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Re: Public Transit News and Happenings

Posted: August 12th, 2015, 6:38 am
by mulad
We really ought to put together an article on the Twin Cities' integrated fare system for streets.mn.

Re: Public Transit News and Happenings

Posted: August 13th, 2015, 12:45 pm
by intercomnut
I think witnessed my first instance of MT turning a bus around when it got too far behind. There was a 5A (goes to 38th/Chicago) with a 5E (MOA) right behind it. The 5A was late because the 5E was on time. I was at Hennepin & 8th. Then the 5A changed its digital sign to "South Garage" and stopped letting people on. Though I didn't see anyone inside getting off, so maybe it changed to Drop-Off only?

Anyways, I know that's common in other transit companies but I've never seen MT do it outside of a power failure on the Green Line.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 3:36 am
by intercomnut
Metro Transit partnering with HourCar. You will now be able to use any type of Metro Transit pass on HourCar. Details to come.

http://finance-commerce.com/transit/201 ... g-service/

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 7:51 am
by LakeCharles
So if one has a Go-To card they can use Hourcar for free? Or they can just access the car (i.e. don't pay the membership fee) but still pay the regular rate?

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 9:06 am
by intercomnut
No idea. That's the only detail released as of yet.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 9:58 am
by FISHMANPET
My guess is that you'll be able to link your Hourcar account to your Go-To card, so you only need to carry one of them around.

Interesting fun fact, you probably couldn't do this with the Go-To card and Car2Go (the car share that to me would seem more compatible with a transit pass) because they use different NFC techs. Go-To cards are Mifare 8k chips (which are not truly compliant to the NFC standard) and Car2Go uses a "correct" tag (ISO/IEC 14443 seems to be the best name for it). The GoTo readers should have no problem reading the Car2Go tags, but Car2Go cars might not be able to read the 8k GoTo cards (My Nexus phone, for example, can't read the 8k cards).

Anyway, a bit of nerd stuff for you.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 10:10 am
by MNdible
I think we've touched on this elsewhere, but what would it take to get the Go-To system running on current specs?

Obviously, new cards would need to be distributed over time. But on the reader end, would it just be a software fix, or would the hardware need to be replaced?

Clearly, the holy grail would be to have all of these systems just reading off of a single card and/or your phone.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 10:21 am
by intercomnut
Earlier this year they began replacing all the Go-To Card readers with modern tech, so maybe this'll be possible if they start distributing replacement cards.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 10:23 am
by FISHMANPET
I suppose it's possible that the GoTo readers wouldn't be able to read "standard" cards but it's very unlikely. They should be able to read cards just fine. It kind of comes down to how MetroTransit has the system setup. THe 8k cards are called that because they hold 8 kilobytes of data, the standard cards hold much less data. If MetroTransit is using all that space, they'd have to pretty seriously reengineer their system. It could just be that they went with what was around when they implemented the system.

I don't really understand the history of the specifications enough to understand why there was a prevalence of these out of scope 8k cards. From what I know and some Wikipedia reading (on the NFC page and the Mifare page) it appears that MIFARE is a trademark of a company that makes the cards, and it's a proprietary superset of NFC standards. So there are probably licensing costs involved in procuring the readers and the cards. But MetroTransit must have made a concious decision to choose MIFARE, unless there was nothing else on the market when they started this over 10 years ago.

Another interesting aside, the Washington Metro (WMATA) SmarTrip card is standard NFC, so it is possible.

E: Just scanned my GoTo card, it's a Mifare Classic 1K, not 8K. But they do make up to 8k.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 10:26 am
by mulad
I think the NFC compatibility problem is one reason why some of the older pedestal readers have been getting replaced at Blue Line LRT stops, but that's pure speculation on my part.

On another topic, the Met Council and MSP Airport are launching a pilot program with three Transit Link buses to transport workers in late-night hours between 10 pm and 6 am:

http://www.metrocouncil.org/News-Events ... 80%9D.aspx

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 10:44 am
by twincitizen
Just moved a handful of posts to the CTIB thread. Should we change the title of this thread to "Metro Transit News...." to better reflect what it is for?

There's a dedicated thread in this forum to discuss every single "future" transit project in the region, from LRT all the way down to each individual aBRT line. Ideally, none of that "future"/project-specific stuff winds up in this thread.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 18th, 2015, 8:14 pm
by mattaudio
Supposedly the Minnesota Supreme Court will be releasing their decision on the Rochester City Lines v City of Rochester case tomorrow.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 30th, 2015, 9:28 pm
by Silophant
Metro Transit is starting to roll out In-Bus Wi-Fi on express and local routes, including the 960 I'm on right now.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 8:44 am
by RailBaronYarr
I have to say, on the list of ways to improve transit, wi-fi really doesn't top my list. Most people have mobile plans, and a large chunk of which have very generous data caps. We don't have many spots in the service area with cuts in coverage (like subway tunnels), so this seems fairly unnecessary.

That said, I pay per data bucket with Ting, so this will be a welcome addition to help cut my monthly bill which is almost entirely usage on the bus (and toilet at work). I'm sure there are some positives for folks without data plans on laptops, tablets, or smaller devices to now be connected to work (or other benefits I'm not thinking of). Hopefully it's not 30 people streaming Netflix so speeds stay reasonable.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 8:49 am
by FISHMANPET
If there's just piggybacking on some other project that gets a data network into each bus then that's cool, but otherwise I don't think it's that useful on its own. At least there's no "user agreement" you have to click through each time you board, that would guarantee I'd never use it.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 9:02 am
by Silophant
I'm guessing that it is piggybacking on some other bus-focused project, since there's no mention of it coming to the trains. Kinda like NexTrip, I suppose.

There is, unfortunately, a user agreement to click through, but it is just a single click. It doesn't make you type in an email address like some public WiFi does. So there's that. That screen also says that streaming is blocked.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 9:04 am
by HiawathaGuy
Silophant wrote:I'm guessing that it is piggybacking on some other bus-focused project, since there's no mention of it coming to the trains. Kinda like NexTrip, I suppose.

There is, unfortunately, a user agreement to click through, but it is just a single click. It doesn't make you type in an email address like some public WiFi does. So there's that. That screen also says that streaming is blocked.
The last two customer surveys that Metro Transit has done on the Blue Line specifically asked riders about free WiFi on the train. So my guess is that it'll eventually be on there as well.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 9:06 am
by FISHMANPET
Silophant wrote:I'm guessing that it is piggybacking on some other bus-focused project, since there's no mention of it coming to the trains. Kinda like NexTrip, I suppose.

There is, unfortunately, a user agreement to click through, but it is just a single click. It doesn't make you type in an email address like some public WiFi does. So there's that. That screen also says that streaming is blocked.
Alright nope never gonna use it.

Do you know how often I open an actual browser that would catch this kind of captive portal? Basically never. By the time I got online I'd be done with my trip.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 1:57 pm
by TheUrbanGopher
The Hennepin/Lyndale project utility work started today, and whether on purpose or not, it closed the northbound bus stops at Groveland and Oak Grove. It sounds like quite a few people have commented on it today, to say the least. I'm hoping that they'll open up tomorrow or sometime soon - otherwise, there isn't a single NB stop between Franklin and MCTC.

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Posted: August 31st, 2015, 2:31 pm
by MNdible
Per the project documents that I'd seen, one or the other of these two stops was supposed to remain open during the work.