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Archive for the 'Carpooling' Category

what will they say about us in 2057?


On the occasion of the recent 50th anniversary of the creation of the BART bureaucracy, I noted the prescience of members of the commission that decided the Bay Area really needed a rapid transit system. They said that new freeways, which Los Angeles had pinned its hopes on, could not solve traffic congestion by themselves.

Now BART is contemplating its next 50 years with the knowledge that those guys in 1957 were Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, Caltrans, Carpooling, driving, Freeways, Smart Lanes, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 3 Comments »

investors do their bit for California


Sorry to have gone AWOL for so long. Was on vacation last week, and this week I have no excuse. Thanks for checking in spite of that.

Before vacation, I talked about California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s effort to attract individual investors to buy some of the $43 billion worth of infrastructure bonds approved by voters in November.

Looks like he succeeded, getting Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
Under: Carpooling, driving, Freeways, Funding | No Comments »

infrastructure: a good investment one way …

Last fall our elected leaders, almost to a person, told us that the $43 billion in infrastructure bonds on the November ballot were a good investment in transportation, flood control and educational facilities that had been neglected for decades.

Now Bill Lockyer, elected state treasurer in the same election, wants to convince Californians that infrastructure is also a good investment.

No, there’s no echo in here.

Lockyer announced today that his folks are launching a Web site to make it easier for the average taxpayer with a bit of money to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2007
Under: Caltrans, Carpooling, Funding | 1 Comment »

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 »

1.47 gallons for public transit

pumping-gas.jpg Public transportation records, at least for the last half-century, continue to be broken on a regular basis these days. BART had its best Saturday ever this month with the celebration of the Year of the Pig and it seems more and more difficult to find two seats to myself on the train these days (not that I’d ever block the #2 seat — I hate it when people do that on a train that’s getting crowded).

Today I was not surprised to learn that national ridership is up to levels not seen since Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Buses, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, connectivity, driving, Environment, parking, rail, Transit vs. driving | 3 Comments »

a mile (or 20) in your shoes


In this business, one does a lot of writing and pontificating on things one has never seen or felt. Take the Bay Bridge — please. When I want to go to the City by the Bay, I nearly always take BART. You avoid having to park and you avoid that bridge.

Yet the week I started this job, I was compelled to write about the bridge I had crossed maybe twice in my entire life. In fact, I did the story about opening the low bid of $1.43 billion for the self-anchored suspension span in Sacramento, where you can cross the most impressive bridge in 30 seconds.

This week I managed to come down from my ivory tower and experience some of the things I’ve written about but never truly understood.

To begin with, on Thursday I had to attend a meeting about planned Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bicycling, Caltrans, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Carpooling, driving, Environment, ferries, Freeways, Funding | 17 Comments »

busdinistas to rail against Van Hool hegemony

van-hool-for-sale.jpgWatch out! The days of AC Transit‘s cozy relationship with Belgian bus maker Van Hool are numbered, at least if a group of organized “Van Hell”-haters succeeds in staging its day of action at the entrance of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 8th and Oak streets in Oakland, at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

The event is being organized by Joyce Roy, who only managed to rally a handful of mostly elderly and disabled riders, along with a bus driver, to speak to the AC Transit board recently against the buses for their shaky Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
Under: Buses, casual carpools, connectivity, driving, Funding, rail, Safety, Transit vs. driving | 15 Comments »

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 »

Sgt. Gluss’ lonely carpool band

carpool.jpgA recent survey by my favorite champion of saving gas and smog turned me on to a powerful, albeit secondary, reason to carpool.

Susan Gluss, who made a big splash in Tuolumne County recently with her frank appraisal of the difficulty of convincing people to carpool, offered up some startling Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, December 18th, 2006
Under: Carpooling | 3 Comments »

the loneliness of the high-occupancy hawker

U.S. Office of Price Administration poster by Weimer Pursell, 1943, from 

Carpooling vs Hitler.jpgI went out for coffee the other day with Susan Gluss, who has a job you would have to pay me a lot of money to do: Promote the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s 511 Rideshare program.

Lucky for her, she’s got money to hand out right now in the form of free gas or groceries from Safeway. In three months of the program, they’ve signed up 400 new carpoolers, each of whom is eligible to collect a maximum of $100 of these “Rideshare Rewards.’’

Susan is a lovely  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
Under: 511, Carpooling, Funding, Transit vs. driving | No Comments »