Blue Sky/Off-peak express

Blue Sky

In this era of cost consciousness, perhaps we need to re-think the level of 24/7 service provided here in New York.

There is a tendency to drop express service during off-peak hours in favor of local trains that make every, freaking, annoying, time consuming stop on the route, expending much time, money and energy in the process, not to mention interfering with routine maintenance and upkeep work.

So why not switch formats and go for off-peak express? Sure you’ll lose the near door-to-door convenience of local stops, but you may gain substantial ridership and simultaniously reduce operating costs.

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Citizen’s Transit Watch

The citizen’s transit watch isn’t about watching suspicious bus riders–it’s about watching the use of taxpayer funds on transit.

Good transit is worth investing in—it’s good for the environment, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the region, and it’s good for the nation.  But it’s a multi-million dollar investment that must be watched.  The MTA has made leaps and bounds towards transparency, is now headed by a CEO that regularly rides the system, and is all the better for it.

The question is, what goes on outside the MTA?  Dozens of state and local transit agencies, also operate in the greater New York metro region, mostly in the ‘burbs, but are large enough to have a substantial impact on our lives and pocketbooks.  So you dear citizen, ask your local state, county, or town officials:  How often do local transit administrators ride their own system?  How often do the elected officials ultimately in charge of the system ride their own buses?  How much transparency is in their in the budgeting process?

Who operates the local transit service, and why?  Operations often get farmed out to private, for-profit bus operators.  On the surface, this is a good model for public-private partnership, but in reality they can become the worst of both worlds:  A highly subsidized corporation that puts profit first, but operates off a long-term no bid contract, with no incentive to either operate efficiently or provide quality transit service to it’s riders.

Much of the arrangements are stealth, with an apparently publicly owned bus operated by a private contractor or an apparently private contractor that’s taking in large operating subsidies.  (Some companies, such as the European based multi-national conglomerate Coach USA, even do both)  So good citizens, follows the buses, follow the money, follow the contracts, and be sure to report back on what you find.

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Why tax and spend, when you can borrow and spend?

Why tax and spend, when you can borrow and spend?

It’s a sorta, kinda responsible vision of transportation funding:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/nyregion/07christie.html?ref=nyregion

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The great ones

This is a blog about moving it.  Moving it on the dance floor, moving it on the streets, moving it on the rails, and shaking it on the bike path.  (Okay, less about the dance floor and more on the other stuff)

So we’ll start with the great ones, the transportation pros who have managed to do the most whilst in charge of New York City traffic.

1) Henry Barnes.  The original traffic-meister of New York City, and sparer with Robert Moses.  (Go on traffic geeks, I dare you to find a vintage copy of “The man with the red and green eyes” )

2) “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz.  Not just a brilliant transportation man, but a famous writer to boot.

3) Janette Sadik-Khan.  Arguably the first great transportation guru-in-charge of the streets of New York City in quite a few decades.

This is a brand new effort, but I’d love to hear from all y’all with your thoughts and comments.

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Hello world!

First post.  Move it mofos!

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