What’s happening at other transit agencies?

Moscow Metro station featuring chandeliers and gold leaf molding. Photo via flickr user sbisson.

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.

7 replies

  1. Yes, these countries have cheap labor, but notice that they are not building roads or airports with that cheap labor, but instead Rail Transit and High-Speed Rail, and in all cases having it run on electricity.

  2. Why is there a lack of focus or attention on Asian cities on these “What’s happening at other transit agencies” series? Why is it always other US cities, Europe or Russia? We need more variety here.

    We have have lots of Asian-Americans residing here and many cultural districts in LA. I think it would warrant to put more focus on how transit runs in places like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

  3. @Erik G.

    Dubai and Saudi Arabia enjoys using cheap labor from South Asia (India, Bangladesh). Our laws do not apply there; they pretty much enjoy the comfort of using South Asians as slave labor.

    As Fat Tony from “The Simpsons” once mentioned: “You can really keep costs down, when you don’t pay for materials or labor or permits or land.”

    How do you think we built the Transcontinental Railroad back the 1860s?

  4. “Wonder what they know that we don’t?”

    They know not to listen to anyone living near the line, or even care about their well-being or their property. There’s no NIMBY lawsuits in those countries.

  5. Moscow’s not the only one building electric transit, Dubai and the Saudi cities are also doing it at an express pace. Wonder what they know that we don’t?

  6. @Dion

    1. Labor and construction costs are cheaper in Russia. An average Russian earns only $10,000 per year. An average American earns $47,000 per year. Naturally, they get to use their construction workers for much cheaper pay.

    2. Less meetings, just get it done. Over here, we spend most of time discussing things and having endless meetings only to come back years later to find out material costs has risen, creating huge budget shortfalls.

  7. isnt is amazing that Russia can built 60 miles of subway for 11 billion in 9 years and we can barely build 7 miles for 6 billion?