Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation developments worldwide.
Istanbul Launches Night Owl Transit Service on Weekends, Holidays
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis and the largest city in the world to span two continents, has become a true 24-hour city. As of the end of August, the city now has transit service to match, at least on weekends and holidays.
The International Railway Journal reports that Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu announced Aug. 29 that overnight service would begin on selected metro and bus lines the following night (Aug. 30). The overnight service will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and public and religious holidays on the following six metro lines:
- M1A Yenıkapı -Atatürk Airport
- M1B Yenıkapı -Kirazlı
- M2 Yenıkapı -Hacıosman
- M4 Kadiköy – Tavşantepe
- M5 Üsküdar – Çekmeköy, and
- M6 Levent – Boğaziçi University/Hisarüstü.
Overnight service will also operate on eight bus routes.
Trains and buses will operate at 20-minute headways overnight, and fares will be double the normal daytime fare.
“This city lives 24 hours a day,” Imamoğlu told IRJ. “We know well that there are many people who work late at night. We also know how hectic the city gets during night time.”
Auckland Regional Rail Service to Extend to Hamilton Starting in 2020
Beginning in mid-2020, Auckland’s commuter rail network will extend as far south as Hamilton thanks to funding approved by the New Zealand Transport Agency, Railway Gazette International reports.
The NZ$92.4 million (US$58.7 million) funding package will pay for upgrades to the physical infrastructure, acquisition of rolling stock and initial operating costs. Of that total, the New Zealand government will provide NZ$79.8 million (US$50.7 million), with local and regional sources furnishing the remaining NZ$12.6 million (US$8 million).
At the outset, a four-car train capable of carrying 150 passengers will make two daily round trips between Hamilton’s Frankton station and Papakura, where riders can transfer to Auckland’s electrified suburban rail system. Trains will make two intermediate stops along the way. Discussions are underway to add three more intermediate stations.
NZ Transport Minister Phil Twyland, in announcing the deal Aug. 23, said, “We know more and more people are commuting between Hamilton and Auckland, and this service will give them a real choice between being stuck in traffic or relaxing on the train. An important part of our transport policy is giving people options so they don’t always have to take their car, freeing up the roads for those that have to drive.”
IndyGo Takes Wraps Off its First BRT Line
Emission-free, electric-powered bus rapid transit arrived in Indianapolis Sept. 1 with the opening of the IndyGo Rapid Red Line, according to an IndyGo news announcement appearing in Mass Transit.
On its first two days of service on Labor Day weekend, buses ran at 15-minute headways from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Normal weekday service, which began yesterday (Sept. 3), operates from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. with 10-minute headways until 9 p.m. and 15-minute headways after that. Weekend Red Line service operates at 15-minute intervals for 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday; on Sunday, it operates at 15-minute headways from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 20-minute headways from 8 to 10 p.m.
In conjunction with the Red Line’s opening, a new local shuttle bus route, Route 90, extends the Red Line’s reach beyond the north and south ends of the 13-mile-long, 28-station BRT route. Red Line riders can transfer for free to and from Route 90 at either end of the line, which runs between 66th Street and College Avenue in Meridian Hills on the north and the University of Indianapolis on the south.
To introduce Indianapolis residents to this new form of transit, IndyGo is making its entire system free to ride for the first two weeks of September. The Red Line and Route 90 will remain free for the entire month. Both the Red Line and Route 90 utilize battery-powered electric buses.
“This is one of the most exciting periods in Indianapolis history,” IndyGo Board Chair Juan Gonzalez said in the announcement. “Expanded public transit in Indianapolis will impact every aspect of our city. We’re attracting young professionals, providing greater independence for seniors and people with disabilities, making it easier for college students to get to class, helping the environment and creating greater opportunity for low-income residents and neighborhoods.”
Hong Kong MTR Issues IDs to Trees Along its Tracks
No, this move isn’t an attempt on the part of Hong Kong’s government to clamp down on the pro-democracy protests that have rocked the city for months. Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation has issued the electronic ID cards to some 33,000 trees located along above-ground portions of its flagship rail system in order to help speed cleanup efforts during typhoon season, Metro Report International reports.
The ID cards contain information about a tree’s height, health and distance from the tracks. Maintenance staff can retrieve and update data using contactless radio-frequency ID devices like smartphones.
The data thus stored and collected can be used by MTR staff and management in conjunction with historical typhoon data compiled for MTR by City University of Hong Kong meteorologists to improve and adjust the company’s tree management strategy.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.