Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Misc. Transportation' Category

Hell freezes over: BART rolls out TransLink card

BART started testing TransLink today for a few select passengers. Not only did BART tell us this on its official Web site, those Web-literate folks at the transit agency re-tweeted Twitterer jonk’s post celebrating his first use of his TransLink card on BART.

(TransLink is a proposed universal smart fare card that would work on all forms of Bay Area transit. So far, San Francisco’s Muni and AC Transit are using it, but after some 17 years of effort, BART still hasn’t fully implemented it.)

Okay, so much for the frivolity, now let’s get real: “Select BART EZ Rider cardholders” are testing the system, according to BART. What’s going to happen next? Will BART say TransLink failed the test? Or that TransLink passed but there’s no money to implement it?

(Photo: meraser on flickr.)



Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Tell BART what you think of proposed police oversight plan

Okley dokley, transit geeks, BART passengers, community activists and all Bay Area residents – here’s your chance to weigh in on the new citizen oversight plan for BART police. As we all know, the community called for independent scrutiny of BART police when unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III was shot to death on the platform by a then-BART police officer Jan. 1.

There’s a copy of the draft BART Citizen Oversight Model at, under the Board of Directors July 30 special board meeting agenda.

If you e-mail your thoughts to, it looks pretty dang likely that the board of directors will read your note and might indeed incorporate your suggestions. Why? Because the board Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Shut up and drive


A recent study indicates that even hands-free cell phones are distracting to drivers. In fact, they’re almost as distracting as manual devices.

A new study in the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research concludes there is little difference between the driving safety risk of hands-free versus handheld cell phones. Drivers distracted by cell phones cause an estimated 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths a year, the council estimates. So, don’t just hang up and drive. Shut up and drive.

(Photo from eyeliam in Creative Commons on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Would you pay $10 to ease traffic congestion?

Traffic congestion is one of the most onerous elements of life in the Bay Area, many would likely agree. Would you be willing to pay $10 to spend less time fuming (literally) in traffic? A bill by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) that would allow local communities to raise money for programs easing traffic congestion passed the Assembly Local Government Committee July 8.

SB 205 would authorize county transportation planning agencies to put a local measure before voters that would impose a fee of up to $10 on each vehicle in that county to develop congestion-easing measures. Some examples: Coordinating signal lights, monitoring real-time traffic conditions to make rapid traffic light adjustments and providing drivers with traffic info on freeway message signs.

Would it be worth $10 to you?

(Photo: tronics, from Creative Commons on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

San Francisco Bay Area fails to place in road rage survey

Photo by Flickr user Tony the Misfit used under Creative Commons attribution license

Amazingly, the San Francisco Bay Area didn’t make it into a list of the rudest drivers in the country released Tuesday by marketing company Affinion Group. This dubious distinction went to New York, Dallas/Fort Worth and Detroit.

Before we get too smug, alas, we didn’t make it into the list of the mellowest drivers, either, unless you count Sacramento, which snagged a No. 4 rating for mellowness.

What about you, dear readers? Does River City live up to its Ritalin-less rating on the roadways? Share your stories about our neighboring metro area — positive or negative — below.

Read other key findings of the study, according to a press release, with one particularly interesting difference between San Francisco and Sacramento, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Reducing the pedestrian death toll, one crosswalk at a time

If you happen to be driving in San Francisco’s Ingleside district today, keep a sharp eye out for pedestrians in the crosswalk. According to online newspaper SF Appeal, police will be conducting pedestrian stings at the crosswalks. To be more exact, decoys who appear to be everyday citizens will step foot in the crosswalk, and if approaching drivers don’t stop for them, pow! out comes the ticket book.

The Queen is not always a fan of sting operations, but such actions seem justified when one considers the fact that the hapless pedestrian is competing with tons of steel. In case this action seems Draconian, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | 1 Comment »

Okay, Karen – here’s a hard one for you

In the post before this one, the Queen ran a photo taken at a BART station and asked readers to identify it. One reader, Karen, who responded (and correctly) challenged the Queen to ask a harder question, so here it is: Who invented the stored value card? Whoever gets it right will in actual truth and reality get a BART-related object of value. (No, not a fare card. Dream on.) Seriously, though, Karen and other experts, show me some stuff!

(Photo: brandi666 on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | 9 Comments »

The Greying of BART, and other developments

(Bonus question: Can you identify what’s in this photo, Transit Nerds and BART Riders?)

More people between 40 and 65 are taking BART and a tad more people are walking to BART stations, just a couple of the fascinating tidbits revealed by the transit agency’s 2008 station profile survey, which queried 50,000 riders on how they use BART. The last such survey was done ten years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | 5 Comments »

Hold your nose and open your wallet for higher BART fares

BART Board member Joel Keller called it a “hold you nose” kind of vote when his board agreed yesterday to become the latest transit agency to raise fares in the midst of a recession.

The message from the board: Don’t hate us. We hate doing this to you as much you will hate paying for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: BART, Fare systems, Misc. Transportation, parking, rail | 11 Comments »

TransLink II: Don’t hold your breath

First of all, the Queen would like to thank all the transit geeks who responded to her initial post about TransLink. In particular, Rebecca Saltzman, author of Oakland Living, an awesome blog that often discusses transit, came through like a trouper, even posing for a photo as she hopped aboard the bus and flashed her TransLink card. The photo, and Rebecca’s quote, will run in reporter Janis Mara’s story about TransLink in the Contra Costa Times sometime in the next week.

Also thanks to Scott Mace, who commented about BART’s e-wallet in the Queen’s initial TransLink post. Scott, seems like the dang e-wallet, which you pointed out would be a pain to commuters, might be a necessary evil in getting BART on board with TransLink (assuming that ever happens).  For an awesome analysis of the reasons BART has hesitated to hook up with TransLink, read this post in Underground Science.

When a commuter buys a ticket for $20, obviously he or she usually doesn’t immediately spend $20 on tickets, and the amount that remains in BART’s bank account is known as “the float,” Underground Science’s author, former MTC employee Garlynn Woodsong informs us.

Turns out that the e-wallet was the solution to that, BART director Tom Radulovich told Janis Mara as she researched her story.

Incidentally, SFist composed the best headline in the history of the world in a post about the subject, “It’s time to take TransLink out behind the barn and shoot it.”

Meanwhile, do you guyz think BART will ever embrace TransLink? Saltzman seems cautiously optimistic.

(Photo: didbygraham on flickr.)

Posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Under: Misc. Transportation | 4 Comments »