September 13th, 2007


Ten random things: Reader Request Month, day 13

Ten public transportation systems I have used:

  1. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
  2. Fairfax Connector
  3. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
  4. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
  5. London Underground
  6. Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation (Metra)
  7. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
  8. San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)
  9. Loudoun County Transit
  10. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

Today's list is for amyjtoo, who was interested in seeing MARTA in a list. Yes, she specified the transit system. I rode MARTA on both my trips to Atlanta, both the trains and the buses, and had fine experiences all around.

Here in the DC area, the public transportation infrastructure is decentralized to an incredible degree. WMATA operates the Metrorail system and Metrobus routes in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. In addition, almost every surrounding jurisdiction has its own bus service, even those already served by WMATA. And there are two different heavy rail commuter train systems: MARC, serving Maryland and the panhandle of West Virginia; and Virginia Railway Express. There is, luckily, a fair amount of cooperation between the various services; the Trip Planner at the WMATA web site includes most of the local services, and most of bus systems have started accepting the WMATA SmarTrip stored-value card (I think the lone holdouts at this point are Prince George's County's TheBus system, and the Loudoun County intercounty bus service, which is separate from Loudoun County Transit), so it's not as bad as it used to be. And having the local systems probably means that public transit is available to far more places around the region than would be if a single regional authority controlled everything. Nevertheless, it still seems a bit silly to have fourteen bus systems and three rail systems to keep track of.

ETA: Ha! An appropriate icon popped up in the rotation today. Cool.

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