QUARTA QLine Metro extensions, lines 12 and 13, to be finished around April

QUENTINSBURGH- Construction on several QLine extensions temporarily stopped yesterday as crews take the next few days off to celebrate the New Year’s holiday. The work is coming along quite well on all of the extensions, leading QUARTA to predict the lines should be completed by March and open sometime around March 31st.

Here’s a list of the major extensions under construction and how they will affect the overall system.

Extra tunnel through downtown parallel to 1-3-7 tracks for AirportExpress– The extra two tracks between Fredrick St/Convention Ctr and just north of Quentinsburgh Union Station will allow the AirportExpress to run through downtown with stops at the convention center, state capitol and Union Station without overcrowding the other tracks, which are already the busiest and most crowded in the system. The tunnel is nearly complete and is expected to open in late January.

New elevated track through southern Northcross between line 4 and line 3 for lines 12 and 13– A new elevated extension connecting line 3 in northern Northcross and line 4 in eastern Quentinsburgh is being constructed. When completed, the new line and new stations will be home to new routes 12 (which will run north-south connecting the eastern side of the metropolitan area) and 13 (which will run from Northcross to downtown Quentinsburgh using line 4 tracks, then out to the Geolympiad Complex using line 7 tracks). The extension (along with line 12) is expected to open in mid to late February.

New East-West tunnel in Downtown Quentinsburgh connecting lines 3-7 to lines 2-4 for line 13– A new tunnel along Quentinsburgh Blvd in downtown will help solve the problem of the lack of east west tunnels in downtown while making a path for QUARTA’s newest metro, line 13. The tunnel will be part of a sharp u-turn line 13 will make transferring from line 4 tracks to line 7 tracks. The extension, one of the latest, will likely not open until late March or early April, along with line 13. (Line 13 is expected to be a large help during the 2016 Summer Geolympiad.)

New East West tunnel in Downtown Quentinsburgh under 9th Street to extend line 4– A new tunnel is being constructed around the vicinity of 9th Street to extend line 4 three stops to end at Freeman Square alongside the local 7. The extension also creates the potential for extending line 4 to the airport. While it is expected the extension will be finished in late March, it is last on the priority list and likely will not open until late April.

QUARTA is also constructing an infill station on the Quentins State International University campus. The station, currently unnamed, will be the closest to the center of campus on lines 2, 4, and 13.

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QUARTA asking passengers to “rethink the day pass”

QUENTINSBURGH- As part of its early launch of its 2016 transit plans, QUARTA (Quentinsburgh Urban Area Rapid Transit Authority) has created a new series of on-board ads encouraging the usage of SilverPasses and GoldPasses, QUARTA’s day/week/month passes. In these ads, they ask passengers to “rethink the day pass”, explaining that they have more benefits than simply transferring or making a round trip.

While the Transit Passes have existed for several years, some don’t seem to realize their perks.
One QCommute passenger had made this post on TweetBook only a short while before the new ads launched:

Got on the C1 from Franklin Hill to ride all the way to Haroldsborough, already needing to use the restroom. Thought I could hold it. Big Mistake. No on board restrooms, no money to get off the train to go and back on. #funtrip #thatwassarcasm

QUARTA’s response was one recommending the use of a transit pass, in this reply:

We’re sorry to hear of your experience. While we can’t offer bathrooms onboard the train, we do have bathrooms at all our QCommute stations. Perhaps next time you should consider a GoldPass! Even if you are taking a one way trip, you’d be able to get off the train, use the bathroom and catch the next train for free! #passperks

QUARTA hasn’t always had a pass system as it does now. Originally, one ride fares were the only ones available. For most of the 1930s-1970s passengers had to pay in cash or tokens, relying on one ride fares. Considering there weren’t many routes and transfers were few, this wasn’t a huge issue.

In the early 80s the expanding metro network had more transfers that required leaving the station as new separated lines were added. Similar to what some systems still have today, QUARTA created the TransferReceipt at certain metro stations, where passengers leaving a station would be given a receipt that gave them free transfers to the adjoining subway line for thirty minutes.

In 1991, the TransferReceipt program was revamped and expanded to include the entire network. Now, passengers could have a free transfer to any local QUARTA bus line or QLine Metro route for thirty minutes. That length of time grew to forty-five minutes in 1993 and to an hour in 1996.

However, while revolutionary and convenient, this system had many flaws. TransferReceipts were at the time printed literally like receipts, and were easy to lose and easy to accidentally destroy. Many a passenger has spoken over the years of being stranded due to losing a TransferReceipt. To help solve that issue, in 2004 QUARTA created the TransferPass, a solid card version of the TransferReceipt that did the same thing while being harder to lose.

Little did QUARTA know that the TransferPass would end up birthing the BronzePass, SilverPass, and GoldPass that exist today. The TransferPass actually was the exact same type of card as today’s day passes, and could be read by the same scanners. QUARTA attempted to create a QUARTACard using the technology to replace tokens, but found that at this point tokens were obsolete and people preferred to simply pay one ride fares in cash.

Complaints about the TransferPass continued through 2009. Passengers no longer had problems with losing their cards, but continued to have issues. Any delays could mean missing their transfer or running out of time to transfer. It also cost QUARTA quite a bit to make so many cards that would often go to waste and were being given to passengers for free.

Finally, QUARTA decided that single ride fares were inefficient and inconvenient for daily riders. They realized that a day pass system would solve many of their issues- passengers could buy passes for slightly more than a one ride fare, and be able to ride the entire system for a day, week, or month. The same card technology and turnstiles from the TransferPasses would be used, but since they weren’t free and fares were higher, they would be able to pay for themselves while still keeping QUARTA financially stable.

The modern QUARTA Pass system came into effect in 2010. At the beginning, as the network was continuing to grow, the BronzePass was Local Bus, the SilverPass was Local Bus and Metro, and the GoldPass was Local and Express Bus, Metro, and Commuter Rail. Over time, the QLink BRT and most recently the QCycle Bikeshare were added to the Silver and GoldPasses. The Silver and GoldPasses act almost as universal free transfers for an entire day, three days, week or month.

Some passengers still tend to only use single ride fares, and some have asked to get back the TransferPass system. However, QUARTA is attempting to help passengers understand that the passes are like a better, longer lasting and more encompassing TransferPass. They hope this new ad campaign on trains, on buses, with billboards and ads at stations and bus stops, and with television and radio ads helps riders realize the benefits of getting passes.

“Even if you are only riding a couple places today, and normally would have bought a one ride fare there and back, it makes sense to buy a 1 Day Pass, because it literally will cost you a far less to use the day pass twice than to pay for two single rides,” stated Christi Randolph, a public relations employee with QUARTA. “And if you travel a lot by transit, which we want you to do, a week pass or month pass is an even better deal.”

The ads will feature many different scenarios, such as having to use the restroom, wanting to get a bite to eat, having to make a quick stop or taking a trip that requires transfers. QUARTA is even launching a TweetBook campaign, with dashtags #choosethepass and #passperks in hope that more passengers will begin to use passes, not single ride fares.

“Realistically, the only time a single ride fare is the best choice is if you are only taking a one way trip. Otherwise, a day pass at least, which unlike the others can be purchased on the bus, is really the best choice.”

New Park and Rides, Transit Centers in QUARTA, QDOT’s plans for 2016

QUENTINSBURGH- New and larger park and rides and an Increased number of transit centers are big parts of the transportation plans for Quentins State and Quentinsburgh in 2016.

QUARTA announced their transit improvement plans for 2016 on Thursday, this time with a large emphasis on improving existing transit services with better transfers, more convenient park and rides and more incentives to choose transit over driving.

QUARTA plans on greatly increasing the amount of park and rides, especially at stations further from downtown and at commuter rail stations. These new ones will be built as garages, as will several existing lots, which will be reconstructed from surface parking to multi level garages. The hope is that by reducing parking in downtown but increasing park and rides on lines connecting to downtown, more people will choose transit as a way to get downtown instead of driving there. Park and ride garages will also be built at the Geolympiad Complex.

QUARTA is also planning on improving service on local bus routes by adding new and improving old transit centers throughout the city. Especially important are transit centers that act as transfers between the bus network and the metro system. Such locations like Christian/Capitol/Quentinsburgh will be priority spots.

Along with these improvements, QUARTA plans on further encouraging riders to buy SilverPasses or GoldPasses to have full access to the entire QUARTA network without worrying about paying extra for transfers and with more flexibility in their travels.

These were the largest things in QUARTA’s plans. The QDOT plans on using this as an opportunity to go through with plans for a better high speed rail between Quentinsburgh and Personsboro, one of many projects helping Personsboro after recent complaints and the filing of (and denial of) plans to become a separate state.

Belphenia unveils new flag and new Deputy Prime Minister sworn in; Nation enters into the Moka period

Remiville – (Belphenia State Television) The Sapphire Swan Flag, that is flown over the lands of the Theocratic People’s Kingdom of Belphenia since the Battle of Shirahoshi, is coming down to give way to the new Endless Wind Flag.

Great Heartists in Remiville, Eraede, and Shadowsnow City lowered down the theocratic nation’s Sapphire Swan Flag in flag lowering ceremonies at government premises, city squares, samurai districts, harbors and ports, and public buildings across Belphenia. Reiko Beard, the country’s ceremonial leader, attended the flag raising ceremony and gave the keynote address to Great Heartists and the samurai in Udrogoth.

In Jellal, Icebarrow, samurai have been fighting with a snowstorm while driving on Interstate 21 (B 21) to get to the flag ceremony in Elelle, but most samurai got caught in ditches and embankments along the interstate and never made it to the ceremony there.

In Satsumina, Sakura Prefecture, the flag raising ceremony was postponed due to the blizzard in which both directions of Interstate 1 (B 1) between Celiniel and the Three Boundaries had to be shut down.

The ceremonies were also postponed in Terra Matoi due to a water main break in a city square. In Cadendandra, pirates attended the ceremony anyway despite the main ceremony was postponed because of a sinkhole swallowed a part of National Route 0 (BR 0) in Xanthe.

In Remiville, the samurai dealt with heavy traffic and delayed traffic lights in the city’s Ryushime historic district to get to the ceremony where the Angels of the Celestial Sky held the flag raising ceremony. While the samurai still stuck in traffic, they were able to see the Endless Wind Flag being raised to high mast.

 

At the new flag raising ceremony in Remiville, former Sakura Department of Natural Resources president Masahide Shiroma was sworn in as Belphenia’s first Deputy Prime Minister Friday morning. Shiroma took the oath of office and secrecy by Erza Beard, Belphenia’s prime minister in the city’s Ryushime samurai district.

“New flag, new Deputy Prime Minister, new era. This is where Belphenia transitions to a new era with a new start”, the prime minister said.

Great Heart and the Belphenian government did confirm that once the Endless Wind Flag rise up on Belphenian soil, the Sapphire Swan Flag will be removed and to be designated as a historic flag. The old flag will be put on display at the Battle of Shirahoshi Memorial Museum in Remiville and at all Battle of Shirahoshi memorial parks and gardens. It is also confirmed that since the First Leader of Belphenia is still living and accepted the new era proposal, the Clear Heart period will come to the end, followed by a new era.

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Belphenia’s Sapphire Swan Flag was flown from June 2, 2011 to December 25, 2015 in the Clear Heart period. The old flag will be designed as a historic flag and will be on display at all Battle of Shirahoshi memorials.
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Belphenia’s new Endless Wind Flag designed by Great Heartists, replaced the old flag on December 25, 2015, signaling the start of the Moka period.

QDOT considering adding free express lanes to U-4 between U-304 and U-104, making local lanes toll

QUENTINSBURGH- Drivers in Quentinsburgh may soon have another new toll to have to deal with. However, this toll would only affect those traveling within the city.

The Quentins Department of Transportation has unveiled plans for new free express lanes on Unionway 4 between the U-304 (just north of downtown) and the U-104 (the inner loop). These new express lanes would have no access to the exits along that stretch and would act as a bypass. The exits would be accessible by local toll lanes only (the existing lanes will become toll lanes). This way, those traveling through Quentinsburgh but not stopping would not have to pay, while local residents specifically trying to use those exits would pay a toll.

This is almost the exact opposite of what most cities worldwide have done with express lanes, as most cities have tolls on the express lanes and no tolls on the local lanes. However, Quentinsburgh’s plan has another goal besides revenue- increased usage of public transit and reduced car reliance.

The extension of U-4 in question runs almost the exact same route as QLine Metro line 5. In fact, there are only about 3 major exits along the entire 10km extension, plus a few more along the end of U-104 for better access to the Quentins Point Harbor, while line 5 serves the area with many more stations. That’s not even including other nearby routes like Metro line 1 on Capitol West (many drivers use U-4 as an alternative to crowded Capitol Blvd West) and the several area bus routes.

The QDOT chose to not go any farther south with these toll plans than the start of the U-304 as to not interfere with access to QSU (Quentins State International University) and Downtown Quentinsburgh traffic. Likewise they chose not to go further north than the U-104 loop due to the lack of public transportation alternatives in the mostly rural exit-less area north of the loop. They chose to only put tolls on local lanes as to not disrupt long distance travel; however, they have not ruled out the possibility of adding tolls to the entire roadway later on as improvements to high speed intercity rail service continue. (The QDOT is helping FreeTrak and the MetroWest commuter rail upgrade to high speed rail between Laneston, Vandover, Quentinsburgh, Trenchent, Franklinsburgh and other major cities, and as service improves most inter-city Unionways will likely become toll roads.)

Construction could begin as soon as late January on the new toll lanes.

Řots’s King Bēserets Sot not dead yet; brother designated heir presumptive

(Kotōlets/Nekkar, 13 December 2015) – According to prime minister Vervets Bekřa Nureet, His Most Serene and August Majesty Bēserets Sot, Lord and King of the Lands of Řots and Emissary of the Four Gods, is indeed gravely ill, as rumours have been claiming since last week’s detection of a sudden increase in activity around the royal estates outside Kotōlets.

“His Majesty’s situation is currently stable, but he isn’t able to speak anymore, which complicates matters at the court, as everyone awaits orders that don’t come”, the prime minister said. “It is unclear how long this situation will continue. Doctors say it is certain that at his age, His Majesty won’t recover from his current condition, but as to whether the end will come tomorrow or after a few weeks or even months, they cannot give an estimation.”

During his stay at the royal court, the prime minister found out that the King does indeed not have children. The King’s younger brother Prince Verteř Storm was presented as the heir presumptive. “Apparently he has offspring, so the line of succession to the throne of Řots seems to be secure, although I got the impression that the Prince’s child or children are a subject that has to be avoided in discussions at the court”, the prime minister said. “Things would be easier by the way if the Prince were to be appointed regent while His Majesty is incapacitated, but apparently it’s only the King himself who can appoint the regent, and as he is incapable of doing so, there will be no regent.”

East Quentins State Files to Break Off, become Persons State

QUENTINSBURGH- For the first time in Freedemian history, a motion has been filed to add a new state.

Two Quentinian Poplators from Personsboro, Poplators Greg Mehlin and Freida Johnschamp,  filed a motion on Tuesday to make Eastern Quentins State a new state. The state, which would be called Persons State with capital at Personsboro, would basically consist of all of eastern Quentins, perhaps geographically larger than what would remain Quentins State. Merlin and Johnschamp both cited revenue as the largest issue.

“Being in the same state as Quentinsburgh is awesome, and has lots of benefits; however, I feel like we are completely overshadowed because of it,” stated Johnschamp. “Quentinsburgh gets all the big events, they get the transit funding, they get the airports and the road improvements, and they get the tourists. Being separated from Quentinsburgh by a small mountain range, we barely even get the leftovers.”

Johnschamp may make a strong point. Quentinsburgh’s hosting of the 2016 Summer Pancontinental Games is helping lots of surrounding towns and cities, as visitors will likely choose their towns for cheaper hotel rates when closer in city hotels are full. However, Personsboro is so oddly placed that few tourists coming in for the Games have shown interest in spending any time in Personsboro.

Mehlin argued further that Personsboro, like other area cities, often get forgotten when they are near bigger more popular cities. “Cities like Reedsboro in Reeds state are dealing with the same thing with Laneston and Vandover; the difference is the fact they can still benefit. We want to separate, not with hard feelings towards Quentinsburgh, but just to get the funding and support we need.”

However, this is definitely an uphill battle. Even within the state none of the other four Poplators and only one of three Representatives fully support the idea. Another large issue is technically, as Freedemia was split up into its current day states upon founding, and they have never been to war, nor have its borders grown in geographical size, there is no provision for adding states in Freedemian government legislation. There’s never been a need for one. It would also affect Quentins State and its representation in the legislature.

More should be heard in the coming weeks as this motion moves further along.