Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sacramento RT and TriMet - Related?

I my looking at other agencies sites today, I got into reading Sacramentos RT site, and noticed some very interesting similarities. Lets have a look:

-SAC RT had Services cuts to 23 bus lines, no cuts to Rail. (VS) TM cut 30 bus lines service

-On the heels of bus cuts, SAC RT Groundbreaks Rail Line (VS) TM Opens Green Line and pushes forward on Orange Line.

-Fares are outrageous for both, SAC RT 2.50 Single Ride/$100 Month (VS) TM 2.30/$86 Month

-SAC RT Expansion projects mostly Rail (VS) TM Projects mostly Rail

-Neither are using Twitter to its fullest potential

-SAC RT GM has never been a Bus Driver (VS) TM GM Fred Hansen...Same Thing
(Both want "Total Transit System")

- A Driver from SAC RT has a blog similar to our own Ranting Al's Blog

However....however.....SAC RT has found a way to AVOID more service cuts planned for January, TM has cuts planned, and no word if they can be avoided yet.

I found this very interesting.....

Rail Sights and Sounds - A Transit Geek Moment

Things I like about riding transit, the sounds it all makes, from the announcements, to door chimes to track noise. Its all very cools sounds, I don't know why, but heres a tour of a few different rides from Rail systems near by. Many of the videos are long, but if you do watch them all, its a pretty good tour. You will feel like you visited many places without going anywhere.

First I will start with our own, TriMets Green Line. I am strangely attracted to this line because it has the most sounds I like, mainly when crossing bridges, but because Concrete Ties are far from sound absorbent like wood ties. This is the closest I get to the sounds of BART from San Francisco, but thats coming up. The type 4s have the best sounds, they are the most fun to ride to get the most from rail sounds. This video is from a Green Line Preview Ride, but it holds many of the cool sounds.

I do not have a photo, but the end of the video has a good exterior shot of the New San Diego Trolley. These are the same model of car as our Type 4s at TriMet. Ironically they use them on their green line as well. One of the main things they do different is, the operators operate the doors on release all the time, so only the doors opened by the passengers needing to board or alight are opened, and they Buzz instead of Ding. At the Mission Valley Center Station, Jump about a minute ahead, we sat there longer than usual.

Next on my list is San Francisco Muni, This is from the tunnel under Market Street. They consider these Streetcars since once out of the tunnel, they run in regular lanes of traffic in many areas. In the tunnel the trains are in Auto Mode, they drive themselves. Speeds in the tunnel reach about 45 mph. Once the train exits the tunnel, the driver switches to Manual mode, and now the operator is in control. In the Tunnel they tell the train to depart, the train does the rest.

As we blend to heavy rail, we visit BART. The Bay Areas Rapid Transit System which runs solely on its own right of way on the entire system. BART is mostly ATC, the operator sounds the horn upon arrival to a station, makes announcements, and closes the doors when all is clear, telling the train to depart. Due to BARTS age, it produces the most variety of sounds. Grooves in the rail help this. Also BARTS rail is 1 foot wider than standard gauge. BART Travels at average speeds of 50-70 mph, enters stations at 35mph and can hit a top speed of 80mph.
Video 1 is from Rockridge thru MacArthur, there are at least a half of dozen switches after departing MacArthur, Video 2 is from Balboa Park to Colma, some radio chatter made it onto the PA, but this section is a little bit of above and under ground, and the 3rd video is in the Market Street Subway.
Some of the station stops were a little long, just hop thru those, these were before my video editing days, i posted what was recorded.

Next up is Commuter rail, first is Seattle's Sounder. I sat 3 seats back from the loco in this video, and my favorite is the horn, I want it for my car.

Finally we have CalTrain, service from San Francisco to San Jose with limited service to Gilroy (Garlic?).
The First Video is on the older Gallery Equipment, it had more squeaks and knocks than anything I have ridden. These are the same cars used on Metra in Chicago.
The next 2 videos were on the newer equipment, Sounder, Metrolink (LA), ACE, FrontRunner (Salt Lake City), RailRunner (New Mexico) and GO (Toronto) use the same equipment. It sounds cooler on CalTrains tracks. Video one is making the Burlingame and Millbrae stops (Stops are very short) and the second is blowing thru 2 stations without stopping and slowly (10mph) working our way into the SF Depot.

Now we can return to our normally scheduled programming..........whatever that is.

Friday, September 25, 2009

San Diego MTS Named Outstanding Public Transit System of the Year!

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has selected the Metropolitan Transit System as the most Outstanding Transit System of the year for all agencies in North America carrying more than 30 million passengers annually. This is one of the most prestigious awards in the transportation industry.

Presenting the award to MTS on July 30 was APTA President Bill Millar.

“This award means that MTS is the best of the best,” Millar said. “Not only that, but they are the best of the largest systems in North America.”

APTA judges systems based on more than a dozen quantitative measures over the last three years and MTS posted positive gains in most, including:

Ridership: Up 12.3 percent

Preventable accidents: Down 14 percent in MTS Bus

Driver-related complaints: Down 26.8 percent

Costs per revenue hour:
Down 7 percent

Passengers per revenue hour: Up 200 percent on some routes where MTS reallocated resources from low-productive to high-productive areas

On-time performance: Up 6 percent

Fare revenue:
Up 12 percent

Subsidy per passenger: Down 14.1 percent

Fleet replacement: MTS has replaced 224 of its vehicles over the last three years, 88 of which are with environmentally-friendly engines, which are either compressed natural gas or gasoline-electric hybrids.

These positive results have been achieved in a very difficult operating environment. Revenues have been diminished by the elimination of State Transit Assistance funding and by reduced consumer spending. About half of MTS revenues depend on sales taxes.

“This award is the result of a lot of hard work on behalf of our employees, by the people who work for our private sector partners and for the community at large who support public transportation,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. “Our goal is always to maintain the highest level of service even when our funding is getting slashed. I think our performance numbers show that we have become a very efficient and well-run agency.”

Other factors also helped MTS earn the award. Over the last three years it has consolidated internal operations, redesigned its bus network of services, renegotiated union contracts, and consolidated several of its bus service contracts. These efforts have saved the agency millions of dollars and allowed MTS to keep service levels high despite reduced revenues.

Original Post here.

San Diego Trolley Awards Light Rail Cars Purchase

The Metropolitan Transit System board of directors voted unanimously to purchase 57 new low-floor light rail vehicles from Siemens Transportation Systems Inc.
The vehicles, which will be purchased for $205.2 million, will be manufactured in Sacramento. Delivery of the first vehicles is expected in late 2011.
The source of funding is Transnet II and California Proposition 1B bonds.
“This is a major purchase of new vehicles and allows MTS to bring the convenience of low-floor light rail vehicles to our entire system,” said Harry Mathis, MTS Chairman of the Board of Directors. “It also marks the beginning of rehabilitation project for our Blue and Orange lines to significantly enhance our operations and customer experience.”
The low-floor cars are 81 feet in length, which is nine feet shorter than the 11 S-70 low floor vehicles that MTS uses on the Green Line through Mission Valley between Old Town and Santee. The shorter configuration will allow the use of three-car trains on C Street in Downtown San Diego without blocking intersections.
The primary advantage of the low floor technology is that it allows level boarding for all customers, making ingress and egress much easier, safer and faster. In addition to the S-70s, MTS currently uses two other models of light rail vehicles that have steps for passengers or lifts for people using mobility devices. The new cars will feature seating for 60 people and position all of the seats to face the middle of the car to improve visibility for passengers and security personnel. All models are manufactured by Siemens.
MTS has negotiated with Siemens and the Utah Transit Authority to allow MTS to assume an option for a minimum of 57 and a maximum of 65 rail cars under UTA’s existing contract with Siemens.
The MTS board of directors also received a status report on the Blue Line and Orange Line rehabilitation project, a $234 million project to raise and improve station platforms, replace old rail and overhead electrical contact wire, and improve switching, signaling and crossovers. Work is scheduled to begin in early 2010 and be complete by the end of 2013.
In addition to Transnet II and Proposition 1B, funds for this portion of the project are from American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Federal stimulus) and from Federal Formula Funds.
The work is anticipated to create up to 350 jobs.
All 11 Blue Line stations along the 16-mile corridor from the Barrio Logan to Beyer Boulevard stations will receive complete makeovers. All other station platforms on the Blue Line and Orange Line (from downtown to La Mesa Boulevard) will be raised by two inches to accommodate the ramps on the low-floor vehicles.
The San Diego Association of Governments is Program Manager for both the light rail vehicle purchase and rail line improvements. SANDAG also administrates all funding for the projects and full funding for the trolley procurement is available.
MTS operates a 54.3-mile light rail transit network, 95 fixed bus routes, and ADA Complementary Public Paratransit Service in the San Diego region. In FY09 it set a system record by carrying more than 91 million passengers.
***//Little bit about MTS Trolley. Currently they have 3 Lines, Blue (San Ysidro/Mexico Border to Old Town), Orange Line (Imperial to El Cajon via Conv Center) and the new Green Line (Old Town to Santee via Misson Valley). The Green Line does NOT go into Downtown San Diego. The Blue Line used to cover Old Town to Mission San Diego, but the Green Line now covers that portion, The Blue Line is a timed transfer at Old Town tot he Green line. A "Red Line" will run for special events and serve specific stations only. Currently they have 11 S70 Siemens Low Floor Cars (Like TriMets Type 4), and 123 High Floor Siemens cars (U2 and SD100 models). They exclusively use the S70s on the Green line. San Diego has built their platforms to handle 3 car trains already. One thing that is very nice, all platforms are the same, there are platforms on both sides of the tracks, never in the center, and you are allowed to cross the tracks anywhere in the station. Also the Trolley does not open doors for you, the operator lights up the "Open" buttons, and only the doors being used are opened, saves A/C and Heating energy.
Info about the Trolley Fleet is here, About MTS Trolley INC and the system here, and info about the bus operations are here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TriMet should man the Twitter Desk

Go to Twitter and search "TriMet". You can see many complaints. Maybe if TriMet actually manned the Twitter, they could help some of the people solve problems.

They need to hire a full time Social Media Person (I would volunteer). This person would search Twitter and try to find answers to the issues. Provide Public interaction to bring TriMet and their customers to a more personal level. They are limited complaints, but if people knew someone was listening, they would voice more. Complaints, questions and even commendations. Its a customer service position in a way. I would take it further, give me a laptop and I can tweet from a MAX line, a bus route, meet some of the readers face to face. Being on a personal level is important for this agency. People have questions, they want answers, and no one is providing them. They are here to provide a public service, but they need to have a connection between them and the riding public. Some won't care, but some will. They were all over the Green Line tweets, but after that ended, they have sort of disappeared. Tweets can be service alerts, Information on route and meetings, and helping fellow tweeters out. Someone asks "Where is my 44?", the SM person makes a call to find out, and tweets the results. Someone complains about a broken machine, the SM Person can relay. It fast and easy for the customer, and its something TriMet needs to focus on, its a growing form of communication, and they need to be on board. I am tired of seeing all the questions, complaints and whys, with no help from TriMet.

Its a long shot, but this is a blog after all, I am entitled to my opinion hehe.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Obama Administration Sends $100M in Stimulus Aid to 43 Transit Agencies

Article I found about stimulus funds, Note Eugene to invest in Hybrid Technology, while TriMet continues to fight making diesel buses efficient. The link to the whole article which includes what other states are doing with the money is at the end.

The U.S. DOT announced today that 43 local transit agencies from more than two dozen states would share the $100 million in competitive clean-transport grants included in this winter's $787 billion economic stimulus law.

marta15.jpgAtlanta's transit system, pictured above, won $10.8 million in stimulus aid. (Photo: Atlanta MetBlogs)
The big winners in the bid for extra transit stimulus money were Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Oakland, and the state of Connecticut, all of which won more than $4 million in federal aid to modernize and upgrade their transit systems.

Atlanta's metro transit authority will use its $10.8 million grant to erect the state's largest solar-panel installation, while Los Angeles won $4.5 million for a plan to store and re-utilize the energy produced by braking subway trains.

Today's show of federal support for transit may be just a prelude, however; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is currently evaluating a flood of bids for the stimulus law's $1.5 billion in competitive TIGER grants, which are open to all modes of transportation. Winners of money from the TIGER program -- its full name is Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery -- could be announced as soon as this fall.

After the jump, check out the full list of the transit agencies that won federal grants, along with their proposed projects, as released today by the U.S. DOT.

Oregon: Lane Transit District (Eugene), $3,000,000. Hybrid Transit Buses Incremental Costs: For the incremental cost of hybrid-electric propulsion on 40-foot replacement buses. The buses to be replaced are diesel propulsion and have been in service since 1994.

Oregon: Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Portland), $750,000. Diesel Bus Efficiency Improvements with Bus Cooling System Retrofits: Replace the existing hydraulically-powered engine cooling system with a more efficient electrically powered system. This technology has been shown at TriMet to improve fuel mileage by over 5 percent.

Entire Article here.

Daimler Buses (Orion) NA tops 3,000 hybrid bus orders

Of course we all know TriMet is anti-Hybrid, so is an Orion Order possible? There is no mention in this article.


3,000 Hybrid Buses: Daimler Buses North America Reaches Sales Milestone Oriskany, USA

Sep 07, 2009

Oriskany, USA - Last week, Daimler Buses North America announced that sales for the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus had surpassed 3,000 units. In other words, Daimler Buses has sold more hybrid drives than any other manufacturer in the world. The announcement was made in Oriskany, where the Orion VII hybrid buses are manufactured. Over 2,200 of the Orion VII hybrid buses are already in service, with an additional 850 firm orders on the books from cities such as New York City, Seattle, Houston, and Ottawa, as well as from Puerto Rico.

"Daimler remains committed to leading the hybrid bus market worldwide, and our subsequent orders in North America is evidence of the confidence our customers have in our buses and coaches with alternative drives," said Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses. "Being the leader is a responsibility that we take seriously and remain committed to delivering leading edge and reliable products for our customers."

The transport company Houston Metro is placing an additional order for 80 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses for delivery in 2010. This year, another 40 buses will be delivered.

Another long-term customer of Daimler Buses North America is the mass transit authority of Puerto Rico, which is extending its existing fleet of conventional Orion diesel transit buses to include hybrid buses. The authority ordered 40 Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses, which will be produced and delivered in 2010.

"We are obviously pleased to be the first manufacturer of hybrid buses to reach the 3,000 unit mark, but we will not rest on our laurels," said Dr. Andreas Strecker, president and CEO of Daimler Buses North America. "The technology is advancing quickly, and it is very important for Daimler Buses to remain ahead of the curve in this industry."

Orion began development and production of hybrid buses in the mid-1990s with pilot vehicles first deployed in New York City. While the Orion VII hybrid bus can be seen across North America, New York City is where you'll find the most units in operation. There are already over 1,250 Orion VII hybrids in the New York metropolitan area. What's more, another 425 units are to be delivered over the next nine months, making New York City Transit the largest hybrid fleet in the world.

Series production of the Orion VII began in the early 2000s, and Daimler Buses has since grown to become the world leader for hybrid buses. With the introduction of lithium-ion energy storage technology for buses in volume production in 2008, Orion further underlined its reputation for innovation. This development has reduced the weight of the overall bus and thereby further improving fuel economy. Daimler Buses is currently developing and testing further refinements to the hybrid system that will be introduced in 2010. These technological advancements will offer even greater benefits to our customers and passengers.

The heart of the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus is the HybriDrive propulsion system manufactured by BAE Systems of Johnson City, NY. The bus is powered by a 6.7-liter diesel engine from Cummins, a generator, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion energy storage system. The components are arranged in series and were optimized and configured especially for the Orion VII. The diesel engine, for example, is optimized to run at relatively constant speeds. Acceleration and deceleration are accomplished by varying the speed of the electric motor rather than the diesel engine. This results in maximum efficiency, fuel economy, and clean operation.
Another feature of the Orion VII hybrid is the regenerative braking system that uses the electric drive motor to slow the bus, effectively turning the motor into a powerful generator to help recharge the bus batteries. This feature saves energy and significantly reduces brake wear. The series hybrid design also eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission, which means no transmission overhauls - a major maintenance item for conventional buses.

Seattles Sound Transit turns 10, some facts about ST

More than 100 million carried in first decade

Saturday, Sept. 19 marks the tenth anniversary of Sound Transit's passenger service. The agency served its first passengers on that day in 1999, rolling out the first ST Express regional buses linking communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Over the last decade Sound Transit's blue and white wave has spread across the region. Service expansions have included more ST Express routes, new transit centers and direct access HOV ramps, Sounder commuter trains between Tacoma and Seattle as well as Everett and Seattle, Tacoma Link light rail, and Central Link light rail service that got underway in July.

As Sound Transit has added more and more services over the past 10 years, the riders have followed. The agency saw a little more than 1 million boardings in 1999; last year more than 16 million riders chose Sound Transit to get where they needed to go.

"We've done a lot in our first decade, and more is on the way," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

ST Express was the first service Sound Transit launched after work began in 1997 to implement the Sound Move ballot measure. Since then, ST Express buses have carried more than 82 million riders to their destinations via limited-stop express routes.

Today the ST Express fleet includes 243 buses that make 1,382 weekday trips on 26 routes. The fleet includes 40- and 60-foot diesel buses, 60-foot hybrid buses, 40-foot natural gas buses, 45-foot over-the-road coaches and one 40-foot hybrid bus. Sound Transit contracts with Community Transit, King County Metro and Pierce Transit to operate and maintain ST Express buses.

So far, Sound Transit has invested more than $800 million in new transit centers, park-and-ride lots, direct-access freeway ramps and other capital projects supporting the ST Express network and other bus service around the region.

Sound Transit's popular Sounder commuter rail service carried its first passengers on Sept. 18, 2000, with two round trip trains each weekday between Tacoma and Seattle with stops in Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, and Tukwila. Today, nine Sounder round trips operate on that corridor, and in November 2008 voters approved expanding service by 65 percent with longer trains and four more round trips. Everett-Seattle Sounder service got underway in 2002 and now includes four daily round trips, with stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds.

Tacoma Link light rail service began in August 2003 and surpassed its 2010 ridership projection in the first year of operations. Central Link light rail opened on July 18, 2009 between downtown Seattle and Tukwila, and direct service to the airport is on schedule to start this December. University Link light rail is under construction and scheduled to open in 2016. The 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure approved 36 additional miles of light rail to form a 55-mile regional system.

Here's a look at Sound Transit's first decade of service by the numbers:

ST Express

  • 26 routes
  • 21 corridors served
  • 243 buses in the ST fleet
  • 5 million hours of service over 10 years
  • 106 million miles run over 10 years (a trip to Mars and back)
  • 12.5 million ST Express passengers carried in 2008
  • $800 million building new transit centers, HOV direct access ramps and park-and-ride lots


  • 9,400 average weekday boardings
  • 11 locomotives
  • 58 passenger cars
  • 2.7 million Sounder passengers carried in 2008

Tacoma Link

  • 3,100 average weekday boardings
  • 930,000 riders carried in 2008
  • 20,500 Tacoma Link boardings during the Tall Ships Festival, July 4-6, 2008
  • 3 vehicles

Central Link

  • 92,000 boardings on opening weekend, July 18-19, 2009
  • 14,400 estimated average boardings on weekdays in August
  • 35 vehicles
  • 7-1/2 minute service frequency during peak hours
  • 20 hours of service each weekday
  • 400-person capacity on a two-car train, with ability to expand to four car trains

Friday, September 18, 2009

Within the Time Limits of my Ticket

I took another ride on the Green Line tonight, about rush hour time. I started at Gateway, where when the MAX Rings the bell AND Blows the horn apparently means grab your child and dart in front of said moving trains, IDIOTS! I yelled at them that the horn means STOP! Went to the mall, then returned an hour later. I have yet to have an on time Green Line Run, The outbound run was about 7 min late, and fairly busy. The return trip is where it got interesting. They piled everyone on a Type 2/3 trainset that pulled in after the Type 4 rolled down the spur, then the Type 4 rolled in from the spur track (What it was doing down there to begin with is beyond me, it was on the same side of the platform the entire time), and they moved every one over to it, then we left 2 min late.
Just minutes later I get an email on my phone from TriMet service Updates: MAX service on I-205 between Main Street and Clackamas Town Center stations will be served by buses. Expect delays.. Odd, since I am on a fairly packed moving train (track Speed).
Needless to say I made it to 82nd Ave Station without an issue, after seeing a small fleet of buses out of Main Street Station of course, for the supposed issues we are having.

While at 82nd waiting to Xfer back to the Red Line,
Theres this guy, Taping a Transfer together on the platform:

Very interesting in deed, he has his little razor, and a very small roll of scotch tape with him.......

Then My Red Line finally pulls up (Close to 10 min late), fairly empty, just me and some..well


I have asked what is up with the Transit Tracker, Its virtually useless right now for tracking any MAX Vehicle, I'll let you know their response.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

5th and Market, Track Configuration

"J", a reader of my blog, wondered why the Streetcar got blocked at 5th and Market. Below are photos from the intersection. The video featured a Type 4 train, which are longer than Type 1-3 trainsets. The anatomy of the street car made it harder to turn once the center portion of the car reached this section of the turn. The MAX Signal system assumes the MAX is clear, therefore giving the Streetcar Signal the go ahead, casing the tight situation was seen in the video.

Race for the Cure Closures and Map

Map of the Downtown Closures

CLOSED SUNDAY: Sellwood and Broadway Bridges

The Sellwood Bridge will be closed to motor vehicles this Sunday, September 20 from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm due to a structural inspection and maintenance work. The bridge will remain open to bicyclists and pedestrians. The closure will allow a team of engineers to complete an independent inspection while a county maintenance crew completes annual maintenance work on the bridge.

Independent inspections are required every two years for public bridges. County engineers also inspect the Sellwood Bridge on a quarterly schedule, due to its deteriorated condition.

When the Sellwood Bridge is closed, the nearest alternate river crossing to the north is the Ross Island Bridge. Access to the Ross Island Bridge is available via Highway 43/SW Macadam Ave. on the west side and via SE Milwaukie Ave. and SE Powell Blvd. on the east side. The nearest bridge to the south is the Abernethy Bridge (I-205).

Also on Sunday, the Broadway Bridge will be closed to motor vehicles only from 7:30 am to 11:30 am during the Race for the Cure. The bridge will remain open to bicyclists and pedestrians. TriMet’s Broadway-9 bus line will be re-routed across the Steel Bridge while the Broadway Bridge is closed. The Fremont Bridge is also available as an alternate river crossing.

Multnomah County maintains the Sellwood and Broadway bridges and more than 300 miles of roads and bridges. For more information, visit www.multco.us/bridges.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Observations of the Portland Mall Loop MAX Line

I was enjoying another Happy Hour visit at The Original Dinerant, I love this place, absolutely NOTHING is good for you, but it sooo good. It is Home of the VooDoo Doughnut Burger.
While enjoying a Happy Hour "Dog of the Day", the Portland Mall MAX Loop train cruised on by. The first swing around was shortly after 5 pm. The Union Station Bound train had 3 people on it, not including the operator. The next swing around was about 30 min later, 8 people on this one. It was a one car type 2 train circling round n' round.
Shortly after 6pm it makes its final appearance for the day, as a Green Line Train to Gateway TC, which actually goes to Ruby Jct per the announcement the operator made. I dunno, but to me this whole ordeal doesn't seem to fit in. The Green and Yellow Line trains run every 7 min, why do we need this circular? Theres no Lloyd Center to Galleria Circular.
And 2 ticket machines were out of service at this stop (Oak) and at PSU already. Also in waiting for a return train to PSU, we rattled and shook all the goodies at the stop, The chairs are almost like the turtles on springs at the playground, the Transit Tracker TV is low enough to scribble a "Z" on with my mail key (though I did not), it also held up by a somewhat flimsy pole on one side of the ticket machine. The chairs attached to glass wobble anytime someone gets up from it. I am starting to wonder if the design was ideal for the mall.....the shelters are a bit odd, not to mention they dont match the "Windscreens". Lastly, the friggin Transit Tracker hasn't Tracked a Yellow or Green Line train since Aug 30th, its all be "Scheduled Arrival". Still some work to be finished.

New Bus Line serving this stop in Downtown Seattle

New Poll

To the right, What do you think of the Portland Mall MAX Loop Line (Circular)? If you don't know what it is click here.

Poll Results "What should TriMet focus on next?"

Adding security to MAX Platforms and TC's
7 (35%)
Milwaulkie MAX Line
7 (35%)
Purchasing new buses
5 (25%)
Improving Transit Trackers at Stops and TC's
6 (30%)
Restoring Bus Service
11 (55%)

Washington State Ferries

While away last week, I took a journey on a Washington State Ferry over to Bainbridge Island from Seattle. I have done this once before, but last time it was cold and cloudy. This day it was pretty nice.
The first thing I noticed are turnstyles! Really? For ferries? Guess so, it also accepts OCRA, the new SmartCard in the Seattle Area. If you buy a Single Use ticket (Online or at the ticket booth), or a Pass, you just swipe the barcode thru and your off! Like many lines, you only pay one way to ride. If you have an ORCA Card you just tap and walk on thru.

The loading process is fairly quick, and these guys have got it down. In many cases, the autos are unloading before the walk ons are.
It just a cool process to watch. Everything from Bicycles to Big Rigs carrying supplies load on off quickly and efficiently.

In the end, the best part was the views you get from the ferry of Seattles skyline. It is truly a beautiful city.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Mall MAX Ride videos + 1 week Hiatis

I took a ride on the Mall Loop and filmed it, the announcements were working and everything, so its almost the real thing. Its missing the transfer information at Pioneer, yet the Blue & Red Lines still give out transfer information for Old Town, Which is incorrect since all you will see of the Yellow line is it passing by on the bridge from there. North is here and South here.

Going to be a quiet week, I am taking a short break, I'll be around for the Grand hooba for the Green Line, Maybe I'll see some of you out there!

I make a Visit to Sunset Bob

On the 67 With Al M, Episode 4

Night Photos

Some photos I shot at Beaverton Transit Center:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A MAX Ride along the Mall

Well, that was sluggish. It takes over 10 min from Union Station to PSU, I mean thats not bad, but it just seems slow. So my first compliant is, "SW/NW 5th/6th Ave" does NOT need to be in EVERY stop and announcement! I know I am on 6th, this is the Transit mall, its runs on 6th? They could Drop the number from all but 1 stop, Union Station Inbound. The 5th and Mill St says PSU Urban Center on the sign, but no such announcement, assume your at PSU. The MAX operator wanted to be as redundant and let us know that 5th and Mill is the last stop and everyone needs to get off there, he did this about 5 seconds after the auto announce said the exact same thing, we get it!

And the situation from 3rd/Glisan to the Steel Bridge Jct, what a bottle neck and poor timed situation. We had to wait almost long enough to make a stop to turn left onto Glisan from 3rd. Then the trains were all stacked up inbound as we all are waiting for an outbound to clear up. Some operators are bound to go nuts at this little section of track.

The Couch and Davis stops are unnecessary.

The announcements are missing a few lines, like the transfers opportunities at Yamhill/Morrison. Maybe the fact this is a Yellow Line (save for the one just past Union Station Outbound).

The mall is finishing up, the shelters are almost all in, and now some curvy wind glass thingys are popping up. They are fairly tacky to the design, really. Many stops have 2 seats.....T..W..O. Is that all this is riding, 8 people an hour at each stop?

I am posting new videos of both directions on the mall, for the world to see really. The nice thing is how smooth it was, and easy it is to Xfer to/from the streetcar and to Union Sta. I look forward to seeing how it all pans out once it all up and running.