Saturday, December 9, 2006
Friday, December 8, 2006
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Dayton, OH - From the Dayton Daily News on December 5, an article for the Christmas season.
A Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority operator takes on the role of Santa Claus with help from his flowing white beard and a Santa hat. There haven't been complaints from the "offended" and those I have talked to in the area think it's great that the driver is doing this.
What better way to celebrate the season and even attract riders with some good old fashioned holiday cheer. It costs the GCRTA nothing plus it generates good publicity for the system and the driver, Donald Kern, enjoys his role of being the Santa bus driver.
Many transit systems in North America frown upon such displays of Christmas cheer. Drivers in many systems that put on a Santa hat to celebrate Christmas are often reprimanded. Even saying the politically correct term of "Happy Holidays" in some operations can result in a reprimand going into the drivers permanent file.
Two Laurels go out on for this story. The first goes out to the GCRTA driver, Donald Kern for making the trip a bit more cheery and the second goes out to the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority for allowing this and understanding that it is good PR for the operation.
Over the past several years there have been numerous proposals to introduce some other form of transit to the Milwaukee area besides buses. These included heavy rail, light rail, trackless trolleys and now the latest, streetcars.
OnMilwaukee.com's web site has a story about the latest proposal, filled with the usual rail proponent verbiage about how trolleys will save the city.
Milwaukee is one of the cities which I often cite as being barely can handle bus operations anymore. It's glory days are gone but those in politics feel if you just spend more taxpayer money on expensive transit projects, people will flock back to the city.
Of all the proposals brought up over the years, none addressed the key point that the existing transit system has problems. The warning buzzer went off for me on this latest proposal when I read that Alderman Robert Bauman stated that they don't care about fares but view the project as an "economic development tool".
What this means in layman terms is this. The transit system will get saddled with the costs of building and running this line and the bus service can go to hell just as long as the trolley line can be run.
The Milwaukee Alderman, Robert Bauman, gets the Lance for going out of his way in trying to find some way to just waste taxpayer money instead of addressing the problems that need to be addressed with the transit system in Milwaukee.
Monday, December 4, 2006
First, he mentions the passing of the Kansas City, MO LRT ballot measure as a positive step. While he does mention the many times this measure has failed, he didn't mention that this time there was much confusion and information on the ballot measure was scattered about and there was no single place that one could easily find out what it was all about. Many in Kansas City now realized what they voted for and aren't real happy about it.
What I came away with from reading the article was that as far as transit goes was the typical Liberal argument of "let's spend more taxpayer money on expensive LRT lines and all will be fixed".
There were some things I agree with in his article, such as eliminating the required parking rules that many cities have, other of his suggestions are a bit troublesome. Primarily of which is transit oriented development (TOD).
TOD is good in theory but in practice is rather doomed to failure. Remember "Urban Renewal" from the 1960's? Urban Renewal was the same thing as TOD is today, exactly the same. Most cities that went through urban renewal in the 60's are ghost towns today.
TOD proponents have a fatal flaw in their vision. They assume that everyone wants to live in urban settings. That urban sprawl only happened because of the easy availability of the automobile. That if government spends enough money, everyone will flock back to the cities.
All are false. Urban sprawl was made easier by the automobile but the people that moved out to the suburbs wanted out of the urban lifestyle. Crime, noise, pollution, higher taxes and other urban ills are what pushed many out into the suburbs to start with. TOD's are not going to eliminate any of these things and in fact will make many things worse.
Getting back to transit to finish this up, what needs to be done is for public transit to get back to the basics of providing service. Expensive transit projects, TOD's and other government funded methods will not work to improve anything until public transit goes back to the basics.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
"Riders increasingly cite environmental reasons for taking the bus, and Metro
Transit wants those riders to know that the agency is leading the state on green
initiatives, said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb."
The first news story I bring up deals with a lawsuit over the MBTA's Silver Line service. Claiming discrimination, activists tried to force the MBTA to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer money to change the Silver Line from buses to Light Rail Transit (LRT).
Thanks to the whiny lawsuit by a handful of activists, the cost to run the Silver Line have now gone up as the MBTA is now required to maintain and provide quarterly data on the line to the Feds. This data is primarily to help keep the activists at bay.
Thankfully, the courts have ruled in the favor of the MBTA on this one. Still, the costs have increased thanks to a small bunch of activists that think they know more than anyone else.
The second news story related to activism raising costs deals with an agreement that the MBTA has entered into for extending the Green Line. Activists using environmentalism rather than discrimination pushed for the extension over issues from the Big Dig.
Guess what, the MBTA really doesn't have the money to extend the line, yet alone operate it, but the activists don't care. I take that back, they'll care when fares are raised and service gets cut to help pay for it and file another lawsuit.
The activists groups that push these types of lawsuits against public transit refuse to see the big picture. They only want to see what they wish to see. These activists love to claim how they support public transit but they'll make any wild claim to make the lawsuit stick and don't care that they're actually helping to destroy public transit.
The amount of money that these types of activists cost public transit agencies every year in lawsuits and increased costs to operate literally go into the billions of dollars. From defending itself in court to additional paperwork and costs to implement and run what the activists want, the cost to the public transit agencies is staggering. With all this wasted money, public transit could really be improved for everyone but it'll never happen as long as these ridiculous lawsuits continue to be allowed.
A big Lance goes out to all the activist groups that are trying to make public transit unaffordable to the people.