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Introducing transit service change repository

written by andy on

transit.wiki or transitunlimited.org has been up for almost 10 years highlighting transit routes and locations served by transit. Originally the wiki covered the San Francisco Bay Area agencies but it has been expanded to cover the entire western US. My hope is that it would cover the entire US someday.

One of the challenges with expansion is the need to keep to date with transit information as service changes over time. I try very hard to keep information current for major transit agencies, but there needs to be better tools to keep up.

Many transit agencies perform service changes at regular intervals up to 3 or 4 times a year. Due to federal laws and labor agreements, planners propose changes a few months ahead, conduct public hearings, perform federally mandated analyses, seek board approvals, and implement these changes at regularly scheduled driver sign-ups.

It is a lot of work, but the agencies do not present service change information the same way. Some of them put the information on a blog style web site and keep it permanently. Many put them on a single service change page where the information will be replaced for the next change. Some of them put in PDFs as part of a news release. Often times the information is hard to find once the change is implemented. You have to go to the Internet Archive to look for it.

We have good repositories for schedule and route info in GTFS format, with such sites as transitfeeds.com. You can not only find the current info but past data from years past.

While you can check and see the changes by comparing information between versions, it is not as easy as to check the service change materials. Also the service change materials often present why they are changing routes and schedules.

The wiki has expanded to become a repository for the changes. Pages can be added to the wiki to include the source material from the agency about the service changes. Once it is saved, it stays.

https://www.transit.wiki/About:AC_Transit

There’s also a calendar that highlights the past and upcoming service changes among all the agencies.

https://www.transit.wiki/Service_change_calendar

This help keeps me informed with changes that may need updates on the wiki, such as route changes, new routes, and route discontinuations.

For you, this information can provide insights of why things changed, may that be due to ridership or changes in funding.

VTA tells stadiums: pay up or else

written by andy on

This is what VTA telling Sharks fan this season:

VTA will no longer offer direct service to or from Santa Teresa light rail station to San Fernando and Diridon Station for special events and games at SAP. In June the VTA Board of Directors adopted a Special Events Policy for event venues to reimburse VTA for services requested beyond its regular service. SAP has chosen not to request the additional service for Sharks games. There is still direct service to and from Winchester, although no extra trains post event.

This is part of an ongoing pattern for the last 17 years: Want more taxes but don’t want to spend the money on services.

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Comments on Dumbarton Transportation Corridor Study

written by andy on

In August, SamTrans released a Facebook funded study of the Dumbarton Transportation Corridor. This study was a follow up to the rail project on the same corridor which was canceled due to lack of funding.

This study proposes various improvements on the highway corridor to speed up high occupancy vehicle traffic and buses, as well as to develop the rail corridor for bus and rail service.

My hope for this study is to have something that can be delivered within 5 years. In the past, there have been many studies for major improvements along the bridge corridors, but didn’t go forward because of the high costs involved. Below are my comments on the study. There are some elements that I agree with, yet there are other elements that the planners ought to consider.

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Transit agencies and TNCs

written by andy on

This is a response to comments made by SamTrans board members at its board meeting in April. Considering the suburban environment and the desire for more transportation options, there seems to be an interest by transit agencies in leveraging Transportatation Networking Companies. While I support the concept of having more transportation choices, I am also concerned about the business models of these companies and their compatibility with those at transit agencies. If we have a better understanding about our choices, we can get the benefits of the TNCs but without having the rest of the TNC business models that may not work so well.

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Response to Jarrett Walker study of Silicon Valley Transit

written by andy on

Late last year, VTA hired a star transit consultant Jarrett Walker (also is one of the founders of BayRail Alliance, when it was known as Peninsula Rail 2000) to review the bus network at VTA in hopes to increase transit ridership. Recently Walker released a report and challenged conventional wisdoms. This blog briefly summarized the report’s findings so I won’t cover it here. The following are more of my reviews.

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