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.
DC Metro to add more rush hour trains, with updated map
Washington D.C. Metro has produced this handy video that describes its new service plan for rush hour, called Rush+ (aka “Rush Plus”). The Transportation Nation blog highlights some of the new features: namely, more trains at rush hour on certain lines to reduce crowding and a couple of different service plans for lines that currently share tracks. Check out the video for all the details.
Streetcar headed to downtown St. Louis?
The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, an organization promoting investment in the city’s core, has issued a request for qualifications to have transportation firms conduct a feasibility study for a downtown streetcar. The early concept for the line has it connecting St. Louis’ beautiful and historic Forest Park to downtown via Midtown, the Central West End, and Skinker-DeBaliviere — some of the city’s more walkable, retail-oriented neighborhoods. The line would also potentially link up with the regions light rail system, Metrolink. STL’s Citizens for Modern Transit blog adds: “The feasibility study will include the process of planning, funding and design of the St. Louis Streetcar.”
Tokyo subway straps beam ads to your smartphone
Tech news website, CNET, looks at a new advertising platform that one Japanese train company is experimenting with: straps that use radio frequency ID chips (kind of like the one in your TAP card) to beam ads and promotions to your cell phone, when you tap it to the sensor. More from CNET: the “trial has so far featured strap-sent ads from H.I.S., a major travel agency, on the Ginza and Marunouchi lines. It’s scheduled to wrap up this month.” I’m curious to see if transit riders are using the service in meaningful numbers.
Ridership continues climbing at Caltrain
Despite its chronic funding problems — the system lacks dedicated revenues from the Bay Area counties it runs through — ridership on Caltrain continues to climb. Why? The strong economy from San Fran to Silicon Valley and high gas prices probably have something to do with it. The San Mateo Daily Journal quotes a staff report from the joint-powers authority (JPA) that operates Caltrain saying that “for 21 straight months, ridership is up at Caltrain and total ridership in April was the highest it has ever been during a non-summer month.” The report also notes that farebox revenues are up over 20 percent in the last year.
A promising development going forward is that the JPA has approved a plan with MTC (the regional transportation planning agency) and the California High-Speed Rail Authority to share the cost of electrifying the tracks by 2020. That would allow Caltrain to run more trains, more cheaply — and run them off of overhead electrical wires (like light rail trains) instead of diesel fuel.