Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sacramento Transit, Part One

It is very nice to see it being used, though sorry it has to come about as the result of gas prices, and it appears Regional Transit wasn’t ready for the growth.

It's SRO on many commuter buses as gasoline prices climb
By Tony Bizjak -
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, April 24, 2008

With the price of regular gasoline creeping toward $4 a gallon, commuters in Davis, North Natomas and Placer County are reporting a shocking sight when the bus pulls up.

All the seats are taken. Suddenly, it's standing room only on commuter buses around the region.

It's also evidence of what some transit officials say could be a ridership jump bigger than during the gas crisis of the early 1970s.

"I think we're heading for big demand that the region's (bus services are) frankly not ready for," said Sacramento Regional Transit official Mark Lonergan.

Jay Walsh is a frequent standee these days on the packed North Natomas Flyer, which charges $1 a ride into downtown Sacramento. Walsh hangs by a strap – as the bus travels on the freeway.

"A few of us, trying to be gentlemen, we'll stand and let the ladies take the seats," the state employee said. He doesn't mind. The ride is short.

But other passengers are grumbling, especially those who face 45-minute rides from the suburbs.

In Roseville, where commute buses started going SRO months ago, some would-be riders are just giving up.

"They'll see the line waiting for the bus and just get back in their car to drive to Sacramento," lamented Roseville transit official Teri Sheets.