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Great post - I completely agree that geography matters to the institutional framework of transit provision. And I can say that we chose not to focus on mergers in the Seamless Transit report because the politics of mergers distracts from focusing on the real issues of user-friendly service provision, which (I believe) are distinct from the institutional foundation. After all Amazon provides a user-friendly, potentially "seamless" customer experience without out needing to merge with or acquire thousands of other merchants. Regarding the institutional make-up of transit agencies, I'm curious about one point in the post: "If you want more transit in your community than your urban region wants on average, you are going to struggle to get that from your regional transit agency, because its decisions will naturally tend to converge on the average regional opinion." Doesn't the success of Transport for London inherently counter that point? Or do you think that TfL is the exception that proves the rule? To the commenter who asked about Caltrain service: according to Caltrain staff I interviewed for Seamless Transit, Caltrain can not run anymore service during the peak hour, or they would compromise safety standards. The diesel trains take longer than electric trains to start and stop, which means they can't run anymore on the line. I think the natural follow-up question then, is why is off-peak service so crappy? And, I opine that this weakness stems from transportation planners' bias to peak-hour service planning and Caltrain not pricing service right.
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Aug 4, 2015