Streams

 

 

Airlines

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Dynamic Pricing Comes To SF Parking and Amtrak Wants $ To Plan New Hudson River Tunnels

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cuts to the education budget led one Colorado school district to eliminate school buses; parents say more people are driving their kids to school -- and causing more traffic.  (NPR, Denver Post)

San Francisco is rolling out demand-based parking fees ranging from 25 cents to $6 an hour, depending on how many spaces are available. (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)

Is it time to reassess airplane maintenance? (The Takeaway)  Meanwhile, US airlines performed better last year -- but complaints were up 28%. (BusinessWeek)

A turkey visits the parking lot of Minnesota Public Radio. (Full-size picture here.)
Turkey! near the MPR building tonight in d'town St. Paul... on Twitpic

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill that reduces spending on Twin Cities bus and rail operations by $32 million over two years. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Electric car owners in Washington (state) may soon have to pay a $100 annual fee to make up for lost gas-tax revenue. (Seattle Times)

Amtrak applied for nearly $1.3 billion to start planning two new Hudson River tunnels, as well as an expanded in- New York City station -- and Governor Christie signed off on it. (NorthJersey.com)

Peer-to-peer car sharing -- or 'l'auto se partage' -- comes to France. (Sustainable Cities Collective)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York has applied for more high speed rail funding. So has Amtrak. Short haul flights are on the decline. And: the Texas DOT says road projects need to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Business Travelers Using Fewer Short-Haul Flights

Monday, April 04, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The number of short haul flights has declined 25 percent in the past five years due in part to higher fuel prices and increasing airport fees, leaving business travelers with fewer options. These frequent fliers are turning to other modes of transportation for trips shorter than 500 miles.

(Listen to the radio version of this story on Marketplace)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Neil Shah used to fly eight to 15 times a month as a management consultant, but he started to feel it wasn't the best use of his time. "Getting to the airport, waiting in the security lines, the potential for delay," he said, all add up to make flying less convenient on shorter trips. From Boston to New York in particular, Shah said, he started to take the train more often because of amenities like on-board WiFi, and hassle-free last minute ticketing.

"If all things were equal, my preference would be to fly." He said he likes the affinity programs offered by airlines including frequent flier miles. "However, all of the other things have accumulated that make other means of travel just more convenient," he said.

For one, business travelers need flexibility more than other fliers. They want to be able to show up at the airport at the last minute at get right on a plane, according to Scott Gibson of ICF Skyworks, an airline advisory firm. If a meeting is canceled, or runs late, business travelers want to be able to head to the airport as soon as they can and find a flight on their timetable, not the airline's.

"So what we now find is: choice, which is really important for business travelers, is gone. So you end up sitting at airports where you used to be able to have a flight literally every hour in a lot of markets," said Gibson.

There are just fewer flights available on these short haul markets. The trend has been happening for decades, Gibson says, though a Transportation Nation analysis of Department of Transportation data show it has grown especially acute in the last half-decade. (See charts above.)

One factor is cost-per-flight. "A lot of the fuel burn is in takeoff and landing," Gibson explained. "The airplane is really efficient when it's up high in the air. And so as fuel costs have gone up, it actually impacts short-haul flights as a percent of the airfare more than it impacts long-haul flying." He added that per-passenger fees charged by airports are also increasing, often to pay for swanky redesigned terminals. So if it costs an airline an extra $25 per person per flight, that might not matter that much on a transatlantic flight, but for a trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas that could be a big percentage of the ticket cost.

In response to these cost trends, airlines have cut back on the number of flights they operate each day on short-hop routes. In some cases though, carriers are compensating by using bigger airplanes, so the net number of seats could remain the same, or even increase on some routes, while the scheduling options are curtailed.

More people are flying, but business traveler just are not flying last minute short distances as often as they used to, data show and experts like Gibson confirm.

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

Financial 411: More Suffering for the Housing Market

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A new survey of homes that could possibly go into foreclosure has some analysts talking about a double dip in the housing industry.

Comment

Transportation Nation

DOT: Airline Passengers Rise in 2010, Not as High as Pre-Recession

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Airlines carried 2.1% more passengers in 2010 than the previous year, according to the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which released 2010 data today. But passenger totals still remained 3.2 percent below 2008's level of 812.3 million.

2010's top airline was Delta. Following its merger with Northwest, the Atlanta-based airline carried over 110 million passengers last year.  More total system passengers boarded planes in 2010 at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other U.S. airport; and more international passengers boarded planes at New York John F. Kennedy than at any other U.S. airport.

You can read the full report here.

Read More

Comments [2]

WNYC News

Some Flight Attendants Express Concern Flying Into Japan

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As the uncertainty about Japan's nuclear power plant continues, the largest flight attendants union says some of their members' families are pressuring them to avoid flying to Japan.

Comments [23]

WNYC News

Financial 411: Airline Prices on the Rise

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

If you've booked a plane trip in recent weeks, you might have noticed prices are a bit high. In fact, according to FareCompare.com, the major airlines have already tried to raise prices five times in the first two months of this year.

Comment

Transportation Nation

Airlines' On-Time Performance Holds Steady in 2010

Thursday, February 10, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Airlines had essentially the same on-time performance in 2010 as they did in 2009 -- just shy of 80 percent, according to numbers released today by the DOT. See the DOT's full release below, which also contains info about tarmac delays, mishandled baggage, and discrimination complaints.

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Honolulu's Rail Imperiled by Lawsuit Over Burial Grounds, DIY Bike Lane Installation in Guadalajara, and US Airfares Rise 11%

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

NY Rep. Michael Grimm's quest to have a light-rail link be part of the renovated Bayonne Bridge led to a "very heated" discussion with a top Port Authority official this week, Grimm said. (Staten Island Advance)

Congestion pricing is proposed for two Bay Area bridges. (San Francisco Chronicle)

A lawsuit over possible ancient Hawaiian burials along Honolulu's proposed rail transit route could put the brakes on the $5.5 billion project. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

Metro-North Railroad will institute a reduced New Haven line schedule that will cut service by 10% during the morning and afternoon peak due to a faltering fleet of rail cars damaged by harsh winter conditions. (CTPost.com)

Check out this video of a DIY bike lane installation in Guadalajara, Mexico--where no bike lanes previously existed. The technique of the man painting the lines is not to be missed. (via AltTransport)

A gym in Maryland is using exercise bikes to generate electricity. (Savage-Guilford Patch)

Some passengers on MARC, Maryland's suburban commuter rail line, have started a secret, BYOB happy hour. (Well, it was secret until WAMU reported on it.)

A Colorado Republican has backed off his plan to strip funding from that state's transit and bicycle lanes in favor of highways and bridges. (Bloomberg)

U.S. domestic air fares rose 11% in the third quarter versus last year, as carriers continued to seize on increased demand for flying. "In the third quarter, New Jersey was home to the airports with both the highest and the lowest average fare: Newark Liberty, at $469, and Atlantic City, at $153." (Dow Jones via WSJ)

Walmart opponents cite the possibility of 32% more traffic as a reason one should not be built in East New York. (New York Daily News)

Will math improve bike sharing programs? Two Tel Aviv engineering professors have developed a mathematical model to predict which bike stations should be refilled, and when. (Wired - Autopia)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York's East River will get all-day commuter ferry service starting in June. Bay Area riders brainstorm ways to save Caltrain. And New York's MTA is "very early in the process" of considering sliding barriers for subway platforms.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Delta Airlines Posts $19 Million Profit

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(Detroit -- Noah Ovshinsky, WDET) Delta Airlines reported its fourth quarter earnings today. Michigan’s dominant carrier reported a quarterly profit of 19 million dollars, disappointing Wall Street analysts, who had expected higher numbers. Delta President Ed Bastian says the company was hurt by bad weather during the holidays.

"The severe winter weather that we experienced throughout the U.S. and western Europe reduced our December quarter profit by 45 million dollars due to approximately 4,000 flight cancelations and the associated effects.”

Bastian say Delta will take another hit in the first quarter due to severe weather. The airline canceled flights at its Atlanta hub last week. Officials say higher gas prices are also taking a toll on Delta’s bottom line.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Go Ahead, Rebook that Flight

Thursday, January 06, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There are still piles of cruddy snow crowding out the streets and sidewalks in many parts of New York City, and now there's two to six more inches coming. But not to worry! Airlines say you can rebook your flight from the Northeast this weekend now. No more airport camping! No more hanging around at your parents for an extra week while you spend hours on hold with the airlines!

Feel grateful?

It used to be  not too long ago that you could do this, free of charge, all the time. But those were the days when they used to hand out those nice playing cards on the airlines -- and didn't make you feel that they were merely suffering you when you boarded a flight.

Details on which airlines are participating here.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.


Read More

Comment

The Takeaway

Airlines Struggle to Mop Up Blizzard's Delays

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We’ve been reporting on the devastating East Coast snowstorms all week, hearing your stories and seeing your photos. Today we take a look at how the blizzard has affected post-holiday travel. Yesterday, hundreds of passengers bound for Vancouver sat on the tarmac at JFK Airport in New York for over 11 hours — and that’s not the only horror story circulating between airline terminals.

Comments [6]

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Ireland Wants More Bikes, US Airlines Report Profits, and Ethanol Gets Taxpayer Boost--What Do Taxpayers Get?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Does ethanol deserve a multi-billion dollar tax credit? (NPR)  And: a new EPA rule from the fall allowed for more ethanol to be mixed in with gasoline, but now automakers are suing, stating that the new blends aren't safe for cars. (Marketplace)

The New York Post says there's been a 16% rise in vehicle/bicycle collisions this year.

U.S. airlines report highest profits in at least four years. (Los Angeles Times)

Ireland's transportation minister, in an effort to promote bicycling, has announced that local authorities must include specific cycling policies and objectives in future development plans. (Inside Ireland)

New York subway ads now have less literature, more MTA self-promotion. (New York Times) And your TN correspondent has composed a haiku to mark the occasion: Goodbye, poetry/Hello, line improvements tout/but whither Dante?

GM says it is recycling oil-drenched boom material from the BP oil spill and turning it into plastic resin to be used in the Chevy Volt. (Wired)

Toyota will be fined $32 million for failing to swiftly recall defective vehicles. (New York Times)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Tax Cut Bill Has Mass Transit Tax Break, and Airline Bag Fees Reap Billions

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tucked into the tax cut bill is a provision that would allow thousands of transit riders to save hundreds of dollars a year on their commuting costs.  And it could have a financial ripple effect. (Marketplace)

Airline bag fees brought in $4.3 billion this year. (USA Today)

NYC Transit considers taking entire subway lines out of service for equipment and maintenance. (New York Daily News)

Pennsylvania's Port Authority gets $45 million in emergency funding to postpone record-breaking Port Authority service cuts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Right now if people charge their electric cars slowly, the grid can handle it. "But people will want faster charging, which will require bigger transformers and heavy-duty power outlets that deliver 240 volts. And running the grid will get more complicated." (NPR)

Snowplow drivers are working around the clock to keep roads passable in the Twin Cities. Snow day! (Minnesota Public Radio; slideshow)

Jet Blue was fined $600,000 by the US DOT for violating rules protecting disabled passengers, as well as failing to disclose code share information. (Washington Post)

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $1.1 billion finance package for two major transportation projects that will help ease traffic gridlock in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. (AP via NPR)

When is carpooling like a the end of a big group dinner? Which Bay Area commuter will reach for their wallet first when the toll booth/check comes? Video below! (Oakland North)

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

New York Travelers Take Security Measures in Stride

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Don't Touch My Junk" has become something of a rallying cry for travelers unhappy about airport security pat-downs, thanks to the viral video on the Internet. But on Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year, people at JFK have mostly been taking the stepped-up measures in stride.

Comment

Transportation Nation

SERIES: The Future of Transportation

Monday, November 08, 2010

Image: Amtrak

We’re changing how we move, and that’s changing how we live and work. Transportation Nation partner, Marketplace, is exploring the Future of Transportation this week. We'll collect the stories in this post as they air. Check your local station to find out when the show is on in your area.

A quick hint of what's to come: 200 mile per hour trains will steal business from airlines, cars will talk to each other and traffic, well, there will still be traffic--but there’s innovation there too.

WEDNESDAY: What are the real prospects of high-speed rail in California? In 2008, voters approved a $10 billion bond measure to fund a train that can zip people from L.A. to San Francisco in just two-and-a-half hours. A rail trip faster, safer than driving and, well, we'll wait and see on the price. But the train would also be noisy, and to some residents, and unwanted eyesore. Palo Alto and two other cities are suing the state to stop California's plan. It's by no means a sure thing.  So what are the real chances and real obstacles to the nation's bigger rail project underway right now? (Listen to the full story here)

WEDNESDAY: Could high-speed rail kill short hop flights? Last month, the U.S. government pledged another $2.5 billion for high speed rail. That money will go toward building train lines between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Chicago and Detroit–the kind of short trip a business traveler right now takes to the skies for. So what will happen to airlines when trains will get us to a place almost as fast?(Listen to the story here)

TUESDAY:  Are fast buses the ticket? Buses have a bad rap, but done right, experts say, they can be as fast as subways, more pleasant, and WAY, way cheaper.  A look at Cleveland's healthline, and why Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Portland are paying attention.  (Listen to the full story).

TUESDAY: Leading the electric charge in Houston

Houston, Tex., is usually better known as a capital of Big Oil. But things may be changing, as the nation's fourth largest city is also trying position itself as a leader in electric cars. (Listen to the full story)

MONDAY: Intelligent Cars

It's tempting to daydream -- as you're fighting traffic to and from work every day -- of a time when cars will drive themselves. When all you'll have to do is climb in, sip your coffee and read the headlines on your iPad -- whatever's going to take its place. Google did make big news last month sending four driver-less vans down the Pacific Coast Highway.

But as exciting -- or perhaps scary -- as it might be to think about life with a robotic chauffeur, that reality is way, way down the road, so to speak. Soon enough, though, cars will be equipped to help us drive better and safer.  The Department of Transportation is funding research to build "intelligent" cars that can warn you of potential accidents and suggest less-congested routes.   (Listen to the full story)

MONDAY: Congestion Pricing

This is a given:  Transportation is vital to our economy. But what happens when fuel taxes are lost to more efficient cars and better mass transit? In the first of a series on the "Future of Transportation," Cathy Duchamp looks at one alternative to the gas tax, something called congestion pricing. As cars get more fuel efficient, and transit becomes a better option, the amount of gasoline tax the government collects gets smaller and smaller. Congestion pricing might the answer, even on highways.  (Listen to the full story)

Read More

Comments [1]

The Takeaway

'Extremely Sophisticated' Explosives Passed Through Cargo Screening

Monday, November 01, 2010

A breach in air security and the smuggling of explosives onto two cargo planes bound for the U.S. has raised concerns about the screening process of air-freight cargo. Two packages carrying explosives originating in Yemen made their through four countries on at least four different airplanes before being tracked down in Britain and Dubai. Empty printer cartridges were used to hide the bombs.

Officials are now admitting vulnerabilities in the screening of cargo flights that are being exploited by terror organizations like al-Qaida. 

Comment

WNYC News

Financial 411: Major Airlines Release Earnings Reports

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Airlines suffered big losses in the recession, but today carriers are reporting they have bounced back in a big way.

Comment

The Takeaway

Afghan In-Flight Magazine Paints Grim Reality

Monday, August 23, 2010

On any ordinary U.S. airliner, you’re likely to find in the seat pocket in front you an in-flight magazine that romanticizes your destination city. Magazines tend to feature articles with titles like United Airline’s “Three Perfect Days: Denver” or US Airway’s “Endless Summer.”  But on Afghanistan’s Safi Airlines, the in-flight magazine paints a more realistic – albeit grim — reality of Afghanistan. The topics range from a piece on dog fighting to a profile of heroin addicts.

Comment

Transportation Nation

WSJ Finds Gas Mileage for Airlines. Will it Change Your Choice?

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's was a wonderful piece of reporting this week in the Middle Seat column of the Wall Street Journal: a review of DOT data, yielding what amounts to an MPG rating for the airlines.  Alaska came out on top, with a bit of luck (like being West Coast-based) and some good practices (like shutting down engines quickly at the gate).  The worst guzzlers turn out to the three biggest U.S. carriers.

But here's the big question: would information like this -- that getting you from LAX to JFK sucks around 10 gallons more fuel on Delta than it does on JetBlue on average -- cause you to change who you buy your ticket from?  Let us know in the comments.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

The New Math of Tarmac Delays

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Department of Transportation levied heavy fines against airlines that leave passengers waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours, which led to a decrease in long tarmac delays -- but increased flight cancellations. -- Marketplace

Read More

Comment