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Michael makes an important point here - access is an important part of transit, and successful transit. The network effect also plays into that - when you double the number of destinations that are served, the combinations of trips that can be served increase by an even greater factor. I think Jarrett's point, however, is not that we should restrict service to only the most dense, transit-friendly neighbourhoods of the city. I interpret it as bringing the balance between quality of service, and quantity of service (purely in terms of areas being served). In any political environment, it is always a tradeoff between quantity and quality, after all, budgets are not unlimited. When making decisions about routes, we need to take into account the fact that it is less cost effective to serve some areas. I have no data, but I would imagine when you start trying to reach the last 10-15% of a sprawling urban area, that is where the cost burdens begin to become too great, and at best, a tokenistic service will be provided, if any. With these factors, service will always be inefficient and carry few passengers, compared with the resources being deployed in an area more amenable to transit. So which is best then? There's not right answer - and that is what Jarrett is leading us to discuss here, and in our own communities. Michael is right in saying that a transit system must serve the vast majority of destinations to be able to be successful - a transit system that only serves half the city isn't very useful. The tradeoff that the community must make and must reconcile is in serving the last isolated corner of a distant housing estate. Jarrett is simply presenting this decision in a way that he feels better reflects the reality of providing transit services. Ideally, we'd have good service across the city, but, in the real world, there are always some scenarios where a tradeoff needs to be made - and where that occurs is a function of the budget and land uses of the city.
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Jul 17, 2015