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Archive for December, 2009

Raid on rails closes Sacto light-rail section

Some grinches shut down a portion of a Sacramento’s light-rail line for 12 hours on Christmas Eve by stealing copper wire from track joints. Talk about crooks stealing from the public to make a few bucks.

The Sacramento Bee and other media outlets reported that the thieves cut out the copper wiring some time between 1 and 5 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Shortly afterwards, fuses blew when the first early morning train tried to make its run. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Sunday, December 27th, 2009
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Adventure, snow and delays in riding the rails across America

Even  mellow, slow paced rail travel can have its challenges.

 A San Pablo woman interviewed for my front page story Wednesday about the increased popularity of holiday rail travel had quite an adventure last week during her four-day, cross-country train trip from Martinez to Fayetteville, North Carolina . Her trains ran into a blizzards.  She got sick.  Her train got stuck for many hours in Washington, D.C. because of locomotive problems  And she ended up going to the hospital with respiratory problems after the trip was over.

Still, Georgia Schumann hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for train travel. “I still like the train,” the retiree  told me over the phone yesterday. “I’m feeling much better now.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, December 24th, 2009
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Bumpy highways. Will there be Stimulus II?

California’s highways  are in lousy condition. That conclusion, contained in a new study by a group that advocates highway construction,  is not exactly a news flash to Bay Area residents used to jarring, bumping rides on their commute.

But hey. It’s nice to know that someone recognizes the pain of Bay Area motorists. Also, shining on a light on the problem may help build pressure to do something about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2009
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AC Transit cuts service. Will it be enough?

AC Transit made it a complete sweep of pain for Bay Area public transit riders Wednesday night by becoming the last major bus or train agency in the region to approve cutting service.  It could have been worse and it could have happened sooner. 

Bus service hours will be pared back 8.4 percent in March by trimming and consolidating routes and reducing bus frequency on some lines, the AC  Transit board decided. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2009
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AC Transit gives out $5 free transit tickets in downtown Oakland

AC Transit will  reward public transit commuters in downtown Oakland Thursday morning by giving away 200 free Translink cards loaded with $5 worth of transit fares.

 The giveaway on Commuter Appreciation Day will occur from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway. So get their early if you want the freebies sponsored by AC Transit and radio station KMEL 106.1.  Bags of freebies, Translink pens and t-shirts also will be given away.

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
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BART to vote on Oakland airport connector

A contract to build BART’s people-mover tram to the Oakland International Airport is scheduled to be awarded Thursday over objections of critics who want an express bus system instead.

It’s a political showdown years in the making.

BART top managers recommend the transit board award a $492 million contract to a joint venture of Flatiron West Inc. and the Parsons Transportation Group.  For the BART report on the recommendation, click here.

 The meeting begins  10 a.m. at the Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, third floor, 344 – 20th St,Oakland,

  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
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Last hearing to sound off on proposed bridge toll increase

A fourth and last public hearing on a proposed toll increase on seven Bay Area bridges will be held 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Monday) in San Francisco before Bay Area Toll Authority administrators release their recommendation for higher tolls. The site is the downtown campus of San Francisco State University, 835 Market St., Room 609.

Toll Authority administrators have proposed three different options for toll increases. Central to each alternative  is raising the car toll from $4 to 5, effective July 1. But the options differ in how much they raise truck tolls, whether they call for an end to the free rides for carpools during rush hour, and whether the Bay Bridge should have congestion tolls with a higher charge during the rush hour and a lower charge at other times.

According to the Toll Authority’s web site, the staff will release their recommendation Wednesday morning at a meeting of the Toll Authority Oversight Committee.

For information about the toll increase, click here. About 10 percent of Bay Area commuters travel over a toll bridge. Only the Golden Gate Bridge is not effected the by the toll proposal because it is operated by an independent agency, not the Toll Authority.

Posted on Sunday, December 6th, 2009
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When will AC Transit cut bus service and how severely?

AC Transit is moving toward a decision on how to cut bus service at the transit board’s meeting 6 p.m. Dec. 16. But things are still are a up in the air on how much slashing must  be done.

The bus system invites the public to submit comments by 5 p.m. today on the latest proposal for reduce service. This plan envisions about half of the service cuts called for an earlier plan for a 15 percent cut in service. The latest plan, however, depends on AC winning approval from the federal government and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to divert some $35 million in funds earmarked for AC’s bus rapid transit plan to cover operating costs for regular service.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
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