Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 25

Here’s a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog. Don’t forget you can also follow the Metro Library on Facebook and Twitter.

When passengers spit, bus drivers take months off (New York Times)

The story about New York MTA bus interactions speaks for itself. Excerpt:

Of all the assaults that prompted a bus operator to take paid leave in 2009, a third of them, 51 in total, “involved a spat upon,” according to statistics the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released on Monday.

No weapon was involved in these episodes. “Strictly spitting,” said Charles Seaton, a New York City Transit spokesman.

And the encounters, while distressing, appeared to take a surprisingly severe toll: the 51 drivers who went on paid leave after a spitting incident took, on average, 64 days off work — the equivalent of three months with pay. One driver, who was not identified by the authority, spent 191 days on paid leave.

Oil spill hits the gulf coast (New York Times)


More than a month has passed since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up, spewing immeasurable quantities of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and frustrating all efforts to contain it. The billowing plume of undersea oil and water has thwarted the industry’s well-control efforts and driven government officials to impotent rage.

It has demonstrated the enduring laxity of federal regulation of offshore operations and has shown the government to be almost wholly at the mercy of BP, the company leasing the rig, to provide the technology, personnel and equipment to stop the bleeding well.

A view of the oil spill taken by a NASA satellite on May 17. Photo by NASA.

Pod cars at Heathrow. Photo by Heathrow Airport.

San Jose officials taking a hard look at personal rapid transit (San Jose Mercury News)

Heathrow Airport in London has them, now San Jose is looking at them as a way to connect long-term parking, the airport and a Caltrain station. What are they? Pilot-less pods that run along a fixed guideway that go directly to your stop while skipping stops in between. Some transit advocates say this could be the future of mass transit, others say the systems only work well in certain settings and couldn’t handle the crush of people as well as a bus or train.