Transit News Digest 2.9.09

Not that Muni Diaries would ever dissuade anyone from using buses and trains in the city, but this report from the Chronicle‘s Rachel Gordon, of how several perhaps-more-vital city agencies are pilfering SFMTA, doesn’t paint a pretty picture for our beloved/maligned Muni. Greg at N-Judah Chronicles shares his take, in no uncertain terms, on the goings on over at McAllister and Van Ness.

This whole “economy” thing is bad, folks. We wouldn’t bemoan riding a bike or walking. Just, er, look both ways if you do, as there were two cases of a Muni train not hearing the thunderous sound of an approaching pedestrian and striking them as recently as yesterday. The Examiner reports the other incident, in which a ped got smacked at Fifth and Market. Apparently one of these two incidents involved life-threatening injuries, though it’s unclear which. Yikes.

Speaking of, and this comes to us a little late, the MTA board last week approved “$1.8 million to settle a dozen claims involving collisions with cars, a slip and fall, and doors shutting on a passenger.” Maybe after this weekend, that tally will inch up a bit.

Late Friday, ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle was released on bail, to celebratory cheers all around, I’m sure. The Examiner has thrown its pennies in the pot (though not quite $0.02, we’d estimate), with an editorial on how truly stinky BART’s “investigation” and subsequent decision to farm that work out is.

If you’ve got something burning in your loins that you feel our readers should know of, please, let it out. The story, we mean. Call us, call us, any, anytime …

Transit News Digest 2.6.09 (Update)

Update: More bad news for BART, as a train apparently struck an object on the tracks in the Transbay Tube and had to be evacuated. BART is claiming no injuries, but we’ll wait for this one to shake out a little.

Original post: SFGate brings us an update on the BART train collision from earier in the week. Apparently, human error was more than just partially to blame. And the Examiner’s John Upton brings us news of that other BART tragedy of late, as some of Oscar Grant’s fellow passengers are filing a $1.5 million claim against the agency.

BeyondChron informs us of the star-studded (or is it dudded?) National Biodiesel Board Conference, taking place in the city this week at Moscone. This is perhaps only marginally transit-related, as BC points out that S.F. is home to one of the largest fleets of public biodiesel vehicles, including many of Muni’s coaches.

TPM’s Elana Schor looks into competing schemes to bring real stimulus to public-transit projects nationwide.

Got more transit news? Muni stories of your own? As always, let us know!

Don’t be this guy. Ever.

It’s really too bad that BART nixed its whole “Who’s the biggest asshole on BART” contest, or whatever it was, because this guy could be a contender.

He was on a super-crowded SFO Airport-bound train, not only hogging both halves of the disabled seat but pretending to be asleep so nobody could oust him. How do I know he was pretending? He did finally relinquish half the seat when a woman asked him to, and she didn’t have to wake him up to get the job done.

Seriously, people. If you sit down in one of these seats, and you are not disabled, elderly, pregnant, etc., it is not yours to keep. It’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for the folks who DO need these seats, and to make sure you give it up if someone needier boards the train. In fact, it’s against the law NOT to.

Looks like I’m not the only one peeved about this.

— Beth W.

Transit-News Digest 2.3.09

Bad news on BART tonight, as two trains collide beneath downtown Oakland. Reports of minor injuries and 15-minute delays systemwide.

The agency today announces that a third-party vendor will provide wifi on its entire system, a welcome addition. Now, if wifi weren’t such an iPhone-battery-killer. And in other press-release news, the agency announces ways in which it aims to deal with budget cuts.

Meanwhile, KPIX reports on the latest from the Oscar Grant hearings, in which a BART cop’s lawyer claims his client was provoked shortly before another officer shot and killed Grant.

Greg from N-Judah Chronicles does his civic duty by announcing an open invitation from Assemblymember Tom Ammiano to drop by and discuss budget matters at Ammiano’s downtown SF office.

On the stimulus front, now that the bill is in the more-esteemed chamber of Congress, surely it’s about to become more intelligent where mass transit is concerned, right? Wrong.

Ahead of today’s vote on an amendment prescribing transit-infrastructure spending in the bill, TPM’s Elana Schor analyzes what the bill would and wouldn’t do. Shortly after the amendment’s defeat, Schor comes back with a few nay-saying senators‘ forked-tongue responses, including a Democrat who voted “No.”

And finally, because we need a little humor as it appears that No We Can’t, we thought we’d throw this gem from Jason Linkins at Huffington Post. Apparently, our war-criminal ex-secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had a little trouble boarding a bus in Washington, D.C. Join the crowd, Rummy.

Transit-News Digest 1.27.09

It’s been a busy few days, mostly with up-and-down news concerning transit budgets. Greg at N Judah pointed to a possible sign of hope amongst the doom and gloom of DC/Sacto cuts to Muni, while on the national level, TPM, Transit for America, and Matt Yglesias all discussed the cutbacks mass transit is suffering as the so-called stimulus bill keeps getting watered down in Congress.

KPIX and SFist continued their coverage of the fallout from last month’s BART Police fatal shooting, including some new footage of the Fruitvale incident.

And finally, in our favorite local transit-drama story of the week (so far), we have reports of Mayor Newsom in France extolling the virtues of high-speed rail (yes, yes, we’ve been saying so all along), then comes news that Newsom has ordered a temporary halt of the Transbay Terminal (which would serve as the terminus for said high-speed rail) construction project. And conveniently for us, Greg from N-Judah tars and feathers Newsom for giving French high-speed rail a stroke while virtually ignoring Muni here at home. Come to think of it, can San Francisco even be called the governor’s mayor’s home any more?

As always, if you’ve got more news from the past three or four days that should be mentioned here, let us know.

Transit-News Digest

Welcome to the first of what we (who have day jobs) hope will be a semi-regular feature on Muni Diaries: The Transit-News Digest. The aim is to compile these lists every few days or so. Yes, some of these stories have been commented on already on the site, but for what it’s worth …

And as always, let us know if you have news we missed!

Construction affecting 31BX, 38, 43, Jan. 26-Feb. 16, 2009

Riders will pay for BART budget deficit

Regarded criminal attorney to defend ex-BART cop

Fare evaders beware — no cuts planned to Muni inspectors

Muni pares back service on new CultureBus line

Music’s over for Muni station’s future as jazz club

S.F. Insider: Commuter benefits law in effect

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