Restoration of the South Ferry Loop is nearly complete!

As the month of March comes to a close, I want to take a moment to provide an update to the restoration of service to the South Ferry Loop station along the New York City Subway – Line 1.

Just a couple days ago, on March 29, the NYCMTA released a set of new photos of the restoration work nearing completion. Among the highlights, we see that there is a new connector hall between the older loop platform and the newer concourse level. This will allow customers entering from the newer station entrances to gain access to the older loop platform, as well as those exiting Line 1 trains to connect to Line R trains at Whitehall St station.

The question remains however; when will the restored station open? The timeframe still points towards the first full week of April, but no exact date has been set. Once the station does reopen, things will be a lot better for the thousands of customers who rely on the South Ferry station to get them to and from Manhattan.

In the meantime, please take a moment to view my previous posting on South Ferry.

March Friday Rewind – PSTA’s Hybrid Buses

I know that I didn’t post a Friday Rewind for February, for I was occupied with designing other posts. However, I do have a segment for March, which will reflect on a post I made back on December 10, 2008.

On this day, I blogged about the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) receiving a fleet of swanky new hybrid buses. Let’s take a look at the previous posting first:

As if PSTA already has awesome buses (both Gilligs and New Flyers), things are about to get even better! According to this PDF newsletter from a few months back, PSTA is slated to purchase 10 new hybrid buses. Three of these buses will be of the BRT style, similar to SCAT’s hybrid fleet, while the remaining seven buses will be trolley style, to run on the Suncoast Beach Trolley Line. You can begin seeing these buses in the PSTA fleet next year.

Today, PSTA has 24 hybrid buses, with plans to increase that fleet to 36 buses by the end of 2013! A portion of these buses are trolley-style, while the rest are BRT-style. The entire hybrid fleet was manufactured by Gillig Corporation out of Hayward, CA.

One of the neat things about hybrid buses of course is the fuel efficiency. In today’s world, where gas prices act like a roller coaster, PSTA felt it made the right choice when they purchased their first batch of hybrid buses back in 2008. The agency has seen their hybrid fleet take on an average increase of 56% in fuel economy, versus their standard diesel fueled buses. That’s a substantial difference! I have a very good feeling that as long as the funding avenues are open, you can expect to see even more hybrid buses incorporated into PSTA’s fleet over the next few years. Though I haven’t had a chance to ride a PSTA bus yet (aside from one of the stylish express motorcoaches), I certainly hope to be able to do so later this year.

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

A co-branded livery hits the Paris Metro – Part 1

The MI 09 commuter rail train featuring co-branded RATP/STIF livery. Click here for photo details.

With the rolling stock transition soon coming to a close on Line 5, the RATP has already begun preparing for the next phase of rolling stock replenishment for Line 9. Line 9 currently possesses the aging MF 67 series D rolling stock, which are gradually reaching the ends of their useful lives. In 2011, the STIF voted to purchase 66 MF 2000 trains to replace the existing 70 MF 67 on Line 9. Because of changes in government policy (ORTF Law of 8 December 2009), the STIF is now required to fund replacement rolling stock by 50% and rolling stock for new lines or extensions by 100%. This eventually lead the STIF to fund the purchase of the MF 2000 rolling stock for Line 9, as well as the MP 05 rolling stock for Line 14.

With these two lines about to be equipped with new rolling stock, evidence of what has become the norm on the Parisian transport system has already been seen on the Paris Metro system…at least by a few so far. That new norm is a co-branded livery that features the white and mint green tones of the RATP, and the grey tones of the STIF (along with the string of leaflets). On SNCF-controlled rail lines, this co-branded livery comes in the form of the grey tones of the STIF and the shades of red of the SNCF. Though this co-branded livery presents a very unique and modern style for rolling stock, as well as buses, I have to say that the livery stops short of being anything close to “awesome”. In other words, I’m not really that thrilled to see the new livery, though things could have been much worse in my opinion.

The first co-branded livery appeared on renovated MI 79 trainsets (RER Line B) in 2011. This particular co-branded livery was unique in the sense that it included tones from all three agencies; the RATP, the STIF, and the SNCF, creating what I call an “organized colorful mess” of mint green, white, grey, and red. The co-branding trend quickly followed onto the numerous fleets of buses that the RATP has purchased since 2010, though in a more simpler form of green, grey, and white. In 2011, the MI 09 rolling stock (RER Line A) was unveiled with a co-branded livery featuring mint green vertical stripes down each door and a horizontal grey banner of the STIF. More recently, the new SNCF Z50000 suburban rail trains and the refurbished SNCF Z20500 commuter rail trains have received similar treatment with grey, white, and red tones, creating a fresh, modern look for both sets of rolling stock.

Now, we have the MF 2000 subway stock for Line 9 gracing a similar co-branded livery to that of the MI 09 commuter rail trains, with the green/white body replaced with grey/white tones and green vertical stripes along each door. This livery has officially marked the beginning of the new norm along the Paris Metro, where the RATP’s mint green and white livery has dominated the underground landscape since the early 1990s. With the MP 05 next on the list for Line 14 reinforcement, we can expect to see the blackend tones be replaced with a lighter shade of grey and the same vertical green stripes on the doors. Don’t think that I’m thrilled to see that happening either…because I’m really not.

Just putting in my 2 cents on the matter folks!

HARTride 2012

Changes coming to HART’s Marion Street Transit Center

Good Monday morning everyone!

I just want to highlight real quick some changes that will be affecting HART’s Marion Street Transit Center in northern Downtown Tampa.

Due to the ongoing construction of HART’s MetroRapid BRT system; several bus routes are having their loading bays reassigned. For instance; shelter M currently serves Route 4 – Palma Ceia/MacDill AFB. Soon, Route 14 will be sharing this shelter with Route 4, since both routes only operate on weekdays and departure times are only once every hour for both routes. Shelter assignments for Route 30 and the In-Town Trolley will also change. MetroRapid shelters will be set up at the northern-most bus loading bays, where PSTA’s express routes 100X and 300X currently stop at.

For a diagram of the revised shelter assignments, click here.

 

Have a great week!

HARTride 2012

Presenting Station Mairie de Montrouge!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Today, we celebrate another milestone on the Paris Metro system, the grand opening of station Mairie de Montrouge on Line 4!

Although I would have liked to get my post on Line 4 (as a whole) uploaded today, I just was not able to due to some technical issues. I will be able to get the post done, but not until next week.

If you’re reading this post from Paris, there are some pretty neat events going on in conjunction with the grand opening. I invite you to jog over to the Dominque Josse blog for a schedule of events. It’s pretty cool! 😀

With that said; I would also like to update my readers on other posts that I’m planning. I’m currently working on my post regarding fare evasion and how different transit districts are dealing with it. I hope to have that post up by the middle of April. I’m also working on my next Transit Staycations post, which will profile another neat destination in the Tampa area. Please stay tuned for further updates and continue to spread the word about my site!

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

Hillsborough County Commission votes to continue transit discussions

I have some wonderful news everyone! For those of you residing in Hillsborough County, Florida, the Hillsborough County Commission voted unanimously to continue discussions regarding public transit improvements!

The move allows county officials to explore various ways to improve the county’s infrastructure; including enhanced bus service and possibly a light rail line. In recent weeks, there has been immense pressure on county officials to restart talks regarding public transit improvements, especially with Pinellas County gearing up for a 2014 sales tax referendum. Many transit supporters see the Pinellas move as a chance to get Hillsborough on board and make 2014 as a regional vote for transit improvements.

Please stay tuned for further updates!

 

HARTride 2012.

No new funding = no new buses for HART

As I mentioned in my last post, many transit districts are having to re-evaluate their current levels of service, as well as future plans, based on the levels of funding that are available to them. I also mentioned that in the case with HART in Tampa, they currently must rely on property taxes to fund a large chunk of its transit operations, a source that has been dwindling during the past several years. Now there is word that HART will face a very dire dilemma next year if no new funding sources are found.

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First video glimpses of station Mairie de Montrouge

Happy Saturday everyone!

We are roughly a week away from the scheduled grand opening of station Mairie de Montrouge along the Paris Metro Line 4, and I’ve come across a couple YouTube videos which show the final testing phase in action!

Please know that neither video was taken by me, so I have to thank the two individuals who took these videos. The first video is that of an MP 89CC stock train departing station Porte d’Orleans, which is the current southern terminus of Line 4. Prior to Montrouge, trains would slowly depart the southbound platform and switch over to the loop tracks to return to the northbound direction via the northbound platform. A central track on the northbound platform would sometimes be used for arriving trains to unload passengers as well. This three-track, two-platform configuration is very common for terminating stations throughout the Metro.

After the opening of station Montrouge, the traffic pattern will permanently change at station Porte d’Orleans. The southbound platform and track will continue to be used for southbound traffic. However; the center track will be switched over to northbound traffic, keeping in tune with the rest of the Line 4 stations.  The current northbound track, at the outer edge of the northbound platform, will be permanently removed and covered over to make way for a new access point, which includes elevator access.

The second YouTube video is particularly awesome, and is not very common to see in any subway system. It shows a conductor’s view of the MP 89CC stock train departing station Porte d’Orleans and traveling to station Montrouge. After a short stop at the southbound platform, the train reverses and returns to the northbound direction, making a brief stop at the northbound platform before returning to station Porte d’Orleans.

Now, while these videos are quite awesome, there were a couple other videos here and there that showed station Montrouge during construction. However, I’m not able to find those videos at the moment.

Like the opening of station Front Populaire along Line 12, I will be making a post about the history of Line 4 and station Montrouge. Please look out for this post next Sunday! 😀
Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

Revised plans arise for a WestShore area transit hub

Greetings everyone!

As many of you know, the recent economic downturn has forced many transit districts to re-evaluate their current levels of service,  as well as future plans, based on the level of funding that is available. In addition, many districts are searching for new ways to fund their transit districts, but some scenarios bring up more challenges and questions than they do answers and solutions. In the case with HART in Tampa, HART currently must rely on property taxes to fund a large chunk of its transit operations, a source that has been dwindling during the past several years. Put on top of that, the recent economic downturn and  consolidation of the airline industry. Both of those factors have led Tampa International Airport to not only cancel its ambitious North Terminal expansion plan, but to also abandon plans to have an on-site transit hub for HART and PSTA buses, as well as any rail connections.

Instead, Hillsborough County officials are now exploring different options for a transit hub alongside the I-275 corridor. As many of you are well aware, the corridor is currently undergoing a massive reconstruction project that will allow for additional capacity. I mentioned in a previous posting that future plans for the interstate also include “Managed Lanes” and possibly either a light rail or commuter rail line down the median. There’s a rendering that you can view through my Facebook page of one option that is being considered along Cypress St & I-275. Regardless of where the final location may be, the transit hub would have an airport connection via a people mover system that is similar to what is already set up at the airport, as well as other airports throughout the world.

Tampa isn’t the only city looking into such an option. In fact, Miami just recently constructed an off-site transit hub that has a rail connection to Miami International Airport and their facility has become a model for others to consider. However, any intermodal center in the WestShore district is several years away and will likely hinge on any new funding avenues being opened. In my next post, I will be going more in-depth as to what Hillsborough County officials are doing to slowly revive rail talks and how the advocacy group Connect Tampa Bay is helping to make that happen.

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012