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Comment Re:You can't defer maintenance forever (Score 1) 250

BART has been continually expanding while deferring maintenance on the rest of the system, and that policy has finally come home to roost -- much of their infrastructure is over 40 years old and they can't defer maintenance forever. But by continually expanding, they've made themselves too big to fail (and they've gotten more counties on the hook to keep the service running), so they'll get bailed out one way or another.

Bullshit. The substation that was first identified as a problem is a mere months old. Granted, BART is terrible at money management seeking to replace the existing Oakland Airport bus shuttle with a half billion dollar cable car (because reasons). Turns out they don't even have the money to do basic track maintenance.

Comment Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

Yes, smack in the middle of some of the highest price real estate in the country. Even coming from the peninsula, it will take you 30 min to get to the Caltrain station and park (longer if you want to make sure you can get parking), 1h for Caltrain, and probably another hour for the mismatch in schedules before you get on HSR.

There are planned HSR stations at San Francisco, San Jose, and two intermediate stops on the peninsula. Current timetables for CalTrain indicate that local service (a.k.a. stopping at every station) San Francisco to San Jose takes 90 minutes. One hour will get you from SF to Menlo Park. Getting from an arbitrary CalTrain station to an HSR station would likely take 30 minutes or less. You can cut that time dramatically by catching a limited or express CalTrain run, and likely this time will go down for all runs once the electrification of CalTrain is completed.

Let's not forget, either, that where HSR and CalTrain share tracks they would all have to be grade separated. This too will increase the speed and reliability of CalTrain. So, realistically, you're looking at regional improvements that benefit more than a few million people.

Likewise, if you're spending an hour looking for parking, you're doing it wrong. Using public transit, or door to door shuttle service would cut that time down.

You're being overly pessimistic, why? Because you'd prefer we subsidize the airlines? Please. Let's not forget that SFO is near capacity in good weather, but in any inclement weather the runways are structured such that you incur massive delays.

Then you need transportation at the other end, since you probably don't have business near the HSR terminal.

Again, HSR at the San Francisco end is stumbling distance from the financial center of the Bay Area, so, likely yes you do have business nearby.

Comment Re:How big are these trains? (Score 1) 515

On the low end, they estimate 18 million riders a year. Ok, dividing 18 million by 365 days leaves you with almost 50,000 passengers a day. Divided by two, that's about 24,000 passengers SF->LA, and 24,000 passengers LA->SF each day. If they run 24 trains s day, leaving each hour, that means 1,000 passengers per hour, every hour, every day.

Seems unlikely.

Why? Single level BART cars can fit around 200 people in a crush load (and about 60 seated), and BART runs 10 car trains regularly -- so roughly 2,000 people max capacity. CalTrain seats anywhere from 80 people (bike car, ugh) to 144 people (plus however many in the aisles). Seven of the latter, two locomotives on either end and you're at 1,000 people.

Comment Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

I thought that was the point of airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet (and for that matter, many other short-haul airliner routes in Europe)?

RyanAir and EasyJet fly into the middle of nowhere, exemplifying the lack of convenience that airlines offer. RyanAir flies into Stansted (London), Baden Baden (Stuttgart), Vatry (Paris), Hahn (Frankfurt -- nearly equidistant to Cologne). That's one of many ways they can keep their ticket prices so low.

Comment Re:More than $100 (Score 4, Informative) 515

So do HSR stations.

I don't know about the LA end of things, but the San Francisco end of the HSR station is intended to be smack in the middle of downtown San Francisco. This would it in the same station as Greyhound (national bus transit), AC Transit (local bus service in the East Bay), SamTrans (local bus service in the Peninsula), and Muni (local bus service in SF, including the arterial N/S and E/W lines). This station is also short walking distance to BART (regional light rail), Muni Metro (local surface and subway streetcar service). Of course, CalTrain (regional heavy rail) doesn't stop there, although there is an effort at getting the HSR authority to follow through on extending the CalTrain tracks to the new station.

Compare this to SFO or OAK which are only served by BART. BART itself offers very poor connections to other lines (except for Muni in downtown SF). BART from OAK now levies a $12 round-trip surcharge for their half billion dollar cable car to the airport (while screaming that they need $5b to fix their existing tracks). BART from SFO levies an $8+ round-trip surcharge and their ballyhooed intermodal station at Millbrae is a joke (no direct service from SFO most of the time).

HSR to downtown SF would be a pretty large improvement in convenience to anyone living in SF or Alameda counties.

isn't going to benefit the good people of Monterey or Boise very much.

So. What. In terms of population served, LA or SF on their own dwarf Monterey and Boise. I think you'll find that air service to either of those towns pales in comparison to that of SF and LA.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 4, Informative) 619

And you'd be wrong.

The revenue from the collected Federal fuel taxes are deposited into the Highway Trust Fund, which has several accounts. Though the percentages vary depending on the fuel type, the majority (approximately 83 to 87%) is deposited into the Highway Account, to be used on road construction and maintenance. An additional amount (approximately 11 to 15%) goes to the Mass Transit Account, and for many fuels, 0.1 cents per gallon goes to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.

Comment Re:A remember in the early 90 when I lived in the (Score 1) 314

Ridership on BART's SFO extension (actually all of the San Mateo County extension) is well below their projections (leaving San Mateo County / SamTrans on the hook for operational costs). There's no direct service (well, not usually) from Millbrae to SFO due to work rules and the cost of running such a bloated rail system. You typically have to go from Millbrae -> San Bruno -> SFO. Don't forget that BART doesn't time their schedule to coincide with Caltrain arrivals at Millbrae.

BART already runs to OAK. The shuttle bus drops you at the terminals. The fancy cable car connector you're thinking of is going to cost riders double ($6 each way, they just announced this), and will drop you at the far end of the parking lot, away from the terminals. This is progress?

And Caltrain? Well, there's a shuttle bus between the Santa Clara Caltrain station and the San Jose airport. Because funding public transit is a political football, Caltrain only runs hourly service much of the day. Oh, and despite the recently relocated Caltrain San Bruno station being on the same stretch of road as BART's San Bruno station, they're still about a mile apart (closer than before, but not by much).

It's not the taxis that are to blame for the abysmal public transit to airport scene, it's the folks that design these transit systems (folks like friggin Quentin Kopp).

Comment Re:Does it really cost $100k? (Score 1) 461

The latest I've seen was this:

http://www.themalaysianinsider... ... which claims that Rolls did indeed get some engine data, and that MH does pay for ACARS. If MH 370 did turn around, that seems a bit unlike the ZU 522 because the intended flight path was nowhere near the Malacca Straits.

Comment Re:Does it really cost $100k? (Score 2, Interesting) 461

The slashvertisement did mention the technology used in AF 447: ACARS. MH 370 may have been equipped with ACARS as well, but if it was, it would not be transmitting via satellite as there is no sat antenna on the vanished plane (9M-MRO). In fact, Malaysia Air has been pretty cagey about whether or not 9M-MRO had ACARS. If 9M-MRO *did* have ACARS installed, and the information *could have been* received/recorded there's still the question of whether or not Malaysia Air was paying for upkeep. If Malaysia Air (who's been in financial trouble for a while now) was too cheap to pay for ACARS, why would they pay for the slashvertised product?

Hell, 9M-MRO has Rolls Royce engines. Rolls Royce (and likely other engine manufacturers) offers remote health monitoring of their engines. You don't need an additional $100,000 device for basic tracking.

Let's not forget this salient point from the slashvertisement:

Of course, that wouldn’t yield much information if a plane is blown out of the sky by a bomb, or suffers a sudden catastrophic structural failure at cruising altitude. But in those rare cases, conventional black boxes are really the only viable technology.

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