Thursday, December 27, 2007

There was a shooting on an MTA bus, making the incident the fourth violent incident on Baltimore's buses in four weeks. This follows a stabbing on the 27, a late night brawl after an argument on the 64, and a stabbing last week on the 51 near Mondawmin Mall. This is the second incident involving a minor.
The victim, 14, was shot "after curfew." The time of the incident and which line are not mentioned in this morning's Baltimore Sun article--only that it occurred in West Baltimore.
As the month nears its close I hope these MTA incidents will end as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday 2k7 Hours

Had too much eggnog at Grandma's Christmas party and need to sleep in your own bed tonight? Or you flew in to your hometown from across the country, getting a cab will be impossible in town, but you don't want to sacrifice a good time. Or, oh my God, if you deal with these people one more second you might scream and THANK GOD, the movie houses are open today...Maybe you rely on it everyday and already know the hours. If so, you're rolling your eyes at me right now and you know what? I'm sorry, I'm still on your team. Either way, you can guarantee on a few things to be open on Christmas: 711, the movies, and the doors to your waiting bus....

(schedules are listed in alphabetical order by call letters)

CTA had a HOLIDAY TRAIN. Why didn't I find this before? It started in November and ran through Saturday. Wow, and I thought Baltimore was special for flashing "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" on its bus marquees. The CTA is playing coy about tomorrow's services. Whether this is related to a fare and schedule change starting Jan. 20? ...Okay, everyone's fares are changing and that commentary was irrelevant.

LTD (Lane County, OR) will NOT operate tomorrow. No buses, no EmX (which despite its tree choppin' creation, finds itself the recepient of many amorous affections from myself), nada, nothing. Oh crap, call a cab. And save your receipt! LTD will allow up to $10 of your ride fare to go to future LTD rides. WHY OH WHY IS THE WEST COAST SO MUCH MORE ACCOMODATING THAN MTA?

MBTA is really long and complicated; service was extendeThis is a good sign, though, it sounds like MBTA is dedicated to its riders. I've never been to the area though, so I might be off-base.d to Logan Airport from Dec. 21-24 but after that all of the services were really boring. Sorry. Blue, orange, green, and red lines will join trackless trolleys, commuter trains, buses, and THE RIDE on a Sunday Schedule. Harbor Ferry, Commuter Boat, Fairmount Line, Needham Line, and Stoughton Line will not be operating.

MTA (MD) will operate on "Sunday" hours. This includes the bus, light rail, and subway; the MARC and Commuter Buses will NOT be operating.

MTA (NY)..has a holiday schedule that was implemented mid-November and is going to last through early 2k8. I have an inkling no one is blindly hopping onto a NYC train anyway, and God Bless you for trying in the overcrowded holiday city anyway.

SEPTA anticipates problems on Mummer's Day but strangely...not today. The route 101 trolley will interrupt its usual December mayhem for its previous regular schedule. The Chestbut Hill Train (R7) will, too! Huzzah!

SFMTA (MUNI, BART, ETC) will operate all services on a Sunday Schedule. It also expects delays on the 28th for Critical Mass. Hey, Baltimore! Get your bikes, suckers! We're not lookin' good. The 31st will operate on weekday service. Seriously, though, seeing the warning for the 28th makes me yearn for a rack on the MTA even more. SFMTA also offers Holiday Tips which includes the "best way" to get to popular destinations, parking, reduced fares, etc. The concern from this website for my convenience--whether it's shown or not--is overwhelming.

TriMet (Portland, OR--MAX, streetcar, bus, rail) will operate on a Sunday schedule. There will also be Sunday hours for New Year's Eve (and late hours implemented for New Year's Eve). Apparently some of these services are not offered on Sundays--so if it's not running on Sunday it won't be running tomorrow, either. There are also interruptions to several lines and services that you should check out if 1) you haven't adjusted or 2) aren't a regular rider.

WMATA (Washington, DC) has varying schedules for each of its services. Metrorail, Metrobus, MetroAccess, Ride On, and Fairfax Connector will run on a Sunday schedule. ART will operate on Sunday schedule for 41 and 51. THE BUS (I'm not sure what this is--I'll obviously have to investigate), PRTC/Omniride, Connect-A-Ride, Loudon Bus, MARC, VRE, MTA Services, CUE, and DASH will NOT be operating. The schedules for New Year's Eve/Day and Christmas Eve (surprise! nearly everything closed at midnight, 45 minutes ago!) are listed within these Christmas schedule ranks.

Those are all of the (U.S.) cities I could find. Did I leave out your town/city/home/service? Leave a comment or e-mail me. At the very least, I'd love to update my links section. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DC fares also to rise...Old News is Bad News

Washington, DC's transit is also raising its fares; these prices will take place in January. The fares will effect the metro (WMATA) to what will amount to approximately a quarter each way; these changes will hurt suburban commuters. The Metro boarded voted 8-2 on the issue more than a week ago, hoping to bring in $109 million to its ailing budget. The afore-linked Washington Post article also mentioned that the Metro doesn't receive federal dollars--given that the rate hike is implemented in hopes of aiding the considerable lack of funds, I wonder if federal dollars (even from the dying reserve) would aid the Metro?

Unfortunately parking prices will also rise; parking has been a sore spot since Metro started to charge for it in . However, SmartTrip riders and/or buses are okay--all thanks to The Voices of The People.

This is kind of a pain in the ass, Metro. I love you, but my wallet doesn't.

You can read WMATA's press release about the matter as well, assuming you're not too enraged to hear from The Man.

Also, sorry about falling behind on the DC rate news.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

MTA hopes to slow stabbing incidents...?

In an article from The Baltimore Sun the MTA (MD) is "encouraging" drivers to "call police and stop the vehicle at the first sign of disruptive behavior as part of a plan to curb violence on public transit..."

Which, I don't know, sounds like common sense? Wow, that's a good one since the drivers in the incidents have been praised for their immediacy in calling the MTA Police during the incidents.

The MTA is also going to notify Baltimore police with greater speed, increase the presence of authority, step up its usage of the buses on cameras (nevermind that--allegedly, I can't find any print evidence on this--the camera wasn't working during one of the attacks) which includes sharing the footage from the Hampden attack on the 27 with school officials.

I'm not really sure how that's effective either. Hi, we've already charged your students, but here's the video of the crime they've been accused of commiting! Thanks for your cooperation!
Really though, all I'd be able to suggest is efficient use of technology and more authorities anyway. I guess I'm just feeling curmudgeonly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ode to a Year

This illustration (and photography) is by Steve Simpson, who has granted permission that his artwork appear on this blog. I asked to use this image because it reminds me of the MTA's billboard on 83--the advertisement is placed next to the tracks in an area that motorists can see the train running parallel to the highway. You can see more of his work on flickr, stevesimpson.com, or this work in Dublin.

It seems somewhat inappropriate to go on at length about how much I love Public Transportation as a means to celebrate one full year of dependency on the MTA. Oh well. Thus far I at least, remain unscathed.

Yesterday marked exactly one year since embarking on the exhilarating journey that was commuting from my collegetown suburban apartment to an internship in the city, which spiraled into the hopes of creating a print zine re-telling the stories that are so deeply related to these commutes. Of course 365 days is nothing in the broad scope that is public transportation, but it still feels good to look at the independence in adventures that have come in just one year. At the very least, my time management skills have improved exponentially.

I rode the bus to the train to work and back just like every day; since joining the populace I’ve discovered the joys of people watching on the Light Rail and come to love the Light Rail as my favorite form of transportation. I love the way it smoothly whisks people away from one destination to another; I love the mélange of people—families, tourists, mechanics, art students, bike pirates, grad students, Ravens and Orioles fans, grandparents, locals burdened by luggage en route to the airport.

I boarded the train at Lutherville headed southbound into the city. I sat at the end of the train, facing the direction we were gliding to, surrounded by men headed to work with men in heavy work coats, I became intoxicated by their raucous laughter and conversation. I fell asleep. I slept at the train soared past the Loch Raven reservoir, ran parallel to 83 and glided past its own advertisement, and woke up just blocks from my stop.

Though my job is what drew me into my unabashed love for Baltimore, it was the time spent people watching that forced me into a torrid love affair for Baltimore’s people. My friends don’t get it; they don’t enjoy sharing a ride with anyone. But there is something special about the way the Light Rail shuttles all of Baltimore’s citizens and the way we interact with each other.


Last night’s ride home was a packed train; at 5 p.m. everyone was going home for the evening. I joined the precarious ways of jostling, juggling, and balancing to accommodate for exiting passengers, I negotiated the airspace between other people’s heads in the aisles, and I wrestled control over my handbag with a woman determined to take it away from me.

I had removed it from my shoulder to let it rest at my side—while in my grip—so that she could leave. As she walked outside she idly slid her hand over my bag as if to say, “That’s what you deserve for courtesy,” and attempted to continue walking. Joke’s on her, my bag had a can of cola and the making’s of a Christmas present; I wasn’t letting go of my craft supplies for anything. It was a secret and unnoticed tussle, but I remained the victor. Later, a man who reminded me of my father offered me an open seat. Much later I was joined in the seats by a woman who reminded me of my mother until she engaged me in a conversation about sewing. (My mother would rather discuss books.)

When the trains are empty I like to look at the detritus left by other riders. The trains are usually clean—the floors are rarely sticky, the interior doesn’t usually smell, and knock on wood, no one’s vomited inside—but there are occasionally fast food wrappers and often magazine inserts. It’s the magazine inserts I look for. I want to know what other people are reading: W? Vibe? Jet? Paste? Create? Soldier of Fortune? My curiosity has almost compelled me to let the inserts in my reading material slide as a means of leaving a silent mark of my place via litter, but I doubt there is anyone compelled by the subscription offer to Radar or Bust.





The other day someone left an entire sandwich on his or her seat. It remained untouched for my thirty minute ride. Though curious, common sense prevailed and no one touched the sandwich, examined its contents (tuna salad or peanut butter?) The inability to remove the object mixed with the perplexity of its existence is sort of indicative of transportation—everyone knows what’s going on but no one really wants to be bothered. And since it’s not a bomb, that’s alright with me.

BOO!

The MTA (NY) is going to raise its fares for the subways, buses, and tolls starting next year. The fares won't take hold March 2. Despite its unpopularity unlimited ride cards will suffer a $15 increase while the weekly (7 day) card will rise in cost $1. (And a new card, a 14 day pass, is $47.) Base prices at $2 won't change.

Lame.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I promise I have more to say than regurgitate the news. However, police are looking for five men wanted in an assault on the 64. The article reports that the men boarded the bus, "acted rowdy," and engaged in a verbal dispute. The groups later fought in the street. This follows an attack on the 27 a few weeks ago. (You can follow the on-going developments about the events online at the Baltimore , who is collating on-going coverage.)

In a more positive way of thinking, it's nice to know that if Baltimore gets the weather it's forecasted I can still rely on the bus to get me there. (It's 10:45 p.m. and there's nothing but a light rain mixed with minimal ice.) It snowed a week ago and the 8 seemed to run on its exact pre-determined schedule. It was relieving that while the other cars slowed the 8 made careful and well-timed progress to get me home...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Woman Attacked on Bus

My favorite method of procrastinating my photography final is by catching up on the blogs I read and obsessively checking the headlines. Which has led to the discovery that nine teenagers attacked a woman on a bus in Baltimore:

Police said the incident occurred about 3 p.m. after Sarah Kreager, 26, and Troy Ennis, 30, boarded the bus. The report says that each time Kreager tried to sit in an empty seat, a boy would jump into the seat and say that they were reserved.

After she finally claimed a seat, Kreager "was immediately attacked by several juveniles," the report says, adding that the teenagers dragged the victim off the bus after it stopped in the 300 block of E. 33rd St. and then assaulted Ennis after he tried to intervene.

Kreager, 26, suffered deep cuts to her head and neck and two broken bones in her left eye socket, the police report says. She was being treated at an unspecified hospital. Ennis was not seriously injured.

As of next week I'll have been relying on the MTA for a full year. I started riding the Light Rail everyday a few months after a girl was chased off a train and murdered in the city. After an outpouring of outrage, the MTA installed cameras. (News articles when I can find them.)

I've spent the last four days convincing people that no, really, I can get to the Ottobar by myself. No, the bus across the street from Towson University will be here soon, and What are you talking about? I'll be fine.

Except that I'm kind of irritated now because Kreager was on the 27--which I was supposed to take to the Ottobar last night.

[Update] There was an update in The Sun this morning, in which parents dispute "what really happened." [/Update]

[Update2] One of the defendants in the Nikki Edmonds case (previously mentioned Light Rail stabbing) was sentenced today. 17-year-old Lataye S. King is one of three who chased Edmonds and her brother off the train. King was tried for stealing Edmonds' cell phone and leaving her in the street. [/Update2]