Despite a rough road for transit, there are positive signs (Boston Globe)
In an interview, William Millar — the chief of the American Public Transportation Assn. — says that ridership suffered in the past two years as a result of a dismal economy, high unemployment, declining revenues and service cuts. He also defends transit as something worthy of government subsidies:
The same critics don’t usually say, “Well, the local street network ought to pay for itself, the police department ought to pay for itself, the schools out to pay for themselves.’’ Public transportation is a public service. Yes, it has a direct benefit to users, and that’s part of why fares are charged, but the benefits of people using public transit accrue to the entire society whether you ever use it or not.
More headlines are after the jump.
As we posted last week, a motion [pdf] by Metro Board Member and Supervisor Mike Antonovich directs Metro to come up with a plan for upgrading the Antelope Valley Line. Antonovich would like to see travel times of 30 minutes from Santa Clarita to downtown L.A. and 60 minutes from Lancaster to downtown (it presently takes two hours to travel from Lancaster to downtown). The 76-mile line has 63 at-grade crossings and many miles of single track, some of it very curvy. A faster train, Antonovich says, would attract more riders and reduce the number of cars on the 5 and 14 freeways.
The Spanish high-speed rail revolution (Mother Nature Network)
Once upon a time Spanish trains were a joke. No more. The high-speed rail network has seriously dented short-hop air travel between Madrid and Barcelona and revived moribund cities. The writer uses the example of Ciudad Real on the Madrid-to-Seville line:
For the first time in at least a century, people wanted to go to Ciudad Real, and stay there. Now they’ve got new commuter developments out by the AVE station, and what’s more they can attract a higher caliber of doctor and engineer and university professor at their own businesses and institutions, because those people can commute out from Madrid.