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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 »

vacation from transit? no way!

istanbul-cable-car.JPG 

They say true love knows no bounds. During last week’s trip to see my wife in Istanbul, I had to test this theory.

The city has many things to see. Hundreds of historic mosques, the breathtaking Hagia Sophia cathedral/mosque/museum, which was built exactly 1,400 years before the Golden Gate Bridge, and Topkapi Palace that served as home for generations of Ottoman sultans and their concubines. 

We saw those things, but then I had to see the world’s oldest subway, which opened in 1875.

At 1,180 feet, it may be the world’s shortest subway system, but I found out later that despite all the hype, it’s not as Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Under: Golden Gate Bridge, other, rail | 2 Comments »

Marin County, the toll rings for thee

doyle-drive.jpgIt’s really funny how things that make perfect sense to a roomful of bureaucrats make no sense whatsoever to most other people. I’m supposed to to bridge that gap, so to speak, because my job involves studying the logic of the bureaucrats and translating it into the vulgar language of Noah Webster.

Today I noticed that our free-spirited sister paper, the Marin Independent Journal, had a column that cuts to the very core of that disconnect.

Here’s the bureaucrat’s logic:

1. We don’t have enough money to pay for our existing infrastructure, to say nothing of building new infrastructure.

2. We need to get more people to ride public transit, to take the pressure off clogged freeways and cut back on air pollution (CO2, particulates and that old-timey favorites, NOx and SOx).

3. The easier and cheaper it is for people to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2007
Under: Golden Gate Bridge, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 9 Comments »