Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: The Year in Transit

As we say good-bye to the noughties, I'd like to take a look back at Riding in Riverside's first full year in operation, 2009.

In January, La Sierra University joined U-Pass, Greyhound service was struggling to remain in the city, and RTA was trying to overcharge day pass riders.

In February, we got the first announcement of the 2009 service cuts, the stimulus bill pumped money into IE freeways, and Greyhound stranded me downtown.

In March, I got a statement from the Mayor on public transit, dug up evidence of RTA's RapidLink project, and discovered the wonders of grocery delivery.

In April, the first seeds of the multi-modal transit centre were planted, Councilwoman Hart said some stupid things about Greyhound, and I made my endorsements in the City Council elections.

In May, I tried to turn readers into riders, commented on the proposed Short-Range Transit Plan, and Omnitrans deprived people of barbecue.

In June, I laid out my proposal for a Riverside light rail, Google Transit for RTA went up for the first time, and our late-night service was cruelly taken away.

In July, LA Metro joined Google Transit, the City Council made a dumb decision about parking fines, and RTA's data fell out of Google Transit, because it was apparently requiring transfers somewhere north of Guam.

In August, I talked about my trip to NYC, the City Council approved what would become Riverside Go Transit, U-Pass, and took a clear step towards the multi-modal transit centre, I proposed my solution to Metrolink capacity issues, and I gave an interview with a local podcast.

In September, Omni saw a fare hike, the first RTA service ever to run past midnight began service, and OCTA disconnected the 794 from, well, everything else.

In October, I reminded folks about transfer policies, called out a Congressman for hypocrisy, and celebrated my 23rd birthday with official news of the new multi-modal transit centre.

In November, I reported on upcoming Dial-a-Ride policy changes, Riverside became a Bronze-level bicycle-friendly community, and the Corona Transit Center broke ground. Also, Los Angeles celebrated the opening of the Eastside Gold Line Extension.

In December, SANBAG started studying Victor Valley express bus options, Metrolink proposed draconian service cuts- and then did nothing about them, and the Riverside Go Transit program launched, offering cheap bus passes to all Riversiders.

Looking forward into the new year, service changes are coming on January 10th, and we can hope for progress on the Riverside transit centre and the Perris Valley Line, both of which cleared significant hurdles in 2009.

Also, readers should know: Greyhound has NOT left Riverside. The new signage on the Greyhound building downtown, marking it as a police station (which it is), does not mean that service to the station has ceased. The station is open 7am-3:30pm and 6pm-9pm daily.

I'd like to wish all my readers a happy and prosperous new year, and I hope for a better transit system in 2010.


k said...

Thanks for the update and the comments about Greyhound being open. Folks ask me periodically and I tell them Greyhound is still in the old location but land has been aquired by 4 entities, and once the Transit Center is built than Greyhound can move over.

k said...

Bought my discounted bus pass today. First time in my life. I will be using it tonight to attend City Council meetings.

You can buy them at City Hall. They want to see a drivers license or bill to see where you live, they want the last 4 digits of your SSN if you want to be able to buy new tickets online, and they record your birth date so they can determine if you are a senior and they would like your phone number for their records.

I purchased mine on the 4th floor of City Hall at Main at 10th Street in Riverside, paid cash, and they put it in a bubble deal to send it to another floor.

Because I did not provide the last 4 digits of my Social Security Number I cannot renew online, but must go down to City Hall to purchase the ticket each month.

In about 10 minutes my bus pass came back up. They give you a receipt with the bus pass number so you can report it if it is lost or stolen. Senior is 60 or over.

I bought a 30 day pass, and the 30 days begins the first time you use it. They said the first bus you get on will print something on the back of the ticket. This is an excellent feature that gives folks the best shot for their money.

Just thought you would like to know.

JN said...

Welcome to the riding public!
(The passes, by the way, are standard RTA 30-day passes. They are always activated on the first bus you ride. Stick it in the slot at the top-left of the farebox first time 'round, then swipe it through the top-right thereafter.)

I actually went down to register for the program myself a while ago, though I didn't buy a pass. (I ride on my UCR ID.) I'll be doing a write-up on this soon.