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.
Moscow Metro sets sights on expansion
The Moscow Metro – known for its expansive reach and gorgeous stations – will expand even further over the next decade. The Railway Gazette has the details: “The city government has announced plans to build a further [60 miles] of metro over the next nine years, taking the total network to [240 miles] and adding 44 stations.” The price tag on all that? About $11 billion U.S. Kind of interesting to see that the even one of the world’s largest oil and gas exporters is doubling down on electric-powered public transit.
Tappan Zee Bridge saga intensifies as new proposal comes out
As previously mentioned, New York’s Hudson River–crossing Tappan Zee Bridge is due for replacement. Transit advocates have been agitating for years to have the bridge include a public transit component, but their efforts were undermined when N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to fast-track the project in an auto-centric configuration. Now, recently released environmental documents show that the planned bridge will also be twice as wide as the one it’s replacing – still with no transit component, reports New York Streetsblog. The justification for the extra lanes? In case a disaster takes out one of the two proposed bridge spans, there wouldn’t be a serious impact on traffic flow. That’s an excessively expensive contingency plan, argues Streetsblog.
Bronx buses get real-time info about bus locations
Further downstate, the 1,025 buses that roam the Bronx will be getting an upgrade we’ve come to know and love in Los Angeles: real-time bus information. Travelers will have two ways to retrieve info on their bus of choice: by texting the intersection or bus stop number plus bus line to 511123, or via bustime.mta.info. As one official tells news blog DNAinfo.com, it’s all about getting to “spend more time with your family or more time at a coffee shop instead of waiting at a bus stop in a state of uncertainty.” For now, the service will only tell riders where the bus is along its route; the NYC MTA is still working on being able to give an estimated time of arrival to the desired stop, like we have in L.A.
Frequency and real-time info help transit riders most
And whaddaya know, a study released this week at the national Transportation Research Board conference found that real-time arrival info provides tremendous benefits for transit riders. The D.C. blog Greater Greater Washington highlights this nugget of info: “real-time information decreases wait time by almost 20%, and decreases the amount of time riders think they are waiting by about 30%.” Previous studies [PDF] have found that transit riders particularly dislike spending time waiting for a bus — much more so than time spent actually riding one. Taken together, real-time info looks like it has the potential to make transit a more pleasant experience for daily riders and a more attractive option to those thinking about giving it a try.
Riverside County transit agency reports record number of riders
Some good news from our neighbors to the south-east: bus ridership shattered records at the end of 2011. The Press-Enterprise reports that “the bus agency’s strongest December ever meant the system carried more than 8.44 million people in 2011, more than 300,000 more than the previous record of 8.11 million in 2009.” Like a number of agencies nation-wide, persistently high gas prices and a recovering economy are bolstering ridership numbers. But a particular Riverside Transit Agency student pass program deserves a heap of credit too. The GoPass/U-Pass program provides “free” rides to students at UC Riverside and five other schools as long as the flash their ID, with the cost of the service is bundled into their student fees.