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Monday, November 30, 2009

For once, the comments on a Pee Dee article made sense

I work in the transportation field, and at my agency, we get a weekly inter-office newsletter. Today's included a link to an editorial from Cleveland's newspaper, the Plain Dealer. Many affectionately nickname it the Pee Dee.

The Pee Dee has an online version as well, There is a comments feature on there, which allows people to post comments essentially anonymously. Needless to say, this results in a lot of ignorant and nauseating comments. I don't read much, but when I do, I never read the comments.

Today I broke from my tradition, and was pleasantly surprised. The editorial was a call for more funding to public transit. It was a good argument, but nothing I hadn't heard before. Someone had commented on the article more or less proposing an idea for smaller buses. It wasn't written in the nicest way, but honestly, it was a great point. How many times have you been on a bus and it's only been partially full? Perhaps this could be a cost-saving measure worth looking into. Maybe on some of the route that are more lightly used smaller buses could be used instead.

I generally don't take much stock in this Pee Dee/ comments, but today I think I found a good one.


  1. There was a conversation on this topic recently at one of my favorite blogs. It seems the key issue with small buses is that they might not be as big a cost-savings as you'd think, because the primary operating cost for transit systems is labor, and you'll have to pay the driver the same regardless of the size of his/her bus. If you replace one big bus with two small buses, you’d end up spending more. A secondary issue is that buses are often empty at off-peak times, but can sometimes get over-crowded at peak times. Switching the sizes of buses to accommodate these various situations would create a sort of ‘transaction cost’ that could cancel any gains.

  2. @Rob,

    Good points that I hadn't thought about. But perhaps for some of those really lightly used lines it could be an option. Or for an area trying to start a transit service (though I think that would be crazy).

    Also, RIP to Lorain County public transit. :(