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Annals of Transit 13: The conservative case …. Vienna converts … BART strike

July 16, 2013

An occasional update on items from the Transit City.

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CONSERVATIVE POSITION: INVEST IN TRANSIT

From DC Streetsblog:

Here’s a refreshing take on metropolitan economic health from the right side of the aisle: The conservative Free Congress Foundation says it’s time America got serious about investing in transit in its metro areas.

This think tank, founded by conservative Paul Weyrich (also co-founder of the Heritage Foundation), released a report [PDF]  last week extolling the economic benefits of transit investment and healthy  cities. The Free Congress Foundation is also holding congressional hearings on  its findings on the Hill, bringing some much-needed conservative support for  walkable, connected cities to Washington politics.

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WOULD THIS WORK FOR US?

From the New York Times:

The Austrian capital is switching from buses powered by liquefied petroleum gas to a novel, first-of-its-kind fleet of electric buses that run unplugged, go anywhere, and recharge their batteries using the overhead power lines of older trams. Twelve of the buses, each of which can carry 40 passengers, are in service. …Vienna

The red and white buses partly recharge in 10 to 15 minutes between runs by pulling into an existing tram station and hooking up to electric current via a pantograph, an arm on the roof that carries the electricity. While electricity itself is not environmentally friendly unless it comes from renewable sources, city officials figure the buses — which are made by the Rampini company in Perugia, Italy — will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions 300 tons a year.

At night, the batteries recharge fully at the depot. Because the buses have modest range requirements, they use a smaller battery, which makes them lighter and less expensive than those that require larger batteries.

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BART STRIKE: RIDE-SHARING BOOMS

Transit strikes can have impacts far beyond the duration of the strike.  In Vancouver it resulted in a spike in cycling that continued after the settlement.  In San Francisco, the current BART strike has resulted in a massive boom in ride sharing made possible by new technology.  Here’s an example from Avigo:

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8,825 % Growth in Ridesharing Activity During BART Strike

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That could mean a lot of customers not coming back to BART, and potential growth of ride-sharing in other markets as word gets out and the technology is scaled up.

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