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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 240227 times)

abefroman329

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #575 on: January 29, 2016, 03:41:31 PM »

Was the Tourmobile a comfortable ride?  I was never on it.

No.  Hard-riding and cramped.  Added bonus - cold and drafty in winter, hot in summer.

Picture the trams used on movie studio tours or at theme parks and zoos to transport people from their cars to the front gate.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #576 on: January 29, 2016, 04:06:19 PM »

Was the Tourmobile a comfortable ride?  I was never on it.

No.  Hard-riding and cramped.  Added bonus - cold and drafty in winter, hot in summer.

Picture the trams used on movie studio tours or at theme parks and zoos to transport people from their cars to the front gate.

I have ridden such vehicles at the Warner Brothers studio in Burbank, California.  The Southern California weather (overall) is better than the Washington, D.C. weather, and what is pleasant in Burbank is unpleasant in Washington
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #577 on: January 29, 2016, 04:55:06 PM »

So what do you like about living in Maryland, cpzillacus? Apparently it has nothing to do with the weather.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #578 on: January 29, 2016, 06:21:28 PM »

So what do you like about living in Maryland, cpzillacus? Apparently it has nothing to do with the weather.

Weather is acceptable most of the year.  Huge snowstorms are generally unusual - we have them one or two every several years.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #579 on: February 01, 2016, 08:54:01 PM »

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noelbotevera

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #580 on: February 01, 2016, 09:17:52 PM »

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Pete from Boston

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #581 on: February 01, 2016, 09:31:51 PM »


Slightly related, DDOT's Circulator bus now has a route effectively circling the Mall, with an origin/ending at Union Station. And at $1 (and free SmartTrip transfers) much cheaper than the old Tourmobile, which had for a long time had a right of first refusal against mass transit on the mall. The old Tourmobile buses can still be seen in the area, operating under the Martz brand.

The Tourmobile provided bad service at high prices to areas along the National Mall.


^This.  So, so this.  I never understood why anyone rode the thing.

Tourists did not know how expensive it was until they boarded.

Beyond that, there was an added "bonus" - it operated on hours that were established in a contract between NPS and Tourmobile - in the 1960's, so it shut-down every afternoon (even in the peak spring and summer tourist) between 4 P.M. and 6 P.M., after that, tourists were mostly out of luck.

I thought I rode one after dark in 1985.  This was in April, so it would have been after 7.  Were there other operators?  It's possible that we rode the bus there and left another way, but my memory for these details from thirty years ago is not what it was.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #582 on: February 01, 2016, 09:49:50 PM »

Washington Post: D.C.ís old streetcar system is gone, but miles of rails are still down there
Probably because some trams still run down the old rails.

Nope.  All D.C. electric street railway operation was terminated by 1962 on order of the U.S. Congress that was approved in 1956.

Only place you will see old, vintage streetcars in the Washington, D.C. area (aside from new (and very different) units on the new H Street, N.E./Benning Road Line, not yet in revenue operation) is at the National Capital Trolley Museum, located on Bonifant Road near the interchange of Md. 200 (ICC) and Md. 182 (Layhill Road) in Montgomery County (Md.).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #583 on: February 01, 2016, 09:52:32 PM »

So what do you like about living in Maryland, cpzillacus? Apparently it has nothing to do with the weather.

Near-native (lived in D.C. as a baby, but have no memories of same), and it has jobs.

No interest in living in D.C. ever again, and there is a lot I do not like about the politics of Virginia (though the statewide elected officials these days are pretty good).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #584 on: February 01, 2016, 09:54:42 PM »

I thought I rode one after dark in 1985.  This was in April, so it would have been after 7.  Were there other operators?  It's possible that we rode the bus there and left another way, but my memory for these details from thirty years ago is not what it was.


Tourmobile had some very limited "after dark" service so people could see the National Mall buildings and monuments when they are lighted-up.   

Tourmobile had a near-monopoly on sightseeing in the National Mall area (so I doubt it was a competing company).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 10:24:09 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Pete from Boston

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #585 on: February 01, 2016, 11:14:18 PM »


I thought I rode one after dark in 1985.  This was in April, so it would have been after 7.  Were there other operators?  It's possible that we rode the bus there and left another way, but my memory for these details from thirty years ago is not what it was.


Tourmobile had some very limited "after dark" service so people could see the National Mall buildings and monuments when they are lighted-up.   

Tourmobile had a near-monopoly on sightseeing in the National Mall area (so I doubt it was a competing company).

Then it was them.  The ride included at least a view of the Jefferson Memorial and let off at the Lincoln Memorial.  I do recall a pretty established pickup spot/kiosk/etc.
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noelbotevera

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #586 on: February 02, 2016, 03:29:36 PM »

Washington Post: D.C.ís old streetcar system is gone, but miles of rails are still down there
Probably because some trams still run down the old rails.

Nope.  All D.C. electric street railway operation was terminated by 1962 on order of the U.S. Congress that was approved in 1956.

Only place you will see old, vintage streetcars in the Washington, D.C. area (aside from new (and very different) units on the new H Street, N.E./Benning Road Line, not yet in revenue operation) is at the National Capital Trolley Museum, located on Bonifant Road near the interchange of Md. 200 (ICC) and Md. 182 (Layhill Road) in Montgomery County (Md.).
I mean these. My last visit to D.C. I saw these in use by some trams run by probably WMATA.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #587 on: February 02, 2016, 04:06:20 PM »

I mean these. My last visit to D.C. I saw these in use by some trams run by probably WMATA.

Those will be run by the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) if they ever go in revenue service (as of today, they have yet to serve even one paying customer).

WMATA has nothing to do with the operation of the D.C. Streetcar.
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Pete from Boston

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #588 on: February 02, 2016, 04:09:01 PM »


I mean these. My last visit to D.C. I saw these in use by some trams run by probably WMATA.

Those will be run by the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) if they ever go in revenue service (as of today, they have yet to serve even one paying customer).

WMATA has nothing to do with the operation of the D.C. Streetcar.

Huh.  Why is that?  Does the DOT run other transit services? 
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davewiecking

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #589 on: February 02, 2016, 04:47:33 PM »

The nascent DC Streetcar service is the brainchild of the DC Government. The entities that fund WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), which also includes Maryland, Virginia and Uncle Sam, fortunately have nothing to do with it.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #590 on: February 02, 2016, 05:05:48 PM »


I mean these. My last visit to D.C. I saw these in use by some trams run by probably WMATA.

Those will be run by the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) if they ever go in revenue service (as of today, they have yet to serve even one paying customer).

WMATA has nothing to do with the operation of the D.C. Streetcar.

Huh.  Why is that?  Does the DOT run other transit services? 

Why?  I am not sure what the reasons for DDOT reaching that decision are. 

Mine is simple - WMATA has a large heavy rail system that still needs a lot of expensive and drawn-out repair work, and putting them in charge of a streetcar line would be a pretty major distraction.

DDOT is also  mostly in charge of operating the Circulator bus lines, which are not WMATA services, though there is some institutional involvement by WMATA.
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davewiecking

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #591 on: February 02, 2016, 05:15:26 PM »

And WMATA is also distracted enough running MetroBus.
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oscar

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #592 on: February 02, 2016, 05:21:51 PM »

Does the Circulator, and will the streetcar, have a workforce not covered by the WMATA labor contract? That pricey union contract is a major reason why many suburban jurisdictions operate their own local bus services, to supplement the core WMATA rail and bus routes. Even if DDOT would not go with non-union workforces like some of the Virginia suburban systems, it might be tempted to save money through a less expensive union labor contract.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #593 on: February 02, 2016, 11:04:56 PM »

Does the Circulator, and will the streetcar, have a workforce not covered by the WMATA labor contract?

Yes.  Circulator drivers are unionized, but they do not belong to the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689, which represents most WMATA hourly employees.

That pricey union contract is a major reason why many suburban jurisdictions operate their own local bus services, to supplement the core WMATA rail and bus routes.

Absolutely correct.  Montgomery County was the first of the WMATA compact members to start its own bus service, now known as RideOn back in the mid-1970's. 

All of the WMATA members have varied degrees of locally-operated  bus service.  Nearly all of it is run by private-sector contractors.

Even if DDOT would not go with non-union workforces like some of the Virginia suburban systems, it might be tempted to save money through a less expensive union labor contract.

At least some of the private bus operators that run buses for Northern Virginia county or municipal governments have unionized workforces.
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The Nature Boy

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #594 on: February 02, 2016, 11:07:19 PM »

I'm assuming that the H Street streetcar will eventually open in some capacity, right? This has to be the longest beta testing phase ever.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #595 on: February 03, 2016, 02:13:45 AM »

I'm assuming that the H Street streetcar will eventually open in some capacity, right? This has to be the longest beta testing phase ever.

The head of DDOT has said that it will open ... when it is ready. 

They are running "service" every day, but no paying patrons.
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froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #596 on: February 03, 2016, 07:16:11 AM »

H St streetcar has been a fustercluck since day one.  Good intentions.  Horrible execution.
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Pete from Boston

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #597 on: February 03, 2016, 10:15:52 AM »

I asked because while there are metro areas with ancient fiefdoms (like New York or San Francisco) that fragment transit jurisdiction, I had the impression that WMATA had fairly uniform control over the District.  Guess not.  I hope at least planning is coordinated (perhaps at the MPO level?) so as to use resources best.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #598 on: February 03, 2016, 10:28:22 AM »

Quote
I hope at least planning is coordinated (perhaps at the MPO level?) so as to use resources best.

MWCOG (the regional MPO which CP works for) makes the attempt, but it's not easy when you're dealing with the equivalent of three states and multiple local jurisdictions.

Furthermore, when it comes to transit funding, there are three different variations of such, depending on where you are.  DDOT is effectively a city-state.  For the Maryland jurisdictions, the state handles it, but Virginia largely leaves it to the local jurisdictions.  They'll distribute Federal and state transit funding as needed/prescribed (the main reason that the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission exists), but it's ultimately up to the local jurisdictions on the Virginia side.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #599 on: February 04, 2016, 06:11:48 PM »

If you want a highly successful streetcar line and system, take a time machine and go back to the late 19th century. Streetcars and light rail are expensive and inefficient, and shouldn't have a place in 21st century cities. I'd prefer taking a bus any day.
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