It’s that time of week where your ratpag editors have simply lost interest in finding new rail and transit topics to present to you, the ungrateful reader, and so we dig deep into the ratpag correspondents archive to present the latest and greatest in our Link Dump series. Enjoy!
Our friends at the BBC have again provided insightful tips for rail and transit (well, technically these are things you should avoid doing if you want to get ahead in the office). In any case, if a transit system wants to get ahead it should also avoid these mistakes.
First: Don’t say “I don’t know.” Doubt is bad for a transit agency – whether it relates to long-term development or short-term problems. For example, South Dakota should produce a long term strategy to maintain and rehabilitate its state-owned rail lines. A clear strategy for the rail lines will help promote private investment along their routes.
And California, too, should stop messing around and provide some clarity on its high speed rail plans. Just recently, the out-of-control judiciary in California has made the future more cloudy for high speed rail in the Golden State.
In the short term, technology has made it easier to communicate with the riding public. For example, New Jersey Transit has maintained an active twitter account through which they can blame their delays on Amtrak, or explain why they drag around empty train cars. Twitter and other social media provide a great way for transit agencies to communicate short term news.
Second: Don’t say that you don’t like your current company. This is good advice for a rail agency, too. Be grateful for the service that you have. We’re talking to you, Oregon! We know some new, trendy operator may try to whisk you away from Amtrak but don’t do it! Check out all the places served by Amtrak – stick with that! And the same message goes out to the southwestern states: don’t be stingy or you’ll regret losing the great service that you have.
Third: Don’t have a bad handshake. This is a big problem for many of the people employed at here at ratpag but, luckily, this is an easy one for a transit system as a transit system should almost never have to shake anyone’s hand or even make eye contact. In the old days, when we bought tokens, there was a nice, thick layer of glass preventing you from shaking the agent’s hand.
That said, if you do have to make contact with other people on transit, you should just “go with the flow,” as the Denver Post describes them doing it out in Colorado. (OK, that article has nothing to do with shaking hands but it does describe a good design where they built a bicycle and walking paths parallel to the rail line.)
Fourth: Don’t procrastinate and make excuses for not getting ahead. The folks out in Nashville are taking the initiative and issuing a “call to action” to effect progress on its BRT system. And our friends up in Illinois are planning to have rail service to Rockford in 2015. That’s only a year away -no procrastination here! Hopefully the Carolinas will follow Illinois’ lead and improve rail service down there, too. Support is growing for train service between Charlotte, Columbia, and Charleston. Now is the time to begin providing it!
We all want rail and transit lines to get ahead. Now they have a list of mistakes to avoid as they become more transparent and friendly, increase service, and become more reliable.