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Archive for May, 2006

little effort, big connection

One of my colleagues, Matthew Artz, did a story out of Union City that showed how failing to make a small effort — in this case costing the city $300,000, which in transportation circles is spit in a bucket — can cause major problems for those of us who have somewhere to go.

On an even smaller scale, it’s like when your bus gets to the BART only five minutes late, but you have to catch the next train 15 minutes later, which gets you to your transfer station such that you’re 35 minutes late getting to the airport and forfeit that excursion fare to see the girlfriend who’s tired of waiting for you. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, May 13th, 2006
Under: connectivity | 1 Comment »

subway not subpar

BART recently released its third-quarter report for fiscal year 2006, which showed the subway system is continuing to come out of the ridership doldrums the first three months of 2006, and, despite March’s fire, bomb scare and computer boo-boos, manged to eke out an improvement in on-time performance. Go figure.
BART map.gif
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Posted on Friday, May 12th, 2006
Under: BART | 1 Comment »

FasTrak paved with good intentions

The big show today at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, in members’ role as the Bay Area Toll Authority Oversight Committee, was how to reach critical mass with FasTrak, the electronic toll collection system on Bay Area toll bridges.
FasTrak.jpg
To demonstrate that rush hour FasTrak use, now 42 percent, can be improved, MTC staff put out a nice little graph, showing various toll-collecting agencies and their rates of rush-hour electronic toll payers, ranging from 57 percent to 88 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2006
Under: Misc. Transportation, tolls | 1 Comment »

transit security, and other myths

I just got this e-mail from the Mineta Transportation Institute, created by an act of Congress on the campus of San Jose State, saying that the institute has a program to train transportation professionals in dealing with security issues.
bus bombing.JPG Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2006
Under: Security | No Comments »

the 511 slide

Since becoming a neophyte Bay Area Commuter, I have become a clinical 511 junkie. Every morning, I call to get driving times between Fairfield and Oakland, and this morning at 8:15 was no exception.

Having taken the Capitol Corridor and BART to work all of last week, I had managed to put the Pinole landslide into the shoulder of westbound I-80 into the recesses of my subconscious mind. 511 didn’t even let me specify a route before some Caltrans dispatcher-sounding voice came on and explained that the state transportation agency’s work crews would be building a new wall to hold back the hill, and thus only three lanes of traffic would be getting by the site.

Thus began my 511 lover’s dream/nightmare.

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Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2006
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Point of origin

I’m told that today this blog will be linked to the outside world after a two-week trial, so welcome, inaugural readers.

The point: to provide an outlet for Bay Area transportation stuff that crosses my path, but isn’t necessarily “a story” in the traditional sense. I’ll also drop in comments from readers and ad-lib from time-to-time about my own commuting tribulations.

In an area with such diverse ways to move around as the Bay Area, this kind of stuff is ridiculously easy to come by. In my short time here, I’ve found there is no limit to my fellow commuters’ appetite for transportation news.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
Under: 511, BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, Carpooling, casual carpools, Fare systems, Freeways, Retrofitting | No Comments »

what? you don’t want to be rescued?

I was on my way to work on the I-80 yesterday, calling 511 to find out whether it was safe to cross the Carquinez Bridge.

As anyone who comes in from the direction of Fairfield can attest, it can take the better part of an hour to get to the Bay Bridge if all is not right with the interstate. And all is rarely right with I-80 at rush hour.

According to a recent study I read, the morning westbound commute along that accursed stretch of freeway resulted in more lost hours of commuters’ lives than any other area segment. But I digress.

This is really about BART. Or maybe mudslides. Or both.
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Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
Under: 511, BART, Freeways | No Comments »