Recent transit news of note

In Seattle:

• 2006 was a year of record ridership for Metro. The current estimate: 103.2 million passenger boardings. I’m guessing Bus Nerd and I account for about 10% of those. Kidding! (sort of)

The article also explains how Metro counts riders:

The most precise method of counting ridership involves the use of Automated Passenger Counters (APC) that are on about 15 percent of Metro buses at any given time. Most of these are floor mats that rest on the steps inside each door of the bus, and count the number of times people board and deboard. The APC-equipped coaches are rotated throughout Metro’s system, so that each route and each individual trip on that route is counted several times a year.

I always thought it was that beep you hear when you pay. (The bus driver presses a some kind of button that makes the same beep when folks show a pass.)

• Sound Transit’s board has released initial recommendations for the East Link route. They’ve identified several possible alternatives for stations and maintenance facilities, which will be included in the “conceptual engineering” phase of planning. Look for a draft environmental impact statement sometime in 2008.

Flexcar has a new pricing model. One of the coolest changes: Every vehicle will now have a “day rate,” a flat rental fee for any 24-hour period (midnight to midnight). I don’t think the details are on the website yet, but the changes (which, they’re calling Flexcar 2.0) take effect on February 1st.


• The Allegheny County Port Authority announced drastic cuts to transit service in the Pittsburgh metro area:

Authority staff has recommended eliminating 124 of 213 weekday bus routes starting June 24, thereby reducing the daily hours of service by 25 percent, to address an estimated $75 million to $80 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Similar cuts are in store for weekends and holidays, although no service changes are planned for the authority’s nationally recognized ACCESS paratransit system serving people with special needs.
Did I mention they’re also increasing fares?

Riders in Pittsburgh are understandably dismayed.

• Richard Bernstein, a Detroit lawyer who sued the city over inoperable wheelchair lifts, was recently featured on CNN. Viewers of Anderson Cooper’s “Keeping Them Honest” segment selected him as a top watchdog. Said Bernstein, “”It’s something I will never forget. I guess the voters realized that public transportation is vital for people’s lives and independence.”