Tag Archives: bus

In Switzerland, A Program To Flash Charge Electric Buses

Switzerland is in the midst of a pilot program testing some of the fastest charging batteries on the planet.

These batteries aren’t being put in cell phones or computers, but being testing in fully electric buses. These buses have several advantages both in performance and cosmetics.

Most electric buses are powered through a series of cable lines running through cities, which the TOSA, or Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation pilot project, could make obsolete, according to CNET. Continue reading

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Filed under infrastructure, public transportation

Public Transportation And America’s “Megalopolises”

In March, The Atlantic‘s City Lab, took a look into the power house economies of the so-called “megalopolises” of the United States. Author Richard Florida found that there were a dozen of the world’s 40 “mega-regions” here in America.

From the contiguous stretch of urban sprawl in New England, Florida named the Bos-Wash region, to the Pacific Northwest he called “Cascadia,” these dozen areas are the economic and population hubs of the country. According to Florida, “these dozen regions have a combined population of more than 230 million people, including 215 million from the United States, or 70 percent of the U.S. population.”

mega regions population

Courtesy of City Lab

Many of these areas have various forms of public transportation, some well known and extremely popular, while others are continuing to face the needs and challenges associated with creating a successful network of transportation.

Beginning today, and over the weekend,  we’ll take a look at how each of these regions are connected.

Bos-Wash: By far the largest population and economic output region on Florida’s list, Bos-Wash “stretches from Boston through New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore to Washington, D.C.” and is home to 56.5 million people. This densely populated part of the country has long had public transportation systems and in all shapes and sizes. Continue reading

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Filed under cities, public transportation, Rail

Getting Around On Maui, Where Locals Want More Transit Options

map_of_mauiIn this two-part report, Curbing Cars intern Matt Varcak transports us away from dreary weather and takes us to Hawaii, a surprising hot spot for public transportation. Today, he looks at Maui.

By Matthew Varcak

Hawaii’s third most populous island, Maui, is also its second-largest at roughly 727 square miles. And in the past dozen years, the demand for public transportation has exploded.

The Maui Bus program began in 2002 as a pilot program to accommodate the increased need for affordable transportation. By the end of 2003, the program had 101,508 passenger boardings, and by the end of 2004 that number had grown to 117,490.

For the fiscal year 2013, 2.51 million passengers boarded the Maui Bus system.

And these are not all tourists. According to Marc Takamori, deputy director for the County of Maui Department of Transportation, 80 percent of the passengers are locals. Takamori also said there is a demand from riders to increase the frequency of service in addition to adding more routes into areas not currently served. Continue reading

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Filed under cities, public transportation, Travel

A Day In The Life Of Sao Paulo’s Transit System

By Micheline Maynard

We recently showed you a day in the life of Montreal’s transit system. Here, with some catchy music, is a day in the life of the transit system in Sao Paulo.

Now, you might wonder if anything ever moves in Sao Paulo, which has been nicknamed “the city of 18 million traffic jams,” referring to its population.

Sao Paulo actually has the world’s most extensive, and complex, bus system. It operates 26,391 buses, 1,908 lines, 34 transfer stations, and 146.5 kilometers of dedicated bus lanes. One in every five residents takes a bus every day to work, school or other places. Overall, 10.5 million people ride a bus daily in the metropolitan area — equivalent to moving the population of Belgium.

In the bus transit world, Sao Paulo is the equivalent of Montreal in the bike sharing world. City officials from everywhere descend on Sao Paulo to see how the city manages all those people. So sit back, and marvel at the masses of people moving through Sao Paulo mass transit.


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Filed under bike sharing, public transportation

Public Transit Is More Popular Than Ever, And That’s The Problem


Toronto’s day transit pass (left) and a Montreal 3-day pass.

By Micheline Maynard

Over the past few years, there has been a record demand for public transportation. Environmentalists think that’s great news. So do businesses near bus stops and subway stations.

There’s only one problem. The interest in public transportation is swamping cities’ ability to provide fast and comfortable service. Every day, Twitter is full of alerts about train lines breaking down, subway delays and street closings that cause buses to detour.

I experienced some of these issues with the public transit lines in Toronto and Montreal during my visit. While they didn’t keep me from getting where I needed to go, the delays and detours threw me off schedule. Multiply that by the thousands of people who use the systems each day, and you begin to see that productivity can be under pressure.

The first problem happened on my first ride in Toronto. I hopped aboard a street car headed toward Lit Espresso Bar, on College Street, a main east-west route, figuring I’d revive myself after my Via Rail journey from Windsor.

Perhaps a mile into the trip, the driver made an announcement that our journey was going to entail a “short turn.” That means the car wouldn’t proceed to the end of the line, but would dump passengers off at the next stop, where they could pick up the next car.

It turns out this happens all the time in Toronto, and the transit authority even produced a video at one point to explain it. (The video is now gone from YouTube.) Essentially, if there’s bad traffic, construction or too few people riding a streetcar, the system dumps people off and turns around. Continue reading


Filed under Curbing Cars, public transportation

A Day In The Life Of Montreal’s Transit System

By Micheline Maynard

I’m back from a week in Canada, exploring Toronto and Montreal completely by public transit (plus my feet and a couple of taxis). I’ll be writing more about my trip over the coming days.

But first, I’d like you to watch this mesmerizing video showing a day in the life of Montreal’s transit system. It was published last October, and shows one week day (from 4 am to 4 am) of transit activity in Montreal.

It is based on the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data made available by the three largest transit systems in the area — the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), Société de Transport de Laval (STL), and Réseau de Transport de Longueuil (RTL).

You’ll see the system crank to life in the morning, and traffic grow busier throughout the day. Then, it fades in the evening, until only overnight buses are left.

That’s just one city, and one set of transit systems. Imagine if there was an activity stream like this for the whole world!

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Filed under infrastructure, public transportation

My Transportation Diary: Living Without A Car In Houston

By Micheline Maynard

How often do you see cows on your commute?

How often do you see cows on your commute?

When you think of Texas, you think of pickup trucks and Cadillacs, right? David Lippert doesn’t. He, his wife and his child are managing to get along without a car.

Dave is able to fill his transportation needs by walking and riding the bus. He goes to work, shops at Walmart, and handles everything else car free. He even gets to see livestock during his commute.

Here’s Dave’s diary.

“Monday – Friday.  7:30 am – walk to West Road and Greens Crossing, 66 bus south, transfer to 108 downtown at Shepherd Park and Ride.  Get off at Jefferson Street.  ~50 minutes. $1.25

 5:00 pm – 108 north to West Mt. Houston.  Fiesta grocery store, Walgreens and taco truck at transfer point and used occasionally as needed.  Bus 66 N to West Road and Greens Crossing.  1.5 hours $1.25

Cross busy street carefully.  Walk to apartments. Continue reading

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Filed under My Transportation Diary, public transportation, walking