Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

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george matthews
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by george matthews »

What chance of a ferry from Key West? And rebuilding the railway there?

Greg Moore
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Greg Moore »

george matthews wrote:What chance of a ferry from Key West? And rebuilding the railway there?
0%

No one is going to build new bridges and some of the original ones are still in use.
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electricron
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by electricron »

george matthews wrote:What chance of a ferry from Key West? And rebuilding the railway there?
It's approximately 230 air miles from Miami to Havana, about a half hour flight by jetliner.
It's approximately 159 highway miles from Miami to Key West, about 3.25 hours by train or car.
It's approximately 92 nautical miles from Key West to Havana, about 6 hours by ship at 15 knots.
Seriously, which mode would you use, the one taking a half hour or one taking over 9 hours?
That's 9 hours assuming there is no waiting at the ferry, both loading and unloading. We all know that happens very rarely.

Mainland to island ferry services that might resemble Key West to Havana IMHO is the Marine Atlantic services to Newfoundland. This ferry service sees 230,000 passengers yearly with variable frequencies throughout the year. St. Johns's airport sees 1,500,000 and Gander International sees 300,000 passeners yearly, air seeing 1,800,000 to the island.
The total for all traffic being 2,030,000 per year. Air gets 85% while sea gets 15%. And a huge percentage of the sea passengers are truck drivers making deliveries, not tourists or businessmen.

gokeefe
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by gokeefe »

electricron wrote:
george matthews wrote:What chance of a ferry from Key West? And rebuilding the railway there?
It's approximately 230 air miles from Miami to Havana, about a half hour flight by jetliner.
It's approximately 159 highway miles from Miami to Key West, about 3.25 hours by train or car.
It's approximately 92 nautical miles from Key West to Havana, about 6 hours by ship at 15 knots.
Seriously, which mode would you use, the one taking a half hour or one taking over 9 hours?
That is only a choice if I am economically independent enough to be able to choose any option. For many people the ferry is going to be the only choice. The real question then becomes how much of that ground traffic goes to Amtrak. I think there will be some but feel very uncertain about how much. The other issue too is that Amtrak's service to Miami is so thin at this point that even a minor increase in absolute numbers becomes substantial in percentage terms.
gokeefe

CComMack
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by CComMack »

george matthews wrote:What chance of a ferry from Key West? And rebuilding the railway there?
No chance at all of rebuilding the railway, but if an operator can arrange to make the shorter sailing to Key West, they will. And they will continue right up until traffic exceeds the capacity of the Overseas Highway, at which point the operator will be "encouraged" to change terminals to Miami.
electricron wrote:Mainland to island ferry services that might resemble Key West to Havana IMHO is the Marine Atlantic services to Newfoundland. This ferry service sees 230,000 passengers yearly with variable frequencies throughout the year. St. Johns's airport sees 1,500,000 and Gander International sees 300,000 passeners yearly, air seeing 1,800,000 to the island.
The total for all traffic being 2,030,000 per year. Air gets 85% while sea gets 15%. And a huge percentage of the sea passengers are truck drivers making deliveries, not tourists or businessmen.
85/15 is probably a decent estimate of air/sea mode shares, but the overall size of the market will be different for three reasons: 1) Newfoundland is a solidly developed-world economy (although more depressed than the first-world average), 2) Newfoundland-Nova Scotia is a domestic travel market, and operators have no need to deal with customs and border checks that I assume will be quite thorough between the Florida and Cuba, and 3) Newfoundland only has <500,000 people on it vs. Cuba's 11M. With the current embargo rules, HAV still sees more than 4,000,000 passengers per year, implying a total travel market of at least 2x Newfoundland, and probably more like 4x. Not amazing, but certainly enough to engender interest.

Cowford
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Cowford »

That is only a choice if I am economically independent enough to be able to choose any option. For many people the ferry is going to be the only choice. The real question then becomes how much of that ground traffic goes to Amtrak.
I agree that ferry service would capture a minority share of any US-Cuba passenger volume. But that has nothing to do with Amtrak, especially based the argument above. Why? Let's separate possible travelers into three bins: Those that live in greater Miami, those that live elsewhere in southern FL (Orlando, Tampa, etc) and all others. First, Miami-ites have no need for Amtrak; write them off immediately. Secondly, if/when Cuba opens up, there will be flights from MIA and MCO at a minimum, probably from other FL airports (FLL, PBI, TPA, etc). Those flights would probably be in the $200-300/RT range. By comparison, a train-transfer bus-ferry combo from, say, Orlando would take 20 hrs+ each way and probably cost in the $300/RT range - without a cabin. So, if you're economically challenged and live in Orlando, you'll fly because it probably costs less and you probably don't have the vacation time or can't afford the two days off of work for the round-trip travel time. Or you'll take the cheaper bus to MIA. Finally, all others: Air travel would be the least expensive option from virtually anywhere, e.g., NYC, ATL, PHI.

As crazy as this thread is, it got me to thinking about how Amtrak actually factors in with our well-established, land-based neighbors. Well, there is zero service to Mexico and with Canada, it's sparse at best and served only on medium-distance corridors. One daily train each way to both Montreal and Toronto. Two each way to/from Vancouver.

NS VIA FAN
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by NS VIA FAN »

CComMack wrote:
electricron wrote:Mainland to island ferry services that might resemble Key West to Havana IMHO is the Marine Atlantic services to Newfoundland. This ferry service sees 230,000 passengers yearly with variable frequencies throughout the year. St. Johns's airport sees 1,500,000 and Gander International sees 300,000 passeners yearly, air seeing 1,800,000 to the island.
The total for all traffic being 2,030,000 per year. Air gets 85% while sea gets 15%. And a huge percentage of the sea passengers are truck drivers making deliveries, not tourists or businessmen.
85/15 is probably a decent estimate of air/sea mode shares, but the overall size of the market will be different for three reasons: 1) Newfoundland is a solidly developed-world economy (although more depressed than the first-world average), 2) Newfoundland-Nova Scotia is a domestic travel market, and operators have no need to deal with customs and border checks that I assume will be quite thorough between the Florida and Cuba, and 3) Newfoundland only has <500,000 people on it vs. Cuba's 11M. With the current embargo rules, HAV still sees more than 4,000,000 passengers per year, implying a total travel market of at least 2x Newfoundland, and probably more like 4x. Not amazing, but certainly enough to engender interest.
These are the Newfoundland Ferries. They carry about 900 passengers and 550 cars (or combination with trucks) so in comparison and if there are greater traffic volumes with Cuba …… Key West or elsewhere would need larger staging areas and would also require Customs & Border Protection facilities. I imagine the US would also require an agricultural inspection station (something the Newfoundland side has where vehicles with dust or soil are even washed before boarding the vessel)

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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

If a US-Cuba ferry service is to be resurrected and the intent is to have vessels the size of those immediately pictured by Mr. NSVIA, then I guarantee you, as he also states, the US Port will be elsewhere than Key West. The Parrottheads simply would fight it "beak and beak".

There is not the infrastructure in place to handle the vehicular traffic such a ferry operation would entail; lest we forget US1 is only two lanes (the FEC bridges remain; largely as fishing weirs). Even if US1 became I-95 (good luck on that), where would one park the vehicles until they were loaded aboard the ferry.

Time to start thinking Port of Miami or Everglades (FTL).

I'm quite aware that cruise ships call at Key West (how they obviate Jones Act escapes me), but that represents foot traffic only.

Finally Ron, I think your flight time KMIA-MUHA of half hour is a bit optimistic; From the linked Plates, it should be evident the "front door" approach is RWY 6, as there is an ILS localizer only for that runway. That means heading in a Southward direction, an aircraft must do a 180dg, or thereabouts, turn for an arrival on RWY 6. I've now "flown" that flight several times on a "737-300" and "wheels up/touchdown" is in the range of 45min.

electricron
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by electricron »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:If a US-Cuba ferry service is to be resurrected and the intent is to have vessels the size of those immediately pictured by Mr. NSVIA, then I guarantee you, as he also states, the US Port will be elsewhere than Key West. The Parrottheads simply would fight it "beak and beak".

There is not the infrastructure in place to handle the vehicular traffic such a ferry operation would entail; lest we forget US1 is only two lanes (the FEC bridges remain; largely as fishing weirs). Even if US1 became I-95 (good luck on that), where would one park the vehicles until they were loaded aboard the ferry.

Time to start thinking Port of Miami or Everglades (FTL).

I'm quite aware that cruise ships call at Key West (how they obviate Jones Act escapes me), but that represents foot traffic only.

Finally Ron, I think your flight time KMIA-MUHA of half hour is a bit optimistic; From the linked Plates, it should be evident the "front door" approach is RWY 6, as there is an ILS localizer only for that runway. That means heading in a Southward direction, an aircraft must do a 180dg, or thereabouts, turn for an arrival on RWY 6. I've now "flown" that flight several times on a "737-300" and "wheels up/touchdown" is in the range of 45min.
45 minutes flight is probably more accurate than the 30 minutes I suggested earlier. It's still much, much shorter than the over 9 hours minimum highway-ferry trip from Miami. Time aside, the point of my earlier post was market share, and I don't think my 15 minute error for the flight time will change market share any, if at all.
Yes, customs and duties will be in play for a crossing to Cuba that isn't in play for a crossing to Newfoundland. But they will be in play no matter which transportation mode you use because a border will be crossed, therefore experiencing customs shouldn't effect market share at all.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Ridgefielder »

NS VIA FAN wrote:These are the Newfoundland Ferries. They carry about 900 passengers and 550 cars (or combination with trucks) so in comparison and if there are greater traffic volumes with Cuba …… Key West or elsewhere would need larger staging areas and would also require Customs & Border Protection facilities. I imagine the US would also require an agricultural inspection station (something the Newfoundland side has where vehicles with dust or soil are even washed before boarding the vessel)
No offense to the Newfies, but given that there are 11mm+ people in Cuba, that the population of Havana is 2.1mm (5x the size of Miami), that there are 1.5mm or so US citizens of Cuban extraction, and that it's 200 nautical miles from Miami to Havana, any US-Cuba ferry is going to need something closer to what P&O uses on the UK-France or UK-Netherlands runs- like this:

Image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Pride_of_Rotterdam

So, maybe, far in the future, an Auto-Train extension to South Florida, connecting with the Havana Ferry, becomes a reality?

djlong
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by djlong »

CComMack wrote: No chance at all of rebuilding the railway, but if an operator can arrange to make the shorter sailing to Key West, they will. And they will continue right up until traffic exceeds the capacity of the Overseas Highway, at which point the operator will be "encouraged" to change terminals to Miami.
Actually, someone is suggesting a fixed guideway to Key West.. Just not a train.. A monorail:

http://keysnews.com/node/61532" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair use quote:
Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers' suggestion to bring a monorail train to the Florida Keys may seem like science fiction, but the county does need a shot in the arm when it comes to public transit, she said.

MACTRAXX
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by MACTRAXX »

DJL and Everyone:

A monorail to Key West? This will never happen...

The first thing I noticed is that Monroe County,FL is reluctant to support the buses that now serve the Keys and the price tag for this no doubt would be in ten digits...

I recall seeing that there are older unused bridges on the Overseas Highway that can be restored
for more traffic capacity like added bus service which would be far less costly then this monorail proposal...

What would the comparative cost of restoring rail service to the Florida Keys be?

Rebuilding and restregthening these bridges for a restored rail service would make far more sense then a expensive boondoggle that a monorail would be to the Florida Keys...

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

jwhite07
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by jwhite07 »

Well sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine, bona fide
Electrified, six-car Monorail!

(thank you Simpsons!)

djlong
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by djlong »

I had a feeling that would be the reaction here :)

I don't take that proposal seriously at all. I mean, I'd like to see it or SOME kind of fixed-guideway proposal come to light but I don't think it's feasible - and not for the obvious $$$$ reasons. From what I've seen when looking at the history of the old railroad bridges, in many cases remaining stubs are used as fishing piers. NIMBYs would come out like locusts if you suggested restoring them to rail usage.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

The Wall Street Journal reported this past Saturday that plans are moving forth for US-Cuba passenger ferry service:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/destination ... 1429885712" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair Use quotation:
Ferry operators are racing to be the first to tie up pier-side in Havana.

At least five shipping companies have applied for special licenses from the U.S. State Department to relaunch overnight ferry service from ports in Florida, according to shipping executives familiar with the matter. The routes were popular with American tourists and weekend revelers before sea links were closed off more than 50 years ago.

The Obama administration has eased sanctions and promises to normalize relations with Havana. As part of that move, Washington has lifted some travel restrictions that have long made Cuba practically off limits for most American visitors.

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls now allows visits for a variety of purposes that once required special approval. Those include trips by Americans to see family, professional and educational travel, and travel related to humanitarian projects and sporting events.

Tourism is still prohibited, but shipping executives are betting that those restrictions will fall away soon, too. Since the Obama administration first started easing travel restrictions to Cuba several years ago, approved travelers have been able to use several Washington-sanctioned charter flights to the island. There are some private ferry charters for humanitarian cargo and other approved shipments, too, but passengers aren’t typically allowed aboard.
But lest we forget, fifty years ago, air travel belonged to the elite; today to the masses offering all the amenities of a municipal mass transit ride. I foresee that as US-Cuba travel develops, which I think will be the case absent Marco or Ted "raising their rights" come Jan '17, the three 'hubbed" major airlines will offer service to MUHA from their Eastern and Southwestern hubs, while the "hubless" fourth will fly from "wherever".

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