Aug 29, 2007

Free Transit

Thanks to the Welland Tribune for the following.

A recent report to Port Colborne council on the merits of a free transit system has now been shelved. As much as we support transit in the city, we're not sure a free transit system was something worth pursuing. free bus rides sounds like a great idea and all, but we feel it under values the importance of public transit.

The cost of a bus ride is a bargain for people who need to get across the city to do business. Most people can afford the fare and don't expect it to be free. What perhaps would be better than a free service is to offer vouchers or coupons to those who truly cannot afford the price of a ride.

It is in keeping with the idea that those who can pay should and those who can't pay shouldn't have to. Offering the service for free may have helped to increase ridership but it might have opened up the doors to other problems - such as the need for more buses to handle the growth. That would have increased costs on a free system and put the burden on the taxpayer. That might have made transit less popular come budget time.

Better in the long run to grow the system slowly and steadily based on true ridership numbers.

Osprey Media. - Welland Tribune - Ontario, CA.

New GO Transit Station To Serve North Stouffville

GO Transit will be building a new GO station in Stouffville, extending the Stouffville GO Train line one stop north, Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield and GO Transit Chairman Peter Smith announced today.

The station will feature automatic ticket vending machines, a bus loop, a kiss-and-ride passenger drop off area and fully accessible platforms to accommodate customers with disabilities.

The new station, yet to be formally named, is located on the Stouffville
GO Train line. With 140 parking spaces planned, it is ideally located next to
GO's Stouffville train storage facility just north of the Bethesda Road and
10th line intersection.

View Larger Map

Aug 21, 2007

New Go bus

Go Transit has new buses with a new look.


Aug 19, 2007

San Diego working on robot buses for mass transit

It was the second hour that did it. When his 60-mile commute became a full fingers-drumming-on-the-dashboard 120 minutes, San Diego County CTO Samuel Johnson was finally convinced that something had to change. His idea: buses that practically drive themselves. Over the next three years, workers will carve a narrow lane down the shoulder of the increasingly congested Interstate 805, exclusively for buses and commercial trucks modded with lane-keeping sensors and adaptive cruise control. Neither technology is new, but most auto makers tune adaptive cruise control to keep cars farther apart than normal, making traffic worse. In the robot lane, vehicles will be packed like train cars. They'll still have drivers — everyone has to leave the freeway sometime — but they'll be out of the main flow. If the new lanes work, public transportation will move faster, trucks will speed safely along approximately 20 miles of the main US-Mexico shipping corridor (UPS has signed up for the test), and traffic on I-805 will be reduced. "Fixing this problem is going to require some radical thinking," says Jake Peters, founder of transportation startup Swoop Technology, which is designing the system. "And, hey, it could be a way to make a trillion dollars."
Thanks to Wired Magazine. for that report

About 40 years ago when I drove streetcars for the TTC I had something in mind like this. I thought that Robot Streetcars would be a great thing for Toronto. It would cut down accidents (warning… never cut a streetcar off) and human error.

Since that time the RT line has been constructed in Scarborough. It was suppose to be a drverless train that was controlled by computer. They had so many problems with it that the TTC brass decided to revert to a human driver. Besides the TTC always needs someone to blame when something goes wrong.

When I was in Washington DC in the late seventies the driverless subway line had only been in operation a few months at that time. The transit company still placed personnel in the driver’s compartment . They were there to override the computer if necessary.Robot buss

Now San Diego would like to have robot buses on the road. Perhaps they should read here to find out the problems that have occurred in Rotterdam.

Aug 11, 2007

How to get more people to take mass transit

Here's a little humour for you. One of the pressing questions is how do you entice more people to take mass transit. I think Amtrak, in the USA might have solved this problem. All aboard the booze train... I figure if all of us buy tickets for the same trip we could have one hell of a party.

Aug 4, 2007

New green buses for Whistler Olympics

A well-known Winnipeg company will build the world's first fleet of Hydrogen buses under a $46 million contract awarded by B.C. Transit.

New Flyer Industries (TSE:NFI) will build the 20 green machines, promising delivery by the end of 2009. The fuel-cell powered, low-floor buses will have a top speed of 90 kilometres an hour and a range of 500 kilometres.

The zero-emission fleet will be based in Whistler, B.C.

The B.C. government, which has promised to cut the province's greenhouse gas emissions by one-third by 2020, says the hydrogen buses will be a visible part of public transportation during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Ballard Power Systems (TSE:BLD) of Burnaby will provide the fuel cell modules and Calgary's Dynetek Industries (TSE:DNK) will supply the hydrogen storage system.

After the games, the buses will become part of the standard BC transit fleet.

Aug 1, 2007

PRESTO card starts today

Ready, set, go – with Presto! Beginning today - Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - GO Transit riders participating in Launch 1 of the Presto fare system can travel using their Presto card.

In Launch 1, Presto cards can be used to pay for GO Train rides between Cooksville or Meadowvale GO Station and Union Station, on the Mississauga Transit shuttle buses that serve these stations, and for TTC rides beginning at Union Station, including the subway and the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront streetcars.

Since late June, hundreds of Mississauga GO Train riders who commute from Cooksville or Meadowvale have been signing up to get their Presto cards. We are fortunate that many also use Mississauga Transit or the TTC from Union Station so a number of people are able to demonstrate seamless transfers between transit systems.

You’ll find more information at