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AC Go: AC Transit's Most Significant Expansion Plan Rolls Out

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

AC Transit's largest service expansion in years, dubbed AC Go, has launched on June 26, and brings an unprecedented 14% expansion in AC Transit service to East Bay riders. 


The first phase of AC Go includes these many service changes:


Extended Lines:

Line 12: The line has been extended from its current terminal, at 10th & Washington Streets in Downtown Oakland, to Oakland Amtrak. 

Line 57: The line has been extended via 40th & Shellmound Streets to the Emeryville Public Market, past its previous terminal at 40th Street and San Pablo Ave.

Line 99: The 99 has been extended to San Leandro BART. It will continue to serve Bay Fair BART.


Redesigned/More Frequent Lines: 

Line 1: The International bus now runs from 12th Street BART to San Leandro BART every 8 minutes.

Line 7: Frequency has been increased from every 40 to every 30 minutes.

Line 52: Frequency has been increased to every 15 minutes during peak hours, and every 20 minutes off-peak.

Line 62: Frequency has been increased to every 15 minutes during peak hours, and every 20 minutes off-peak.

Line 88: Frequency has been increased to every 15 minutes.

Line 98: The redesigned line now runs between Coliseum BART and Eastmont Transit Center via 98th Ave. The 98 will run every 20 minutes. The service day has also been increased from 9:45 PM to 11:00 PM.


New Bus Lines:

Line 6: The new 6 is meant to replace Line 1 service from Downtown Berkeley to Downtown Oakland, and operates from Berkeley BART to 10th & Washington Streets (12th Street BART) every 10 minutes.

Line 90: This new East Oakland line runs from Coliseum BART to Foothill Square via 85th & 90th Avenues every 20 minutes.


Eliminated Bus Lines:

Line 1R: Yes, the 1R: International Rapid is gone, soon to be replaced by AC Transit's Bus Rapid Transit Line, the first in the East Bay. Construction of the BRT line has prompted the cancellation of the 1R, but the newly added Line 6 is here to combat that cancellation for regular 1R riders.

Line 58L: The 58L, between Oakland Amtrak and Eastmont Mall via MacArthur Blvd, is gone as well, and its recourses have been shifted to improving the updated Line 57 and the NL with greater service.


New Buses!

Between the fiscal years of 2013-2014 and today, AC Transit has placed 210 new buses onto our city streets, with 96 more to come this fiscal year alone. 


These modern buses are slowly replacing AC Transit's old fleet of just over 600 buses. Many of AC Transit's older vehicles have well exceeded their life expectancy, and need to be replaced sooner rather than later.


With AC Go, 25 new 40 foot Diesel Electric Hybrid buses will be rolled out for revenue service between June and August. These are made locally by Gillig in Hayward, and are designed to reduce carbon emissions drastically.


In late 2017 or early 2018, 10 New Flyer Fuel Cell Buses and 5 New Flyer Battery Electric buses, both of which burn zero emissions, will be added to AC Transit's fleet.


Also coming in 2017 and 2018 are the introduction of 29 60-foot articulated buses, 10 double-decker buses for transbay service, and 10-foot buses. 


If you need an example of a terrific transit agency that has no problem getting stuff done, then look no further than AC Transit. No agency is perfect by any means, but we believe AC Transit can serve as a role model to other agencies around the Bay Area and to agencies throughout the United States.


For more information on AC Go, visit actransit.org.

MUNI Forward Service Improvements Coming April 23!

Posted on April 22, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Ever since MUNI Forward was adopted over a year ago the entire MUNI system has benefited with a series of service improvements. On April 23, the fourth round of MUNI Forward will roll out, and will bring service improvements to over 30 lines, old and new.


Nearly 20 lines will get more frequent service, eight lines will receive longer service hours, two lines will make new connections to BART, and two new Owl routes will be added to the MUNI System!


More Frequent Service:

All MUNI Metro Lines: Increased service on Saturdays to every 10 minutes, and every 12 minutes on Sundays

1 California: Service increased from every 7 minutes to 6 minutes

2 Clement/3 Jackson: Service increased on Sutter Street to every 5 minutes

6 Haight-Parnassus: Late-night service increased from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes

7 Haight-Noriega: Late-night service increased from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes

10 Townsend: All-day service increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

12 Folsom: All-day service increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

28 19th Avenue: Mid-day service increased from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes

28R 19th Avenue Rapid:  Mid-day service increased from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes (now all day 10 minute service)

31 Balboa: PM commute service increased from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes

35 Eureka: AM commute service increased from every 30 minutes to every 25 minutes, and every 15 minutes during PM commute

37 Corbett: Commute service increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

47 Van Ness: Commute service increased from every 10 minutes to every 7.5 minutes

25 Treasure Island: All-nighter frequency increased from every 45 minutes to every 30 minutes


Increased Service Hours:

28R 19th Avenue Rapid: Service Monday - Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM

Express Lines 1AX, 1BX, 31AX, 31BX: Service extended to 7 PM

30X Marina Express: Service extended to 7 PM, larger buses, plus stop consolidation along Chestnut Street

57 Parkmerced: Weekday service to begin at 5 AM

E Embarcadero: Added weekday service runs between 10 AM and 7 PM


Line Improvements:

2 Clement: New electric short-line service between California and Presidio

14R Mission Rapid: Service extended to Daly City BART all day

18 46th Avenue: Route turning from Sloat onto Skyline


In addition to these dozens of service improvements, there will be two brand-new Owl routes launching on April 23, the 44 Owl and the 48 Owl. 


The 44 Owl will run between Bayview and Glen Park BART, and the 48 Owl will run between Noe Valley and 3rd Street. With these two new routes, even more San Franciscans are within 1/4 of a mile of bus stops.


It's taken long enough, but MUNI has finally truly upgraded its system. One year ago, Rapid service replaced Limited service, the new MUNI map was rolled out, and the first new 60-foot articulated buses were introduced.


Since then, MUNI has progressively bettered its system across the City, with more and more passengers closer to MUNI service. Only in the future will we know what improvements are to come.


For more information, visit https://www.sfmta.com/about-sfmta/blog/muni-keeps-moving-forward-more-service-improvements-launch-april-23.

MUNI Proposes Rise in Cash Fare Payments

Posted on April 7, 2016 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

MUNI has proposed a 25-cent raise in cash fares, another example of Clipper's increasing dominance in the growing Bay Area.


The surcharge is part of the new SFMTA budget plan adopted last Tuesday. The hope is that boarding times and costs will be slashed by using Clipper and MUNI Mobile, rather than cash.


If approved, the surcharge would come into effect January 1st. The extra 25 cents could raise $3.8 million dollars by the end of 2017. In addition to the fare raise, an extra $5 would be added to MUNI's monthly “A” Fast Passes, bringing the total to $88. 


However, despite all the positive outcomes of raising cash fare payments, the public, and ourselves, are not convinced this surcharge is the right thing to do.


This method of money-making is unfair to the millions of people who use cash to pay their fare on MUNI. No one should have to pay more for not owning a Clipper card. 


"It should be the same," exclaimed Thu Kyi, 18, a student at San Francisco City College. Antoinette Nwaokoro, a 53-year-old medical assistant, said "They shouldn’t have to pay extra. Everyone should pay the same.”


We hope the MUNI Board recognizes this biased and unjust surcharge as a step back for the MUNI system, but chances are they won't.


The SFMTA has a history of raising fares, and with Clipper becoming ever more dominant in the transit market, it's easy to promote Clipper by charging non-users more to help the system.


For more information, visit SFGate.

CalTrain Timetable Changes Effective April 4th

Posted on April 5, 2016 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (0)

CalTrain has slightly changed its timetable effective April 4th. In response, VTA will change its services to match CalTrain's new schedule on April 11th.


To view the new timetable, visit caltrain.com. To view VTA's service changes, visit vta.org.

SF's Newest Bike Corral is Literal Street Art

Posted on April 3, 2016 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

San Francisco, with the help of the SFMTA Bike Parking Program, has turned what used to be car parking into a gorgeous bike corral area.

When the SFMTA Bike Parking Program was just toying with the idea of converting a parking spot to a mural in asphalt Michael Krouse, owner of Madrone Art Bar, took the unique opportunity to spruce up the outside of his business.


The bike parking area sits at Fell & Divisadero, and is one of the many examples of San Francisco's progress as an increasingly bike-friendly city.


“We are proud to launch this unique initiative with the SFMTA,” said Krouse. “Having the city’s first on-street mural outside our art bar in a bike corral isn’t just fitting, it highlights the nexus between local business, art and transportation.”


Last year alone, the SFMTA installed over 800 new bike racks around the city, bringing the total number to around 5,000. These racks park over 10,000 bikes a year in 3,000 different locations. 


For more information, visit https://www.sfmta.com/about-sfmta/blog/our-newest-bike-corral-work-art.

BART Experiences Its Worst Failure in Years, as Services are Shut Down

Posted on March 20, 2016 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

BART is getting worse, if you can believe it. Ever since the end of February 2016, the aging transit agency has experienced extreme electrical issues in the east-bound Transbay Tube direction and between North Concord and Pittsburg/Bay Point Stations.


The problem emerged towards the end of February in the Transbay Tube when certain BART cars traveling in the east-bound direction experienced a major voltage spike.


Relevant to C cars only, some cars were experiencing spikes in electricity that were up to 2x what BART expects, damaging a car's propulsion system and taking them out of service.


The problem emerged again this month when trains running between Pittsburg/Bay Point and North Concord/Martinez Stations experienced a similar voltage spike and were taken out of service. Currently, 58 cars have been damaged by this mysterious spike in power.


BART does not know where this mysterious voltage spike is coming from - it is possibly emerging from two power generators BART workers replaced a few months ago, but we can only guess for now. 


To combat the power surge, BART shut down all service between North Concord and Bay Point until the problem can be traced down and fixed. BART has set up a bus bridge between the two stations, but this is hardly a justifiable solution for very long.


Because of the power surges, BART does not have the typical fleet it usually does - with dozens of cars in BART's maintenance facility from the power spikes, trains have become shorter and more crowded. 


It may take months to find and repair the power surges on BART's System, which only adds to smaller, more crowded trains. So is there any hope for a better BART? The answer is, soon. 


BART's Fleet of the Future is almost here - The first cars are expected to begin revenue service next year. But that's the problem - that's next year, 2017, and the Bay Area needs relief now. 


We have to wait a little longer for help, but that's help which should've come ten years ago. For years, hardly any funding was put forward to help BART, and we're realizing a bit too late the mess of a system we've created.

Bay Area Transit in 2016: What Can We Expect to Happen?

Posted on January 1, 2016 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Overall, 2015 was a decently quiet year for the Bay Area's transportation. Both BART and MUNI badly need new fleets, and VTA and BART are in the process of building BART's Silicon Valley Extension. 


BART's Warm Springs Station, in south Fremont, never opened, although projections earlier said it would by the end of 2015. Warm Springs is expected to open this year instead. 


MUNI is still working on the Central Subway, which will extend the T Third Street to Chinatown and dissolve the merge between the T and the K Ingleside.


So to put 2015 in terms, progress was made, but nothing major happened. No extensions were opened, and no new fleet began operation. But, since 2016 has begun, what can we expect from this New Year? What can we predict will happen within 365 days from now? Well, let's try to find out:


Let's start with Bay Area Rapid Transit. BART is expanding rapidly. Extensions to Warm Springs, San Jose and eBART to Antioch are well underway, with plenty of other opportunities to expand further (Livermore, Brentwood, etc.) 


But when are these extensions going to be finished? BART's extension to Warm Springs was supposed to open by the end of 2015, but we know now that didn't happen. In fact, the new station has yet to even begin the test phase.


Now, Warm Springs/South Fremont Station is not projected to open until late 2016, and the whole project is behind schedule. 


The rest of BART's extension, past Warm Springs to Milpitas and Berryessa, is not due to open until 2018, since construction south of Warm Springs is part of a second phase of construction, with Warm Springs being the first phase.


A furthur extension south to Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara is planned, but has failed to gain necessary funding. So, we have no idea when this extension will be built.


But what about eBART to Antioch? eBART has barely begun construction, and the only work being carried out at this point is a third platform at Pittsburg/Bay Point for eBART trains to stop at. Thus, eBART is not set to open until 2018.


Let's move on to MUNI. A few key things occurred last year, including MUNI Forward, the new E Embarcadero, and MUNI Mobile, but 2015 was relatively quiet for San Francisco's Municipal Railway


This year, several very important changes are supposed to be carried out. The most important has to be the delivery of MUNI's brand-new Metro cars, which will take over the disastrous current Breda light rail vehicles. 


MUNI's new cars will begin service this year, and eventually, the total number of cars is set to be 175, MUNI will more than double its current fleet. What's more exciting is that these new cars are being built locally - in Sacramento, by Siemens. 


Other smaller changes include the addition of weekday service to the E Embarcadero and a few more additions to MUNI Forward, slowly revolutionizing the MUNI system.


The Central Subway will also continue construction, but is not projected to open until 2019. When opened, the T Third Street may become the busiest MUNI Metro line.


VTA, as well as MUNI, is going to have to deal with some of the biggest crowds in America on February 7th, when Super Bowl 50 comes to the Bay Area. 


If you're wishing for slightly more recent news, how about new buses in three days? On January 4th, VTA's new buses will be rolled out across the system. And if you've ever ridden in one of MUNI's new buses, you'll know exactly what VTA's new buses look and feel like without looking at one, because they're exactly the same.


Built by New Flyer, 29 new 60-foot articulated buses are going into service on VTA's Rapid 522 line, as well as the future Alum Rock-Santa Clara bus rapid transit corridor.


And for even more recent news, VTA's Day Pass has been eliminated as of today, January 1st. So for anyone who constantly used the Day Pass, too bad! Use Clipper!


VTA, as well as BART, is currently building the Silicon Valley Extension. Milpitas Station is on the rise, but is not expected to open for business until 2018, as well as Berryessa Station, in East San Jose.


AC Transit also had a relatively inactive 2015 year. One of the most exciting things to happen was the testing of brand-new double decker buses on select routes, which we actually got the chance to ride on


If purchased, these eye-catching buses from England and Scotland (they're used in London!) will be used primarily on AC Transit's transbay lines, such as the F and O. Why? Well, ridership is growing, and these double decker bulky buses can seat up to 80 people, compared to the normal 36.


As exciting as these new English-accent-built buses are, they wouldn't enter service until 2017. In fact, these buses haven't even been purchased yet. But if they are, AC Transit will become the sixth carrier to run double deckers, behind Seattle, Davis, San Luis Obispo (one bus), Las Vegas, and Snohomish County, Washington.


For now, 2016 remains fairly uneventful for AC Transit. There will always be the occasional service change, including a current proposed one on changes to Transbay Lines F and J, but for now, nothing crazy is going on.


And what about CalTrain? Last year brought about... not much. New MetroLink cars from Los Angeles were brought up to the Bay Area for extra use on CalTrain, and the modernization of bridges and overpasses continued, but 2015 was mostly inactive.


2016 promises to fulfill a little more excitement and action, as CalTrain inches closer to the complete electrification of the system by 2020. 


This year, CalTrain will implement a new signal system called the Communications Based Overlay Signal System, or CBOSS. CBOSS will eliminate the chance of train-to-train collisions by monitoring a train's every move and ensuring that trains are safe distances from other trains around them.


CBOSS can detect areas where workers are present, or where there is an approaching curve or workers along the tracks. CBOSS gives the operator critical information, like the current speed limit, the train's current speed, and the acknowledgment of a signal change.


If a train operator fails to acknowledge a signal change, CBOSS will automatically apply the brakes to bring the train to a safe stop. CBOSS also all but eliminates the risk of a train overshooting a station platform.


CBOSS can also detect when there's a system failure, such as a crossing that fails to go down, and will slow the train to an adaquate speed through the failure "zone." 


CBOSS plays a critical role in the complete electrification of the system by 2020, and ensures safety for the future. When the California High-Speed Rail Authority is built, CBOSS will prevent collisions between high-speed trains, freight trains, and CalTrain, which will all share the same track.


The other two heavy rail systems in the Bay Area, Capitol Corridor and ACE, should stay relatively similar from now to the end of 2016, apart from heavily increasing ridership on both systems.


Past Oakland, farther east, public transit is often looked down upon. The further-out East Bay was always designed for the car, with wide streets and highways leading to the larger Bay Area cities.


But the further-out East Bay is one of the fastest-growing regions in the Bay Area, especially the Tri-Valley. The only heavily used transit system in the East Bay past Oakland is BART, really. 


But with the East Bay growing rapidly, we'll have to see how much public transit (County Connection, WHEELS, Tri Delta Transit, etc.) in the East Bay plays a factor in shaping the way people get around. 


Ridership on these systems is growing, but the total number of passengers is miniscule compared to other systems closer to the large cities. So, these less-ridden transit systems must further encourage people to leave their cars at home in 2016. It's a necessity for the growth of the East Bay.


Same goes for the North Bay, especially The VINE and Marin Transit. The VINE experienced a sharp decrease in total number of passengers in 2012, at just half a million. In 2014, that number rebounded back up to almost 1,000,000. 


Marin Transit, Golden Gate Transit and The VINE all took a beating in the recession, but are slowly catching up to their previous ridership once again.


Ridership is expected to keep rising through 2016, but it's still necessary to (try to) convince people to use public transport instead. Routes that would most benefit the common rider must be carefully examined and carried out, if these smaller, lesser-known transit systems seek to gain more passengers.


So that, in a nutshell, is what 2016 may look like for Bay Area transit systems. For now, we can only predict what will happen, but 2016 has much potential to be an exciting year, with many more exciting projects expected to come out in the distant future.

BART to Finally Replace Old Destination Signs!

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

BART's destination signs are growing old - they were last replaced in 2000. And so far, if you want to visit the new signs, there is only one station and one sign to visit - at Civic Center. But eventually, this brighter, larger sign will pop up around the BART System.


Old sign

New Sign, with brighter colors & a larger display

 

BART's new signs are 38% higher-resolution compared to the old signs, with a higher contrast and an orange/red text that's easier to read. The new signs are larger & easier on the eyes compared to the old signs.

 

 The first of the new signs will be installed at the four Market Street locations - Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, and Embarcadero, as well as one other station not yet disclosed, in the near future. 


If you're like us, you're most likely annoyed when you look up from your phone on the platform to check the arrival time of your train, and you see a BART elevator update scrolling instead. So you wait for another 30 seconds until the arrival times finally pop up on the screen.


Thankfully, these new signs flash train arrival times much more - every other message, in fact. This has also been programmed into the old signs, but their long-lived life is coming to an end soon.


The new signs will be used on BART's future extensions as well, including the Warm Springs & Silicon Valley Projects, as well as eBART to Antioch.


For more information, go to www.bart.gov..

Sunset Tunnel Construction Resumes November 21st - 22nd

Posted on November 21, 2015 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

As part of the Sunset Tunnel Trackway Improvement Project, work on the Sunset Tunnel will resume from 2 AM Saturday, November 21st until 3:30 AM, Monday, November 23rd.


Bus shuttles will operate in place of the N Judah from 5 AM on Saturday to the end of Sunday service. Shuttles will run from Ocean Beach to Church & Duboce. 


The first outbound N Judah stops west of the Sunset Tunnel is at Carl and Cole streets. 


During subway communication upgrades in MUNI tunnels, the entire subway system will shut down at 9:30 PM. To reach CalTrain and further southbound destinations, ride a MUNI bus along Market Street and transfer to the T Third Street at Embarcadero Station. 


For more info, visit https://www.sfmta.com/calendar/alerts/sunset-tunnel-weekend-construction-continues-nov-21-23.

MUNI Mobile is Here!

Posted on November 18, 2015 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

MUNI Mobile is out now! There's never been an easier or quicker way to pay for MUNI buses, streetcars, cable cars and metro lines. 


MUNI Mobile lets you buy tickets to be put on your phone instantly with a credit/debit card, or with a PayPal account. You can also buy passes for use on your phone multiple times. You can activate tickets or passes anytime you're ready to ride. 


You can pay for single-ride fares, as well as one-day, three-day and seven-day passports. You can even use MUNI Mobile to pay for Cable Cars!


MUNI Mobile comes with a trip planner as well, so you'll know exactly when your bus/train/streetcar will arrive. And coming 2016, there will be voice command integrated into MUNI Mobile.


MUNI Mobile is available for both Google Play and the App Store. For more details, go to https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/transit/munimobile" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/transit/munimobile.