Tuesday’s Headlines Are Nice to Our Bus Drivers

Photo by Shinobu from Pexels
Photo by Shinobu from Pexels
  • Driver shortages are devastating transit agencies all over the U.S. as the pandemic and passengers’ rude behavior are pushing bus operators to quit or retire early (Human Transit). For example, Portland’s TriMet is reducing service on 20 bus lines because of a shortage of drivers (Oregon Public Broadcasting).
  • Guns and driving aren’t a good mix: Road rage incidents are spiking in the U.S. as more drivers get back in their cars. (The Economist; subscription required)
  • Speed humps do slow down drivers but aren’t always the best way to calm traffic. Bus and bike lanes, roundabouts and curb bump-outs work, too. (WBEZ)
  • Indianapolis has started work on the Purple Line, the city’s second bus rapid transit route. (Star)
  • Meanwhile, work continues on the other Purple Line in Maryland, where lawmakers hope to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto to help struggling businesses along the future light rail line. (Bethesda Magazine)
  • Pinellas County has completed the first station for Sunrunner, Tampa’s first bus rapid transit line. (St. Pete Catalyst)
  • Pittsburgh is seeking public input on plans to replace car lanes on Smithfield Street with a bus lane and wider sidewalks. (Post-Gazette)
  • New estimates say it will cost $2.4 billion to electrify Caltrain, almost a half a billion more than first reported. (San Mateo Daily Journal)
  • Lost power due to a severed cable caused a Seattle light-rail train to get stuck in a tunnel last week. (KIRO)
  • Plans call for Charlotte’s light rail system to extend to a suburb 29 miles away, but Indian Trail isn’t sure they want it. (WFAE)
  • ABC 7 examines why L.A.’s streetcar system was dismantled, and a Star-Tribune podcast looks at the role of organized crime in the demise of Twin Cities streetcars.
  • Billionaires are chartering more jets to avoid bad publicity over carbon emissions while also avoiding mingling with the masses on commercial flights. (New York Post)
  • Tax breaks for company cars are the third rail of Belgian politics. It goes against the country’s green climate goals but is supported by the rich and powerful who benefit. (Politico)

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Why Schools Are Paying Parents to Drive

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Accelerating school bus driver shortages during the pandemic are crippling the single largest segment of the U.S. public transportation fleet and forcing districts to pay parents to drive their kids to class instead — and the U.S. may not be able to fill the gaps until these essential workers are finally given the wages, benefits and protections they deserve, advocates say.