Friday, January 2, 2009

Intermodal... what's that?

Another story in the local paper about bus service. Great headline: "Agency to add six bus stations"... sounds fantastic, eh? Always nice to get a transit center. But wait! There's always trouble lurking beneath the service.

Remember how RTA was going to move the downtown terminal to the Metrolink station in 2009? Yeah. That's not happening. So says RCTC. In a cost-cutting measure, RTA and RCTC decided that it would be better to simply refurbish the existing bus station on Fairmont. I'm curious as to what refurbishment the DT can handle. There's already not enough capacity there, which is visible every time two #1's pull up to one bus bay. There's no available space for parking or more bus bays, unless the city plans on giving up their parking lot next door. Express buses already park on the street, and that option is purely untenable with the planned 212 and 214 routes. Five buses parked on Fairmont Ave. is bad enough. I'm not looking forward to seven. Plus, there are no facilities at the downtown terminal, as anyone who has ever had to pee while waiting for a transfer knows. Oh, and the removal of Greyhound will make the Fairmont location completely disconnected from... anything else.

RTA, I'll give you a chance. If it really will keep the cost down, and you really put some work into that terminal... like tearing out that useless parking lot and laying down some more bus bays, and starting a Trolley #53 with service to the train station for all trains... then I'll let you off the hook. Otherwise... dumb move, guys.


NoeValleyJim said...

You rock! Is there any way for my little sister to get from Arlington and California to Poly High on the bus? It looks like she can take the 15 to Brockton Arcade, then transfer to the 10.

Do the buses in Riverside usually run on time? Are they safe for a 17 year old girl who is transit inexperienced? Can she wait around at Brockton Arcade to transfer fine? What about at night?

Sorry for all the questions, but you seem like you know your way around the system there and might be willing to help. I ride Muni every day in San Francisco and am car free myself!

JN said...

Jim- Thanks for the compliment! Glad you think I "rock". :)

Sorry for the late response on this, as I just started back at UCR and it's been a busy week. Yes, the 15-10 route would work just fine. Also possibilities are taking the 13 to Central and Magnolia and transferring to the 10 there, and either the 12, 13 or 15 to Magnolia and Elizabeth and getting the 20 there. Both of those are a bit of a backtrack, but on this system sometimes backtracking a bit is actually faster.

There aren't a lot of security issues on RTA buses, at least that I'm aware of, and I've been riding 5 years. There have been some issues with vagrancy at the Downtown Terminal, but there's now a guard posted there to meet all buses. Brockton Arcade is actually in a decent part of town, near a very upscale shopping center (The Riverside Plaza) and I don't think your sister will have any trouble, even at night. (Though, on the RTA, "night" is a relative term.) Anywhere else, the standard security precautions of living in a city apply: Keep your wits about you, don't stray too far off the beaten path, and walk with a friend if you can.

Congrats on your car-free living. If I lived in SF I'd do the same. I'm actually a NorCal'er by birth- born in Santa Clara, lived in Mountain View as an infant and then in Fremont 'till I was 6, and much of my family's up there. My grandparents are in Castro Valley.
The first bus I ever rode was the AC Transit #29, at age 4. (The route no longer exists, unfortunately.)

I wish your sister the best of luck. I hope she finds a bit of freedom in public transport, like I did in high school.