ATLANTA, GA - The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has arrested 536 fare evaders during a recent six-week crackdown, the agency announced late last week. Over the past six weeks, plainclothes officers have actively monitored fare gates across MARTA's 38 rail stations for riders hopping on board without paying. The effort led to hundreds of arrests and suspensions from the agency's system, MARTA officials said in a press release.
MARTA Oakland City Station
Individuals arrested for fare evasion automatically receive a 60-day suspension from using MARTA's bus and rail services. If a fare evader is arrested and fails to produce valid identification, the suspect is then lodged in jail.
"We take fare evasion extremely seriously and will continue to work to ensure the safety and security for all of our customers," said MARTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Keith Parker. "Every year, transit authorities across the nation lose millions of dollars in revenue due to fare evaders. We are actively working to curb this behavior through the efforts of our Fare Evasion Task Force."
MARTA's police department this year developed the task force. The evasion crackdown is part of MARTA's "Ride with Respect" initiative, which focuses on passenger safety and the agency's customer code of conduct.
EL PASO, TX - The former international streetcar line with its ex-San Diego PCC cars ended service in 1973. That ending was brought about largely because Mexican authorities felt that the streetcar was bringing too many of its citizens into the US to shop and work and too few U.S. citizens were reciprocating.
Here we are in 2017, 44 years later, and some of those same streetcars will soon be running in El Paso again. These will be El Paso's version of Philadelphia's PCC-IIs as the only thing PCC about these cars will be the car body.
The six cars will be painted in some of the various paint schemes used by the cars over the years in El Paso.
The 4.8 mile system will consist of two loops, all single track. The Downtown clockwise loop will run on Franklin Avenue, Kansas Street, Father Rahm Avenue and Santa Fe Street. The Uptown counterclockwise loop will run also on Franklin Avenue, Stanton Street, Baltimore Avenue, Glory Road and Oregon Street. the Uptown Loop connects downtown El Paso with the University of Texas At El Paso (UTEP). This is a winning combination already proven at Tucson, AZ.
Despite being among some of the oldest PCC cars on the planet, built in 1936 by Saint Louis Car Co, they will be upgraded with air-conditioning and will use pantographs instead of the original trolley poles. When completed, the only thing 1936 PCC about these six cars will be the body shell.
The cars will wear three (depicted above) of the four schemes that they wore in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970s.
Proposed "South Route" is shown in the above map. Note that this would more than double the length of the current KC Streetcar System. The map also shows a proposed "North Route extension.
KANSAS CITY, MO - KC Streetcar rider ship continues to increase and the need to provide additional service, and track, is in demand. With the community’s resounding support to form a Transportation Development District (TDD) to fund a southern streetcar line to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), the KC Streetcar Authority and their partners are wasting no time jump starting the necessary engineering and planning work to make the project a reality.
On August 8th, the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), in coordination with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) issued notice to proceed to begin planning work on the Streetcar Southern Extension project. A team led by HDR Engineering will provide the planning and engineering services with support from Burns & McDonnell, HNTB, Trekk Design Group, Hg Consult, Parson + Associates, VSM Engineering and Architectural & Historical Research.
This phase of planning, estimated at approximately $1 million, is jointly funded by the KCSA and KCATA. The planning and engineering work is estimated to take 9 months.
“We are thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with our partners with the KCATA and KCMO, to detail specific plans for a southern streetcar extension and related bus improvements connecting downtown to University of Missouri, Kansas City’s campus,” said Tom Gerend, executive director, KC Streetcar Authority. “This effort is a critical step towards advancing the region’s transit vision and completing the due diligence that will be required to make this vision a reality.”
HYATTSVILLE. MD - Closed foThere was a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony August 28 for the Maryland Transit Administration Purple Line corrdior light rail route at Hyattsvile, Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU reported. Legal hurdles now have been cleared to permit construction of the 16-mile line from Bethesda to New Carrollton to begin. The $2 biliion car line will serve 21 stations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The tota cost to the state will be $5.5 billion over the next 35 years because of payments Maryland must make to the private consortium hired to build and operate the LRT route.
LOS ANGELES, CA - Closed for nearly four years due to bureaucratic bumbling and an appalling lack of political leadership, Los Angeles’s favorite funicular—Angels Flight—was set to reopen Thursday, August 31, as reported by the 'Downtown News'. The opening comes right on time: It was promised in March that the attraction would open by Labor Day. Perhaps because of the high cost of repairs, the price to ride Angels Flight’s bright orange railcars will double to $1 for a one-way ride.
Angels' Flight, situated right across from Los Angeles Central Market!
However, riders with Metro TAP cards can get a reduced fare of 50 cents, Steven DeWitt of ACS Infrastructure, the railway’s new operator, tells the News. Repairs, including the installation of a new emergency stairway and updates to the motors, cost almost $5 million, DeWitt says. ACS worked with the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway Foundation and Sener, an engineering firm, to reopen the beloved Bunker Hill attraction. The group will continue working together as the Angels Flight Development Company to operate the railway; they have a 30-year contract with the city.
Angels Flight is a 30" narrow gauge 298 foot long funicular railway in Los Angeles Bunker Hill area with two cars the Olivet and Sinai. It has been closed since a derailment in September 2013, the most recent in a string of safety concerns over the previous years. A 2001 derailment that resulted in one passenger’s death shuttered the railway until 2010. Another safety issue in 2011 resulted in closure of the funicular yet again. The 282-foot-long railway dates to 1901, and was originally located a half block north, near the Third Street tunnel until it closed on May 18, 1969 due to redevelopment at that site. It was dismantled and stored for over 27 years, then moved to its present location, across from Grand Central Market, one-half block south of the original site, where is opened on February 24, 1996.
Remember this railway opened as the Los Angeles Incline Railway in 1901 with financing from Colonel J. W. Eddy at lawyer and friend of Abraham Lincoln. It was originally located at Hill and Third Streets and managed to operate without incident for 68 years with a good safety record until it was "improved" years later ago by a contractor, Lift Engineering/Yantrak, who seems to have had little or no experience with funiculars, was no longer in business by the time of the 2001 accident and seemed to have fled the country. The new system installed had been installed neither with a safety cable nor track brakes. The NTSB at the time was unable to identify any other funiculars in worldwide that operated without these two features.
Metro Riders Beware: your bad manners could cost you big bucks.
Transit officials are cracking down on how riders behave on Metro’s fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six light rail and subway (BLUE, EXPO, GOLD, GREEN, RED and PURPLE) rail lines, with a particular focus on getting riders to be mindful of seat-hogging, blocking the aisles and eating or drinking.
The latest “Metro Manners” campaign comes on the heels of a month-long enforcement surge earlier this year on the Blue Line, where more than 3,200 riders were issued warnings and over 2,000 were ejected for various infractions, including taking up excessive space and people eating and drinking on trains. Riders who are found doing any of the following are subject to a fine of $75 per offense and could be escorted off the train or bus:
* Eating, drinking, smoking, vaping;
* Playing loud music;
* Disturbing others;
* Disorderly, lewd conduct;
* Placing chewing gum on seats;
* Fare evasion;
* Occupying more than one seat or blocking a door; or
* Riding a bicycle or skateboard in a station.
Riders who commit third, fourth and fifth offenses could face being banned for 30 to 90 days, officials said. It’s not the first time Metro has tried to teach better social etiquette to its riders: in 2003, the agency had “Metro Manners” trading cards designed for presentations to schools in LA County. Some of the campaign’s characters included the Snacker, whose food and drinks were a messy nuisance to others; Edgy Eddie, named for his habit of standing dangerously close to the edges of sidewalk curbs and train platforms; and the Blab Sisters, who predictably do far too much blabbing on Metro rides.
Los Angeles urban rail transit reached another milestone this month when KinkiSharyo 1100 arrived.
This is the 100th car in this series and is the first time Los Angeles has had 100 cars of the same class since the 250 Los Angeles Railway Class cars of 1921-1924)!
The Class H cars were all scrapped between 1955 and 1958 except for 61 of them that were sent to Korea to run in Seoul where they ran until 1968.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - San Francisco's Market Street Railway purchased Class B car 162 from a California museum, which had done little with it the entire time that they had it, in December 2003. They brought it to Muni property and expended thousands of man hours on it before San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) took over and their highly skilled craftsman finished the job. The car returned to service five years later, glistening in the sun in December 2008. Unfortunately on January 4, 2014 (over three years ago) during it's 100th birthday, the car collided with a truck making the sharp turn from Bay Street to the Northbound Embarcadero, resulting in what you see in the next photos.
(Photos are from Market Street Railway, Rick Laubscher)
The truck driver was found incompetent in the subsequent investigation and a 'six-figure' settlement was received by Muni. The Market Street Railway reported in their 2017 No 2 issue of their "Inside Track" publication that bureaucratic bumbling within the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, the parent organization of Muni, prevented anyone from learning that this sum had been repaid and that the car could be repaired.
Now that everyone knows the situation, CG Inc., of Long Beach, CA has been selected to repair the car. This firm has extensive experience with antique trolleys cars with the San Diego Silver line cars. Repairs were supposed to start last month (August) and should be completed by the end of the year. At this time it is planned that the car will retain all of its original systems.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) reported on August 23rd that they had completed all required testing for five of its next-generation light-rail trains.
The agency will begin rolling out the new units once it receives certification from the California Public Utilities Commission, SFMTA officials said in a press release.
SFMTA tested a new communications and monitoring system, as well as the Muni subway's automatic train control system. In addition, the agency performed various safety tests, including verifying the trains' ability to brake quickly for emergencies.
After the tests, SFMTA made adjustments to hardware, software and tunnel infrastructure.
The first five trains are scheduled to begin service this year, with the remaining fleet arriving in phases as they are manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento, California. By 2021, Muni's current 151-car AnsaldoBreda LRV fleet will be replaced by more than 200 of these Siemens units.
Last month, SFMTA began closing the subway on weeknights and weekends to allow engineers uninterrupted time to conduct the tests.
Muni Siemens "three-pak" testing on the streets!
UPPER DARBY, PA - In a location frightfully close to their last mishap, A Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Norristown to Upper Darby (formerly the Philadelphia & Western) carrying 41 passengers ran into an unoccupied train in the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby early Tuesday morning, August 22nd, injuring 42 people, according to Philadelphia media reports.
None of the passengers' injuries appear to be life threatening, SEPTA officials told news media. The train's operator was treated at a local hospital and released. The injured passengers were taken to eight area hospitals.
The accident involving the Norristown High Speed Line train occurred at about 12:15 a.m. The incident is under investigation, SEPTA officials said.
The 69th Street Terminal was the location of another accident in February, when a SEPTA Market-Frankford Line derailed in a rail yard after it crashed into a stopped train. One of the operators was seriously injured, Philly.com reported.