DEBATE: Monorail Expansion

MikePezz

1,000th happy haunt
Joined
Aug 28, 1999
Something has been bothering me for a very long time regarding the topic of monorail expansion. We always tend to hear how an expansion is "in the plans" for WDW. The company realizes it needs an expansion logistically, but the project never seems to get the green light since there will be no "financial payback."

In the long run, a monorail expansion would recover its investment due to reduced operations costs. Think about it for just a minute.

Add a new line:
-Starts at EPCOT
-Goes to the international Gateway to serve the Premium Epcot Resorts (there IS room there--anyone else remember the old tram station?)
-Hit the Studios
-Hit the Animal Kingdom Lodge
-Hit the Animal Kingdom
(-If you really wanted to go nuts, have it stop at Blizzard Beach and maybe even the Coronodo too)

Now think of the Bus routes that could be removed. Let us assume that anytime a guest would have to change monorails more than once to reach a destination, a bus route would still be provided.
-The Yacht/Beach/Boardwalk to Animal Kingdom line is gone
-Swan/Dolphin to Animal Kingdom is gone
-Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Animal Kingdom is gone
-Animal Kingdom to the Studios is gone
-Animal Kingdom to the Epcot is gone

Five routes gone. Now I am fairly certain (I will look into it) that operating expenses PER PASSENGER are lower for the monorails than the bus routes (monorials also add more value* to a guest's visit, but that is another story).

Okay. So we have an obviously large initial investment. However, the savings in operating expenses (along with intangible benefits such as less road congestion, pollution, and faster travel time) would recover that initial capital expense over the years. Now, I don't claim that the investment would pay for itself in 5 or 10 years, but I find it hard to believe that it would take more than 20 years.

Who knows. I am really just sitting here battling insomnia. Maybe I am nuts.

*read as "magic"
 

manning

Just for that I have requested it
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
It's because transportation is a cost center not a profit center. Management doesn't understand the cost part of it and how it affects the bottom line. Permit me this story, but it illustrates what your up against. A long time ago I was on a campground committee and trying to get florescent lights for the service building. I kept getting this, " It's going to cost 300 dollars to replace the lights. We can't afford that." I had to get all the electric bills and and calculate the savings of electricity (500.00 a year) before they could understand it. I worked in transportation in a big company and had to do the same thing to save half the department in job cuts. We logged in every claim recovery and transportation cost savings and still had to stand on our heads to get them to get it. It's not a profit therefore it doesn't mean anything, as long as you make a $100 profit. Never mind that we can save $20.00 and make a $120.00 profit. Duh!!
 

Walt's Frozen Head

DIS Veteran<br><font color="blue">A comfortable 32
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
In the long run, a monorail expansion would recover its investment due to reduced operations costs. Think about it for just a minute.
I do not believe Disney has operated with an eye towards "the long run" in several years. The reluctance to invest in their infrastructure is one of the main contributors to that assessment.

The other thing to consider is that you can rent busses, you have to own monorails. Asset ownership is another luxury that, more and more, appears to be too luxurious for Eisner's pocketbook.

-WFH
 

KNWVIKING

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 8, 2001
Maybe Disney should look at it this way: I'm not spending a dime while I wait at a bus stop or ride a bus. I figure a monorail would give guests at least an extra 30 minutes in the parks. I'm sure some slick WDW beancounter can tell us what that equals in $$$.
 

Lesley

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
MikePezz, with the scenario you are mentioning there is the issue of monorails once again running short runs with lots of stops like they do around the Seven Seas Lagoon...which apparently is a maintenance issue. I've been told that the short runs are very hard on the trains.
)
But I can see the monorail going to all 4 parks...it would just make sense. And a monorail station at the Int. Gateway and one at MGM would be perfectly accessible from the Epcot resorts.

I won't venture to guess if this will ever happen or not.....
 

All Aboard

Por favor mantengan se alejado de las puertas
Joined
Oct 21, 1999
Whenever a monorail expansion thread pops up, I always have to interject that if expansion to additional resorts is not part of the plan, then it only really provides value to those staying at GF, Poly & Contemp.
 

MikePezz

1,000th happy haunt
Joined
Aug 28, 1999
I do remember "short-run" maintenance issue, Lesley (probably from an old post of yours). However, it is still possible that the per passenger cost of operation would be lower. I would love to look at some transportation numbers from the WDW vaults and play with some different scenarios.
 

Lesley

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
It could also be that the higher maintenance costs are just the "excuse of the week" for paring back any existing expansion plans...after all I'm sure the maintenance costs for the busses are quite high also.

Just throwing that out there....trying to look at both sides.
 

hopemax

Note to Self:
Joined
Apr 1, 2000
Of course, there is still the question of, "What happens when a monorail goes 101?"

When a bus breaks down, it's a easy task to order up another bus, and it doesn't prevent any other bus from performing their task. With a monorail, one goes out of service, and the whole line is down.

What would be the backup plan for moving people around, how much would that cost?

Like Lesley, trying to look at this from more than one angle. I'm sure one of the questions they have to answer is, "What happens if a monorail fails at park opening or closing?"
 

KNWVIKING

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 8, 2001
We witnessed first hand a WDW bus that pulled away from OKW that had broken an oil feed line.Massive puddle at the bus stop,another at the stop sign,smaller one at guard shack-then engine seizure on bonnet creek rd. With EPA implications as well as mechanical repairs,I estimate $20k. How many buses does WDW own ? Monorail has to be cheaper to operate and maintain.
 

Bstanley

DisNoid
Joined
Mar 1, 2001
What we need is a 'mole' in the WDW transit planning group.

The economic part of the question boils down to the operating cost per passenger-mile of monorail vs the cost per passenger-mile of buses. And the cost per mile to construct the monorail beam and stations.

The web provided the information that a 40 passenger bus costs ~$2.00 per mile to operate (or $0.05 per passenger-mile), lasts 15 years and can be purchased for $275,000.

Anybody have any insight on what a monorail line costs to build (estimates on the web range from $15M to $60M per mile), or what the operating costs are?
 

OnWithTheShow

No Entangling Alliances
Joined
Sep 20, 1999
What no one seems to realize is that on a 20 mile monorail loop (from Epcot to Animal Kingdom and backe) and with the multiple stops in between, even running with a monorail for each resort the average trip time would increase dramatically because of all of the stops.
 

Miss Park Avenue

Work, work, work...she'll NEVER get her DIS done!
Joined
Jul 1, 2002
The transportation issue really brings out the Walt Disney purist in me. Come with me back in time won't you.

'75 (little miss park ave. visits w/mom and dad 1st time) we stay offsite. Leaving the park we are faced with massive lines first to get on the "express" monorail to TTC then the mob waiting for the tram. We pray and pray, that we will fit into the next tram. When we do we circle the parking lot endlessly for hours listening for our section name. Finally we make it to our cars to sit in traffic to get out of the place.

early 80's (teen miss stays at FW first time) We start our day by catching the boat to the MK. Beautiful sunny day, out on the lake, riding our first ride before we even get to the park! On the way home that night, we are sitting in the boat, totally missing out on the tram boarding experience thinking "This is GREAT! We are never staying offsite again" The Poly/Contemorary people have the resorts monorail with shorter lines because back then you had to show resort ID to board.

1999-present (miss park ave brings her mini misses to WDW). We leave MK and walk with the masses to the bus stop, tired cranky (no mid day pool break or nap you know cause it's 6:00pm) and we stand there in the sea of bus queues, choking on fumes praying that the bus you see coming has your resort's name on it. Then you sit on a crowded bus with a bunch of tired smelly people going round and round waiting for your stop. No different than tram hell.

Makes sitting in your own private car seem pretty nice.


THIS IS NOT THE WAY WALT INTENDED DISNEY WORLD TO BE!!! I am reminded of Landbaron talking about the train in Walt's back yard. I don't care if busses are cheaper than monorails the point is that Walt Disney used the monorail and the WEDway (now the tomorrowland transit authority) to show how we could have clean efficient mass transit systems. Not to mention that riding the monorail and boats were relaxing enjoyable ways of getting around, part of the vacation experience. The boats, the monorails, the ferry even. If it's true less people are staying onsite, no wonder!

I'm a big dreamer (who taught me to dream big???... WALT!!!) And if it were up to me, I'd redo the whole monorail system. I'd move the ticket and transportion center (center being the operative word) to a more central location. That clears a nice primo piece of property for say DVC Poly villas? And build some loops connecting the four parks and DD. I'd stick some WEDways too to help get people from the resorts to a central located station inbetween the resorts. That would reduce the monorail stops. But it's not Miss Park Avenue World so I guess my dreams will stay with me.

Current management will never put that kind of money into a "free" service but it could bring in money two ways.

1. It would bring people back to Disney resorts. If they made getting from the resorts to the parks fun instead of a chore, people would love the relaxing atmosphere of riding a "ride" to the parks! If they enforced the "WDW resort guest only rule" like they used to it would give quite an incentive to stay within WDW.

2. Insurance, gas, upkeep, and purchase of those busses. I know compared with price of monorail yada, yada, yada, but what was Walt's reponse with his train, it'd be cheaper not to do it all!? If the monorail draws people back to the resorts there's more $$$ right there! (not to mention the extra cash generated from my Poly villas!
:)

Oh well, a girl can dream!
 

BRERALEX

That's a wrap.
Joined
Mar 8, 2001
now all we have to do is get miss park ave into eisners (maybe AV's spot) spot.

i like the relocating of the TTC to a more central location it would make sense since WDW has grown quite a bit.
 

vernon

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 6, 1999
I agree that T+T should be moved, but IMHO , if the idea is to reduce the traffic on Disney property , the best place for it to be situated would be on the edge of Disney property, not in the middle. The South East corner of Disney land has close access to I4, Osceola Parkway, 192 , the 417 ( Greenway) and Apopka Vineland road ( SR535?). Reducing the massive numbers of cars that come into Disney from outside would give Disney the OPTION ( although I would prefer a lightrail train system that links the parks and ALL the resorts) of a bus system that would run much more efficiently wiithout the fear of gridlock.

IMHO the ideal would be the T+T placed where I have indicated to deal with people coming from outside Disney, and an all inclusive train/monorail system for on property. This would mean Disney could do away with the vast majority of it's popution spewing busses and car traffic would be significantly reduced. .
 

Lewisc

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 23, 2000
Building a new TTC (probably have to be garages) by DD would service the offsite people staying in the I-Drive section and would feed customers into PI and DD on their way (just like Universal with Citywalk.
 

Miss Park Avenue

Work, work, work...she'll NEVER get her DIS done!
Joined
Jul 1, 2002
Originally posted by BRERALEX
now all we have to do is get miss park ave into eisners.. spot.


Oh, my! Well I wasn't planning on going back to work until the baby entered school, but if Disney needs me I'm ready to answer the call! :teeth:
 

pigletproud

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 20, 2000
Every year prior to 2001 I stayed off site and like another poster mentioned ....Just try to get out of the Parks! Yikes!
In 2001 I stayed at All Star Movies. Despite paying $74. per night for fewer amentities than off site, I really thought having a ride back to the resort was well worth giving up my own ironing board and coffee pot.
I really couldn't afford to pay more than what I did for All Stars, but I absolutely hated the ride back to an off site hotel.

On that same trip, I stayed 2 nights af the Best Western in DTD. We added 2 nights to our trip and All Stars was Booked. Anyway, we had to take 2 different buses to get back there. Which, by the way, was still better than having to get in a car and drive any where after a long day.

Did I mind the buses..well no, not compared to the car. However my only gripe and I cannot believe Disney gets away with it is:
The amount of people they allow on the bus. I really didn't feel all that safe even when I was lucky enough to get a seat.
I found even though I had to take 2 buses to get to DTD, that bus ride was much better, less crowed and much more comfortable.
Since I have a limited budget every time I go, I know the next trip to Disney will be at a DTD Hotel.
 









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