Washington Post: Metro budget cuts weekend service, half of bus routes and closes 19 stations amid dire financial forecast

Washington Post: Metro budget cuts weekend service, half of bus routes and closes 19 stations amid dire financial forecast. “Metro is proposing the elimination of weekend rail service in its budget for the first time as the transit agency’s financial struggles deepen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The drastic action is one of several deep cuts Metro officials say they will have to make to survive the next fiscal year as fare revenue forecasts appear bleak and Congress remains unable to reach an agreement on a coronavirus relief package that could include aid to transit agencies.”

‘We’re opening the doors’: You can now search the on-time rates for each MTA bus route online (Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore Sun: ‘We’re opening the doors’: You can now search the on-time rates for each MTA bus route online. “The Maryland Transit Administration unveiled a searchable online database Thursday that offers bus passengers and the rest of the public the ability to view and track on-time rates of each of the agency’s bus routes, a transparency step long sought by advocates critical of the agency’s reporting.”

University at Buffalo: Twitter data could improve subway operations during big events

University at Buffalo: Twitter data could improve subway operations during big events . “In a preliminary study, University at Buffalo engineers found that as subway use swells during events that draw big crowds, so too does the number of tweets at these events. The results suggest that data from Twitter, and possibly other social media platforms, can be used to improve event planning, route scheduling, crowd regulations and other subway operations.”

Photographing the Metro Systems of the Underground

In development: an online archive of underground mass transport station images. The curation is taking place via Instagram. “The daily commute is the most mundane and often the most frustrating part of city living — but photographer Chris Forsyth wants us to appreciate the beauty hidden in our transit systems. The 20-year-old has spent two years capturing busy underground stations — devoid of people.”

Indian Railways and Google Are Teaming Up

Indian Railways is teaming up with Google. “Railways will collaborate with Google for digitizing and showcasing its heritage on digital platforms. Google has agreed to partner with Railways to digitise its heritage assets and help create a digital repository for universal online access free of cost, said a senior Railway Ministry official. Indian Railway has a huge list of heritage assets including bridges, steam locos, buildings, artefacts and museums which can be showcased for global audience.”

Guardian: Google Wants to Take Over Municipal Transportation Infrastructure

Odd story from The Guardian: Secretive Alphabet division aims to fix public transit in US by shifting control to Google. “Sidewalk Labs, a secretive subsidiary of Alphabet, wants to radically overhaul public parking and transportation in American cities, emails and documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. Its high-tech services, which it calls ‘new superpowers to extend access and mobility’, could make it easier to drive and park in cities and create hybrid public/private transit options that rely heavily on ride-share services such as Uber. But they might also gut traditional bus services and require cities to invest heavily in Google’s own technologies, experts fear.” The Guardian’s tone in this article reads like, “Google wants to take over the world,” but I think it’s more “Google is frantically searching for income streams before the online advertising market implodes completely.”

SNCF To Add Rail Stations to Google Street View

The SNCF (state railway company of France) and Google are teaming up. “SNCF has announced plans to add its stations to Google Maps and Street View. Thirty-three stations have already been added to Google Maps and Street View in time for the European Football Championships. SNCF plans to create detailed 3D maps of 160 stations around the country by the end of the year.”

Twitter Teaming Up With Transport for London

Twitter and Transport for London are teaming up to make it easy to get mass transit alerts. “To opt in, customers just need to visit the website and select the lines for which they would like information. They can also tailor their notifications by selecting the time periods that they would like to receive alerts, meaning they can avoid unnecessary alerts outside of commuting hours or at weekends if they don’t need them.”

New Site Lets You Compare Public Transit

A new Web site lets you compare mass transit options across hundreds of municipalities. “AllTransit promises to assess the quality of transit in your neighborhood—or your congressional district, or your city, or your region, or your state. Plugging any of these into the tool and you get an “AllTransit Performance Score” on a ten-point scale. The score rewards places where transit connects lots of households to lots of jobs, where buses and trains come frequently, and where high shares of commuters use transit to get to work.” I plugged in my city and got a 4.3 out of 10 – public transit here is really bad.

Cornell University to Put Railroad Materials Online

Cornell University has gotten a grant to put a lot of railroad materials online. “Spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, the Kheel Center’s collections document the rise and fall of railroads, as well as the emergent and declining power of the unions that kept the railroads running and the American economy growing. The collections include the records of companies, unions and associations; rulebooks and payrolls; reports and photographs from commissions; and transcripts of oral histories with major industry figures.”