Archive for the ‘mass transit’ Category

The public likes public transportation!

March 9, 2009

Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008! This is a 4% increase over 2007 levels and also marks the highest level of ridership in 52 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Ridership on all modes of public transportation increased in every quarter for the second year in a row. Light rail had the highest increase in annual ridership, growing by 8.3% in 2008, followed by commuter rail (4.7%), bus service (3.9%) and heavy rail (3.5%). Streetcars and trolleys are considered ‘light rail’, while subways are categorized as ‘heavily rail’.

Not only are more people taking public transportation, they are also driving less: Total vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. declined by 3.6% from 2007 levels. According to the APTA report, “This ridership record continues a long-term trend of ridership growth. Public transportation use is up 38% since 1995, a figure that is almost triple the growth rate of the population”. Not too shabby, huh?

Show me the money, Jerry Maguire!

February 27, 2009

The federal economic stimulus package is like a fat, bloody guy who tips over in his canoe in the Amazon: It’s been swarmed over by every Tom, Dick & Harry org, biz, and state or local government with even the most remote justification for taking a nip out of the thrashing cash cow.

Thing is, of course, that creates a whole lotta bottlenecking, impatience and speculation about who’ll get a piece of the pie.

The CTA’s newest young-gun honcho and agency manager jack-of-all-trades, Richard Rodriguez—who’s facing a daunting budget deficit and service-upgrade challenges even as his boss makes a mad dash for the 2016 Olympics—must be crossing his fingers so hard for a stimulus windfall that his knuckles are turning purple. He may get help from Springfield if the freebie rides for seniors that Gov. Nim-Rod proffered during his bread-and-circus reign get yanked.

Even the mayor of Obama’s home town can’t read the tea leaves. His wish list covers about as much ground as the President’s in this video of a press conference recitation earlier this week that’s posted on Mayor Daley’s brand-new YouTube channel. (That’s right: City Hall has finally taken a cue from the Obama internet-savvy playbook, minus slick web-design bells and whistles and an overarching effort to create government transparency.)

Give us this day our Daley bread.

We wish Rodriguez well. Seriously. We look forward to working with him and the CTA on promoting the new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card program. And we hope there’s a piece of mutton left over from the stimulus gorging for our non-profit car-sharing agenda and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, I-GO’s parent org. We’re both part of a better green tomorrow that includes an expanded, synergistic public transportation system.

Because it’s gonna take a whole lotta green to go green, folks. But it’s the right thing to do.