Friday, October 1, 2010

News Update

There is a great article in the Victoria Time-Colonist called "Driving transit into the future". It talks about how to improve the fare box recovery ratio for BC Transit by making transit more accessible and by pricing car travel.
It doesn't matter whether you ever use transit, you're paying for it. And you might be paying far more than you realize -- about 77 per cent of the cost of keeping those buses on the road.

And that, as B.C. Transit CEO Manuel Achadinha says, needs to change.

Make buses faster than cars. Buses already have priority lanes and the right of way when they are pulling away from stops -- but how about a bus-only flyover at McKenzie and the Trans-Canada Highway? Or dedicated lanes so buses could breeze past cars?

We could also consider parking taxes, which could raise money for transit while encouraging people to leave their vehicles behind. It would only work, however, if it reduces the number of cars downtown; if it simply becomes another way to subsidize transit, it would miss its mark.
Meanwhile in Toronto, the Tornto Transit Commission is having a showdown with the province over what type of fare system to have: an open fare system that would accept debt and credit cards as fare media that could be used a pay-as-go or as passes, or the province's $250 million Presto smart card system. According to the Toronto Star:
Open fare payment versus smart card has been a point of contention between the TTC and province. Under open payment a rider pays with a credit or debit card or cell phone and the cost of managing fare collections would go to an outside provider that would make money on the transaction fees.

A smart card system requires riders to “load” the card with money and the fare is deducted when the card is scanned.

So fare the province has committed $250 million to developing the Presto smart card for all nine regional transit providers, including the TTC. The TTC is considered essential to Presto’s success because Toronto provides 85 per cent of the transit trips in the region. But as the largest system the TTC is concerned about paying for the Presto system.
On a side note, the Chicago Transit Authority is moving to an open fare system.

Finally in Seattle, Metro Transit will be adding a slew of express bus services according to Crosscut:
On Saturday, Metro fires up its long-awaited entry into a form of service that has proliferated, really, across the globe: bus rapid transit. On Rapid Ride Line A, 16 new buses will run almost a hundred times a day in each direction on Pacific Avenue South between Federal Way and Tukwila, connecting a string of big transit destinations, including, for example, Highline Community College and Sea-Tac Airport.

There are five more Rapid Ride lines to follow.

No comments: