Transportation headlines, Friday, March 14

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

On Expo and Gold Line projects, light rail cars could be in short supply (KPCC)

Media coverage of the story posted on ZevWeb about the possibility of there not being enough light rail cars at Metro once the Expo Line Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill Extensions are complete. Excerpt:

Metro is in this bind because of a deal gone bad with AnsaldoBreda, the Italian contractor originally hired to make its rail cars.  That deal fell through in October of 2009, and the agency spent two more years settling on and signing a deal with a new contractor — Kinki Sharyo of Japan. Metro spokesman Marc Littman said Kinki Sharyo is essentially playing catch-up, setting a very aggressive schedule to make sure rail cars begin to arrive in the middle of 2015.

“They have a great reputation for being on time,” Littman said “They’re doing everything they can to get us the cars as quickly as they can.”

Littman said Metro expects to have 24 new rail cars by the end of 2015, with four more arriving each month after that.  He adds that once construction on the Expo and Gold Line extensions is complete, Metro must spend months testing each for safety and training operators before opening them to passengers.   Metro expects to open phase two of the Expo line in January of 2016 and the Gold Line’s Foothill Extension two months later.

Still, Metro is considering options for dealing with a potential railcar shortfall when the two new extensions open.

“One of things that we could do is shift all of our maintenance work to night so that we can squeeze more capacity out of our existing fleet during the day,” Littman said.  “It’s possible we might have to run shorter trains, or we might have to truncate service.”

I also offered a little history of this issue in yesterday’s headlines.

How many people get to work without a car in your neighborhood? (Better Institutions)

Nice series of maps by Shane Phillips that break it down by census tract in Los Angeles County. The results aren’t exactly a shocker: the tracts with the highest transit use tend to be close to downtown and the ones with fewest transit users tend to be on the county’s fringes (Malibu, Palos Verdes). Interestingly, some of the areas with low transit use will soon be getting new transit options — such as a very nice Gold Line station. I’m talking to you, Arcadia! 🙂

Paris offers free public transport to reduce severe smog (BBC)

A lack of wind and unseasonably warm days for late winter have conspired to produce Beijing-like smog in Paris, at times obscuring views of the Eiffel Tower. In response, officials have offered three days of free rides on transit from today through Sunday and also made bike sharing free.

3 replies

  1. I’ve ridden Kinki Sharyo cars in Boston (all but the newest cars in the Green Line fleet), San Jose (entire VTA fleet), and Dallas (entire DART fleet). The VTA cars are rather clunky-looking, but otherwise, I’ve found their rolling stock to be as good as anybody’s.

    I’ll also note that much of SEPTA’s fleet in Philadelpha (the Broad Street subways and all trolley cars other than the vintage PCCs on the Girard line, but not the Market/Frankford line) are from Kawasaki. Yes, evidently part of the same Kawasaki that makes motorcycles.

  2. I wonder if the AQMD can work with Metro for free rides, on days where there is going to be bad smog (nothing like the stuff in the 50’s – late 70’s though).

    Doing that could bring ridership up on other days too, since people will become more comfortable with public transportation.

  3. Isn’t there more companies that make rail cars. I know that DART in Dallas uses the same light rail cars that we have here; or at least they used to.