Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Caltrain' Category

color my BART

metro-red-line.jpgOne thing that I, as a former Washingtonian (as in DC), couldn’t help but notice when I arrived in the Bay Area in March of last year was how much the BART system resembles the capitol’s Metro system.

The cars appeared identical, although I learned Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007
Under: air travel, BART, Caltrain, connectivity, Funding | 7 Comments »

10 things I learned in a year by the Bay

arriving-at-platform.jpgOn March 20, 2006, I arrived in Oakland to set myself up as an expert on Bay Area transportation. I’m still working on that, but I’ve learned a few things since then.

The first lesson, after living and working in the wilds of Central Maryland, remote Long Island and Southern California, was learning just what Bay Area commuters had to complain about.

I mean, this place has a mass transit system like no other west of the Mississippi, freeways that don’t back up at midnight and commuter trains that run after 7 p.m. Not to mention, its denizens make their homes in tight valleys that make perfect little transportation corridors, like, you know, the Livermore Valley.

Ok, so I had a lot to learn about Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Under: 511, AC Transit, BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, connectivity, driving, Environment, Fare systems, ferries, Freeways, Funding, parking, rail, Retrofitting, Safety, tolls, transit equity, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

in bondage to expensive rail projects

bus-driver.jpg The question today (and every day, it seems) is: What do we want from our public transportation? Do we want an alternatve to driving for people who can afford cars? Do we want to provide mobility for people who can’t afford cars? Do we want fast, invisible mass transit as an engine of economic development?

For some folks, it boils down to spending money on buses for the less fortunate or spending money Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Caltrain, Funding, rail, transit equity | 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 »

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 »

one ear to the rail

Photo from 

coastal tracks.jpg

Speaking of rail service, I was surprised to see some discussion down the coast about not simply saving the pathetic Coast Starlight Amtrak route from LA to Seattle, but add to it.

According to this account, communities along the line between the Bay Area and LA would like to see a daytime route named Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, August 17th, 2006
Under: Caltrain, high-speed rail, rail, transit equity | No Comments »

The Man responds

Thanks to Janny Castillo of BOSS (spelled out in previous entry), we now have some historical perspective from which to view the recent vote 3-1 vote by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors urging the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to provide equitable funding to transit for low-income and minority riders (i.e., buses) and better-off and whiter riders (rail).

And thanks to MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler, we now have another side of a many-faceted gem of an issue.

It’s not that the MTC, or for that matter commissioner and Alameda Supervisor Scott Haggerty, don’t agree with the principle of equal treatment of all forms of transportation. It’s the lawsuits that force them into an adversarial stance when it comes to adopting principles such as those set down by the county supes.
Bus-rail justice.bmp
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2006
Under: BART, Buses, Caltrain, transit equity | 2 Comments »

A little background, please

In response to my story about Alameda County Supervisors resolving that AC Transit wasn’t getting its fair share of funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which favored capital-intensive rail services BART and Caltrain favored by richer and whiter riders, I received this e-mail:

To Mr. Nelson,

The Alameda Supervisors (Keith) Carson, (Alice) Lai-Bitker and (Gail) Steele deserve a lot
of credit. On Monday, they adopted a resolution calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to give AC Transit its fair share of public funds. (“Supervisors say bus service is shortchanged,” May 24.) The County now joins over 30 elected officials in the East
Bay-including the city councils of Oakland, Richmond and Berkeley-in calling for equity for low-income bus riders.

It was not surprising that Sup. Scott Haggerty was the only one to vote “no” on Board President Keith Carson’s resolution. As an MTC Commissioner, Mr. Haggerty’s “no” vote two months ago helped kill a motion by Tom Ammiano to adopt a set of four Equity Principles proposed by MTC’s minority advisory committee. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2006
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Caltrain, transit equity | No Comments »

rubber revolution

At the Alameda County Board of Supervisors today, I was treated to one of the many movements that makes transportation reporting so interesting.

Somewhere between the New York City subway and the Bay Bridge, buses became the symbol of socioeconomic stratification. Buses are for poor people of color. Trains are for higher-income whites.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
Under: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, transit equity | 4 Comments »