Transportation headlines, Thursday, September 12

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed. Have a transportation-related article you want included in headlines? Drop me an email!

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Bill expanding carpool lanes on 210 and 134 freeways heads to Governor’s desk (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

The bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) would allow vehicles with just one occupant to use the lanes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at night and all weekends — although the exact times will be determined by Caltrans.

It’s a 10-month trial project that Caltrans can choose to end or expand. There was only one vote against in the entire Legislature, indicating that this is an extremely easy thing to do from a political standpoint while generating some pleasant PR.

Whether it accomplishes anything remains to be seen. It could, hypothetically, better spread out traffic during non-peak hours. Or it could just ensure that all freeway lanes are clogged no matter the hour. Thoughts, readers?

The President and the pipeline (New Yorker) 

Map: TransCanada.

Map: TransCanada.

Great article about President Obama and the impending decision on whether to approve the Keystone pipeline to bring oil from Alberta’s oil fields to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Most importantly, the article ponders the question of whether the pipeline really will have an impact one way or the other on climate change.

San Diego pilots mobile ticketing (Transit Wire) 


Those riding the San Diego Trolley (a light rail line) can now buy day passes with their phone and skip waiting in line at ticket machines. It’s just a pilot program and only in effect during Chargers and San Diego State football games and other special events. One thing to note: there are no turnstiles on the trolley system — it’s an honor system. More info on the MTS website.

Beijing subway installs plastic recycling machines (



Users can have their recyclables crushed and get a little money that is applied to their transit fares. Brilliant! If this existed here, I could have an entirely Diet Coke-powered commute.

5 replies

  1. OK, thanks for the clarification.

    Though it sounds like a great idea, I think TAP’s stored value use has to be broadened to see this gain momentum here.

    It seems Beijing Metro uses the Yikatong Card which is what the recycle value seems to credit into.

    It’s similar to TAP that you can put cash value in it. But upon Googling up the features of their Yikatong Card, the difference is their card, actually has more use than just paying for rides on the subway. People can use the stored money (and recycle credit vlue) to buy groceries, pay for cabs, you can even use it at Walmart and KFC in China. Hence, money returned from recycling is actually money back that can be used for all sorts of things like buying another Diet Coke at 7-Eleven, not just to ride the subway.

    Our TAP doesn’t have any of those features. Once you load up money into TAP, it’s “transit currency.” You can’t use TAP to buy something at 7-Eleven, you can’t use TAP to buy stuff at Walmart. Money put into TAP is “locked into TAP” forever with no way to getting it back, and the only way to use it is to use it on Metro.

    I doubt people are going to go through all the trouble of recycling just to get “store credit” when they can just go to a recycling center and get full cash that can be used to pay for stuff on Metro AND everywhere else where the US Dollar is accepted.

    If I bring over a plastic bag full of recyclables in my home whose CA CRV value amounts to $10, I expect that $10 to be “transferable for all goods and services” anywhere from buying groceries at Vons, lottery tickets, deposit it at the ATM, buying lunch at Carl’s Jr. as well as being able to use it for Metro. I don’t want that $10 to just be “transferable for only riding Los Angeles County Metro.”

  2. We have to allow drinking of plastic bottle drinks first before installing plastic bottle recycle bins.

    As of today, we ban all forms of drinking on our system and we do not distinguish them based on what container it’s in. Aluminum cans, paper cups, plastic bottles, coffee tumblers, no drinking means no drinking.

    • I think the idea in Beijing is that people are bringing their recyclables into the stations from the outside — they’re not bringing them from the train.

      In other words, you bring the can of Diet Coke from lunch to the station, deposit it in the machine and get credit toward your fare. If you don’t mind lugging your recyclables with you, it’s kind of brilliant.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. What a great post. All things I have been watching and interesred in. As for the Gatto bill, I think it will too hard to keep straight when the carpool lanes are free to everybody and when they are not. We’ve got transponders and tolls and expensive tickets if we screw up… it’s complicated. Thanks for posting the XL Pipeline article link too, and the trolley app. PS. Steve, Diet Coke is really bad for you!

    • Hey Dianne;

      Thank you! And I’ve been fairly good about cutting back but hard to resist the diet coke fountain in the cafeteria with a splash of lemonade. Mmmmm, tart…

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source