I had hoped to respond with a link to reader’s email on Friday, in light of a piece I did for the N&O on light rail. The trouble is, every time I write for them, their circumlocution office fails to put my pieces on the Web. I’m not sure why I’m not Webworthy, but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. I won’t wax conspiratorial, but will chalk it up to bureaucracy.
In any case, if you read "Buses, Not Trains" in the paper on Friday, you’d have thought I was making an argument for buses, not trains. Unfortunately, that was the N&O’s title. I merely wanted to contrast buses with trains to give people an idea of just how big a fetish light rail has become in the eyes of those ensnared by smart growth groupthink. Anyway, here’s a reader’s response on the problem of buses, too:
In the article "Buses, not trains" in the Nov 16, N&O, Max Borders quotes Randall O’Toole: the "majority of light-rail systems consume more energy per passenger mile than the average passenger car."
This is true for many (most?) bus systems as well. According to the 2005 National Transit Database (the most recent data), the Triangle Transit Authority used 455.7 gallons of diesel for 2474 actual miles and 7257.7 passenger miles (all in 1000s). This equates to 5.43 actual mpg and 15.93 passenger mpg. And it’s diesel pollution too, which is far worse on health than gasoline.