Talkin’ Transit: Hikes and Bikes

Photo courtesy of M.V. Jantzen
Biking on Steps, courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

Lots of odds and ends for this rundown. We’ve got VRE hikes, DC bike angst, and more Metro news than you can shake a SmarTrip card at.

VRE: Looks like after some review, the VRE will not be raising fares by 15 percent in January, but only a “modest” 7 percent. Which, I’m sure for VRE households like mine is a lot easier to swallow. But it’s also more likely that we’ll see another fare hike again in July of next year. The original plan was a 10 percent bump for July along with the January spike; VRE didn’t say anything about the summer hike but with the lower rate boost in January it only makes it more likely the July hit will remain the same. Unless fuel prices drop dramatically, that is.

Biking: What’s with all the driver rage against bikers these days? It seems lately across the DC blogverse that bikers are being targeted for rude, crass behavior or worse, being intentionally run off the road. DCist, as usual, is in the center of the bikes vs. motorists controversy (with some hysterical comments). Sadly, with the continuing high fuel prices, biking is a very real option for many and we’re somehow just going to have to all learn to get along. Or we may see a rise in junkpunching.

WMATA: Reported crimes on the Metro system is on pace to beat last year’s total of 1,475. There’s two-and-a-half months left and already the agency’s recorded 1,348 “Part I” crimes, which includes robbery, aggravated assault and vehicle theft. Wait – vehicle theft? Who’s stealing Metrobuses? Or worse, Metrorail trains?

The “good news” is that citizens are 15 times less likely to be a victim of a Part I crime on the Metro system than they are above ground. Most likely because thieves would get winded trying to run up the broken escalators in varous Metro stations…

Oh, and finally, in the “what ever happened to…” department – did you ever wonder about after all the kerfluffle about new seat arrangements on the trains, why we’re not seeing those cars anymore? Seems Metro officials finally noticed that the bench seating didn’t work very well. They’ve since reconfigured all the test cars back to the standard 70 2×2 arrangement. Apparently, us DC commuters don’t like NYC subway-style seating. They could’ve saved some money and listened to us to begin with… Oh, wait. This is Metro we’re talking about here, who prefers to define things according to their own 20th century worldview

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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