Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Carpooling' Category

Should employers have to offer help for workers’ commute costs for transit, cycling, and carpools?

A bill sent to the governor aims to reduce greenhouse gases and auto congestion by giving regional governments the authority to require employers to offer subsidies to workers who commute by bus, rail, bicycle, carpool and other low-emission means. Bay Area public transit and regional governments backed the bill, but it was opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Under: Carpooling, driving, Environment, global warming | No Comments »

Will the toll on bridge drivers be too big a toll?

People who take car pools across seven Bay Area bridges may be in for an unpleasant change next year: the end of free rides for car pools during rush-hour periods. And on the Bay Bridge, regular drivers not in car pools also may in for a shock: higher tolls during peak commute periods than at other times.

Proposed options to make those major changes in July were unveiled Monday by the Bay Area Toll Authority, which plans to hold hearings in November. I’m betting both changes are going to come under fire from some angry drivers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, Carpooling, driving, Environment, Freeways, global warming, Retrofitting, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

Toll shock: Will Bay Area bridge tolls go up?

Bay Area bridge operators disclosed a year ago they were considering raising tolls on seven state-owned bridges by $1 – up to $5 per car. On Wednesday morning, a toll authority committee will get down to the details of when and how to do it.

The Bay Area Toll Authority Overnight Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the MetroCenter, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland to consider a report on options for a toll increase.

One sticky issue is whether to start making car pools pay tolls to cross the Bay Bridge during peak commute hours. The free ride may be over.

Toll Authority administrators say they need a toll increase to pay for a seismic retrofit on the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges, to cover reduced revenues from fewer drivers crossing the bridges, and to absorb the higher cost of credit to pay for bridge operations and retrofits.

Antioch and Dumbarton bridges – the newest of the seven state bridges – initially got a clean bill of health after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. But now Caltrans has concluded the two bridges need to be made stronger.

The toll increase would apply to the Bay Bridge, Dumbarton, Antioch, Richmond-San Rafael, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez and San Mateo.

State legislation adding the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges to the State Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program was signed into law Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, makes it easier for the Toll Authority to upgrade the two bridges to withstand earthquakes, toll authority staffers said.   

         

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Caltrans, Carpooling, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

Paying to save time on toll lanes

Would you pay to save time driving the freeways? Would paying a toll to use an express lane seem less painful if you knew it was helping ease freeway traffic congestion for the masses?.

Bay Area residents are getting closer to finding out. A plan to create an 800-mile network of express lanes open to carpools for free and others for a toll easily passed two big hurdles in the last week. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
Under: Buses, Carpooling, driving, Freeways, tolls, Transit vs. driving | No Comments »

Should the free ride end for car pools on Bay Area bridges?

Car pooling has worked so well on Bay Area bridges that bridge operators are considering ending the free rides for car pool users during weekday rush hours.

I can hear the rumble of protest brewing among car pool users: “Hey government, we took car pools like you asked, so why penalize us by ending the free ride?” Isn’t that like water districts raising water rates in a drought to offset the loss of revenue from customers using less water? some people might ask.

The issue is likely to reverberate through the halls of the Bay Area Toll Authority - a regional toll collection agency – in the next year as the authority’s board and managers discuss how to pay for $950 million in proposed seismic retrofits for the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, Carpooling, casual carpools, driving, Freeways, Golden Gate Bridge, Retrofitting, Safety, tolls | 19 Comments »

enjoy your free ride while it lasts

While I’ve spent much of this week on the blog bickering over high-speed rail funding, I’ve noticed a thread emerge that speaks to all forms of transportation, especially the ubiquitous solo vehicle commute.

Time and time again, public transportation advocates, who are fighting for nickles and dimes in Sacramento in these days of $15 billion budget holes, tell me that driving isn’t free. Roads and highways aren’t free.

Yes, even freeways aren’t free.

Every year, state and local governments pay billions of dollars for the upkeep of our roads and highways. You know that guy in the Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
Under: Carpooling, casual carpools, driving, Freeways, fuel, Funding, global warming, parking, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 4 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 »

are we ready to stop driving? right now?

no-vehicles.bmpLast night I watched “The Amazing Mrs. Prichard,” a British television series about a grocery store manager who become prime minister of the UK  because of that longing many of us have for our leaders to use common-sense governance.

As one might expect, much of the drama comes from home-grown logic colliding headlong with the complexities of how things work in the developed world.

In this episode, Mrs. Prichard is frustrated that a G-8 Summit (eight leaders of the world’s economic powers) has come up with nothing concrete to deal with global warming. So after insulting the U.S. president, she proposes her own stab at the problem: On every Wednesday, no one in Britian drives.

I’ve actually seen this happen in a developed country. On Yom Kippur in Israel, 5.5 million citizens Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2007
Under: BART, Buses, Carpooling, driving, Environment, ferries, Freeways, fuel, Funding, rail, Smart Lanes, telecommuting, Transit vs. driving | 15 Comments »

so you wanna fight global warming, eh?

polar-bear-lanes.bmpYou want to stop global warming?

Hmm. Maybe. Sounds good. How?

You can take BART to work.

Not me. Don’t live near a BART station and the BART lots are always full when I drive to one.

You can take the bus to BART.

No. The bus stop is too far from my house. I’d spend 20 minutes just walking there. Then I have to wait for the bus. By that time, I could be at work already.

You could ride your bike to BART.

It’s hilly where I live. I’d get all sweaty. And besides, BART doesn’t allow me to take my bike during rush hour. Any other ideas?

Yes. Keep driving and pay a carbon tax of 23 cents a gallon, pay a rush-hour toll to get into the city and a peak-hour parking surcharge when you get to work.

But I’d be paying, what, five times Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 26th, 2007
Under: BART, Bicycling, Buses, Carpooling, connectivity, driving, Environment, Freeways, fuel, Funding, parking, Planning, technology, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 14 Comments »

cookin’ up HOT lanes

tollcard-feb2006.gif

I just received a news release from Newark Democratic Sen. Alberto Torrico, announcing success for legislation to speed up construction of HOT lanes through the Sunol Grade along I-680.

What are HOT lanes, you might ask?

They’re basically carpool lanes that allow carpools to drive free and toll-payers to drive solo. The idea is to make Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Under: Carpooling, driving, Freeways, Funding, Smart Lanes, tolls | 1 Comment »