Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others

theonion – excerpt

WASHINGTON, DC–A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.

“With traffic congestion, pollution, and oil shortages all getting worse, now is the time to shift to affordable, efficient public transportation,” APTA director Howard Collier said. “Fortunately, as this report shows, Americans have finally recognized the need for everyone else to do exactly that.”…(more)

In a push to boost low ridership, VTA’s new service plan to debut with free rides

By Carina Woudenberg : sanjosespotlight – excerpt

The Valley Transportation Authority’s service changes, which include greater frequency on its most popular routes and a new light rail line, debut Saturday. And, for the first four days, riders can try the new service for free.

The new service plan was geared partly toward boosting ridership, which has decreased in recent years. From 2015 to 2019, bus ridership dropped by 17 percent and light rail use declined 26 percent, VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said.

Some of that drop mirrors a nationwide decrease in ridership as the economy ticked up and steered people toward car ownership and as ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft grew in popularity.

Also, recent rail line rehabilitation has led to slowdowns, which likely contributed to lower ridership, Childress said.

Work on the VTA’s new service plan began in 2016, when the agency hired a consultant to study ridership data.

“That assessment identified options for VTA’s strategy for increasing ridership, improving the farebox recovery rate, making our service more useful to riders and lowering barriers to transit,” Childress told San José Spotlight… (more)

Municipal authorities have one thing in common. They ignore the public’s request to maintain the minimum level of service the public needs to trust the system.

Fresh Flaws Found in New Muni Train Cars as It Turns Out They Rear-End Each Other

By Joe Fitzgerald via sfist : sfexaminer – excerpt

The fancy new two-car trains will be “limited,” with most pulled from the fleet for more repairs, so expect more crammed commutes in the short run.

The litany of liabilities with the ultramodern new Muni light-rail trains has memorably included such problems as doors trapping and dragging an elderly woman and coupler failures causing the double car trains to detach from one another. We were then warned Thursday to expect packed and problematic commutes, as much of the new $1.2 billion fleet was being sidelined again, though Muni was pretty scant on details explaining why. That led some of San Francisco’s top train-chasing gumshoes to investigate why the trains were pulled, and they’ve found answers that are of course embarrassing to Muni and the trains’ manufacturer Siemens. The San Francisco Examiner found that in a Wednesday night K-Ingleside incident, double-car trains detached and rammed into each other, and NBC Bay Area reports that the shear pins that hold double-cars together are failing

UPDATE FROM JOE TWEET: An internal city memo obtained by @sfexaminer reveals a component joining train cars together failed while carrying Muni passengers, Wed.

“The operator reported to her Supervisor that it felt like her train was being continually rear ended.” …

REALLY? Watch out for whiplash! No wonder people are not taking Muni. Now even less will. I think the BART is also losing customers. Last week there was plenty of “standing room only” on the train I took from City Hall.

New San Francisco ferry delivered by Dakota Creek Copy

By Kirk Moore : workboat – excerpt

The first U.S. passenger ferry with Tier 4 emissions controls went into service with the San Francisco Bay Ferry system in March. The 445-passenger high speed Pyxis (pronounced “pik-sis”) is the fifth new ferry built for the fleet since the Hydrus-class started in 2017, and serves the growing Vallejo route.

“They operate on a longer route than the Hydrus boats. We’re a one-hour trip,” said Martin Robbins, general manager of the Bay Ferry’s Vallejo division. “These are waterjet boats so they’re designed for 34 knots. They will make 37 or 38 knots running light.”

Delivered in February by Dakota Creek Industries Inc., Anacortes, Wash., the 142.7’x39.4’x5.4′, all-aluminum Pyxis is the first new boat on the northern bay route since 1997, and the first of three to be delivered by the end of 2019. It is very similar in design to the earlier waterjet ferries also conceived by designers at Advanced Multihull Designs (AMD) of Australia, sized up to accommodate steady demand growth on the route, said Robbins… (more)

E-scooters present a growing public-health challenge

By Dr. Jonathan Fielding, opinion : thehill – excerpt

All over America and around the world, municipal officials are considering transportation alternatives that move large numbers of people while cutting pollution — especially greenhouse gases — and easing traffic congestion.

Over the last decade, bike sharing became ubiquitous in U.S. cities from Boston to Bakersfield, but small, electric e-scooters are heralded by some as the next phase in the greening of our towns and cities…

Growing injuries match the growing popularity. Many emergency rooms have reported leaps in e-scooter injuries, causing several municipalities to ban their use. There’s an increased acknowledgement that safety concerns present a major barrier to mass adoption, as companies face fresh regulatory pushback and litigation risk amid reports of vehicle malfunctions and deaths.

The Associated Press recently reported that since the beginning of 2018, at least 11 scooter deaths have been recorded in the U.S., nine of which occurred on rented vehicles. YouTube Star Emily Hartridge’s death on an e-scooter last summer underscored to many that rider-safety programs are inadequate.

Rising e-scooter share adoption means that local governments will be increasingly challenged with safety concerns; one Washington, D.C. transportation official recently complained to the Washington Post that e-scooters are vastly under-regulated.

Only by treating e-scooters as serious modes of transportation — requiring laws, safety programs and user training like any motor vehicle — are towns and cities going to be able to ensure that riders operate them in the safest way possible, not only for themselves, but for other e-scooter and bike riders, motor vehicle operators and pedestrians(more)