Metrolink express service saves time and money (San Bernardino Sun)
The commuter rail agency today began express service to downtown L.A. on its Antelope Valley and San Bernardino lines. The Sun praises the express train that will whisk commuters from San Bernardino to Union Station in 60 minutes — 30 minutes less than the regular time (the Antelope Valley express also shaves 30 minutes off the ride). Not only does express service reward regular Metrolink riders with a huge savings in commuting time, but the Sun editorial argues that it makes the train more competitive with driving and will help save motorists a lot of gas they are burning in stop-and-start traffic on the 10 freeway. Here are the weekday Metrolink schedules for the Antelope Valley Line and for the San Bernardino Line.
Metro plans security upgrades (L.A. Times)
In the wake of the death of the terrorist Osama bin Laden and word that Al Qaeda was discussing some type of unspecified attack on a rail line in the U.S., the Times reviews some of the security upgrades that Metro already had in the works. Among those are improved communications systems and a chemical detection system. Probably the most interesting part of the story is a quote from one “expert” saying that terrorists could perhaps focus more on trains now that security has been tightened on airlines. The same source, however, acknowledges that part of the allure of rail is that passengers don’t have to deal with the security hassles experienced at airports.
Want to add to congestion? Then it’s going to cost you (New York Times)
The article takes a look at San Francisco’s foray into the world of dynamic pricing and parking. The idea, in short, is to raise and lower the price of parking meters according to demand and to try to ensure there’s less demand when there is the most congestion. When pricey, more spaces should be open, motorists will have to circle less looking for a spot and they’ll have smartphones telling them where the open spaces are. Will it work? Tolls on the Bay Bridge were raised $2 during peak hours last year and there has been a corresponding slight drop in traffic and the time it takes to drive between Berkeley and San Francisco. Attentive readers know the ExpressLanes congestion pricing project — which, like San Francisco’s parking program, is funded by the feds — is in the works.