing developments to be cheaper (not having to have as much parking) and allowing better use of space downtown with more living, shopping, business etc. in areas that would otherwise be taken up by parking.  

Again, I will go downtown and see plenty of parking garages and parking lots sitting empty except for perhaps large events like Mayfest and then shuttles from Mall parking like the Promenade, or ORU, West Bank, Fin Tube, and other places can come into play.  But those are exceptional occasions.  The garage there at 6th and Boston for instance is empty every evening. I know because I use it and even during concert nights or busy friday and saturday nights in the Blue Dome or Brady Arts Districts, there may be perhaps 3 or 4 cars in it, and  there are other parking garages that are empty most evenings as well, and then all those parking spaces around the churches, etc. during those times.  Heck even the ones by the Arena sit empty or not completely full a lot of the time.  Then there are the parking spaces by TCC and the churches during certain times and days, OSU Tulsa, etc.  Plus there will be more parking built downtown regardless.  So what I am saying is There is already pleeeenty of parking, and you could draw a bus route that would put you either right by, or within one or two blocks of a HUGE amount of it.  As for building more parking garages on the edge of downtown first, why do that when we arent even adequately utilizing the parking that is already closer in?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 12:17:27 pm by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2012, 11:58:21 am »

I have to think outside my box and realize not everyone thinks a 15 minute walk is short or that riding 20 miles on a bike doing errands on Saturday morning is a fun jaunt.  I think if you can offer a few convenient parking outposts then a shuttle route which minimizes walking distance, that would be the best starting point.

The numbers I have seen, probably from www.lightrailnow.org , indicate that most people are willing to walk about 1/4 mile to and from public transit.
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TheArtist
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« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2012, 12:14:26 pm »

The numbers I have seen, probably from www.lightrailnow.org , indicate that most people are willing to walk about 1/4 mile to and from public transit.

Do the circulator route similar to what I have described before and you would be within a one minute (two max) walk (one or two blocks, 3 max) of most downtown parking (much of which sits unused during most times) and every destination like the, Deco District, the Arena, Ballpark, Brady Arts District, Blue Dome and more.  
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 12:21:45 pm by TheArtist » Logged

"When you only have two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other."-Chinese proverb. "Arts a staple. Like bread or wine or a warm coat in winter. Those who think it is a luxury have only a fragment of a mind. Mans spirit grows hungry for art in the same way h
heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2012, 12:33:06 pm »

Thats where the idea of, instead of spending millions on new parking garages, we instead put the money towards a downtown circulator route.  No the route won't be used all the time and there will be times when the bus is empty, but the same thing holds true with parking garages.

1. Determine a dedicated route and put it on maps around downtown.
2. Have unique looking bus shelters/stops on the route that also act as info centers for times of operation and amount of time before bus arrives.
3. Make the bus readily identifiable and distinct looking.
4. Promotional/awareness campaign on radio, tv and signage around town.  (which would also act to promote downtown in general)



How about the unmanned (but monitored remotely) system like so many airports have - closed loop shuttle cars that go around that circulator.  Several sets of cars around the loop, so no wait more than a few minutes.  Miss this one, catch the next in 3 (or 5) minutes....

Can use tires or solid wheels/rails - not sure which would be best (rail if guessing).


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DowntownDan
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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2012, 01:48:00 pm »

The numbers I have seen, probably from www.lightrailnow.org , indicate that most people are willing to walk about 1/4 mile to and from public transit.

That may be true nationwide, but this is Tulsa.  I'd bet that most Tulsans (especially of the suburban type) would not be willing to walk 1/4 of a football field for public transit.  This town was built for cars.  People are addicted to them.  I am skeptical that public transportation can ever be successful around here.  If someone has done a study and thinks they can succeed, I'd support it, even if it asked for some seed money from taxpayers.  But I'd be against any large scale tax investments into it because I just don't see it ever being genuinely successful in Tulsa.  I'd love to be proven wrong.   
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DowntownDan
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2012, 01:51:56 pm »

I'm also not sure what use a shuttle that just circles downtown would be.  People will still be driving into downtown and parking in a garage or surface lot.  The longest distance between current venues would probably be BOK Center to McNellies.  I don't see why someone would need a bus to get that distance.  A shuttle that circles through downtown isn't going to change the minds of people who are hostile to parking and walking downtown.  They will be staying in the suburbs anyway or leaving the second the BOK concert is over to drive straight home.
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2012, 01:55:55 pm »

It seems apparent that even a relatively small downtown circulator system is going to be very expensive with no assurance that Tulsans will use it sufficiently to make any meaningful difference.  Artist's point about spending money on parking garages is a good one, but most everyone understands what we get for our $10 million - more parking next to somewhere we want to go.  Many Tulsans simply cannot wrap their heads around what would amount to millions in annual subsidies to operate a downtown circulator system.  Anything we can do to introduce the concept on smaller and less expensive way to allow people to test it out and potentially develop a core of users is probably the only way we can ever build support for spending the money necessary to develop something more substantial.
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Townsend
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« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2012, 01:58:10 pm »

The longest distance between current venues would probably be BOK Center to McNellies.  I don't see why someone would need a bus to get that distance. 

Maybe?..

http://www.ok.gov/strongandhealthy/Obesity/index.html

Quote

Nearly 67% of Oklahoma adults are either overweight or obese
The number is 34% for Oklahoma youth
Overweight and obesity are associated with many health risks, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes, and depression
The estimated cost associated with obesity in Oklahoma is more than $854 million each year.
This problem affects the health of individuals, families and communities throughout the state.


42 Oklahoma counties received a grade of “F” in the amount of physical activity in which they engage
29 % percent of Oklahoma high school students watch three or more hours of TV daily
Only 36.4 % of high school students had a physical education class at least once a week, and only 31.4 % of high school students had daily physical education
50 Oklahoma counties received a grade of “F” for fruit and vegetable consumption
Food industry marketing, many fast food restaurants, and few grocery stores are some community factors that influence unhealthy food choices
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rdj
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2012, 01:59:25 pm »

Most Tulsans don't recognize they walk over a quarter mile just to get inside Woodland Hills Mall.  Not counting the walk from end to the other.  There is a reason the old folks exercise in malls...
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Conan71
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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2012, 02:01:12 pm »

It seems apparent that even a relatively small downtown circulator system is going to be very expensive with no assurance that Tulsans will use it sufficiently to make any meaningful difference.  Artist's point about spending money on parking garages is a good one, but most everyone understands what we get for our $10 million - more parking next to somewhere we want to go.  Many Tulsans simply cannot wrap their heads around what would amount to millions in annual subsidies to operate a downtown circulator system.  Anything we can do to introduce the concept on smaller and less expensive way to allow people to test it out and potentially develop a core of users is probably the only way we can ever build support for spending the money necessary to develop something more substantial.


A downtown circulator won’t necessarily cost as much as the other transit lines which may operate with 25 to 50% occupancy over much longer routes all over the city.  I wouldn’t rely on the Tulsa Transit numbers Recycle posted as a clear indicator of what a circulator would cost to operate at peak times.  Have them available at the largest potential density hours and it’s also shorter routes than what the suburban routes are.
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