Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Al - all these WES substitutions got me thinking, here's a solution that is a sure fire winner for TriMet.
By increasing the schedule from every 30 minutes to every 35 minutes, and tightening up on the outrageous layover times (10 minutes in Beaverton, 26 minutes in Wilsonville!), TriMet can actually reduce costs by eliminating one full trainset (and thus the crew and fuel expense), and run a full rush hour schedule with just TWO trains. And the only loss to riders is up to an extra five minute wait.
Surely, if bus riders can be expected to add 5-10 minutes to cover for bus service cutbacks - WES riders can certainly do the same. This would also eliminate much of the need for shuttle bus trips (since there would always be a spare vehicle), and TriMet would not need to bother with the illegal-to-run Budd RDC cars purchased from the Alaska Railroad.
Each train would still have a 7 or 8 minute layover after each run for the required brake test and other needs, which is much more than sufficient. (And that's still generous given the "layover" time bus Operators often get at the end of a run!)
This would also allow TriMet to embargo the double-track at the north end of Wilsonville, saving the track expense that currently is required as the trains pass each other just north of the station; now trains would only pass each other between Tigard and Tualatin. And there is currently a track (the Tigard Yard Lead) which could be modified rather simply (by adding a switch at the north end) to turn it into a passing siding.