Monday, February 25, 2013

Friday, December 28, 2012

San Francisco MUNI Turns 100 today!

And a special website with photos and more:

And all rides on the system are free for today!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Community Transit vs. TriMet

TriMet in Portland just raised fares and slashed more service....and now Community Transit in Snohomish County wants to raise fares, and the agency has no plans to restore its Sunday service.

What do they have in common? Well besides both having the highest paid GMs in the Northwest, many of their riders voice their dissatisfaction on their Facebook pages.  See Community Transits & TriMets, fares & poor service seem to be a common theme.

The main difference is...Community Transit isn't building there should be bigger questions for Ms. Eleanor.

Meanwhile, heres 2009s Salaries at CT, Part 1 and Part 2.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

PRESTO, A different kind of Smart Card

Smart Cards are coming out all over the world for easy and quick ways to pay their transit fare.  Here in Seattle we have the ORCA card.  ORCA cards are capable of holding either money loaded on, or a Monthly pass.  There are no other products available, or discounts on fare over cash when using the card.

Cue in PRESTO.  PRESTO is the Greater Toronto and Greater Hamiltons fare card.  Like ORCA, it provides transfers betweens transit systems.  A few things it doesn't do, you can not purchase at a TVM, and you MUST tap off distance based fare trips or your card will be blocked.  Unlike ORCA, your fare is calculated like a BART fare card, it notes where you got on, then charges you when you get off, vs. charging the full fare and crediting the difference at the end.  PRESTO also allows a negative balance if you do not have enough, however your card will not work once it goes minus, this includes any transfers.  PRESTO costs $6 to buy.

The reason for this post, is the unique way GO Transit fares are paid with this card.  Monthly Passes are not available for GO Transit.  Instead it is paid as you go.  Over cash fares, you save 7.5% on your first 1 thru 35 trips taken, then on trip 36-40 you save 87.5% off the cash fare, and trip 41+ is free in a calendar month.  For the regular user, or the occasional user, it saves you money, and if you use it a lot, it works out to a monthly pass.  So if you normally use a $2.50 fare, you pay $2.31 your first 35 trips on any bus, 0.31 for the next 5 after 35 is achieved, and then no charge for the rest of the month.  There is a target amount if you use different fares, and the system figures that out after you hit 35 trips.  So if you use $3 fare some days, 2.25 others, the first 35 trips are 7.5% off, then the remaining trips to be charged are based on the total value of trips taken.

Other Transit systems offer similar discounts and/or loyalty programs: TTC is a 40¢ discount off the cash fare, Hamilton Street Railway takes 55¢ off (Monthly Pass available).  Burlington Transit charges you full fare, but after 36 taps in a month it stops charging you for that month.  Brampton & MiWay knocks off 60¢.  Oakville knocks off 60¢ AND only charges you the first 36 times in a month.  The monthly caps are designed to equal the value of a monthly pass over a pay-as-you-go usage system.

PRESTO is still being rolled out, and does not offer Day or weekly passes yet.  But for an e-purse user, not only can they get a discount over the cash fare, but if they end up using it a lot, they still get the benefit of a monthly pass in the end, if your an occasional user, you still save over the cash fare.  I think this is a good idea for ORCA.....we all agree it needs to offer a discount over cash fares, but the monthly cap is a great idea, and benefits anyone who uses it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Daimler exits transit bus market, End of Orions

Daimler Buses is merging with MCI.  In an article from Marketwatch today, Orions will cease to exist after all current orders are filled.  Daimler with MCI wants to focus more on its motorcoach business.  Orders for Orions had to be in by yesterday.

This means the Orions Metro is receiving (7000s) will be collectors items, after we receive the remainder of our order, no more will come in. The Ontario plant will close, and the New York plant will be for service and parts only, as Daimler promises to continue to provide support.  The company is not disappearing....yet, so this seems good for now.

Being that I believe that Metro has what they need on order, the next order of 40' coaches wont be for a while, but it does mean they will have to look elsewhere for the 30' replacements.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

TriMets Budget Woes, Part Duex

Well, TriMet has got out its ax again, and its trimming more off from you. Although this time MAX cuts are on the table, WES however is not. A way over the top fare increase, and bus restructures are proposed as well. Ridership is up tho! Read on to see my crazy, and maybe good ideas.