Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bonus Poll: Milwaukie Light Rail - Vote

Heres a poll, spread the word, vote on your opinion of the Milwaukie Light Rail line, or Light Rail in general. The people will speak. Also feel free to leave comments.

Which best shares your opinion? free polls

A Fail Blog Find

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poll Results: Fred Hansen is leaving

86% cant wait for the day in 6 weeks when Fred Hansen retires. Out he goes, out goes his progressive rail agenda, his ways of fattening the admin staff, and skipping bus improvements. But wait, is all that going to disappear with the new GM at the helm? The new poll asks just that, vote on it. What is dead sure, no one is dead set on him staying, that says something i think!

So happy, your speechless
13 (61%)
On the fence, maybe he should stay
3 (14%)
Sending him emails daily to convince him to stay
0 (0%)
Personally want to drive his last 17 to wish him good riddance
5 (23%)

TriMet wants feedback on its Twitter use

TriMet is finally getting on the Twitter bandwagon. They ask "What do you want to see us do with Twitter"? In the past, I looked up tweets directed at TriMet, the answers all lie there. But since the over paid bureaucrats don;t have the time for that apparently, you can take a survey. They claim they really want your feedback. So tell them, make note of it, and let's see if it actually takes a turn for the better.

One region is taking Bike to Work week more seriously

Bike to Work week this week is sending a lot of buzz. Do you ride a bike to work? Well if you live in Portland, you may already do that, or you may part trip on MAX or a bus too. Here in Seattle, The buses have bike racks that can accommodate 3 bikes per bus. But how about Southern California? Unlike TriMet who runs from doing free rides or offers when possible, you can ride any San Diego MTA Bus, Trolley or the regional Coaster commuter rail for FREE if you ride your bike and conjunction it with transit this Friday. In that release they also tout how they have improved bike accessibility by adding bike trails, improving bridges and more. Los Angeles County transit agencies are also offering free rides on Thursday. As forward thinking as Portland *thinks* it is in biking, Free Transit for riders for one day should have been offered. I feel the same for Seattle, especially since we can get one more bike on most buses than many agencies offer, and we have LINK and Sounder that could have offered as well. It opens up the idea of trying the two together to see if it really works, and if not nothing lost, if it does, a new transit rider, which in the end, helps bring back service.

Pierce Transit wanting public opinion on how to redesign the system

Pierce Transit is reaching out, and has been for some time now about making changes to the system that would benefit both PT and its customers. Calling "Pierce Transit Tomorrow" focus on getting input from riders, local businesses and surrounding communities on what they like and don't like. Details of the plan and what has been heard so far is here on their webpage. There are many public meetings still to be held, you can find all that info using the link above.

Saturday, May 8, 2010 Transit

Slow Travel with a Low Carbon Footprint is the slogan for Rebels by Bus. The website spells out how to get around the Puget Sound Area, and beyond, solely on public transit. Not for the ones in a hurry, Olympic Loop in 3 days, or Centraila by skipping the over-priced train. Check it out, it is very interesting, and can be a great way to go!

For those looking to go to Vancouver BC by transit from Seattle, it is possible, but have lots of patience. Oran Viriyincy, who regularly contributes to the Seattle Transit Blog, and hosts his own Flicker page, put together his experience on this journey and a easy to read timetable to try it yourself. Its cheap, but long.

From Jacks Blog, Pull the Plug on new MAX

The Milwaukie line continues to press on, despite the rolling cutbacks TriMet continues to administer. If TriMet can barley afford to operate what they have now, how in the world do they expect to operate a new MAX line. Any more bus cuts, and TriMet may cease to exist. Jack Bog's Blog has a great editorial on the subject.

The light rail will be mostly useless as a "Total Transit System" if MAX has no bus service going to it. When TriMet can run the system with buses no older than 12 years old, restore service to levels they were at 5 years ago, or above, then they can PROPOSE the new MAX line again. Its time for one of these candidates to impose a public vote for big spending projects like this, I mean it IS our money, we should say how its spent. You know if that was the case, the schools would be the best in the country!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

WES vs. Sounder: The Numbers

Someone left me a comment on YouTube trying to defend WES, I decided to look into the numbers, and I found the results interesting and want to share them. WES, or Westside Express Service, is a commuter rail service run by TriMet (and P&W employees) that currently runs 16 round trips a day between Wilsonville and Beaverton, just outside of Portland. Sounder, operated by Sound Transit (and BNSF Personnel), currently has 9 round trips a day between Seattle and Tacoma (plus 4 round trips to Everett), but I have to back up to compare apples to apples.

WES opened Feb 2009, with the same 16 Round Trips they run today (TriMet refuses to cut it back). As of March's Ridership report, WES is averaging 1,230 Daily Boardings. So over a year in service, with many trips a day, 76 people are riding each WES Train (Seems inflated, but ok). If you look at one year ago, WES had 1,260 daily boardings, spread over 16 round trips. So all-in-all ridership has stayed flat, despite the "Ridership increase" TriMet is touting.

Sounder opened in Sept 2000, with 2 round trips a day between Tacoma and Seattle. When it first opened, Sounder was averaging 1,000 boardings per day, or 250 riders per train. One full year later the same service was averaging 2,400 riders per day, or 600 people per train.

I think the numbers speak for themselves, but you can not tell me that WES is in the same boat as Sounder as far as gaining ridership. Sounder had almost 8 times the ridership, with a quarter of the service of WES, in the same timeframe. Also take note WES has flat ridership over that year, Sounder saw 140% in that same timeframe. Biggest reason? People need to go to Seattle, if WES went to Portland, I think WES would not have near as much scrutiny as it does now. It clearly illustrates my "Boondoggle vs. REAL Commuter Rail" video is fairly accurate......Sounder is a good example of a successful Commuter Rail as compared to WES.