Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices

Posts Tagged ‘BART’

How Not to Handle a Protest

Posted by Roobs on August 16, 2011

Yesterday, The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit authority (aka: BART) did the world a public service.  By shutting down stations, previously shutting down cell and data services and all in all pissing people off, it showed other government agencies how NOT to handle a civic protest.  In other words, had BART demonstrated some very basic common sense in crisis management, or at the very least spent the last decade watching protests around the world, it would have known preventing a planned protest from happening isn’t the best way to calm people down.

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Posted in Law, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

BART and Clipper Have a “Dirty Little Secret”

Posted by Roobs on November 11, 2010

Clipper Cards as Credit Cards.

This has been floating around the Bay Area and transportation-focused blogosphere for a few days and I am no exception.  Why?  Because it’s funny.

The Bay Area transportation system has been ripe with logistical problems for travelers in the past.  Multiple transit agencies operate around the Bay Area with different fare-collection methods.  BART, SF Muni, AC Transit and Caltrain all have their own fare system and collect via their own tickets.  In the past you would have to walk around with multiple tickets filled with money if you needed to transfer from system to system.

Well, to solve that, all these agencies agreed to go with a single card called “Clipper”–referencing the Clipper ships that used to be in the SF Bay.  It’s basically a prepaid card that can be used at all transit agencies turnstyles.  As clipper advertises: “All your transportation in one card”.  And it’s true and it works decently well…. until now.

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BART: When Good Deeds Go Bad

Posted by Roobs on August 12, 2010

What is it about no temporary fare cuts, more capital and service improvements does BART not understand?

Last month, we heard the rare good news that BART was ending its fiscal year with a $4 million surplus.  Happy with the good news, the BART Board of Directors decided to do something… well, nice.  They wanted to offer a temporary fare reduction to passengers; a 3% decrease over four months.  They conducted a survey to see how the public felt about their brief exercise in altruism and found something odd.  The public had said “thanks, but no thanks.”

Nearly 4 out of 5 BART riders oppose the idea of a temporary fee rollback, according to BART’s in-house survey. […] What they do want is longer service hours and cleaner cars.


Following these results, the BART Board decided to table a vote on what to do with the $4 million surplus.

Yesterday it was announced that BART has discovered another $4.5 million dollar windfall, bringing the total unexpected surplus to $8.5 million.  The board is expected to meet in two weeks to decide what to do with all this money.

And what were they still talking about doing with all this money?  Yup, fare rollbacks.  Temporary fare rollbacks, despite the fact that over 75% of riders do not want them.  You would think that, especially in this economy, when riders are actually rejecting an offer to briefly save them money that they must really really want something else and that the Board would take that to heart.

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Posted in Politics, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

BART and the Public Relations Battle

Posted by Roobs on July 23, 2010

Just yesterday, the BART Board of Directors approved an alternate funding plan for the controversial Oakland Airport Connector after being denied $70 million from the Federal Government.  They said BART had violated civil rights laws by not considering the projects impact on the low-income communities that the project must go through.  But like a petulant child who can’t take “no” for an answer, BART refuses to give up on this monorail.  In every interview I see with them they appear to be unapologetic about every action.  So that got me thinking, is BART winning the public relations battle and, more importantly, do they even care?

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BART – A Love, Hate Relationship

Posted by Roobs on July 12, 2010

I started writing this post a couple weeks ago to talk about BART’s recent Livermore Extension plan.  But instead, it has turned into a post about my relationship with BART; a love-hate relationship.  And as I stop and think about it, I feel no type could describe the relationship between BART and rider better.

Like a lot of transit advocates in the Bay Area, I have an intrinsic issue with BART extension.  When BART comes out and says “we want to extend the system”, my immediate reaction is to raise a Spock-like eyebrow.  These issues are in large part because BART is spending billions of dollars on expanding to areas that have yet to really warrant the exaggerated ridership projections that usually accompany a BART extension proposal.

The problem is that rail lines often merely match the convenience of a car and frequently come at greater than anticipated expense with lower than expected ridership. Given these considerations and a fiscal climate which has forced us to rethink our transit priorities, BART’s enthusiasm for suburban system extensions is misplaced and has the potential to rob the core system of valuable resources.  I believe there is a point when specific modes of rail transit become inefficient compared to other and we should be mindful of the context in which we are trying to connect different parts of a region.

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Posted in Economic Development, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »