ART OF TRANSIT:
ART OF NINJA TURTLES:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles never get old! But that does lead me to wonder what the turtles are up to these days. All those years of eating pizza had to catch up to them one way or another, and there had to be a reason they were computer generated in last year’s attempted reboot of the franchise.
On a completely unrelated but more transit-oriented note, the long anticipated redesigned taptogo.net website is up and running.
The website for purchasing and reloading Metro fares online features a revamped design, easier navigation, and now the ability to apply for reduced fare TAP cards. The last point will be welcome news for seniors, disabled riders and students who qualify for reduced fares. Prior to the redesign, applicants could only apply in person at customer service centers. Feedback about the new design can be emailed to TAP customer service by clicking here.
Garcetti signs Vision Zero directive to end L.A. traffic deaths by 2025 (Streetsblog L.A.)
Streetsblog’s Joe Linton provides clarification and background on the Vision Zero directive L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed yesterday. The Vision Zero directive signed by the Mayor commits to achieve zero traffic fatalities in Los Angeles by 2025 with an interim goal of a 20 percent reduction in traffic deaths by 2017.
The directive signed yesterday also adds more city departments responsible for implementing the plan, which was previously only assigned to LADOT and the Department of City Planning, including the LAPD, LAFD, the Department of Public Works and LADWP.
For those who aren’t familiar with Vision Zero, Joe provides a description from the Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance:
Vision Zero is a worldwide movement, started in Sweden, to eliminate all traffic deaths. While traditional traffic safety campaigns have focused on changing human behavior to reduce accident risks, Vision Zero takes a fundamentally different approach by instead putting the responsibility on government to manage the streets using evidence-based strategies to prevent fatalities and serious injuries. Vision Zero is data-driven, outcome-focused, and collaborative across agencies and departments.
Uber tests bus-style discounted “smart routes” (TechCrunch)
Uber is testing discounted rate “Smart Routes” for its UberPool service in San Francisco.
I like to say UberPool is the company’s “true” ride sharing service, because instead of providing point A to point B like its UberX service, UberPool allows drivers to pick up passengers who have also requested rides along the way. With rates only slightly above bus fares — depending on distance — and now the possibility of predetermined smart routes, the service begins to look like an on-demand public transit service, instead of just a first mile last mile solution.
The smart routes works by showing users “smart routes” highlighted in green on the pickup selection map within the app. By selecting a pickup location along one of the routes, Uber gives users $1 dollar off the cost of the ride. The tradeoff is that the user may need to walk to a smart route location if they’re not already on it. It’s a cheaper ride for the user, but Uber drivers benefit too. Excerpt:
For drivers, Smart Routes allow for fewer time-wasting and gas-wasting detours. That means they can finish a set of UberPool rides quicker and pick up more fares, which earns them and Uber more money. In theory, getting riders to walk to Smart Routes would eventually let Uber profit, even after handing out discounts.
The smart routes feature ties into other experiments Uber is conducting, like its Perpetual Rides concept and Suggested Pick-Up Points. Uber’s competitor, Lyft, is also experimenting with similar ride arrangements.
So what’s the takeaway for public transit agencies on what appears — at least to me — to be the introduction of quite an appealing option for discretionary riders? Experiment and innovate. Unfortunately, it’s often tough for the typically risk-averse government agency to to do — a topic covered in this Wired article.
After the thwarted attack on a passenger train in France last week, the N.Y. Times looks at the vulnerability of train systems in the U.S., giving examples specifically from Amtrak and WMATA in Washington D.C. There’s really nothing new the story is reporting, other than that train systems in the U.S. — and even Europe — don’t have armed officers patrolling or checking bags at each station like we’ve come to expect with air travel. The article notes that the two most common reasons this level of security is never reached are cost and resistance from passengers.
However, the article also says that the TSA has made rail security a priority and has created special security teams to specifically patrol train hubs and stations. In L.A., the Los Angeles County Sheriffs are always on patrol at Union Station and along the Metro system.
The L.A. City Clerk’s office released the above video harkening back to the glory days of car travel. The video documents the opening of a 2.5 mile stretch of Highway 101 between downtown and Silver Lake as vehicles wait like corralled racehorses for their turn on the new freeway.
With wide open roads like that, I can’t blame them for being excited at the time. Too bad the region then decided to collectively put all of its transit eggs in one basket (which was probably in the bucket seat of a Chevy Impala).
Follow Joe on Twitter @joseph_lem.
Categories: Transportation News