ART OF TRANSIT:
RIDER REQUEST DU JOUR:
The link in the tweet leads to an article about a city in Romania that gave free bus rides to book readers.
Cool idea overall, but how do we know if the riders are actually reading the books they bring on board? And could a middle-aged man bring a Berenstain Bears book to claim the free ride or does the book need to be commensurate to the rider’s reading level? So many questions…so many!
Now, on to the real news…
Just kidding. But the story is real. For those wondering how your feline friend can become a stationmaster, the criteria is quite strict…for a cat. Along with the ability to demonstrate “a relaxed attitude to working with people,” he or she must also display “a willingness to wear a hat.” Good luck with that one.
Read Metro’s response to the article here.
In a 9-6 vote, the L.A. City Council yesterday approved a policy that authorizes rideshare companies to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport. The vote makes L.A. the largest city in the U.S. to allow rideshare companies to legally operate at its airport.
Before they can begin to operate legally, the companies need to show they can provide the city specific data on their airport operations and finalize their agreements with the city. If all goes well, pickups could begin in as little as a few weeks.
Councilmembers voting against the policy voiced their concerns about the thoroughness of the background checks rideshare operators perform on new drivers — a discussion, the article suggests, that was largely sparked by taxi company lobbyists.
The City Council also voted to ask the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) — the state agency that oversees the regulation of transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber — to require fingerprinting as part of the required background checks for all for-hire drivers. The Council added an amendment to research whether the city would have the authority to legally require fingerprints if the CPUC failed to follow through on the request.
As was reported last month, Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, one of Metro’s busiest bus and rail stations, is slated for a $39 million overhaul beginning next year. This article doesn’t mince words, saying the station in its current state is far from what should be expected system’s fourth busiest station and one that serves as a “transit lifeline” for the surrounding community.
The author is optimistic that the station renovations — which include better lighting, new canopies, improved way-finding, upgraded station infrastructure such as escalators and stairs, and an increased community law enforcement presence — will make the station safer and easier to navigate.
Fundraising campaign launched for Angels Flight (L.A. Business Journal)
The latest effort to keep the troubled Angels Flight from becoming a permanent thing of the past. Adele Yellin, the owner of Grand Central Market located across street from the world’s shortest funicular, has launched a campaign to raise $10,000 for the historic railway. If that amount can be raised by the end of the month, a foundation in Beverly Hills has pledged to match that amount.
Last month a petition reinvigorated public support for Angels Flight and brought it to the attention of Mayor Garcetti and the Metro Board.
KPCC delves into a topic we have covered in this space before: how technology might bring carpooling back.
The number of carpoolers today is less than 10 percent of daily commuters, compared to nearly 20 percent in the 1980s. There are multiple theories on why this is, but here’s one proposed in the story:
Working conditions are also less conducive to carpooling than they used to be. The decline in manufacturing and dispersion of many large companies into smaller, more spread out employment centers makes it harder for co-workers to stay on the same route and schedule. More employees telecommute or shift their hours.
So how might carpooling make its comeback? If the popularity of UberPool and Lyft Line are any indication, people appears to be more willing than ever to share a ride with strangers. If that barrier to entry is diminished, carpool services could utilize similar ride sharing technology and cater to the more dynamic daily schedules of its passengers. There are already a few start ups trying to make it happen.
Quasi-transit related: if you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when trucks don’t clear bridges, look no further than the East Street Bridge in Westwood, Massachusetts. According to CityLab, the bridge has been wreaking havoc on the tops of delivery and moving trucks since the 1980s. The most recent truck hit occurred just last week.
Thanks to the power of the internet, many of the recent bridge strikes are posted on YouTube. The most recent one is below, but the article (and the YouTube autoplay feature) will show you more. Be warned: the hits are violent, but it appears no one is seriously injured.
Why this bridge hasn’t yet been redesigned and rebuilt for the sake of public safety, the article doesn’t say.
In L.A. County, Metro often provides funding to improve the safety of freight and passenger railroad crossings. However, to my knowledge, low clearances were never an issue. These projects usually involve building an entirely new bridge to eliminate the possibility of auto vs. train collisions and reduce congestion.
Joe is on Twitter @joseph_lem.
Categories: Transportation Headlines