A Cute Dog Picture

 

AAH! I've been meaning to use this picture for sometime. I know it's just a cheap trick to suck you into another public transportation post but since I've been on the subject lately I thought I would do a general follow up.

If a cute dog picture doesn't get you interested maybe for the ladies, Ryan Gosling?

If all else fails how about people in their underwear?

I wrote about this event back on January 15, 2014, under the title We Don't Do This In Mendocino. We still don't do this in Mendocino but there was one passenger who seemed to be in their pajamas. The No Pants Subway Rides started in 2002 with just 7 participants.

On Sunday, January 11th, 2015 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in over 60 cities in over 25 countries around the world. In New York, our 14th Annual No Pants Subway Ride had over 4,000 participants, spread out over seven meeting points and eleven subway lines.

Check out the video (second one down) of the first event on their history page. Notice the title of the book the woman was reading.

Speaking about Mendocino–I discovered a YouTube video produced by the Mendocino Transit Authority. In talking about it with the local supervisor and bus drivers none of them had seen it. This might be the first public viewing for them.

I was reading the local paper back on November 13, 2014 when I notice a picture of a woman that looked familiar. It was a feature titled, Way Back When. Sure enough, it was Cheryl, my favorite MTA bus driver.

Since I've just been on a trip using Amtrak let's link to several stories Grist.org did on using Amtrak to move from Boston to Oakland. The stories were done by Heather Smith. Part one is called, Amtrak wait? Blame the freight. It explains the reasons why the Amtrak Train is almost always late, sometimes excessively. Part two is called, Why Americans love to hate the train — and always have. In it Heather gives you the history of our railway system and where it went wrong. Part three is called, Rumors of the death of the train station have been greatly exaggerated. The history of train stations is explored in this part. I believe the pictures are by Heather. The first one is Chicago's Union Station and the second is Denver's train station. She also talks about transferring to the California Zephyr, number 5 In National Geographic's 10 best train trips in North America.

Part four is the final article. It's called, At continent’s edge, a rail epic concludes, pursued by tank cars. In this article she concludes her trip with a discussion of conversations on trains and the dangers of oil-by-rail.

Like my articles on my Amtrak trip, sometimes it makes taking the train seem like a pain in the ass. It is more like an adventure but you do have to weigh the advantages to the environment. Take for instance this Forbe's article called, The Most Efficient Mode Of Transportation In America Isn't A Prius — It's A Train. The new documentary, Transforming America, tells about the differences between our passenger rail system versus Europe's.

There is no doubt that Americans live in a car culture. Many U.S. citizens don't know what it would be like to live in a train culture.

The population of the U.S. is on track to add over 100 million people to the country by the year 2050. Airports and highways are already over crowded.

I for one like train travel and will leave the subject of Amtrak with this fact–“Last year Amtrak announced their 10th annual ridership record in 11 years, carrying 31.6 million passengers. Amtrak’s ridership is growing faster than any other major form of travel.”

Let's go on to buses.

A Danish mass transit solutions company, Midttrafik, is trying to make bus riding sexy with a couple of videos.

We don't see ads like these in,this county. Maybe we should. Technology is changing your typical bus. Some headlines and some links below.

Electric Buses Being Tested Around the World Pleasing Passengers and Environment.

BYD's All-Elecric Bus Sets a New Record with 200 Mile Journey Around Copenhagen.

First Battery-Powered Bus Transport 135,000 Passengers in 10 Days.

Electric Bus Breaks World Record by Traveling 700 Miles in One Day. Note that they charged it during the day.

This poo-powered Bus Runs on Regular as Long as You do.

So what happens to used buses? It turns out you can get them cheap. They are sold at auctions and even on EBay to other agencies and people. These old buses in San Francisco are being put to a good use by providing shower facilities to the homeless.

LavaMae’s first mobile shower bus launched last weekend. CREDIT: KENA FRANK

At this site you can check out pictures of old subway car being dumped into the Atlantic Ocean to create artificial Reefs.

So who loves public transportation and who doesn't. It use to be a nonpartisan issue but not any longer. I found two articles that explains why the right doesn't love public transportation. One article has the very catchy title of, Why Do Conservatives Hate Public Transit.

The transportation bill moving through the House eliminates the provision that dedicates to mass transit 20 percent of monies from the gas-tax supported Highway Trust Fund — an arrangement that has been in place since Ronald Reagan was president. It also slashes support for high-speed rail projects, cuts subsidies to Amtrak, and eliminates designated funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure as well as the “Safe Routes to School” program.

The other is called, Off the Rails.

What, exactly, do Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians have against trains? Seriously, what? Why did President George W. Bush try to zero out Amtrak funding in 2005? Why is the conservative Republican Study Committee suggesting that we do so now? Why does George Will think “the real reason for progressives' passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans' individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism”?

There have recently been several reports that the Koch Brothers and their partner networks have come out against transit projects.

But last Wednesday, some 50 anti-government groups, including Koch brothers front group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and other recipients of the Kochs’ largesse such as Freedom Partners, sent a letter to Congress calling on it to oppose any increase in the federal gasoline tax. Among their chief complaints, “Washington continues to spend federal dollars on projects that have nothing to do with roads like bike paths and transit.”

It’s part of the right-wing and Koch network’s coordinated national attack on transit…the Kochs are going after transit in local referenda. Local AFP chapters have been leading the charge against transit expansions in regions like Indianapolis and Nashville. Last month, Urban Milwaukee reported AFP is trying to block a streetcar project. And Randall O’Toole, the anti-transit flunky at the Koch-funded Cato Institute is arguing against a new line on D.C.’s metro that would link the urbanizing inner-ring Maryland suburbs.

Where does funding for public transportation come from? It varies. The farebox revenue is the first thing that comes to mind. Fares are generally the smallest part of the funding. Here in Mendocino County the state requires the MTA to have at least a 14.7% farebox recovery rate.

Where does the rest of the money come from? Taxes, the types and amounts of which differ from region to region. In the United States, the most common form of taxation for transit is the sales tax. In states as ideologically diverse as California, Texas, and Washington, state wide sales taxes provide the lions share of transit subsidies.

At the federal level, a segment of the federal gasoline tax is used to support the programs of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The FTA supports transit development through such programs as the New Starts Program , which provides funding for new rapid transit projects and the rehabilitation of existing lines, the Job Access and Reverse Commutes (JARC) program, which provides funding to assist the poor in accessing jobs in underserved communities, and operating subsides to transit agencies in areas with a population of under 200,000.

You can check here and here (California) to better understand funding for public transportation.

Public transportation needs to be funded if we are to get people out of their cars, protect the environment and reduce the carbon going into the air. Your public representives, local, state and federal need to hear that you support trains, buses and bike paths.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s