SF Transit boss catches heat for Muni Metro rush hour breakdown

By Rachel Swan : masstransitmag – excerpt

Feb. 06–A switch failure that caused major Muni Metro delays Tuesday morning drew a scalding rebuke from the chair of San Francisco’s transit board, who said it pointed to larger problems with the bus and rail system.

“I have to say this isn’t acceptable,” Chairman Malcolm Heinicke said during Tuesday’s board meeting. Heinicke said that malfunctioning switches have been an issue at Muni for years. He noted that the city’s transportation chief, Ed Reiskin, formed a rapid response team to handle them — which apparently didn’t work…

Reiskin blamed “staffing and communication issues” for preventing Muni from fixing the broken switch more quickly. Normally the San Francisco Transportation Agency keeps two staff members at the switch near Church Street and Duboce Avenue, and another two at the tunnel near Embarcadero Station. But on Tuesday morning only three workers showed up at Embarcadero, and no one was stationed at Church and Duboce… (more)

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Lack of parking drives many away from mass transit

Lack of parking drives many away from mass transit

B : latimes – excerpt

Los Angeles County has funneled billions of dollars over the last two decades into new rail lines to lure commuters out of their cars and off the region’s overcrowded freeways. But many would-be train riders are struggling with how to start.

One of the biggest barriers to attracting new riders to Metropolitan Transportation Authority trains is not the price of fares or the frequency of service. It’s the lack of parking…

Half of Metro’s 80 rail stations have no parking. And at the stops where there are spaces, riders frequently complain that there aren’t nearly enough. In North Hollywood, where the Red Line subway ends, the MTA estimates that it loses as many as 1,500 riders a day because the parking lot fills up by 7:30 a.m…

Scott’s daily dilemma illustrates an often overlooked but significant choke point in the ambitious growth of L.A.’s light-rail system. Metro’s six-line network, which has seen steady ridership gains over the last five years, now carries about 350,000 people on work days. Parking shortages could complicate Metro’s goal of shifting hundreds of thousands more drivers to public transit in coming decades.

Planners say it’s impractical, perhaps impossible, to build enough free parking. Train station lots have low turnover because most commuters leave their cars all day. To meet demand, Metro lots would have to sprawl far beyond the station—or, in dense urban areas, rise several stories.

Studies from several U.S. cities show a direct link between parking and ridership, suggesting that full lots discourage some people from riding the train. But limited land availability and high construction costs constrict Metro’s ability to add spaces…

Northern California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system faces similar questions. A recent study there estimated a dozen new above-ground parking garages in Oakland, Berkeley and nearby suburbs would cost nearly $250 million to build—about $36,000 per space…  (more)

 

San Francisco Residents May Vote On A Nonbinding Referendum For A “Balance Transportation Policy” That Protects Interests Of Drivers

 By Phil Matier : kcbslocal – excerpt – recording

Phil Matier reports on the Restore Transportation Balance initiative on the November ballot  and the growing opposition to the taking of our public streets by anti-car agencies and minority organizations… (more)

Tax Credits for mass transit set to expire

By : huffingtonpost – excpert

With a little help from Congress, commuters relying on mass transit to get to work could lose a significant chunk of change next year.
Starting on Jan. 1, the federal commuter tax benefit will drop from $245 to $130 per month. According to a Friday Washington Post report, that could cost some regular users almost $1,000 in 2014.
While mass transit riders are facing reduced benefits, the same can’t be said for drivers. The Post noted that commuter parking tax benefits will rise from $245 to $250 per month.
“This is the biggest disparity between the two components of the commuter benefit that we have ever seen,” Natasha Rankin, executive director of the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, told the paper. “For those who rely on mass transit, where you also have increasing costs, this is a double hit.”… (more)

Transit credits expire while local fares increase, and Muni plans to request an additional $3 billion in November. Voters may vote for a shift in priorities instead.

RELATED:
New Year Brings Bay Area Transit Fare Increases   
Bay Area Commuter Check Benefits To Be Slashed In 2014

Inequality and Mass Transit in the Bay Area

Ellen Cushing : East Bay Express – excerpt

Inspired by the New Yorker’s recent interactive feature on income inequality as mapped by the city’s subway system, a couple of local developers, Michael Belfrage and Dan Grover, made their own version by plotting BART, MUNI, and CalTrain stops against the median income for the census tract in which they’re cointained… (more, including the chart)

RELATED:
Index of interactive charts