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Archive for the 'Buses' Category

Less service, higher fees bedevil public transit

Many public transit riders are getting a raw deal these days: less service and higher fares. The Bay Area isn’t immune from the trend, either.

Boards for both County Connection bus system in Contra Costa County and the Wheels bus system in the Livermore Amador Valley area have voted to boost their basic fare from $1.75 to $2, starting in late March. Both agencies also are reducing service. 

The AC Transit board also will consider adopting the two-buck bus fare when it meets 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at AC Transit headquarters, 1600 Franklin Ave., Oakland. Some critics are steamed, saying the fare hike is coming much too soon after AC Transit voters decided last November to boost their parcel tax from $48 to $96 a year to avoid fare increases and service cuts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Fare systems, rail | 3 Comments »

Riding rail to the airport

BART reminds holiday travelers to consider an increasingly popular option for getting to the airport: take the train and leave your car in long-term parking at a BART station lot.

BART is making 1,360 spaces available at its station parking lots for long-term parking during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weeks. That’s double the usual number.

Riders can sign up at www.bart.gov/parking to buy long-term parking permits for multi-day trips.  Without a permit, BART riders are limited to parking 24 hours in a station. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
Under: air travel, BART, Buses, parking, rail | 3 Comments »

Name that brand! How do you color AC Transit’s bus rapid transit?

AC Transit bus by Flickr user allaboutgeorge under Creative Commons licenseThe AC Transit Board this evening will consider taking another step forward with their plan for bus rapid transit in parts of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro.

Although an environmental impact report on the project is not yet finished, AC Transit managers recommend the board put out a request for proposal for between $175,000 and $250,000 in contract work to develop a brand identity – including a name, logo, decals, and color scheme for buses – for the project and its vehicles, stations and bus stops.

AC needs a “brand” in order to quality for federal “small starts” grants for the bus rapid transit project, according to a report by AC managers.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m in the second floor meeting room of AC Transit headquarters, 1600 Franklin St., Oakland. AC Transit managers also will provide a briefing on the status of the bus rapid transit plan and schedule.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: AC Transit, Buses, parking | 2 Comments »

riding the wave

This week was a disharmonious convergence of most things I love about transportation in the Bay Area.

There was Spare the Air, which refused to be discredited as it died with a “yee-ha!” yesterday, racking up nearly 400,000 BART rides in one day, which happened to be the day after I blogged about what a futile gesture the final day of “Spare the Air” free transit was going to be.

As I watch the glare of the lights over the Coliseum, I can safely assume that more A’s fans will take BART home than in any previous year. No matter how much they complain about fares, they know that gas is more expensive. There may even be one or two fans who have already seen their personal scales tip in favor of selling their only Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2008
Under: BART, Bridges, Buses, Caltrain, driving, Environment, Fare systems, fuel, Funding, global warming, rail, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 7 Comments »

Spare the Air, we hardly knew ye

It seems fitting that tomorrow, what will probably be the area’s last Spare the Air free transit day, is planned to be a public relations, or, if you prefer, consciousness-raising event.

Like so many others in the Bay Area, I was excited about the expanded 2006 free summer transit program aimed at reducing vehicle emissions that cause smog. In fact, “Spare the Air” became synonymous with free transit that summer to the point where I had to constantly remind people that they weren’t the same thing.

Spare the Air will Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Under: BART, Buses, driving, Environment, ferries, fuel, Funding, Safety, Transit vs. driving | 7 Comments »

traffic congestion is sooo 2007

After three weeks of on-again-off-again vacation and quality time with my intercontinental marriage, I am back and promise to keep the blog from getting stale. I am also somewhat ashamed that when my colleague next door is writing haikus and quoting Lao-tzu for his blog, I’m doing the sound of one hand clapping.

And as luck would have it, my overflowing e-mail box contained a pitch for me to talk to a company that provides traffic data for navigation services.

It said that San Francisco/Oakland area has the nation’s ?-worst traffic congestion and seemed to imply that this should make me stand up and take notice. (I can’t tell you Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008
Under: 511, AC Transit, Altamont Commuter Express, Amtrak, Buses, driving, Environment, Fare systems, Freeways, fuel, global warming, Transit vs. driving | 3 Comments »

‘transportation’ vs. transit

One of the ways that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s financial folks justify diverting fuel tax receipts that would otherwise be spent on public transit is using it for “transportation,” rather than “transit.”

That means that at a time when $4-a-gallon-gas is driving commuters toward buses, trains and ferries along with driving up the so-called “spillover” fund close to $900 million, this money is being budgeted for school buses and buses and vans that serve regional social service centers.

Make no mistake, these are things that would normally be funded out of the general fund, which is something like $15 billion short without such diversions and other schemes like borrowing against the state lottery or (now here’s a crazy, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Funding, global warming, transit equity | No Comments »

they threw away the Key


NOTE: “Goodbye to the Key Route System” Video provided by Bob Franklin, BART director and music video director. Vocals by Mel Leroy, lyrics by Judith Offer with Joyce Whitelaw on piano and Lynn Parker on drums.

A week ago, I prompted people to wax nostalgic about the Key System on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its death. I still find it curious in this day of controversial transit subsidies that a private urban transit system could survive for the first half the last century. Maybe it’s because it was built and operated by a developer and, as transit and smart-growth devotees now preach, housing, business and transit need to be compatible.

Some of you wanted to talk about just that: The kind of housing density that helps transit work, starting with apartments and condominiums. Looking back at development pre-World War II, when the Key System was thriving, it tended to be much denser. Then the GIs came home with spending money, bought cars and the era of the white- Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008
Under: AC Transit, Buses, Planning, transit equity, Transit vs. driving | 18 Comments »

the Key Route remembered

key-system-streetcar-1954.jpg

Today I received an advisory announcing that on Friday, AC Transit would be celebrating the demise of its predecessor, the Key System.

Ok, they’re not cheering the end of “one of the most efficient transportation systems in the world, which also marked the beginning of AC Transit (insert superlative here), but they are drawing a rather odd comparison:

More than commemorate the passing of the Key Route era, they will assert the need to go “Back-to-the-Future” with the kind of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
Under: AC Transit, Buses, rail, Transit vs. driving | 12 Comments »

train in vain

corridor-at-night.jpg 

On my way home last night, I fancied that I was going to blog about the latest bit of transportation research to come out of the Cato Institute, an inside-the-Beltway limited-government think-tank.

I was going to write about the study, Does Rail Transit Save Energy or Reduce Greenhouse Emissions?, as I quaffed a $4.50 micro-brew on the Capitol Corridor. If you know anything about the Cato Institute, you can probably guess what it says: 

Far from protecting the environment, most rail transit lines use more energy per passenger mile, and many generate more greenhouse gases, than the average passenger automobile. Rail transit provides no guarantee that a city will save energy or meet greenhouse gas targets.

While most rail transit uses less energy than buses, rail transit does not operate in a vacuum: transit agencies supplement it with extensive feeder bus operations. Those feeder buses tend to have low ridership, so they have high energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile. The result is that, when new rail transit lines open, the transit systems as a whole can end up consuming more energy, per passenger mile, than they did before.

This will be some comfort to regular readers of this blog, at least those who believe that rail transit, commuter rail in particular, is on par, if you will, with whites-only Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
Under: Amtrak, Bicycling, Buses, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, connectivity, driving, Environment, fuel, global warming, rail, Transit vs. driving | 14 Comments »