BART: Dump TransLink’s Contractor

February 27th, 2008

TranslinkIf you’re wondering why those Translink devices that worked way back in 2001 are now sitting on the bus with a screen saying “Testing In Progress,” today’s news from BART may be of interest. The troubled $130 million project missed yet another deadline to make the system available throughout BART, Muni, and Caltrain by March 31. As a result, BART treasurer Scott Schroeder this week urged the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to abandon ERG, the Australian contractor running the project.

Region-wide availability of TransLink is now scheduled for 2010 – years late and millions of dollars over budget. Meanwhile London is extending the Oyster card to regional rail systems, and many other public transit systems have long since completed activation of their contactless fare card systems. Presumably one or more of these systems would be available off the shelf if Translink gets dumped?

Major Service Changes Proposed By SFTEP

February 26th, 2008

Today Mayor Newsom, MTA Director Nat Ford, SFTEP head Julie Kirschbaum, and others unveiled a highly detailed plan to revise Muni service citywide, to improve service quality and better match service to customer demand. This is easily the most extensive revision to Muni service proposed in a generation, since the crosstown routes were created in the 1970s. Highlights include:

  • the creation of a citywide Rapid network;
  • increasing rapid/limited service to meet demand for faster, more reliable service citywide;
  • distinguishing between Rapid, Local, and Community service;
  • simplifying many routes to reduce detours for one way streets, eliminate the “spaghetti route” problem and speed up service;
  • eliminating many redundant (e.g. 4-Sutter, 7-Haight) and very low ridership (e.g. 56-Rutland, 89-Laguna Honda) lines;
  • and otherwise rerouting service to meet demand.
  • The best way to review this is to look at the 8 page proposal summary (pdf) and service policy framework (pdf) and then go straight to the list of proposals by line.

    Many of us at Rescue Muni have been participating in the SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee, and the detailed proposal is quite consistent with the policy proposals discussed in these meetings. It’s very good news to see the MTA thinking about service as a whole and not just about specific point changes that can be made – after all, most riders use more than one line on a regular basis, so a faster, more reliable system is what is needed to increase ridership and get more San Franciscans out of their cars. And it’s also quite refreshing to see these proposals being made based on real world data on ridership and customer input, instead of just drawing lines on a map.

    Of course we will have specific comments about many of the specific proposals, which we’ll post here soon, but we’re delighted to see Muni focusing here on what really matters – faster and more reliable service.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Central Subway’s Revised Route Approved by MTA

    February 24th, 2008

    T-ThirdThis week the MTA Board approved a revised route for the proposed Central Subway, running from Fourth and King to Chinatown, now via Fourth Street with the tunnel portal under the I-80 freeway. Previous plans had included a bizarre zigzag up Third and back to Fourth, and then a straight route up Fourth with the tunnel portal at Brannan (read down to 8 June 2005).

    The Examiner editorializes in favor of the project, while the Chronicle’s CW Nevius slams it. Meanwhile Rescue Muni has long taken the position that if the project is built, it needs to have the most direct route, and also it must be built to allow easy expansion to North Beach. (Our board member Howard Strassner has also proposed a non-subway alternative.)

    Update: Nevius rides the 30 Stockton and has some more thoughts on the proposal.

    Service Changes This Weekend

    February 22nd, 2008

    Rider Alert 1Muni is making two service changes beginning February 23 on the 44-O’Shaughnessy and 108-Treasure Island lines. Both are designed to make transfers easier – on the 44 to the T-Third at Evans, and on the 108 to Caltrain. Treasure Island riders will get service direct to the Caltrain station (and ball park) from 2-10 pm every day, which should save quite a bit of walking for commuters to the south bay and Giants fans. 44 riders from the Bayview will get an easier transfer to the T and direct access to the shopping center at Evans and Third.

    Thanks to David on the Yahoo Group for the tip!

    Update: Riders have good things to say about the 108 extension, not just to Caltrain but also to shopping in SOMA.

    Action Alert: Don’t Cut State Transit Funding!

    February 14th, 2008

    The following comes from our friends at Transportation and Land Use Coalition. Well worth a call to save mass transit funding:

    Please call your state legislators TODAY and register your opposition to the latest redirection of public transit funds!

    Read the rest of this entry »