Thanks to me being a Contributing Staff Writer and Photographer for Transportica, I now have Press Access to attend transportation-related events. While I have attended many events and conferences before, the recently-concluded Green Festival Expo, held annually in many cities throughout the United States, left me a great impression of what companies large and small have been doing to improve human lives through sustainable products and progressive causes. Not to mention, the exposition provided its audiences the next generation in food products, mobility options, and home living, as well as opportunities to support multiple causes, from animal protection to mitigating air pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since today is Election Day (and I actually voted last May for the Philippine Elections that brought Rodrigo Duterte to power), I've thought about creating a special post today to see which bus, you think, gave you the best impression as it debuted this year.
Last Saturday (5 November 2016), County Connection executives and officials from Federal, state, and local governments have convened outside the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek to debut the transit agency's first set of electric buses. Made locally by Gillig in Hayward, the four 29-foot, all-electric trolleybuses are the company's first attempt in developing such buses for transit agencies like County Connection, in collaboration with BAE and Wave that provide the electric battery propulsion and charging systems for the electric buses.
Last Sunday, I brought along a friend of mine visiting from Vermont to MacArthur BART to view the upcoming Fleet of the Future train by BART. Developed and built by Bombardier near Montreal, this new train will feature more passenger-friendly amenities, from 3 doors on each side instead of the current two, to more bike spaces and hanging straps. Perhaps the coolest feature would be brand new, digital route maps and station annunciator systems, features that have been long overdue and badly wanted by passengers. A train test engineer from Bombardier told me that it will start operating the new train (as a 10-car consist) from 2017 as more cars are being brought in from the East Coast.
Bagging a local scholarship for this year's Rail-Volution Conference in San Francisco was by far one of the most intriguing things I've ever received. With a grant of $550 to attend the conference, I've committed myself to attending each and every single day of it, which consisted of dozens of workshops (at the hotel and on the field) to choose from, many social events, and a bountiful of opportunities to meet transportation professionals from around the United States and beyond. I've even made quite a lot of new friends too, for which I am grateful that a wonderful group of transportation planners and staff members from Salt Lake City adopted me as "Utah".
In this series of reflections, I will break it down into multiple parts, in which I will do it on a chronological (day-by-day) basis, full of images I've taken throughout the conference. Heck, I might throw in transit photography as well for good measure!
I attended this year's Muni Heritage Weekend, in which I got to see some of the agency's older vehicles, all of which have been retired from passenger service many years ago. This year's attendance would be my second time attending this event, the first time I went there was last year.
With new station construction and train testing underway, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit is on track for opening revenue service come Christmas 2016. While it will save me up to 20 minutes' worth of travel time between San Rafael and Novato, there is a major caveat that I need to address.
Attending a board meeting that discusses issues from how the Geary BRT will be implemented to hearing residents' pleas to reopen bus stops is essential in assessing the next steps in reshaping one of San Francisco's most critical issues: transportation. However, going even deeper into meeting people and understanding how a large city's bureaucracy works truly motivates me to go into even more meetings like the one I attended today so that I can figure out how I can finally start my long career as a transportation planner and discover how much work I need to do to convince city, state, and federal leaders to act and do the right things for our infrastructure and mobility.
Golden Gate Transit coordinated with Marin Transit's massive service adjustments that took place 12 June 2016, and it has streamlined its regional services that the transit agency has focused on restructuring its Basic Routes. On this post, I will note my impressions of what Golden Gate has done to improve its service (especially) in Marin County.
Change has finally come to Marin Transit and Golden Gate Transit with a major revamp that includes a few line eliminations, several route modifications, and new services that, hopefully, will translate to better service for regular commuters and tourists visiting San Francisco. In part 1, I will describe the changes made by Marin Transit, as well as sharing images of the new services the agency now operates.