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Archive for the 'Fare systems' Category

some good things about transit

i-880-in-the-rain.jpgAfter getting the most vigorous response to date for my Nov. 30 post, I shouldn’t dwell too much on the positive aspects of taking public transit.

But I believe in fairness, and today was a good day for transit; at least it was for this and a few thousand other commuters.

I made it to the train station with five minutes to spare and had the wisdom to avoid taking my bicycle because of the wet forecast. That left me with the dilemma of how to get the last 1.7 miles from the Oakland Coliseum Amtrak station to work on Oakport Street.

No worries, the 98 bus was there, waiting for me. It left about five minutes later, leaving some leeway in case the Capitol Corridor had been late. I made it to work in good time, which is more than I can say of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007
Under: 511, AC Transit, Altamont Commuter Express, Amtrak, Bicycling, Buses, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), connectivity, driving, Fare systems, Freeways, Misc. Transportation, rail, technology, Transit vs. driving | 16 Comments »

TransLink: it’s no FasTrak

TransLink, the universal transit fare system that just launched, after two decades worth of development, service on AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit buses, has clearly had its share of problems.

I mean, they’re trying to integrate 26 different transit systems, some of which have trouble keeping things together within a single agency.

Now they’ve got the thing up and running, and Eric Schatmeier of Alameda raises yet another point for the system to worry about: Statements.

Here’s part of his e-mail to me:

I, too, have been a Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2007
Under: 511, AC Transit, Buses, Fare systems, technology | 15 Comments »

don’t let new BART card master you

take-a-card.jpgWhen it comes to consumer credit, I’m not unique among Americans. I see, I want, I buy, I pay interest.

I understand that credit is expensive, that saving is good and borrowing can get you into trouble. That’s why credit cards are reserved for those impulse purchases that you can’t pay for NOW, but just need to stretch those dollars until the end of your billing cycle.

Along comes the end of the billing cycle, and whaddaya know? There’s rent, there’s that wireless bill or car payment (By the way, car notes simply aren’t Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2007
Under: BART, Fare systems, Funding, rail, transit equity | 2 Comments »

one down, 47 to go?

There, now. That didn’t hurt a bit, did it?

Now all everybody has to do is rinse and repeat until Caltrans says we can start our engines again.

In the meantime, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is wrangling local transit agencies and the Federal Highway Administration to figure out what kind of extra services will be needed to get us through this mess for the next month or so.

“We need to make sure that the service that we’re putting out on the street is Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: BART, Buses, Caltrans, driving, Fare systems, ferries, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Funding, rail, Safety, Transit vs. driving | No Comments »

Commuter Check checked?

commuter-checks-checked.jpgI discovered this week that in addition to adding six miles to my commute by moving our office to another part of Oakland, the company that was kind enough to hire me and continues to show that kindness by paying me every two weeks (Thanks, guys!) is seriously considering deleting its Commuter Check subsidy.

To be fair, I should point out that when I took this job, I knew I would have a long commute, some 67 miles each way, 90 minutes by car and 2 hours by train and bike on a good day. I was Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2007
Under: Bicycling, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Environment, Fare systems, Funding, Transit vs. driving | 3 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 »

microcosmic bus vs. rail at Oakland Airport


At long last, people who don’t mind dragging their bags on and off of BART (or don’t have a car) will have to pay $3, starting March 1, to get from the Coliseum BART Station to Oakland International Airport. Senior citizen and airport employee fares will double as of March 1 to $1 and $2, respectively.

The current $2 charge for AirBART has been in effect since 1985, so one can’t be too shocked that the Oakland port authority decided today to raise it. At least it’s not going to $4 like the bridge tolls.

And consider that the extra $1 is for a good cause: Buying new natural gas buses. I’m guessing hydrogen fuel cell buses would require Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
Under: AC Transit, air travel, BART, Buses, connectivity, Environment, Fare systems, Funding, rail, tolls, transit equity | 31 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 »

another year without TransLink

translink-reader.jpgSince I arrived here in March, I have come to appreciate the delicate tapestry, make that irregularly stitched quilt, that is the Bay Area. The diversity of locales, attitudes and interest make the region fascinating, but at the same time, not entirely cohesive.

I recently learned that while LA may be a transportation nightmare, at least the place is unified, for the most part, into one municipality of 3 million souls inside one mega-county of 10 million. Standardizing something like a fare system is a snap. Want to build mass transit? The machine will get it done, no matter how egregious the cost overruns, waste, fraud and abuse.

Here in the Cities by the Bay, however, we have a rapid transit system that works on one fare system connecting three dozen other transit agencies, each with its own peculiar way of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Fare systems, technology | 21 Comments »

the bitterness of the long-distance commuter


Janmarie recently posted a comment that got me started on such a rant that it threatened to overwhelm the comments of my Nov. 1 post.

It’s about fares. Not flat fares, but fairer fares for commuters who use public transit on a regular basis. Janmarie, like the Capricious Commuter, is sort of biased here. We both commute from the Central Valley, and as such, lack standing to tell Bay Area residents how they should be structuring their transit fares.

Janmarie’s beef:

I feel BART should give “true” commuters a BREAK. You can’t Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 27th, 2006
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Fare systems, rail, transit equity, Transit vs. driving | 17 Comments »