Why 2014 needs to be the year of transit improvements for Tampa Bay

As Pinellas County gears up for its 2014 transit referendum, neighboring Hillsborough County is still debating as to whether or not they hold a transit referendum vote during the same year, or delay it until 2015 or 2016. With efforts in Pinellas now kicking into high gear, we must make it clear to our elected officials in Hillsborough that 2014, MUST be the year of a regional vote for transit improvements for the Tampa Bay area! Without Hillsborough County being onboard, I strongly fear that the Pinellas vote has a much greater chance at failing should economic conditions change. Plus, if Hillsborough further delays its own vote, elected official may miss out on a crucial opportunity to round in new businesses that are attracted to cities with efficient transit systems. Besides, Hillsborough and Pinellas have worked together on many initiatives before, why should the issue of transit be any different?

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Limited website activity until further notice

Due to personal matters, there will be limited activity on this website until further notice. This includes blog posts, website updates, and social media activity. I also will not be able to respond to website inquiries or blog comments right away, so please be patient.

From Tuesday, August 20 through Tuesday, September 2, 2013; social media postings will be very light. I will still post any important notices such as service changes as soon as possible. I will only be posting ridership numbers from Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) on Tuesdays and Fridays during this time period.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

HARTride 2012

Could faster intercity rail become a reality for Florida?

When Governor Rick Scott cancelled plans for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando back in April of 2011, many transit advocates throughout the state of Florida became upset, because of the economic impact that the line could have brought to the state. However, as soon as the November, 2010 elections were said and done, I knew that the high-speed rail line in the state of Florida was doomed.

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The MP 89 faces an uncertain future…

Two MP 89CC trains at station Mairie de Montrouge, Line 4. Photo Credit: Minato
Two MP 89CC trains at station Mairie de Montrouge, Line 4. Photo Credit: Minato.

7/12/13: This article, published on 7/11/13, now points out a completion of Line 4 automation by 2019, which is definitely more in line with the completion of the Bagneux extension. There is also a hint in the article that stock from Line 14 (Mp 89CA/MP 05) may be transferred over to Line 4, but still nothing is mentioned about the fate of the MP 89CC.

In June of 2012, I first reported about the cascading of rolling stock throughout the Paris Metro system, specifically that of Lines 1, 4, 5, and 9. A little over a year later, this latest round of cascading is nearing its final phase, with Line 9 set to get brand new MF 2001 trains beginning in September! I’ll be discussing about this upcoming transition, and following up on my previous post about the new look of the Paris subway rolling stock as we know it, in a later post. In this post however, I will be highlighting the uncertainty of my favorite Paris subway rolling stock, the MP 1989.

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Don’t “race” the train!

For the month of July, I would like to stress to everyone to never, never, never try to beat a surface train at a crossing. This includes light rail, streetcar, commuter/suburban/intercity rail, and even freight train crossings. This post covers all types of rail transport by which an at-grade crossing with a roadway is involved.

Over the past several years, I’ve heard of many horrific stories about vehicles colliding with trains at crossings. Many times, these incidents occur because the driver of the vehicle was trying to “beat” the train at the crossing and did not make it through the crossing in time. These incidents often result in serious injury, or in many cases fatalities, as well as hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in damages to the train involved. If the train derails as a result of a vehicular collision, those costs can easily soar into the millions. Disregarding train crossing barriers and other such safety protocols when a train is approaching is both dangerous and illegal.

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Virginia Beach to look at private proposals to extend the Tide LRT

I originally planned to post this back on June 15th, but ended up losing my original draft. Unforeseen circumstances further delayed the publishing of this post.

On June 11, 2013, the city council of Virginia Beach voted unanimously in favor of allowing several private-party proposals to extend the Tide LRT to be considered. This step effectively opens the floodgates to any private party wishing to submit proposals to extend the line into Virginia Beach. During the past several months, with the state of the nation’s economy, and more transit districts tightening their budgets; proposals to expand transit have become more and more led by private groups, rather than government offices. This includes the All Aboard Florida intercity rail plan, which I will discuss in a later post.

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Could MetroRapid already be having a fever?

And what I mean by that is, could HART’s new MetroRapid service already be faltering? It’s almost like a person having a high fever, which that in of itself is never fun. One simply cannot focus on things needing to be done when he or she is sick. With a bus route, it simply can’t perform well if its running with vast inefficiencies, like the placement of bus stops, etc. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing largely mixed reviews of HART’s new bus rapid transit system, and we haven’t even been given the first month’s ridership numbers yet! However, these reviews already give a somewhat grim synopsis of what could come if HART does not make key changes to the route soon.

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