This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.
China’s largest bus seats 300 passengers
The website Digital Trends has the scoop on the debut of one of the world’s largest transit buses. The Chinese-made Youngman JNP6250G stands in at 82-feet long and can carry up to 300 passengers, according (perhaps dubiously) to the Digital Trends piece. 300 people wouldn’t have much elbow room. Want to catch a glimpse of these double-articulated buses in action? You’ll have to travel to Beijing and Hangzhou.
D.C. Metro Board looks at $6 fare for peak paper tickets
If D.C. transit riders needed an incentive to switch to D.C. Metro’s SmarTrip electronic fare card, how about $6 for a paper ticket at rush hour? That’s the number that General Manager Richard Sarles has proposed as part of a larger plan to reorganize the system’s fares and raise revenues for much-needed maintenance and repairs, reports the blog Transportation Nation. According to the Huffington Post, under the distance-based fare plan, the base subway fare using a SmarTrip card would climb 10 cents to $1.70, with the maximum fare for a subway ride climbing to $5.75 for the longest trips.
Defying criticism, government finalizes plans for U.K. high-speed rail
20 years after the opening of Eurostar — the high-speed route between London and Paris — the U.K. is moving forward with plans to extend HSR into the heart of Britain. According to the Transport Politic, the first phase would nearly halve the time it takes to travel the 120-mile journey from London to Birmingham from 1h20 to just 45 minutes. But amid a climate of austerity in Europe, some voices are questioning whether the project’s costs justify its benefits. That said, writer Yonah Freemark argues that the British government’s strong commitment to the project bodes well for it — a level commitment, he says, that is lacking for California’s own HSR plan.
Occupy public transit?
Occupy protesters in Boston and Pittsburgh are using their patented brand of civic engagement to lobby against fare hikes and service reductions. The Boston Globe reports that an Occupy MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) has formed in opposition to a proposed 35% fare increase. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s transit agency has announced that it may have to cut a third of its bus and ferry service if it doesn’t receive any additional funding from the state. In response, Occupy Pittsburgh has announced its intention to “[organize] in communities, at bus stops, and on threatened bus routes to encourage participation in the public discussion.” My hope: Occupy protesters will focus their rallying at those at the state and federal level who set transportation funding priorities. Because it’s safe to say transit agencies don’t enjoy cutting into service to address their recession-induced budget woes.
San Diego taking strides to support electric vehicles
Los Angeles is known for having a high number of electric vehicle charging stations, but our neighbor to the south may be trying to best us. The Atlantic Cities reports that a diverse coalition called Smart City San Diego has launched a collaborative research project geared at better understanding how consumers use electric charging stations, not just in theory, but in the real world. All told, Smart City brings together the city of San Diego, UC San Diego, a local utility, General Electric and non-profit organizations to determine, among other things, the best places to locate charging facilities and ways to encourage charging when regional demand for electricity is low — the so called “off-peak” times.