What’s happening at other transit agencies?

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.

4 replies

  1. Rush Plus seems like the nonsense that will happen with the Orange Line branching, and with some of the proposals to extend the “Green Line” to LAX. Branches reduce simplicity, and increase the odds someone will be sent far from where they want to go. Where the Orange Line was one simple, easy to understand corridor, now someone reading the schedule now has three times the complexity. The same with those poor people boarding to Yellow Line in central DC, who will now also have to figure out whether the train is going to Huntington or Franconia Springfield.

    The other thing is that trains from Pentagon to Rosslyn during peak hours will be halved – similar to how the Orange Line extension will halve the number of buses from Warner Center to North Hollywood, resulting in 20 minute service during middays where currently there is a bus every 10 minutes. So it’s not all roses for DC or for Orange Line riders.

  2. I think that Rush+ is a good thing for DC Metro. It does not seem any different that people having to pay attention to the Red/Purple lines or Blue/Expo lines here. Having to be aware of your train and it’s destination is not a negative.

  3. NYC’s subways have multiple different trains that stop at the same platforms. Riders nead to be only -slightlly- more aware. Branching allows the existing infrastructure to serve multiple areas. I actually think that the Gold Line Eastside Extention should be branched; one part heading down into Whittier and eventually hitting the Green Line, the other part headng off to Industry and eventually into Pomona. The core area gets the full service and both outlying areas get served.

    More trains at peak times sounds great. If Metro could add 3 or 4 trains to each line during the peak ridership hour, that would help wait times and add valuable capacity.

  4. Having lived in DC for almost year, the Rush + service is needed. The Virginia Branch of the Orange Line is called the “Orange Crush” for a reason. Also the service change prepares the system for the eventual Silver Line that will share the Rosslyn tunnel with the Blue and Orange Lines.