Friday, August 7, 2009

Light Reading

Here are some light rail stories from around the Net. First up is some news about Seattle's new Link light rail system's ridership and the honour system (which our Province is doing away with on SkyTrain).
"Two out of three times on the train today I got checked for my ticket. And that's a good thing," said Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, which sets industry standards and lobbies for transit agencies in Washington, D.C.

"That shows they're paying attention to their revenue base and that's important. You want people to get used to how the proof of payment system works, and you really haven't had that here before. There were clearly some people who had questions about how things work."

"There are several rules of thumb, but usually after about six months, you'll have about half of what you'll ever have," Millar said. "And after about a year-and-a-half – unless you have big change in levels of service or land use – you'll probably have what you're ever going to have."
Meanwhile Baltimore, Maryland, with regional population of 2,668,056, has decided that light rail is the future of public transit.
Earlier this week, and after seven years of working with citizens, community groups, transit advocates, Mayor Sheila Dixon and County Executive James T. Smith Jr., we announced the preferred alternative for Baltimore's Red Line. Consistent with our statewide vision for transportation that includes new roads and mass transit, together we are taking the next step to build a 14-mile east-west light rail system stretching from Woodlawn and Security Square Mall in the west, through downtown Baltimore to Canton and the Bayview Hospital complex to the east.
Finally, Kansas City is looking for $60 million US in funding to build a starter streetcar line.
There is no bigger fan of modern, American-made streetcars than U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who most likely will have a say in approving Kansas City’s upcoming application for a $60 million TIGER grant to pay 100 percent of the cost of a two-mile starter streetcar line from River Market to Union Station.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a group of workers so proud of what they’ve built together,” LaHood said in an early July visit to Portland, Oregon, which has a streetcar-based transit system and is also the home base of Oregon Iron Works, builder of the sleek United Streetcar model that so impressed LaHood.

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