Category Archives: Subway

Transit Tourism – New York City Transit Excursion 2017 – Part 5

In Episode 5 of my Transit Tourism series documenting my recent trip to New York City, I will be discussing my first journey aboard the (1) and (W.) subway lines though Manhattan.

Note: When I type in the W in parenthesis to indicate the (W). Line, WordPress changes that to its (W) logo. As a result, I’ve had to make a couple minor changes to prevent this. Unfortunately, this means, you’ll see periods in places where they shouldn’t be. I apologize for any confusion.


Travel Log

After getting settled in my hotel, I wanted to relax a bit since I had arrived in Manhattan a bit earlier than planned. However, I had to be just southeast of Midtown by 4:00pm, so time was of the essence. I could use any extra time that I had to charge my phone somewhere – like Starbucks.

#6696 – 2007 Orion VII Diesel-Electric Hybrid – passing 106th St and Broadway.

While walking down to the 110th St station for the (1) Train, I managed to capture bus #6696 passing by on Broadway. This is one of many Orion Bus Industries model VII diesel-electric hybrid buses that the MTA possesses. A vast majority of the MTA bus fleet is diesel powered, though diesel-electric hybrid and CNG fleets currently operate. There is even a lease order of battery electric buses on the horizon – using both Proterra and New Flyer made buses. And by the way, Orion was one of the bus manufacturers that was acquired by New Flyer in recent years, resulting in the Orion made buses ceasing production. Today, New Flyer only manufactures the Xcelsior line of 35 and 40-foot buses.

Upon arriving at the 110th St Station, I noticed that complimentary Wi-Fi was available. Over the past several months, the MTA has been installing Wi-Fi routers at each of the stations to provide a better customer experience. Efforts are also being made to allow 4G cellular service available throughout the massive maze of tunnels.

“110” indicator on the station’s pillar. Pretty much all NYC subway stations have tiling or signage along pillars and pylons indicating the station name.

Each station has its own unique characteristics – including tiling. Stations that were built during the early 1900s typically have ornate, classical style tiling, whereas stations built during the mid 1900s have more of a mid century look. Stations built between the 1960s and 1990s feature architecture that was common during that respective time period, and anything built after the 1990s have a sleek, modern look.

Old ticketing booth.

If you’re lucky enough, you may enter an older subway station that has relics from yesteryear left over. Old ticketing booths for instance, may still be intact, though they may not be used for purposes such as vending. At some stations, restrooms have been converted into retail shops, where one can grab a snack or a newspaper.

Ornate “110” indicators grace the station’s walls. These decorations date back to the station’s opening.
110th St is also known as Cathedral Pkwy, hence the references to both.

Each of the stations along the numbered lines (except the 7) have digital countdown clock displays that tell customers when their train will be arriving. Along the lettered lines and the Staten Island Railway, LCD displays are being installed to achieve the same purpose.

Digital dot countdown clock display.
Sample graphic (by HARTride 2012) illustrating the countdown clock display along the lettered lines.

As the countdown clock above shows, there was only about a minute before my train towards the heart of Manhattan was slated to arrive. I took this time to take the station photos that I’ve showcased in this post thus far, and while I did take some video footage, I did not have enough time to film the train’s arrival this time.

A packed (1) Train heading to South Ferry via Times Square.

Once the train arrived, I stepped aside to allow arriving customers to disembark, then I entered what was an already packed train. Since the PM rush was approaching, I could totally understand why the trains would be crowded at this time.

To note; nearly all of the trains that operate along the (1) are older R62 and R62A railcars, which are the oldest operating subway railcar fleet for the numbered lines. The modern R142 & R142A trains operate along the (2), (3), (4), (5), & (6) lines, with their rebranded counterparts – the R188 (most being converted R142As) – operating exclusively on the (7). Two sets of R62As continue to operate along the (7), but for how much longer I do not know.

Just getting off #2279 at Times Square – 42nd St.

Navigating the Times Square – 42nd St Station, which lies just a stone’s throw away from the famed intersection of Broadway, 7th Ave, and 45th St, can be a bear. If you don’t really know where you’re going, you can get lost. Fortunately for me, all I had to do was follow the signs to the (N), (Q), (R), (W). platform.

Station signage.

Follow this corridor to the (N), (Q), (R), & (W) trains, as well as the 42nd St Shuttle.
The “Times Square Mural” on the mezzanine level. The 42nd St Shuttle platform is in the background.

While traveling to the Broadway Line platforms for the (N), (Q), (R), & (W). Trains, I snapped a photo of the Times Square Mural on the mezzanine level near the 42nd St Shuttle platform. It’s truly a wonderful mural, depicting a train traveling through a futuristic city. The work was created by Roy Lichtenstein and commissioned by the MTA’s Arts for Transit program.

Okay, now to the (W). Beyond this section of the mezzanine was the stairways to the Broadway Line platforms. I needed to make sure that I was getting onto the correct platform so as to not head uptown by accident.

Signs to the Broadway Line platforms.
Tile mosaic next to the staircase to the Broadway Line platforms.
Left for the (Q), right for all others…
Pillar signage. Notice how the lower sign does not include the (W)? This sign was probably installed in 2010 when the (W) was axed due to budget cuts. I doubt the MTA will be replacing these signs anytime soon since the larger signs have all been updated.

Now some of you may be asking, where exactly was I going? I was heading to the Cooper Union for a presentation. Since the (N) & the (Q) go express down Broadway and do not serve the 8th Ave station, I needed to catch either an (R) or a (W). train to get to my destination. Since the (W). was restored back in December, 2016, I wanted to have at least one ride on the line – especially being that I didn’t know how long the presentation would last. If it was something that would keep me at Cooper Union past 9:00pm, then there may not be an opportunity to catch the (W). to Whitehall St – South Ferry due to it ending service during the 9:00pm hour.

It took maybe about 8 minutes before the (W). arrived. While waiting, I saw (Q) Express train & an (R) Local train stop at the station. I wasn’t so much looking for photos of the (Q) & the (R) because of the time crunch. I can always do some bus fanning outside Cooper Union if I had extra time. Once the (W). train did arrive, I was on my way again! The train wasn’t really crowded at all, unlike the (1) train that I boarded earlier, and the trip went without incident – all smooth sailing to 8th St!

The (W) has arrived!
On board the (W).

To close this post, let me mention the types of railcars that travel along the Broadway Line. The (Q) primarily uses newer R160A & B trains, while the (R) primarily uses the older R46 trains. The (N) & (W.) use a mix of older R68 & R68A trains & newer R160A & B trains. However, uncommon occurrences do happen – where an R68 or R68A may spring up on the (Q) or even more rare…on the (R).

Do you like what you’ve been able to read so far? Let me know by commenting on this post. I will have Episode 6 up in a week hopefully. In the meantime, please keep a watchful eye on tropics, as we still have some time to go before November. It looks like we may be seeing a Tango dance between Jose & Maria this weekend. Putting anything even remotely funny aside though, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by Irma & Maria. I have many friends who have relatives and friends in the Caribbean and it really breaks my heart to see the devastation left behind by these storms.


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Farewell to the Loops! “Newer” South Ferry Station Reopens!

Over the weekend, I began hearing some speculation that the New York City MTA was going to reopen the “newer” South Ferry subway station on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. If such an opening were to materialize, it would mean that the “newer” station would be open by the July 4th holiday, and would also solidify the “hints” that the MTA was dropping in their notification of weekend service changes for the (2) and (3) trains.

Sure enough, that speculation proved to be true…

…Gone are the days of hearing trains screech their wheels at the South Ferry Loops…

…Gone are the mad rush hour shuffles to get to the first five cars of the train to get off at the South Ferry Loops…

…And gone are the other knacks associated with boarding trains at the South Ferry Loops – the announcements, the conductor routines, having to maintain antiquated gap fillers, etc.

…All thanks to hard work and yes, tons of funding, to get the “newer” station back online…just a bit over four years after the loops reopened, and almost five years since SuperStorm Sandy flooded much of Lower Manhattan’s subway tunnels.

The MTA’s “Fix & Fortify” Capital Program, launched after the devastation caused by Sandy, is aimed at rebuilding and restoring storm-damaged infrastructure that the agency owns and operates. This work has encompassed numerous projects, but the South Ferry station restoration project has been among the largest to date – costing $344 million dollars (that’s over half the amount spent on constructing the station in the first place, which was $500 million). In addition to restoring storm-damaged infrastructure, the MTA is also making efforts to strengthen its transit network against future storms. One of the most noticeable features of the newly reopened South Ferry is the addition of heavy metal flood doors at the station’s entrances – designed to keep flood waters out of the station.

Other features that customers may notice different from the original opening of the “newer” station in 2009 include LED lighting (the original station had fluorescent lights), larger station name text font along the platform walls (the original station name text font was very small), and of course the addition of Wi-Fi service (so that customers can surf the web while waiting for their train). Of course, long-time customers can’t help but notice how the “newer” station handles more trains than the loops can – not to mention that all 10 cars of the train can be boarded without major issues.

So with all of these new bells and whistles in place for the “newer” South Ferry, let’s just hope that no more large storms come around and flood the station again.

SF New
Diagram of the new station setup. I originally created this diagram in 2013 when the SF loops reopened, but changes have been made to reflect the reopening of the new platform and the closure of the loops.

 

Final Countdown for South Ferry Loop

The final countdown is on for the many transit fans in New York City to get photos and videos of the old South Ferry Loop subway station before it shuts down for good.

While an official reopening date has yet to be announced by the New York City MTA for the “newer” South Ferry platform – which was damaged by SuperStorm Sandy in 2012, hints have been dropping that the “newer” station will be open before the July 4th holiday. This flyer regarding weekend work on the (2) and (3) lines states that the (2) will detour down the South Ferry-bound tracks to terminate at Rector St during the weekends of June 19th and 26th, but afterward, trains would terminate at the “newer” South Ferry.

I can only guess that at this point, the MTA does not want to announce a date too soon when work is still wrapping up on the rebuilding of the “newer” station. There has been quite a lot of work done on the station and some work will continue on even after the “newer” platforms have reopened. One key element that will be present when the reopening does happen is the water-tight doors that will seal off the platform section if flooding occurs. I’m also hearing that the rebuilt platform will pretty much look identical to how it did when it first opened in 2009, but with some cosmetic changes and LED lighting (instead of fluorescent).

So with all of this said, you might be wondering, “why not just have the (2) train service the South Ferry Loop when it’s being detoured?” From my understanding, the MTA is concerned that rail operators on the (2) and (3) trains might not have the proper training to operate the train doors properly. Only the first five cars of the train can be opened at the loop, a key reason why the “newer” station was built (it was not feasible to expand the loop to accommodate 10-car trains).

To wrap things up, I’m very glad that I got to visit New York City while the South Ferry Loop was still open. I’ll discuss the loop more during my Transit Tourism series on my recent trip. But in the meantime, I already have a video up on YouTube showing the loop, and the adjoining Whitehall St station, that you can watch. I will make an update to this post when the official reopening date for the “newer” South Ferry platform is announced.


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NYC Subway W-Train makes a comeback on 11/7/16

w-1

It’s a long time coming for the New York City Subway – the return of “W” service to Manhattan and Queens!

Back in 2009, during the height of the recession – many transit agencies were forced to cut back service in order to trim down their budgets. This came at a time when transit ridership was hitting all-time highs due to higher gas prices and unstable economic conditions. The New York City MTA was not immune to these circumstances and enacted a rash of service cuts in 2010 that included the elimination of the “W”, replacing it with “Q” service in Queens.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Second Ave Subway – which has been marred in delay after delay during the past several decades – is set to open its first segment this December.  In preparation for the launch of “Q” service to 96th St, the MTA is bringing back the “W” to compensate for the loss of service that the re-alignment of the “Q” will bring to Queens. These changes in fact; will bring the “N”, “Q”, “R”, and “W” trains all back to their pre-2010 levels – except of course that the “Q” stays in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The MTA has put together a comprehensive guide to the realigned services, including where and when you can catch each train. Please be sure to pay close attention so that you can plan out your commute. The realigned services kick off on Monday, November 7, 2016, with the first “W” trains departing at 6:30am.


south-ferry-1

Oh, that South Ferry…

Because the “W” terminates at the Whitehall St/South Ferry station in Manhattan, I thought that this would be a good time to also post an update on the reconstruction of the “newer” South Ferry station for the “1” train. As many know, the “newer” station was damaged due to Superstorm Sandy.

Since earlier this year, work officially began on gutting out and rebuilding the “newer” South Ferry “1” platforms – which lie below the “older”, curvier “1” platform. In addition, the “newer” entrances to the station’s mezzanine level have also been undergoing reconstruction – namely replacing the elevators and escalators in and out of the station. As a result – customers have been having to rely on the “older” entrances at Whitehall St and the Staten Island Ferry building to access the “older” platform for the “1”. The free connection between the “R” and the “1” continues to be maintained via the mezzanine passageway between the respective platforms.

With the return of the “W”, all station signage is being updated to reflect the connection to the revived service and this will no doubt bring forth a very rare opportunity for transit fans to get photography and video action of the “1”, “N”, “R”, and “W” trains together while the “older” “1” platforms remain open. As I will say right now, enjoy this opportunity while it lasts! Because come the fall of 2017, the “older” “1” platform will close (very likely forever this time) in lieu of the “newer” platform reopening.


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The Paris Metro MP 14 – First Glance

At the end of May, 2016, the RATP unveiled a video showing a rendition of the proposed MP 14 railcar traveling through a subway corridor. While I have to assume that the design is still in its early stages – leaving room for modifications in the future – I have to say the railcar looks pretty impressive.

The MP 14 railcars are projected to enter revenue service at some point between 2021 and 2023 on Paris Metro Lines 11 and 14, with the possibility of trains being assigned to Lines 4 and 6.

New York City’s Line 7 Subway Extended!

new_york_city_subway_line_7_clip_art_19975

NYC Subway 7 Extension Banner 1

For Travel Information, please visit MTA.info

On Sunday, September 13, 2015, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York opened its 469th subway station on Manhattan’s West Side! The new 34th St/Hudson Yards station for the busy Line 7, which runs from Manhattan to Flushing, marks the beginning of a new era where an area of New York City now has access to subway service.

 An overview of Line 7

Line 7, commonly referred to locally as the “7-Train” first opened on June 22, 1915 between Grand Central Station and the Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue Station. On March 14, 1927, the previous western terminus at Times Square opened, with the current eastern terminus at Flushing – Main Street opening a few months later on January 2, 1928. Express services have been in place on much of the Queens segment, by which is mostly elevated, since 1917 – though there have been periods by which express services were suspended for a time. Local services are distinguished by a circle on signs whereas express services are distinguished with a diamond. Both shields are in a raspberry color with the “7” in white – as show at the top of this post.

The entire line itself is currently undergoing a massive modernization project that will bring forth the latest generation of railcars, the R-188 (though some railcars are actually converted R-142A cars), along with Communication-Based Train Control (or CBTC). The latter will allow trains to run more efficiently under the Automatic Train Control (ATO) system that is currently used on many subway lines in Paris, France. The older R-62A that originally ran on Lines 3 and 6 are gradually being replaced by the newer stock, allowing them to be shifted to other compatible lines. It is to note that the entire New York City subway system is not streamlined on the same rail gauge due to the system being constructed by different companies during the early 1900s.

The last stronghold for the “Redbirds”

In 1997, I had an opportunity to ride Line 7 for the first time while in Flushing for a family wedding. At this point in time, the 7 was being operated with “Redbird” (R33 WF and R36 WF) railcars from the the 1960s – which were used during the World’s Fair (these were known for their red color, though they were originally painted in turquoise). There were several instances where my family and I rode trains from Flushing – Main Street to either Grand Central or Times Square. Riding the “Redbirds” was definitely a sight in its own respect, especially being that they all have since been retired – being replaced by R-142 and R-142A stock. Perhaps on day, I’ll be able to hitch a ride on a heritage train trip using one of these wonderful railcars.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the subway from my 1997 trip.

The stations

Below is a listing of all stations along Line 7. <E> indicators are present for express services.

Flushing – Main Street <E>
Mets – Willets Point <E>
111th St
103rd St – Corona Plaza
Junction Blvd <E>
90th Street – Elmhurst Avenue
82nd Street – Jackson Heights
74th Street – Broadway
69th Street
61st Street – Woodside <E>
52nd Street
46th Street – Bliss Street
40th Street – Lowery Street
33rd Street – Rawson Street
Queensboro Plaza <E>
Court Square <E>
Hunter’s Point Ave <E>
Vernon Boulevard – Jackson Avenue <E>
—EAST RIVER—
Grand Central Station <E>
Fifth Avenue <E>
Times Square <E>
10th Avenue (Provisional Station – Not yet funded)
34th Street – Hudson Yards <E>

The Extension

Extending Line 7 westward or southwestward has been in the books since the 1990s, although a longer range proposal to eventually carry the line all the way into New Jersey appears to be dead. The 34th St – Hudson Yards station was originally a part of New York City’s bid for the 2012 Olympics, which London eventually earned. The station was originally projected to open in 2013, but was delayed several times – partly due to the Olympics going to London, but later due to problems with installing the inclined elevators. The elevators – a first for New York City’s subway system – were installed due to the station’s depth. While there are escalators available, the elevators serve as the main point of egress between the upper mezzanine (fare control) and the lower mezzanine, as well as to comply with ADA requirements. Below the lower mezzanine is the the island train platform and the dual tracks. To the south of the station is a garage to store trains overnight, something not possible at the previous terminus at Times Square.

A provisional station is located at Tenth Avenue and was slated to be built in the original plans, but after the 2012 Olympic bid went to London, the plans were dropped due to funding constraints.

New subway station openings can be a fanfare for transit fans, and as such was definitely the case for 34th St/Hudson Yards. While the fanfare is more subtle in other cities like Paris, it is quite impossible to hold back hundreds of budding railfans from getting their first glimpse of the new station. Simply do a search on YouTube for “hudson yards subway” and you’ll see what I mean.

After watching the videos, feel free to head on over to the Subway Nut and Second Avenue Sagas websites for additional coverage.

Source

While I don’t like using Wikipedia as a “source”, it was the only singular place for me to be able to gather some information to be able to make this post possible.


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Paris Metro Line 11 Extension Project (Phase I) Begins

M11 Extension Banner

As the month of June begins, several major expansion projects are taking place throughout the city of Paris. One of which is the first of two phases to extend the Line 11 subway eastward, and then southeastward. Phase I, which officially broke ground this week, will extend the 11 by six stations to Rosny-Bois Perrier. In addition to this extension, a new maintenance depot will be built near the new terminus, and several existing stations will receive accessibility upgrades such as elevators. Eventually, some (if not all) of the existing stations will have their platforms lengthened to be able to accommodate longer trains. Currently, the Line 11 platforms can only accommodate trains up to five cars, but due to a space limitation at the current Victoria Depot, only four car trains run on the line at this time. The goal is to eventually have eight to ten car trains running by the time Phase II is completed, which will extend Line 11 further by four stations to Noisy-Champs. Phase II of the extension is part of the widely ambitious Grand Paris Express project, which will also extend Line 14 in both directions, and result in the construction of four new subway lines. Currently, the opening timetable for Phase II is sometime between 2025 and 2028.

Stations

Below is a listing of both proposed and current stations along the Line 11 Subway, along with their opening dates (expected opening timeframes for the proposed stations).

Going from West to East

Châtelet – 1935

(Victoria Maintenance Depot) – 1935

Hôtel de Ville – 1935

Rambuteau – 1935

Arts et Métiers – 1935

République – 1935

Goncourt – 1935

Belleville – 1935

Pyrénées – 1935

Jourdain – 1935

Place des Fêtes – 1935

Télégraphe – 1935

Porte des Lilas – 1935

Mairie des Lilas – 1937

Liberté Les Lilas – Serge Gainsbourg – (2020)

Place Carnot – (2020)

Montreuil – Hôpital Nord – (2020)

Boissière – La Dhuys – (2020)

Londeau-Domus/Parc des Guillaumes – (2020)

Rosny-Bois Perrier (2020)

(Rosny Maintenance Depot – 2020 – Will replace the Victoria Depot)

Villemomble – (2025)

Neuilly – Les Fauvettes – (2025)

Neuilly – Hôpitaux (2025)

Noisy – Champs (2025)

Rolling Stock

The current fleet of MP 1959 railcars will be phased out in favor of next generation MP 2014 railcars at a cost of about €150m. It is assumed that the new railcars – composed of five cars per train – will start out as being manually driven (meaning that the train is controlled by a human conductor), but will likely have the capabilities to be converted to fully automated operation once the entire line becomes automated – which will correspond with the Phase II extension to Noisy – Champs. Additionally, more cars could be added to each train if capacity warrants as so.

STIF-branded MP 05 rolls onto Line 14

MP 05 railcar #585 in the newer STIF livery. The regional transportation authority of Paris purchased a batch of these railcars in preparation for a northern extension of the 14 Line. Photo Credit: Minato.
MP 05 railcar #585 in the newer STIF livery. The regional transportation authority of Paris purchased a batch of these railcars in preparation for a northern extension of the 14 Line. Photo Credit: Minato.

The first of what will be many STIF-purchased railcars for the 14 Line of the Paris subway began revenue service in late November. The above is that of railcar #585, and just like the MF 01 of the 9 Line and the MI 09 of the RER Commuter Rail A Line, these railcars are fitted with the exterior grey of the STIF in conjunction with the mint green/white colors of the RATP, the city’s transit operator.

Summer 2014 Transit News You Can Use

Summer is just around the corner! Which means if you live along the coast, it’s time to prep those beach supplies! In Virginia Beach and Tampa Bay, you can easily take public transit to the beach and relax! Want to let the kids hang out with friends without sacrificing time and gas? You can do that too! I’ll be discussing summer-related happenings in both Virginia Beach and Tampa Bay in just a few moments. If you reside in or plan to visit Paris very soon, I’ll also have an update to a subway station closure that I discussed a few months ago.

The Virginia Beach WAVE rolls into service for Summer 2014!

The Virginia Beach Oceanfront is always hopping! Especially during summer! Photo taken by HARTride 2012 in April, 2013.
The Virginia Beach Oceanfront is always hopping! Especially during summer! Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

On May 1, Route 30 of the Virginia Beach WAVE (or VB WAVE) began limited services along the Virginia Beach, VA Oceanfront for Summer 2014. The shuttle currently is operating from 8:00am until 2:00am the next morning, with buses running roughly every 20 minutes. Route 30 runs along the entire expanse of Atlantic Ave and allows residents and visitors to easily access the many Oceanfront shops, eateries, museums, and other sights. On Sunday, May 18, full VB WAVE services will begin, which will include Route 30 operating roughly every 15 minutes, as well as the operation of Routes 31 and 32.

Route 31 connects the southern end of Atlantic Ave to the various tourist venues along General Booth Blvd, including the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum and the Ocean Breeze Water Park. The route then continues south towards the Holiday Trav-L-Park and the Virginia Beach KOA Campground. This route runs 7 days a week from the beginning of May until Labor Day between 9:30am and 11:10pm. Shuttle frequency is roughly every 20 minutes. Please note that the Aquarium and Ocean Breeze stops are only serviced during venue operating hours.

Route 32 allows riders to ride between the Oceanfront and the Hilltop shopping area for an awesome shopping and dining experience. Service is also provided to the Lynnhaven Mall, which is touted as Virginia Beach’s premier shopping destination. This route runs 7 days a week from the beginning of May until Labor Day between 10:00am and 10:00pm. Shuttle frequency is roughly every 60 minutes.

All three routes will run through September, with Routes 31 and 32 running through the Labor Day weekend, and Route 30 running through the end of September. An updated system map is available.

VB Wave fares, which are listed below, are slightly different than the rest of the Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) bus system. As HRT’s new fare structure is gradually implemented, VB WAVE fares will eventually level out with the rest of the system.

  • Adults/Youth: $1.00
  • Seniors and persons with disabilities: $0.50
  • Children under 38”: Free
  • GO 1-Day Shuttle Pass: $2.00
  • GO 1-Day Shuttle Pass (Seniors, Disabled, Youth): $1.00
  • GO 3-Day Shuttle Pass: $5.00
  • GO 3-Day Shuttle Pass (Seniors, Disabled, Youth): $2.50

GoPasses can be purchased from participating retailers or from any Ticket Vending Machine (TVM).

For updates on the VB WAVE, please visit HRT’s website. You can also view my web page dedicated to the VB WAVE. Don’t forget that you can easily connect to other HRT bus routes from the Oceanfront, and even connect to The Tide Light Rail Line at Newtown Rd! Why hassle with parking and traffic hassles when you can let HRT do the driving for you!

Summer Youth Passes are BLAST with Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties!

#2601, fresh from the paint shop, pulls into Britton Plaza. Photo taken by HARTride 2012. October, 2011.
Let HART and PSTA do the driving for you! Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

For several years now, both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) in Hillsborough County, FL, and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in Pinellas County, FL have offered special youth passes during the period between May and September as a way to encourage middle and high school students to use public transit (and in-turn, give their parents a break from driving the kids around and having to spend more money on gas, all while helping the environment). With these special summer youth passes, one can easily travel to family-oriented hotspots like beaches and theme parks, as well as hanging out with friends at the movies! High school students can also take advantage of these passes to commute to work, and thus sparing the parents stress and gas!

Students can begin using HART and PSTA summer passes later this month (HART has announced May 12, and PSTA has announced May 15). However, you can begin making your purchases NOW by visiting a HART or PSTA transit center! PSTA also allows you to purchase Summer Haul Passes online through PSTA’s online ticket store, and at selected ticketing vendors. The HART Summer Blast Pass is only $30.00, while the PSTA Summer Haul Pass is $35.00! That’s less than $2.40 a week! Proper photo ID (government or school-issued) is required to be able to use these passes. Both HART and PSTA also issue youth discount permits, which are available at their respective transit centers.

Please note that both HART and PSTA summer passes are NOT VALID on express routes or Paratransit services. HART summer passes are also NOT VALID on the TECOline Streetcar Line.

New to the system? Both HART and PSTA provide travel training programs at NO COST to you! Just call the HART InfoLine at (813)-254-4278, or the PSTA InfoLine at (727)-540-1900 for further information.

2nd phase of work/closure at Paris Subway station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre begins

If you plan on heading to Paris in the next few weeks, you’ll want to be aware of a station closure along the Paris Metro (subway) that will be in place for the next few months. As I reported a few months ago, station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre along Lines 1 and 7 of the Paris Subway has been undergoing renovation work. Complete closure of the Line 1 platforms wrapped up in March, and now the Line 7 platforms are closed until approximately July 24, 2014.

Palais Royal Closure 2
Diagram created by HARTride 2012. Diagram is not to scale.

What this means for those heading to the Louvre and surrounding areas is that one will have to exit at either Pont Neuf to the east or Pyramides to the north. Additionally, those wishing to make connections between Lines 1 and 7 will need to use station Chatelet-les-Halles.

Later this summer, Line 6 service will be suspended between stations Pasteur and Passy. The elevated section of Line 6 in this area is known for its breathtaking views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. I’ll have a blog post up on this upcoming closure when more information becomes available.

Another train incident on the CTA Blue Line

Back in October of 2013, two Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line trains collided after an out of service train struck the end of another train that was stopped to load/unload passengers.

This morning, an inbound Blue Line train entering the O’Hare Airport station (which serves as the southern terminus for the Blue Line) overshot the bumper blocks at the end of the track, causing the front-most train to travel up the escalator that leads from the mezzanine level onto the platform level. The incident resulted in 32 injuries, and the cause is still under investigation.

Like the October, 2013 incident, safety protocols that would have stopped the train from overshooting the tracks did not seem to engage. Investigators will be figuring out why this was the case.

At this time, the Blue Line is CLOSED between O’Hare and Rosemont stations. Please visit the CTA website for updates.