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Archive for the ‘transit’ Category

Conor Friedersdorf has been reporting on Amtrak passengers getting the DEA shakedown:

“I found my backpack moved and open, and my wallet, which was set down on the room table, had $60 missing,” he said. “I told one of the dining car attendants that I felt Amtrak and the DEA violated my rights. She told me that Amtrak is forced to give passenger info to Feds, that the DEA comes on every trip, usually arresting someone in the sleeping car or taking all their money.”

[…]

Last year, the Associated Press reported that the DEA “paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers, which the DEA could have lawfully obtained for free through a law enforcement network.” (This was reportedly done so that the DEA could avoid sharing seized assets with Amtrak police, which hints at how lucrative such seizures are.)

The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request, to determine the scope of the problem.

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Kontroll (Hungary, 2003). Director: Nimród Antal

Filmed entirely in the Budapest Metro, this fictional(?) story follows the surreal exploits of a group of fare inspectors. Their leader is Bulcsú (Sándor Csányi), for whom the underground Metro is a kind of purgatory. He lives, sleeps, and works in the underground 24 hours a day. He is starting to go crazy, perhaps because everyone else around him is nuts too.

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Limousine Liberals

I hate limousine liberals:

If I were Ed Lee, I’d be keeping an eye out for former Mayor Dianne Feinstein, because she’s been keeping an eye on the city and is not happy about what she sees. I had dinner with the senator at North Beach Restaurant, and for all of her involvement in national and international issues, you would have thought the world ended at the bridges. She was laser-focused on San Francisco.

At the top of her concerns is the gridlocked traffic, which she experienced most recently when it took her and husband Dick Blum an inordinate amount of time to get across town after attending the funeral for Gov. Jerry Brown’s sister Cynthia Kelly at St. Cecilia Church in the Sunset.

I explained that Mayor Ed was trying to make the city more bicycle-friendly, which means fewer lanes for cars. Add in all the construction, and getting across town takes some effort.

Oh, for fuck’s sake! St. Cecilia Church is 2 blocks from a Muni “L” light rail stop.

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Boycott

Cummins, along with other large employers in Indiana, sent a letter to GOP leaders:

Nine of Indiana’s largest employers sent a letter to state GOP leaders Monday asking for immediate action on the controversial religious freedom law. The letter says the companies are “deeply concerned” about the impact the law is having on their employees and the reputation of the state.

Here in California (and probably elsewhere), transit agencies do a sizable business with Cummins. AC Transit, for example, uses Cummins engines in almost every one of its buses. It is not hard to imagine that transit districts will look at a Boycott Indiana policy in its purchasing contracts. Large transit agencies do bus fleet purchases every few years — and Cummins does have competitors that aren’t located in states with Sharia law.

In case there was any doubt about the intent of the Religious Freedom Law.

In case there was any doubt about the intent of the Religious Freedom Law.

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Jim Hartnett

The Caltrain Board Member who wanted to ban bikes entirely from trains and presided over the Board during its most dysfunctional years is now Caltrain’s new General Manager.

Oh, my.

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BART’s Solution to Auto Theft

A new police watchtower looms over the North Berkeley BART parking lot:

SkyWatch

If BART is that worried about auto burglaries, then perhaps they should eliminate the parking lot altogether and put desperately-needed housing there instead.

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ARTIC Disaster

Anaheim’s new ARTIC train station was built on the wrong side of the freeway, putting visitors further away from Disneyland. And whereas the old station had easy access to buses and parking, the new one forces passengers to walk long distances.

It is also a financial disaster:

The bulk of the $185 million ARTIC project cost was paid for by Orange County taxpayers with a special half-percent sales tax known as Measure M2.

But it’s Anaheim’s taxpayers that will shoulder the annual operating and maintenance expenses for ARTIC, which is several times over the cost to run train stations in other nearby cities.

For example, the Irvine train station saw 1,900 boardings a day in fiscal year 2013-14, according to city provided figures. That’s well over twice as many as ARTIC.

The cost to operate and maintain the Irvine train station annually is $485,000.

That cost for ARTIC is expected to be $4.7 million, nearly 10 times what it costs to run the Irvine station.

Oh, and rail ridership at Anaheim is down 32.2% over the past two years.

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