Transit News Digest 3.10.09 (Update)

Silly me, posting a news digest before 1 p.m.

Update: Just learned that BART directors will a presentation Thursday (March 12) on the agency’s Fiscal Year 2010, assuming it will have one. It expects a $49.3 million deficit next year.

Original post: Earlier today, Greg Dewar posted a quick hit asking for details on a Muni slowdown. Good luck getting that, Greg. If you, dear reader, know of anything, let us know here or on Twitter, or drop Greg a line.

On Monday, SFGate reported another jump in public transit ridership, with 2008’s numbers constituting a 52-year high. It’s great news, but here in San Francisco, as in many other parts of the country, budget deficits compounded by the spiraling economy are forcing fare hikes and cuts in funding. The country is truly a shambles right now economically, but it’s at least encouraging that more and more people realize that public transit, while full of its share of problems, nearly always beats driving. (thx: Rescue Muni)

Nascent online-news site SFAppeal catches us up on just how badly the budget numbers will impact plans for the Central/Chinatown Subway project. It doesn’t look good.

Per that report last week that Muni managed to boost its on-time rates, The Examiner has a theory as to how it happened — discipline from on high. We’d sure like to see a Muni driver slapped on the wrist with a ruler next time he or she starts a route early.

In perhaps more familiar news, a suit has been filed against the BART extension into Fremont. We didn’t realize the backyards over there were so precious. Turns out the group crying foul comprises former BART directors and the Transportation Solutions and Education Fund, so perhaps it’s got merit. They claim the extension is an illegal expenditure of public funds, basically because the rest of the extension into Santa Clara County hasn’t yet found funding. To our minds, this is like saying, “Don’t eat breakfast if you haven’t yet found a way to pay for lunch.”

Oh, and be wary until about 4 p.m., as Muni is advising of delays in downtown San Francisco due to a demonstration.

And to leave you on a high note, SFist spreads word of a TransLink party along Market on March 22. Sounds deliciously deviant and painfully fun.

If you’ve got news tips or stories you’re dying to tell, let us know. And Happy Tuesday!

Transit News Digest 3.6.09

opossumThe Examiner reports on Nathaniel Ford’s stating of the obvious: that service will suffer due to a deteriorating fleet of buses and trains if millions aren’t found in funding to shore up the vehicles. Millions as in more the $680 of them. $680 million. In this economy?

The non-Chronicle, soon-to-be biggest daily in town also reported on Muni’s hiring of a new safety head. As rnaglejr responded when we echoed the news over on our Twitter feed, “yeah, well, what about the reliability chief? Still waiting on that hire.” So are we, Rob.

ABC and others tell us that yesterday’s Fruit(less)vale BART station protest was largely uneventful. Oh well, we’re sure there will more attempt to make the innocent suffer with BART delays and station shutdowns to come.

And we leave you to the weekend with this week’s humorous and tragic monkey business, as an opossum apparently caused major BART fuckery on Tuesday. Ouch.

If you’ve got news tips for Muni Diaires, or, you know, Muni diaries, send them our way. Or follow our Twitter feed for more immediate BART and Muni news. Have a great weekend!

3 Things I Love About My Morning Commute

1. The Wave-Hello Guy. If you walk to BART on 16th Street around 8:30 a.m., you’re likely to pass him. He’s always smiling wide and waving hello to everyone who crosses his path. I assume he is going to Creativity Explored, but really I have no idea. He’s a white guy, probably in his late thirties, balding with a black backpack. He gets really happy if you say hello and wave back. It’s a great feeling. Today when I waved back, he gestured for a high five, and I gave him one. Maybe it was silly, but I couldn’t help smiling as I walked on.

2. The silence. I love being surrounded by people who are all in the same quiet state. There’s a sense of togetherness and peace. (Yoga might be getting to me). But really, as long as it’s not crazy-crowded like getting on a train at Church and Market, it’s nice to sit among strangers and just be quiet for little bit before the bustling of the day starts. It’s a moment of pause. Some people read, others think and daydream, and some even dose off — which to me is also a sign of feeling safe in your surroundings.

Read more

Arm cast = disabled?

Some of our most popular stories center on the issue of being disabled — whether you’re blind, pregnant, or elderly — and how the rest of us iPod-wearing, briefcase-toting zombie commuters could stand to … stand on a crowded BART or Muni bus.

In some cases, being oblivious to a pregnant lady will get you tripped on a bus. In other cases, being this guy on a crowded BART train will get certain pregnant contributors to this website to shame you and your seat-hogging ass.

In still other cases, some people don’t need seats, but will insist that they do.

Read more

Transit News Digest 2.12.09

From The Atlantic‘s Politics blog, Marc Ambinder has a breakdown of stimulus spending numbers, including $8.4 billion for pubtran and $9.3 for rail. Nice work, senators and representatives.

TPM’s Elana Schor has some blind love for Joe Biden, whom she credits for re-jacking up the final pubtran amount in the stimulus bill that’s inching its way toward the desk of President Obama (that still sounds sweet on the ears).

Closer to home, Streetsblog sums up Wednesday’s MTC meeting, during which a preliminary allocation of stimulus transportation funds was sketched out. SFMTA’s portion of the pie looks pretty darn good to us.

Greg Dewar offers a quick hit on a story about the makers of those spiffy Muni Metro cars.

And the crack team at ABC7 has a report, from today, of a group of protesters who’ve taken over a BART board meeting. Things is ugly over there.

Please let us know what we missed …

Transit News Digest 2.11.09

Rescue Muni discusses an SFMTA proposal to change the way things are done on Hayes Street. Seems like a “too little, too late” solution to this one-way street lover. Our own Tara will be back tomorrow with a Muni Diaries take on the proposal.

ABC 7 has more on one of the peds struck by Muni on Sunday. Turns out the victim was a former Oakland Tribune reporter.

Apparently some aren’t happy that only Johannes Mehserle is being charged in the death of Oscar Grant, and they’re calling for a wider prosecution net to be cast.

BeyondChron looks at how federal stimulus dollars may (or may not) reach Muni. Now is a good time to be in the know, you guys. And in other at least semi-economic news, The Examiner‘s Brent Begin has a story about how Muni is getting the shaft on the vehicles it uses to get to its own emergencies (and these days, there’s plenty of those to go around).

On the lighter side of things (something Muni Diaries believes we can’t get enough of these troubling days), N-Judah Chronicle’s Greg relays a pretty funny story on the N of yesteryear.

Happy riding. Talk to us!

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