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Archive for the ‘transit’ Category

On April 5th, the Santiago Metro ridership was an impressive 2,932,210 trips — a new record. The coming years will greater ridership as three new lines are added, bringing network length to 300km. Some excerpts from an interview with Louis de Grange, who manages the system:

Its been a good year. We beat the record of passengers transported, with 2.9 million users in one day. In addition, the failure rate of the rolling stock was among the lowest since there are records and we have a very good valuation of the service among the users. The company is in a very good condition. I think that the announcements of lines 8 and 9 were an accolade and great news for seven million people. Thus, I believe that the new transport system will be based on Metro, which is a significant turning point for the city and for the vision that exists in this area.

Metro covers, with the revenues coming from the technical tariff, its operational costs and, in addition, finances 30% of the new projects. The remaining 70% of the works is financed with state resources. The company also requires a flow of resources for current projects and therefore must go out to borrow with bonds to the market, both in Chile and abroad. That’s clear. This company has an extraordinary risk rating. It must be clearly stated that the cost per kilometer of each route amounts to around US $ 100 million.

Could a service be concessioned?

Metro projects are cheaper if we do them, because of the experience we have for decades. We are more efficient than any other private building. The expertise we have allows us to build and operate at a lower cost. Therefore, we do not think of a concession for this type of initiatives.

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SF Muni fixes seat height

As noted earlier, seats in the new BART trains are uncomfortably high. SF Muni made the same mistake with their new light-rail trains, but at least they have now corrected the problem:

Design changes will come to the next batch of trains based on passenger feedback Muni has received since the arrival of the new trains. The transit agency plans to lower the seats by two inches, including on trains that have already arrived, and also provide different lengths of hand straps and an archway handhold in the middle of the train.

BART really needs to fix this as well.

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Oh Canada

Good to know that the US is not the only country in North America building train stations as giant park-and-ride lots:

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This will be the Place d’Orleans LRT station in Ottawa, as part of an ambitious $4.6 billion CAD expansion project. The westward and eastward extensions will be largely in a freeway median with park-and-ride lots. Further west is Moodie station, which will have connecting BRT:

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Looks pleasant, doesn’t it?

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In its first full year of operation, the TGV extension to Bordeaux has been quite successful. SNCF is now looking at expanding the service to Belgium and perhaps even to London:

A new report on the Paris-Bordeaux high-speed train line has confirmed that 25% of the line’s traffic now comes from SNCF’s low-cost TGV (train à grande vitesse) service, Ouigo; and that the number of passengers was higher than initial estimates had predicted (3.7 million in 2018, compared to the 3.5 million estimated).

It is 18 months since the line, which is operated by concessionary group Liséa, was launched, offering journey times of just two hours and four minutes between Bordeaux and Paris.

TGV use in France has also grown by 15% over the same time, SNCF said.

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Amtrak wants to replace its ancient Amfleet cars:

Amtrak has released a Request for Proposals today, for a new fleet of single-level passenger rail vehicles to replace Amfleet I cars, providing new equipment with contemporary rail amenities to better serve Amtrak customers. Amfleet I cars are used primarily on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and adjacent State Corridor routes. The new trainsets will replace Amtrak’s fleet of 470 Amfleet I and ex-Metroliner railcars. Amfleet I railcars are over 40 years of age, while Amtrak’s fleet of ex-Metroliner equipment entered service 50 years ago

The new railcars and trainsets will include all necessary equipment for Positive Train Control technology and meet recently updated federal Tier I safety standards for equipment operating at speeds of up to 125 MPH.

Now that the FRA has modernized regulations to permit the use of light-weight, off-the-shelf designs — will Amtrak take advantage of the new rules? Or will it turn into another procurement fiasco?

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In all seriousness, this is a real problem with faregates. They can cause injury, especially to young kids who may not know when to proceed through gate. My son’s first visit to BART ended badly when a faregate smashed him in the head.

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Priorities

Biking to the new Antioch BART station is nerve wracking, to say the least. The streets are designed for very high-speed car travel. So if transportation agencies have $16 million to spend on improving access to the station, where should it go? To parking of course:

Wright called the Hillcrest Slatten Ranch intersection near the eBART entrance “a death trap” for cyclists and urged officials to figure out a solution.

“I have been saying that for two years,” he said. “How do we get together (and solve the problem) before we have a cyclist that gets killed? We should be proactive in fixing it.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno also said he is concerned about traffic, noting more development will be coming in the near vicinity.

“It’s encouraging that we are going to be able to see some more parking, but one of my biggest concerns is traffic and accessibility to that area.”

[BART Director] Keller said BART officials will look to see if better eBART access exists for cyclists in the area and report back to the city within 90 days.

So BART will “study” the bike access issue and report back..well that’s great. It should be noted that two-thirds of riders don’t drive to the station. The drivers are an entitled minority here.

And it’s not just bike/ped access. Keller says parking takes priority over new railcars:

Keller added that once parking is taken care of, BART will be working on purchasing additional cars to assist in overcrowding on trains.

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