Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May tidbits: BART and more

BART - Transit system of the 60s

Last Thursday, with all the good reasons to use public transportation (Bike to Work Day and Spare the Air Day), BART failed to deliver with systemwide delays of 45 minutes. BART blamed the delay on old equipment that couldn't stand the heat. The delay wasn't limited to the original system built over 35 years ago. It also impacted the overpriced SFO extension which was opened five years ago. Should VTA spend billions on a transit system that can't stand the heat?

AC Transit joins Google Transit

With AC Transit on the Google Transit, along with VTA, Caltrain, BART and Muni, you could plan a trip on transit from West Valley College in Saratoga to Ohlone College in Fremont. Unfortunately it takes several transfers to complete the trip.

Megabus leaving California

Citing that ridership didn't grow as fast as anticipated, Megabus will discontinue service on California in June. The company, however, is expanding service to the East Coast, which is a very competitive market with a number of large and small intercity bus operators.

With less than a year in operation, Megabus has yet establish familiarity despite the fact that it received a lot of positive reviews from its riders. Perhaps Megabus simply doesn't have the patience to develop the California market. Other services such as Capitol Corridor and Highway 17 Express has seen ridership increases year after year partly because of their willingness to sustain the service and establish the identity, rather than quitting when riders in California don't come in as fast as they do in New York.

Because of that, public operators had to come in to fill the gap left by private operators in certain corridors. Before the establishment of Monterey-Salinas Transit line 55 in 2006, which goes from downtown Monterey to downtown San Jose, there was no Greyhound or Amtrak feeder bus service between these two cities for over a year. A new law was required for MST to provide the service with funding from the state (for Amtrak feeder service). The private operators fought tooth and nail against it, even though they were unwilling to provide a service that MST wanted to do.

There are still options for bus travel between the South Bay and Southern California without Megabus:
Greyhound - Depot in downtown San Jose
USAsia - Cupertino to Monterey Park
Xe Do Hoang - San Jose to LA

What will be missing is the $1 fare on some seats.


Anonymous said...

Caltrain was also delayed half an hour, saying they can't run trains over 60 mph in the heat http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/38473
Cars kept on going the same speed, looks like all the transit projects you support are useless.

accountablevta said...

The speed warning on Caltrain was issued because of the concern that extreme heat could cause the rails to buckle due to heat expansion. All rail systems are affected.

Delay on BART was more than concerns about rail buckling, but rather things malfunctioning because of the heat. Caltrain operating at 60 mph still beats BART trains stopping inside tunnels. I was on BART at that time.

Anonymous said...

caltrain, bart, light rail... overheating track, overheating control equipment, struck pedestrians, derailed trains... delays are delays, they're all the same.

Alan Brown said...

I took Megabus down to Los Angeles on the weekend they announced that they were going to pull out of the west coast. It's a shame, because I found the service to be quite reasonable - even with the problem of an overheated bus (they needed a replacement bus out in Buttonwillow, but they had one within an hour). Maybe I'll try the Vietnamese bus the next time I head south.