Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bay Bridge in SF Closed, BART seeing massive Ridership

BART continues running longer trains, increased service following Bay Bridge closure


SEPTA Announces Strike Guide

Tips for Customers in case of Strike this Weekend

The WES Failure

My favorite part, Mary Fetch "Just like your new car, things have bugs", My (new) car has had 1 bug in 19 months, give me a break!

APTA Fact Book, Where do we Rank?

Based on 2007 data, APTA published the 2009 Fact Book with rankings of Transit agencies based on overall ridership, Buses, Light Rail, Commuter Rail, heavy rail and more. Heres a summary of where TriMet and other West Coast agencies stand with definitions provided in the Fact Book:


Based on: Unlinked Passenger Trips is the number of times passengers board public transportation vehicles. Passengers are counted each time they board vehicles no matter how many vehicles they use to travel from their origin to their destination and regardless of whether they pay a fare, use a pass or transfer, ride for free, or pay in some other way. Also called boardings, & Passenger Miles is the cumulative sum of the distances ridden by each passenger.

Rank: TriMet #17, King County Metro #10, Muni #8, San Diego MTS #20, New York MTA #1

Largest Bus:
Bus is a mode of transit service (also called motor bus) characterized by roadway vehicles powered by diesel, gasoline, battery, or alternative fuel engines contained within the vehicle. Vehicles operate on streets and roadways in fixed-route or other regular service. Types of bus service include local service, where vehicles may stop every block or two along a route several miles long. When limited to a small geographic area or to short-distance trips, local service is often called circulator, feeder, neighborhood, trolley, or shuttle service. Other types of bus service are express service, limited- stop service, and bus rapid transit (BRT).
Rank: TriMet #20, King County Metro #10, Los Angeles #2, San Diego #26, SF Muni #9, New York MTA #1

Largest Paratransit:
Paratransit is a mode of transit service (also called demand response or dial-a-ride) characterized by the use of passenger automobiles, vans or small buses operating in response to calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator, who then dispatches a vehicle to pick up the passengers and transport them to their destinations. The vehicles do not operate over a fixed route or on a fixed schedule. The vehicle may be dispatched to pick up several passengers at different pick-up points before taking them to their respective destinations and may even be interrupted en route to these destinations to pick up other passengers.
Rank: TriMet #20, King County Metro #16, San Diego MTS # 38, New York MTA #1

Largest VanPool:

Vanpool is ridesharing by prearrangement using vans or small buses providing round trip transportation between the participant's prearranged boarding points and a common and regular destination. Data included in this report are the sum of vanpool data reported in the National Transit Database (NTD) and do not

include any data for vanpools not listed in the National Transit Database. Vanpool service reported in the NTD must be operated by a public entity, or a public entity must own, purchase, or lease the vehicle(s). Vanpool included in the NTD must also be in compliance with mass transit rules including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions, be open to the public and that availability must be made known, and use vehicles with a minimum capacity of 7 persons.
Rank: TriMet N/A!!!, Salem Or #47, San Diego MTS #4, Kennewick Wa # 8, Olympia WA #14, King County Metro #1

Largest Trolleybus:
Trolleybus is a mode of transit service (also called trolley coach) using vehicles propelled by a motor drawing current from overhead wires via connecting poles called a trolley poles from a central power source not on board the vehicle.
Rank: TriMet N/A, Boston #4, Dayton OH, #3, King County Metro #2, SF Muni #1

Commuter Rail:
Commuter Rail is a mode of transit service (also called metropolitan rail, regional rail, or suburban rail) characterized by an electric or diesel propelled railway for urban passenger train service consisting of local short distance travel operating between a central city and adjacent suburbs. Service must be operated on a regular basis by or under contract with a transit operator for the purpose of transporting passengers within urbanized areas, or between urbanized areas and outlying areas. Such rail service, using either locomotive hauled or self-propelled railroad passenger cars, is generally characterized by multi- trip tickets, specific station to station fares, railroad employment practices and usually only one or two stations in the central business district. Intercity rail service is excluded, except for that portion of such service that is operated by or under contract with a public transit agency for predominantly commuter services. Most service is provided on routes of current or former freight railroads.
Rank: TriMet Service not yet running in 2007, Sounder (Seattle) #13, Coaster (San Diego) #14, CalTrain (SF Bay Area) #8, Metrolink (LA) #7, Metra (Chicago) #4, New York LIRR #1

Heavy Rail:
Heavy Rail is a mode of transit service (also called metro, subway, rapid transit, or rapid rail) operating on an electric railway with the capacity for a heavy volume of traffic. It is characterized by high speed and rapid acceleration passenger rail cars operating singly or in multi-car trains on fixed rails; separate rights-of-way from which all other vehicular and foot traffic are excluded; sophisticated signaling, and high platform loading.
Rank: TriMet N/A, Los Angeles #9, SEPTA #6, BART (SF) #5, Wash DC #2, New York MTA #1

Light Rail:
Light Rail is a mode of transit service (also called streetcar, tramway, or trolley) operating passenger rail cars singly (or in short, usually two-car or three- car, trains) on fixed rails in right-of-way that is often separated from other traffic for part or much of the way. Light rail vehicles are typically driven electrically with power being drawn from an overhead electric line via a trolley or a pantograph; driven by an operator on board the vehicle; and may have either high platform loading or low level boarding using steps.
Rank: TriMet #4, San Diego #5, Sacramento #12, Denver #9, Salt Lake #11, Los Angeles #3, SF Muni #2, Boston MBTA #1

Ferry Boat is a transit mode comprising vessels carrying passengers and in some cases vehicles over a body of water, and that are generally steam or diesel-powered. When at least one terminal is within an urbanized area, it is urban ferryboat service. Such service excludes international, rural, rural interstate, island, and urban park ferries.
Rank: TriMet N/A, Wash St Ferries (Seattle) #1, New York DOT #2

SEPTA may strike by Weeks End

septa_graphic_20090311133825283_320_240.JPG.jpgSEPTA, or SouthEastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, Serves the greater Philadelphia Area. Bus drivers, trolley and subway operators of the nations 6th largest transit system in the US have been without a contract since March 15, and negotiations are going nowhere. SEPTA Wants to freeze wages for 2 years, 2% increase the last 2 years (of the 4 year contract), 5% (of their paycheck) contributions to health care plans and freeze pension rates, while Unions want a 4% increase every year, keep the 1% contribution rate to health care and raise pension rates. A Strike is authorized by weeks end if no deal is made, set to strand thousands of baseball fans over the weekend. The last strike was 7 days long in 2005.

The full article is here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Transit Trackers...Map Style

King County Metro actually has a Map Transit Tracker
The Tracker will open in a new window, you then can click on your route of choice and select "Route # Progress", which will show you where all buses on the line are, and the vehicle numbers.
The routes move in real time, and you can drag the map around to see different locations. You also limit the view to one, or just a few buses at the top of the window by typing in the routes you want to only see.

Jason McHuff is working on something similar for TriMet. See it Here.
You have to know your stop ID number, then the map will show you all the buses headed for it along with detailed information below the map. Check it out and poke around. Jason says its a work in progress, so its not prefect....yet.

(You can enter a Stop ID in the Box below and it will take you to Jasons TransitMapper showing the Stop info you entered)

Next vehicles to SW Macadam & Gaines Northbound (Stop ID 3611)

Select different stop(s):

As of Tuesday, October 27th 2009 12:15 PM:

Map #As ofLine/DestinationTrainDueEarly/lateMiles to go
112:14 PM35 University of Portland350112:28 PM -1:505.74
2*12:15 PM35 University of Portland350512:59 PM 0:0012.6
Note: 11 minute layover at Oregon City Transit Center at 12:11 PM
*N/A36 To Portland36677:40 AM Wed (scheduled)

* = Vehicle has not departed for this trip yet

Other Transit Maps (Powered by NextBus):

Portland Streetcar

Seattle Streetcar

SF Muni

AC Transit

Washington DC Metro

Other NextBus Agencies and selector

28% of Truckers were in violation or unsafe!!!

Inspection event coincides with national Operation Safe Driver
Oct. 27, 2009

For more information, contact Sally Ridenour (503) 986-3359

Oregon Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Transportation Division inspectors conducted an inspection operation last week at the Ashland and Klamath Falls ports of entry and La Grande and Olds Ferry weigh stations focusing on commercial vehicle drivers’ logbooks and qualifications. During the multi-day event, 690 safety inspections were completed and 28 percent of truck drivers were placed out of service for logbook and other safety violations.

Under trucking regulations, drivers must take mandatory rest breaks after driving a specified number of hours. These regulations seek to prevent driver fatigue by controlling the number of consecutive hours drivers can spend behind the wheel without stopping for rest.

For the last few years, ODOT’s Motor Carrier Division has aggressively targeted unsafe commercial drivers and vehicles with enhanced enforcement and education initiatives. One of the biggest efforts has been special safety inspection operations along the state’s busiest highways. During these operations, MCTD employees work together around the clock for three to five days, inspecting hundreds of trucks a day.

“Although employees perform this type of work every day, intensive inspection operations help reinforce the message that safety is our number one priority and help keep Oregonians safe,” said Howard Russell, Motor Carrier Safety Compliance Field manager.

These efforts appear to be paying off. ODOT data shows fatalities in truck-involved crashes declined almost 35 percent in 2008 from 2007. Truck-at-fault crashes have also declined, from 694 in 2007 to 668 in 2008.

“The Oregon Department of Transportation’s overriding priority is safety,” said Russell. “Our data tells us there is a correlation between identifying unsafe trucks and drivers and reducing crashes.”

Commercial vehicle safety inspections are not random. Employees select the vehicle and driver using several sorting tools, including weigh station records, safety records, and information in national databases. During the inspection, the driver is interviewed and supporting documentation is reviewed to verify the driver’s logbook.

In Oregon, an average of 795 drivers a month or 28 percent are placed out of service for logbook, hours of service or other violations. The national driver out of service rate is about nine percent. Placing a driver out of service means he or she cannot drive until they take a mandatory rest break or correct other safety violations.

“Although the majority of trucks and drivers operating on Oregon’s highways are safe and professional, these inspections are important in helping identify those that are not and vital in helping keep Oregonians safe,” said Russell.

This week’s inspection event coincides with Operation Safe Driver (Oct. 19-23), a nationwide campaign to improve commercial driver safety through effective education, awareness and enforcement.

Monday, October 26, 2009

We have little money for bus & transit operations.....

....but we have the money and resources to run a "A New Name for Fareless Square" campaign:

Starting January 3, 2010, Fareless Square will become a free zone for rail only. This means you can still ride MAX and Portland Streetcar for free in downtown Portland and the Lloyd District, but not buses. To help communicate this important change, we've decided to change the name of the zone to "Free Rail Zone." Here's why:

While "Fareless Square" is familiar and has a nice ring to it, we felt that "Free Rail Zone" would do a better job of clearly describing an area where you can only ride trains for free. Our goal was to make it obvious to visitors and new riders, and avoid confusion among existing riders. Plus, it's no longer a square—or even a rectangle, for that matter!

We considered other names with "Fareless" in them, such as "Fareless Rail Zone." (Over the years, we have become quite attached to the name, too.)

In a recent online survey, most riders agreed. A majority of respondents either volunteered "Free Rail Zone" unaided or chose it as their favorite from a list of possible names. Other top suggestions included "Free Train Zone," "Free Rail Square," "Rail Free Zone," "Rail Only Free Zone" and "Zone Zero."

No, it doesn't rhyme. Nor is it as clever as "Fareless Square." But when it comes to clearly and quickly communicating what the service is and does, we think "Free Rail Zone" gets the job done.

This winter, we'll be adding new Free Rail Zone emblems on customer information displays at rail stations within the zone boundary.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

TriMet MAX Light Rail FAIL!

As seen on a Airport Bound Red Line at Gateway TC:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why does (San Diego's) local transit system tweet?

Follow @sdmts on Twitter

Do you want to be in the know on the latest San Diego MTS news and alerts? Are you looking for quick travel tips for public transit? The answer could be following @sdmts on twitter! We'll keep you up to date on the latest budget news as well.

We know you don't have to be a daily rider to care about public transit for the future in San Diego -- advocates of public transit in San Diego can follow on twitter to get MTS news fast.

You can get these updates on your phone, in your email and online, making you in the know on San Diego's transit news. You'll always know the future of San Diego's transit and how to get from point A to point B -- though remember that using the Trip Planner or calling 511 is the best bet to get quick answers.

On San Diego MTS' twitter page, you can see who @sdmts is following. San Diego MTS Riders are always on the go -- be it to school, work or play. They are timetable savvy and they know just where they are going. Best part is, they are tweeting about it on We will retweet their messages when they offer travel tips for navigating San Diego's streets.

What is Twitter? is a completely FREE social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (known as "tweets"), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Posts can contain links (you may shorten them at sites like and links to pictures using services like twitpic.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Poll Results

what do you think of the portland mall max loop line?

Almost 50/50 on this, I am surprised, I would be interested to know who the 5 were that voted for it, and why. If this is you, please comment on why you like it. Thanks for Voting!

It is a nice addition to the Mall
5 (45%)
What a Waste of Money and Resources
6 (54%)
I Don't know yet....
0 (0%)

San Diego hosts new Event to "Kick Gas"

Kick Gas and Go Green!

For the first time ever, an earth friendly event is not only showing you how to help save the planet but actively encouraging you to reduce your carbon footprint by getting to the event without a car.Don’t drive, take the Trolley is the Kick Gas Festival's call to action.

The 2009 MTS Kick Gas Festival at Qualcomm Stadium is the event to see the latest in electric cars and energy saving devices and get tips for making your life more green. This is no ordinary trade show. Live music, races, interactive booths and the festival environment make Kick Gas the place to be on October 24.

There will be activities for all ages, including a Kids Zone. The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $10, or show your MTS Monthly Pass and get free admission!

How to Get There

Participants are encouraged to go green and bike or take transit to the event. MTS makes that easy with the Qualcomm Stadium Trolley stop. Let MTS drop you off right at the event!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

San Diego Transit hopes to run Vintage Trolley

San Diego Transit, Americas Best Transit Agency as awarded recently, will run their vintage trolleys in Downtown San Diego soon. It would be great to see these trolleys running through Downtown San Diego, it will add some character, and theres nothing wrong with that!

Restoration Photos (Facebook account/login may be required)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Metrolink To Install & Activate Cameras in Locomotive Cabs

Inward- and Outward-facing Cameras are Newest Technological Additions to Comprehensive Public Safety Program

A copy of the press release can be downloaded by clicking HERE

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 5, 2009: Today, Metrolink Board Chairman Keith Millhouse announced the commuter rail agency’s plans to activate inward- and outward-facing video cameras in all of its locomotives. Metrolink will become the first railroad system in the nation – passenger or freight – to install inward-facing cameras, once again demonstrating its ongoing commitment to passenger and rail safety innovation.

The new Locomotive Digital Video Recorder (LDVR) System includes three cameras per locomotive – an outward-facing camera to record activity in front of the train and two inward-facing cameras to record the control panels and human activities inside the locomotive cab. The LDVR also captures ambient audio transmissions associated with the visual images. All cameras and audio devices in each of the system’s 52 locomotives will be activated this week, between October 7 and 12. LDVRs will also be included in the 57 new Crash Energy Management-equipped lead passenger cars that Metrolink will place into service in the coming year.

“The installation of video cameras inside the control cabs of our trains will provide a significant deterrent to the type of dangerous and inappropriate activity, including text messaging and unauthorized persons in the cab, revealed during the National Transportation Safety Board’s hearing on last fall’s collision,” said Millhouse. “No other rail system in America uses inward-facing cameras to protect its passengers and employees. Use of this digital technology is another important step in our multi-faceted program to reduce the risk of accidents or incidents along our rail corridors and to provide an exceptional safety environment for our passengers and crews.”

“Inward-facing cameras will help to prevent accidents and ensure that the highest level of safety is provided to the 43,000 commuters who depend on Metrolink every day,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I applaud the Metrolink Board for their decisive action to implement this crucial safety equipment quickly and efficiently.”

Metrolink has adopted stringent procedures governing the authorized usage, retrieval, preservation and disclosure of the LDVR recordings captured by the video cameras and audio devices to ensure they are used only for the purposes permitted in its policy and procedures, or as required by law. The policy outlines the express purposes for capturing recordings on its fleet, which are:

  • To promote and enhance safety and security for the general public, as well as for Metrolink and contractor employees
  • For incident investigation purposes
  • Random testing for compliance with rules governing use of electronic devices, sleeping and unauthorized persons in the cab
  • Where appropriate, to assist in Metrolink and contractor personnel discipline
  • To examine and evaluate conditions on the right-of-way

“The installation of inward-facing video cameras was a key recommendation of the independent Commuter Rail Safety Peer Review Panel due to their ability to offer unique technological enhancements to our existing efficiency testing program,” said Millhouse. “The cameras provide a superior way to monitor activities already under constant observation and to document rules compliance and conditions on the right-of-way.”

While the application of inward-facing video technology is unprecedented in the commuter rail industry, it is a fairly common practice in the transit industry, particularly in buses. In Southern California, the Orange County Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have both used interior video cameras for many years as a component of their onboard public safety programs.

Chicago-based Railhead Vision Systems, a division of Railhead Corporation, is the contractor providing the outward- and inward-facing cameras and audio recording system. Railhead has extensive experience providing similar equipment to commuter and freight railroad agencies across the county. Railhead Vision Systems’ digital recording system is designed specifically for use in heavy rail and mass transit applications.

Metrolink has previously taken the lead in rail safety advancements with the purchase of the first-of-its-kind Crash Energy Management-equipped commuter rail passenger cars and its industry-leading Sealed Corridor Program. As part of its ongoing commitment to passenger safety, Metrolink has added the “second set of eyes” program as an interim safety measure on strategic routes; has installed Automatic Train Stop technology at 43 speed-sensitive locations; and is implementing an accelerated strategy to install Positive Train Control equipment on all Metrolink trains by 2012, three years before required by federal mandate for national implementation, among other safety-focused initiatives.

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 16th year of operations. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. The agency currently contracts with Connex Railroad, LLC for the personnel that operate, supervise and manage Metrolink commuter rail service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county 512 route-mile network, serving more than 43,000 trips each weekday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take Transit In Seattle when visiting, and heres a tip.

UPDATE 1/1/2010: This no longer works as the ORCA card does not offer Day Passes, and the tickets from TVMs are no longer honored on anything other than the system in which you got the ticket (i.e. Ticket from LINK machine is good on LINK only). King County Metro will still offer the Weekend Day Pass for $4.50 from drivers, and is valid on KCM vehicles only. I personally think its lame that a ticket from a TVM can not be used as a Day Pass.

This is a little known secret (I spread the word when I can), but if they didn't want you to use it, they wouldn't offer it. In Seattle theres a way to get a Day Pass, Everyday of the week. In the past, I would visit a Sounder Station, swing by the ticket machine and purchase a Round Trip Ticket. Now that LINK Light Rail is open, you can purchase the same ticket types from those machines, and they are always available and more convenient to Downtown Travelers.

Whats so special about a Round Trip Ticket? It is valid on all of Seattle's Transit Services (Except Washington State Ferries and the Monorail) at Face Value. This includes King County Metro, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit, Community Transit and more. The key is face value. I will use 2 examples, 1 is you purchase a LINK Light Rail ticket from Westlake Station to Othello Station. The One Way Fare is $2.00, and Round Trip ticket will cost you $4.00. The Face value of your ticket is $2.00. You have "Transfer Rights" up to $2.00. That means if you ride Sound Transit Route 550 to Bellevue, the fare is $2.50, you would owe 0.50 for each trip you take.

Example 2, If you purchase a Sounder Ticket from Seattle King Street Station to Kent Station, the One Way Fare is $3.50, a Round Trip ticket would be $7.00. That ticket is good on all transit up to $3.50, which would cover any Sound Transit Bus Route or Light Rail Line (Max Fare is $3.00 for 3 Zones), Any King County Metro Routes, Even at Peak ($2.50) and even Community Transits Commuter Lines ($3.50). The pass would be good for passage up to $3.50 on Sounder, but if you need to travel further, you can purchase an upgrade in the machine for the difference, using your Face Value for full value. Senior, Disabled, and Youth Fares are available in the same fashion, the fares will be lower.

For most staying in Seattle, Purchasing a Westlake to Tukwila Link Light Rail Round Trip Ticket will work best. Its face value is $2.50 (Cost is $5), which will get you on LINK, King County Metro (Seattles Transit) at all times, and most Sound Transit Routes within King County (Bellevue, Redmond) all day. It will get you to the Seattle Center and Space Needle, Capitol Hill, Northgate and the Airport.

Things to keep in mind with the pass, You can buy a Round Trip pass from any LINK Light Rail or Sounder TVM by selecting the "Round Trip" option from the Ticket Type Screen. You can purchase these types of tickets up to 14 days in advance (Round Trip tickets only, One Ways are timed, so they can only be used within 2 hours of purchase). So if your going to be in town for a day or two, you can buy both days in the same visit. At the bottom, there is a button for "Advance Date". You can purchase a Round Trip ticket with your ORCA card, but you can not load the ticket, or a Day Pass onto an ORCA Card. Round Trip fares will always be double the face value, which provides a better value on weekends over King County Metros Day Pass ($4 vs. $3.50), and provides an option on weekdays. You can not purchase these tickets online or at pass sales outlets, they are only available from a Vending machine. The Machines take Cash, Debit, Credit and ORCA. A Round Trip pass is Yellow and White, and Single Use Ticket is Orange and Yellow (in photo).

Fares for LINK Light Rail are here, and for Sounder Commuter Rail here. Bus fares are 1 Zone $1.50, 2 Zones $2.50 and 3 zones $3.00, Seattle City Limits and County Lines are zone boundaries. This is the best way to see Seattle and the region, you don't have any time limits to worry about, and its easy to buy and use!