Gridlock, tunnel Mont-Royal, Sky Whale

Giizhigo-Misameg, Kitchener to Toronto, Vancouver Island E&N, Christmas is coming and so is truth in Airline advertising, 250k per car and more in today's Transport Action hotline.
Dr. Barry Wellar, Transport
Action Canada

Traffic Gridlock: A Bad Metaphor Equals Bad Policy 

In his second report on “traffic gridlock”, Dr. Barry Wellar, Transport Action Canada's Distinguished Research Fellow, suggests that claims about  “traffic gridlock” are not only unsupported by empirical evidence, but as a figure of speech traffic gridlock  is a bad metaphor with mis-leading policy implications

Dr. Wellar suggests that “traffic blockage” is a good metaphor that appropriately covers the full range of motor vehicle traffic obstruction situations, and also promotes rational thinking about how to analyze and deal with the causes of traffic blockages. In concluding “Traffic Gridlock: A Bad, Mis-Leading Metaphor that Makes for Bad, Mis-Directed Public Policy”. Wellar questions the motives of public officials who use a bad, mis-leading metaphor in association with public transportation plans and policies.

Acadian bus lockout: Shuttle buses for New Brunswick?

In a search for alternatives Transport Action's Michael Perry notes the rules in NB are such that shuttles are subject to EUB regulation which made them virtually impossible to operate in NB, unlike NS and PEI.  Perry says regularly scheduled bus is preferable to a shuttle vans. With private vans safety, vehicle inspection and insurance, as well as  driver qualifications and licensing are issues. The number of consecutive hours that a driver can operate a bus is also subject to regulation in NB, which is an additional safety measure, Transport Action's Michae Perry says.

First GO train, Kitchener to Toronto 

Passengers were in a festive mood when the first-ever GO train  left Kitchener Dec. 19, heading to Union Station in Toronto. “You can feel the need for track improvements in your seat,” explains Tim Mollison of the grassroots Tri-Cities Transport Action Group. Nevertheless he sees the service as “a good first step.” (From Bramalea to Union Station) the ride is smoother now thanks to better tracks. “You’re riding on a pillow of money,” Mollison explains," Jeff Outhit wrote for the Record on Dec. 20.

Transport Action Ontario's Dan Hammond notes, "At over 2 hours to travel 101 kms, that's a mind blowin' 50 km/hr ... and once you factor local transport we move into Vespa territory .... speed wise.

Les rapports sur l’état du tunnel Mont-Royal

« Le chef de Projet Montréal, Richard Bergeron, exige que l’Agence métropolitaine des transports (AMT) rende public le rapport d’analyse de risque du tunnel du mont Royal, rédigé cette année. M. Bergeron a fait cette demande à la suite de la publication, dans La Presse, de révélations d’un cheminot du CN affecté à l’entretien du tunnel, qui affirme qu’en cas de déraillement, les passagers des trains de banlieue auraient beaucoup de difficulté à évacuer les voitures, notamment en raison de l’étroitesse du tunnel » Jennifer Guthrie a rapporté pour Métro le 19 décembre 2011

« Comment les citoyens peuvent-ils encore croire Joël Gauthier quand il affirme qu'un tunnel de 4,8 km de longueur construit selon les normes de sécurité de 1918 et qui ne comporte ni sortie de secours, ni système anti-incendie, ni ventilation est parfaitement sécuritaire, alors qu'il refuse de publier le rapport d'analyse de risque?», a demandé le chef de Projet Montréal.

Giizhigo-Misameg, Sky whale could be the future of shipping in the North
"A Manitoba-built airship that could someday transport goods to remote northern communities, which now rely on sometimes impassable winter roads, has been unveiled. The 25-metre, single-pilot MB80 — also dubbed Giizhigo-Misameg, which means "Sky Whale" in the Oji-Cree language — was inflated with helium and put on display Monday afternoon at the University of Manitoba's engineering school. Those working on the Sky Whale, which will be air-tested from a hangar in St. Andrews, Man., in the New Year, believe the blimp-like prototype aircraft could be the future of shipping cargo to the North," CBC News reported on Dec. 19.

Politics has ruined the TTC

"The problems stem from trying to provide effective transit into sprawled areas lacking job and residential density, and doing so without draining the system, which usually tends to make money from the dense areas. If money alone were the guide, only the core would get good transit. But the suburbs outvote the core," Transport Action supporter Hamish Wilson wrote in a letter to the Toronto Star.

"(Star columnist Royson) James does a superb job of summarizing just how badly one person, Mayor Rob Ford, has unilaterally messed up our entire transit system's future with his abrupt, inept, costly and system-blighting fantasy of a subway-only approach. And for the Sheppard fantasy, guess what? Private money isn’t that dumb!

Cornwall loses Via rail service

Transport Action's David J. Scott report the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder articles this week on cuts to Montreal-Toronto via Cornwall service.

The ever-flawed Pearson rail link
In a Toronto Star op-ed, Mike Sullivan, New Democrat MP for York South-Weston wrote: "First, it’s great that we are spending public money on public transit. But let’s make it truly public transit. The air-rail link corridor is a car-free right of way. Mayor Rob Ford should be jumping for joy that the province is putting in what amounts to a subway line without a nickel from the city. But it’s only useful to the many residents who voted for him if the fares are reasonable and if there are a few more stops. And if it’s electric service, a few more stops won’t delay the business folks using it to get from the airport to downtown. Its use by ordinary Torontonians going to work will significantly increase ridership over what was originally planned — it would be a win-win!."

"But that’s only my two cents. Perhaps Torontonians really believe we should be putting in an exclusive subway-like service for business folks. Until there’s a public debate, however, we’ll never know," the Dec 18 2011 Toronto Star op-ed concluded.

Christmas is coming, Airlines must advertise full cost of flights

"Consumer advocate Michael Janigan, executive director and general counsel of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said the government listened too intently to airlines instead of consumers," Sarah Schmidt reported for Postmedia News on Dec. 16.

"I think they were too willing to listen to airline excuses and failed to grasp the big picture — that in fact it's their job to provide overall rules that make for a marketplace that is fair and transparent. Ultimately, what the argument of the airlines came down to was, 'We have to continue to misrepresent prices in order to be successful," Postmedia News reported.

Vancouver Island, E&N Railway Action Group

Vancouver Island railway professionals and advocates announced (on Dec. 15) the formation of a new E&N Railway Action Group, which will act as a watchdog to advise the public about challenges to the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway, and governance issues with the Island Corridor Foundation, which oversees the E&N rail corridor.

“I am concerned that the ICF, a public non-profit organization, is not presenting any detailed plan for the future of the E&N, and has closed out important advisory committees from its decision-making,” says Jack Peake, a co-founder and former co-chair of the ICF, and a spokesperson for the new Action Group. “I fear that without input from the public, and professionals who have been involved with the railway for years, the E&N could be lost. With the VIA Rail cars having been removed from the island on November 5, this concern has never been more real.”

250k per unit, Big subsidy for electric cars 

"Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy," Tom Gantert reported for Investor Village on Dec. 21, 2011.

Canadian airlines vow to fight EU court ruling on carbon emissions

"The National Airlines Council of Canada says it will contest a decision by Europe's top court to throw out a challenge of new charges being imposed on
airlines for the carbon emissions of their flights in EU airspace," Postmedia News reported on Dec. 21, 2011.

Pilot fatigue: FAA final rule released this week

Trucking, Another dirty little secret? 
Former driver alleges some employers turn a blind eye to log falsification by Heather Rivers Sentinel-Review Dec. 17, 2011

Presto, Ontario government taps riders and dips into their bank accounts
Tess Kalinowski, Toronto Star,

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1145, Dec. 23, 2011
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290
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