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Everything posted by JamesL

  1. Like I said, schedules are really handy for determining when the bus is coming. You can also look at the screen to the driver's left. It tells them if they are ahead or behind, -4 1/2 being 4.5 minutes behind.
  2. Drivers are not allowed to run early. When I come across one who does, I take down the bus number and block number and report it. I also report drivers who make absolutely no effort to maintain the schedule. According to METRO about 67% of trips reach each timepoint between 0 and 5 minutes late, and in my experience that's about right. As for safety, I think if there were any issue at all the media would be all over it like they are with any and every METRO-related controversy.
  3. I ride local buses daily. In my experience, my fellow riders are hard-working Houstonians who, like me, are just looking to get to work, school, home, the grocery store, or wherever else life takes them. I would be more uneasy in a dark parking lot than at a bus stop on a busy corner. I also have the utmost respect for (most) bus drivers. They are professionals with a challenging daily task of moving hundreds of people in a safe, timely manner. As for the scheduling issues, stick to frequent routes whenever possible and keep paper timetables or a smartphone app at the ready and you'll get where you're going with a minimum of waiting. $1.25 for a ride most anywhere in the region? Can't be beat!
  4. If you want to see the site plans you could pop into the North Corridor office near Fulton & Boundary. I haven't had occasion to do so yet.
  5. The casons being poured just east of the Main St. tunnel are, in fact, for the elevated Burnett station.
  6. It's going to be way harder for know-nothing politicians to fall back on their "METRO is not transparent!" taglines. http://www.texastransparency.org/local/scoresheet/sd_mtaharriscounty.php
  7. There's still going to be a light rail station (Burnett Station) and a bus transfer area, just not commuter rail and a giant shopping mall.
  8. I don't know if those come with it. Utah had an existing system so their platforms were designed for different vehicles.
  9. They are the same vehicles we already have, just with a different nose design. http://www.daybreakutah.com/uta-debuts-new-light-rail-vehicles
  10. These writeoffs represent spending that was misguided but I fail to see how anything could be considered criminal. Corporations write off investments that don't pan out all the time, it's just not as public. Everyone agrees that METRO shouldn't have been paying for detailed plans for an intermodal facility they don't have the means to build, but that decision wasn't criminal.
  11. New ped bridges across the bayou are going in at Tierwester (near Scott) and in Hermann Park to connect to the new MacGregor underpass. It was in the news a while back but I can't find it now.
  12. 3,000 feet of new trail this summer and more work starting in fall. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7425998.html
  13. I see it this way. Our streets are payed for by everyone. They should be safe and convenient for everyone, too.
  14. Fact: Money for transit expansion is limited (not METRO's fault). Consequence: See: http://www.ctchouston.org/intermodality/2006/04/26/show-me-the-money/
  15. MPD is part of the METRO budget, so like the rest of the agency it's paid for with the 3/4 cent sales tax.
  16. Before anyone goes into a typical "METRO is wasteful!" rant, know that these buses were decorated on employees' own time in conjunction with a charity event. http://blogs.ridemetro.org/blogs/write_on/archive/2010/12/13/METRO-Blue-Santa-a-Hit-with-Hospitalized-Kids.aspx
  17. Airport Direct does take Q Cards. It just deducts $15. I've been on it three times in the last two months (midday Friday outbound, midday Monday inbound, and early Wednesday outbound) and the bus had six or seven riders each time, so it's definitely doing better. The other day my flight got in at 8:50 so I was out of luck and had to take the 102. I wish METRO would have considered making all the proposed changes EXCEPT cutting frequency before deeming half-hourly service a failure.
  18. The budget for FY11 basically won't fund the awarding of any more contracts unless the FFGA comes through.
  19. This is my biggest issue with the METRO bus system. Their OTP goal is in the 60% range. Really? Unforeseen events befall one out of every three buses on the road? I think the two main issues are 1) lack of feedback from drivers on which schedules could use more or less time; and 2) supervision, since most drivers don't seem particularly concerned with sticking to the schedule.
  20. The industry standard for transit OTP considers a trip "on time" if it arrives at the end of the route not early and within 5:59 of the scheduled time. This causes additional reliability issues because if an operator knows the schedule is padded at the end, he/she can run late for the entire route but still technically be on time. METRO has the vehicle monitoring technology to look deeper into this but thus far has not made an effort. The limitations of human operators, and the cost, are arguments for heavy rail, or "light metro" systems as most new ones are called. No one is using NYC subway technology in new systems nowadays; Vancouver Skytrain would be a better model.
  21. At the very least they could be working with the city to advance a hike/bike trail on the ROW from Wesleyan to Montrose since there are no other plans for that section. I agree, it would be a very highly used facility.
  22. I didn't see any mention of Airport Direct or bike paths. I've heard board members say that the airport service will be reevaluated and I know the Energy Corridor is pondering the expansion of bike paths, but that's not related to METRO. Where did you see that?
  23. Yeah, that bit about operating in high water was news to me. It came from here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/7196479.html The Alstom Citadis is another beautiful vehicle. We could do worse than to end up with some of those. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tram_Barcelona.JPG
  24. You're right, Red. I misinterpreted what he was asking.
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