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Archive for December, 2008

Hey BART, can you float me to the airport?

BART may consider old and new technology — buses, cable cars, and a floating train held up by magnetic forces — as options for a long-waited service to carry train riders to the Oakland International Airport directly from BART’s Coliseum station.

BART is going back to the drawing board for an airport connector project because its $386 million elevated tramway plan has hit a dead end.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
Under: air travel, BART, light rail, rail | 8 Comments »

$1-a-gallon gas by 2009?

Are you starting to feel like we’re in an abusive relationship with the price of gas? Like, with these wild up-and-down swings, absolutely no stability and no sense of control? The good news, of course, is that we seem to be in the upward arc of the cycle, with the CEO of Gulf Oil predicting that gas prices could drop below $1 a gallon by early next year.

Not that I’m complaining, no indeed. On June 18, the average price of a gallon of regular in the East Bay was $4.58. Exactly why it has plummeted dizzily to its current average of $1.90 is certainly an engaging question, one which Gary Richards, “Mr. Roadshow” of the San Mercury News, examined recently. What do you think is behind all this? Commodity traders backing away from oil futures? Falling demand? Anger management?

(Photo by blmurch, on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | 4 Comments »

BART Program $100 Million Under Budget – True!

The jaw drops, the mind boggles – yes! Taxpayers will be spending about $100 million less than what BART budgeted to strengthen the Transbay Tube to withstand the next big temblor. It’s because those awesome dudes and dudists who built the thang in the 1960s did such a good job, plus contractors are so desperate for work these days the bids came in way low. So, not as many of the earthquake strengthening Tube retrofits are necessary.

So, even as we blog, the BART board is deciding what to do with the money at its weekly Thursday meeting. Stay tuned!

 (Photo: John-Morgan on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | 2 Comments »

Driving fees considered for parts of San Francisco

San Francisco is giving the public three opportunities in the next week to sound off on its proposal to charge rush-hour tolls to drive into the busy downtown.

It’s an idea that gets a hot reaction from some drivers, but the practice is catching on in some big cities in Europe and Asia as a means to reduce traffic congestion.

The idea is simple: Get motorists to shift their driving hours, or get them to switch to carpools or public transit. The catch: No city in America has enacted congestion pricing on its roads.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

All aboard the Capitol Corridor Train – well, 300,000 more, anyway

The Capitol Corridor, Amtrak’s major commuter train service with stops from San Jose to Sacramento, scooped up 17 percent more riders and 24 percent more revenue this year, smashing past records, officials said Tuesday.

That means that 300,000 more people leaped aboard the train this year, breaking the 1.7 million mark, and the company had $23,702,070 in revenue, the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority said.

“Despite the economic slowdown and falling gas prices, ridership on Northern California’s Capitol Corridor continues double-digit growth,” CCJPA Chair Forrest Williams said in a statement.

“Ridership and revenue results for the month of October 2008—the first month of the new fiscal year—remain strong even at a time when gasoline prices have fallen dramatically,” Williams said.
This is particularly intriguing because the sour economy is slowing ridership growth on BART, Denis Cuff, my partner in crime at this blog, reported yesterday.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | 1 Comment »

Green Cake! Green Cars! Party Down!

This Friday, Bay Area commuters have a chance to party down and check out electric vehicles at Green Motors, the only all-electric dealership the Queen knows of in Northern California. It’s in Berkeley (of course), in a building formerly occupied by a Cadillac dealership (is that symbolic or what?) at 1500 San Pablo Avenue, starting at 5 p.m. (That’s a ZENN electric car on the left, BTW.)

Back in September, reader Jerry Jones of Berkeley tried out a ZENN car from this dealership courtesy of Medianews, and thought it was Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Would You Pay a Fluctuating Gas Tax?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the gas station, with East Bay average prices down to ONE DOLLAR AND NINETY-SEVEN CENTS A GALLON, an academic is suggesting a new gas tax.

But there’s method to his madness. Severin Borenstein, director of the University of California Energy Institute, suggests a transportation furel surcharge that would go up when gas prices are low and go down when they are high.

Borenstein’s paper suggests that such a tax would bring in money to help solve California’s budget crisis and help ward off what he and other experts fear: That as gas prices go down because people are driving less, people may start driving more again, hence driving prices back up. Got that?

I dunno. Prices aren’t expected to stay low very long, so the Queen would prefer to take full advantage while she can. You know?

(Photo by futureatlas on flickr.)

Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008
Under: Misc. Transportation | 5 Comments »