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Archive for February, 2007

busdinistas to rail against Van Hool hegemony

van-hool-for-sale.jpgWatch out! The days of AC Transit‘s cozy relationship with Belgian bus maker Van Hool are numbered, at least if a group of organized “Van Hell”-haters succeeds in staging its day of action at the entrance of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 8th and Oak streets in Oakland, at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

The event is being organized by Joyce Roy, who only managed to rally a handful of mostly elderly and disabled riders, along with a bus driver, to speak to the AC Transit board recently against the buses for their shaky Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
Under: Buses, casual carpools, connectivity, driving, Funding, rail, Safety, Transit vs. driving | 15 Comments »

microcosmic bus vs. rail at Oakland Airport


At long last, people who don’t mind dragging their bags on and off of BART (or don’t have a car) will have to pay $3, starting March 1, to get from the Coliseum BART Station to Oakland International Airport. Senior citizen and airport employee fares will double as of March 1 to $1 and $2, respectively.

The current $2 charge for AirBART has been in effect since 1985, so one can’t be too shocked that the Oakland port authority decided today to raise it. At least it’s not going to $4 like the bridge tolls.

And consider that the extra $1 is for a good cause: Buying new natural gas buses. I’m guessing hydrogen fuel cell buses would require Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
Under: AC Transit, air travel, BART, Buses, connectivity, Environment, Fare systems, Funding, rail, tolls, transit equity | 31 Comments »

vanishing act at Oakland airport


Upon hearing how someone had set off a metal detector at Oakland International Airport yesterday and promptly vanished, one of my colleagues remarked that if she ever got into trouble with the law, she’d go to the airport to avoid capture.

Kidding aside, it’s somewhat unsettling that twice this year already, someone was able to get past a federalized security system and then Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 16th, 2007
Under: air travel, Security | No Comments »

falling in and out of love with BART


Call me Capricious, but as much as I’m predisposed, I can’t seem to embrace public transit consistently.

I love to sit in one of the Capitol Corridor’s reclining seats with an AC (not to be confused with the bus agency) outlet nearby so I can watch DVDs of old movies uninterrupted on my laptop. Ahhh, this is commuting, I think. Did I mention the little Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, air travel, BART, Bicycling, Buses, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), connectivity, driving, rail, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

great day to drive


I was gratified to see that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission had launched a new service called Predict-a-trip. If you’re planning to drive from Fairfield to San Jose, this collection of algorithms at will use the collective experience of FasTrak electronic toll tag users to estimate how long your trip will take using several different routes. You can also ask it for current driving times, just like you can when you dial 511 on your mobile phone.

Just what we need, another tool to make driving easier.

I say that because today I gave up Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, Altamont Commuter Express, BART, Bicycling, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, casual carpools, connectivity, driving, parking, rail, Safety, Transit vs. driving | 4 Comments »

freewheeling with bond’s highway billions


The town of Willits, about halfway from San Francisco to Eureka, has waited decades for a U.S. 101 bypass. In recent years, it’s scrounged enough money to do environmental impact studies and pretty much all it needs now is another $170 million — half of the project’s cost — to make it happen.

That money may come from the $20 billion transportation bond voters approved Nov. 7 in California’s Proposition 1B. Caltrans has recommended the project over the objections of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 12th, 2007
Under: Freeways, Funding, Planning | 2 Comments »

pay as you go


Perhaps it’s just part of a larger trend of paying less for everything outside of Anbar Province, but the Bush Administration seems to have embraced the idea of congestion charges for freeways and dense urban areas. If the feds are totally behind this idea, it could be the best friend public transportation ever had, even if the money collected only pays for highway maintenance.

That’s because of the refrain I keep hearing from transit advocates: Freeways aren’t free. They cost billions of dollars to build and maintain, which to most motorists is an invisible cost until they cross a toll bridge or start working at Caltrans.

Exhibit A is the $20 billion California transportation bond voters passed Nov. 7. The first part of that hurry-up-and- Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, February 10th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, Buses, driving, rail, Smart Lanes, tolls, Transit vs. driving | No Comments »

one card to rule them all*

mt-translink.bmpThe new TransLink cards are here!

Much like Steve Martin’s refrain from “The Jerk,” this event is somewhat anticlimactic.

To quote Tommy, who announced this in a comment on my last TransLink entry,

Woohoo! My wife is a Cal student so it’s basically useless for her as she gets free AC Transit rides anyway. I probably won’t load mine up until BART, Muni, and Caltrain come online so I can do the Albany to Mountain View commute without having to fiddle with three different fare systems.

What? BART isn’t part of a Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Caltrain, connectivity, Fare systems, ferries, rail, technology | 12 Comments »

driving and rutting don’t mix

deer-crossing-sign.JPGIt was brought to my attention today that colleagues in the neighboring county had done a story that was published in the Tri-Valley Herald with a lovely photo of a deer-crossing sign and cars passing by at night. Trouble is, some undoubtedly pubescent prankster had drawn an extra hind leg on the buck, and a bunch of readers called to complain that our paper was indecent.

The photo has been excised from all of our Web sites, I’m told, so I’ve posted it an the end of this entry. If you take offense at such things, don’t scroll to the bottom. I warned you, so don’t do something you’ll feel obligated to complain about later.

This brings to mind the one time I ever received death threats for Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 2nd, 2007
Under: driving, Environment | 1 Comment »