Starmobile, QUARTA at odds as QUARTA bans car sales advertisments on buses, trains, QUARTA property

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA: Freedemia’s biggest transit system and their biggest car manufacturer are at odds today, as the Quentinsburgh Urban Area Rapid Transit Authority (QUARTA) bans all advertisements for car sales in stations, at stops, and on the sides of buses and trains. Starmobile-Jazzalini had been attempting to purchase New Years’ ads across the system when QUARTA announced the decision.

Advertisements aren’t nonexistant in the QUARTA system by any means. While an effort is made to limit the trainside/busside ads to certain spots, non-intrusive ads can be found all throughout the system, especially inside trains and buses and at stops and stations. Recent improvements to QLine trains have even made it possible to have ads that change as the train ride continues, acting similarly to a billboard, announcing different businesses as the train gets closer to certain stops.

QUARTA’s decision comes around the same time that QUARTA and the cities in the Quentinsburgh metropolitan area changed their signage ordinances to direct retail signage to pedestrians and transit riders. As the area has attempted to move away from car reliance, QUARTA and the cities have attempted to shift the paradigm of residents to transit, walking, and biking as the defaults and driving as secondary.

The decision to ban advertisements for car sales was an attempt to move further towards that goal, according to QUARTA CEO Kellen Hyrper. “Car advertisements try to present auto driving as the “Freedemian Dream”, a luxury, a convenience, something to aim for. There’s nothing wrong with having a car to use in moderation, but it shouldn’t be viewed as the goal to get away from using transit. And it would be counterproductive to promote this in our transit system.”

Starmobile has split stakes here, and different divisions seem to have different responses. Starmobility, the bus/train/industrial truck manufacturing division of Starmobile, actually makes a large majority of QUARTA’s buses, and they’ve been partners for many years, with QUARTA being their largest client. Starmobility is very much against making this a big deal as they and QUARTA benefit mutually from their partnership. On the other hand, Starmobile-Jazzalini’s primary car sales divisions have sometimes relied on the advertising and the mentality of “Cars are cool!”, even in a country like Freedemia where transit isn’t seen as second class.

 

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King Mearh dies: ten days of national mourning declared

HREAWIRC, 5 DECEMBER 2017 | King Mearh I of Wyster has died this morning. The 96-year old monarch passed away sitting down in his favorite reading chair after breakfast, according to Prime Minister Cillyh Ocurmen, who addressed the nation shortly after noon. The Prime Minister praised the Mearh’s many years of service to the country, more than 47 of which as king. Funeral arrangements will now be discussed with the new Queen, Mearh’s oldest daughter Atheanne, and the rest of the royal family. The Prime Minister declared ten days of national mourning, during which public life in Wyster will have a sober character.

Mearh I sie Soormeth was born at Fryhaec Castle, near the village of Bocyme in county Orsearre on 27 February 1921. His father was Hrevyn sie Soormeth (later king Hrevyn III), his mother Rynne Countess Caen. Wyster was just experiencing its Fourth Republic under Chairman Peus Ghaarn, a brilliant political strategist who turned out to be increasingly ruthless and paranoid as he got older; he was elected in 1915 under the Third Republic, but he managed to gain such political dominance that he changed the constitution in 1920 and establised the Fourth Republic, in which it was almost impossible to depose him without force. Force came in the form of a six year civil war. At the end of this war, the Wystrian monarchy was restored under King Hrevyn III, a grandson of the previous king Hrevyn II (1859-1860 and 1895-1902). As his father became king, Mearh became Crown Prince.

Mearh studied political history and diplomatic studies, both in Wyster and abroad. In 1947 he married Soor Countess Meerwyth (1924 – 2008), with whom he had two daughters, Princess Atheanne (*1949, who is now the Queen of Wyster) and Princess Learre (*1955). When Mearh succeeded his father as King of Wyster in 1970, Princess Atheanne became his heir apparent. Mearh’s life as Crown Prince was not without problems. As a student he got into trouble already for driving under influence and getting involved in a mass fight that damaged several houses and shops in Hreawirc. His marriage was tumultuous and Crown Princess Soor is said to have been ready to leave the country on more than one occasion. In 1961 he was essential in closing a lucrative arms deal between Wyster and Karolia, which gained him a lot of praise initially until it emerged six years later that he mediated for two other parties as well at the time of the Wyster-Karolia deal and facilitated illegal arms trade in the process. Several politicians of Wyster then demanded that Mearh be excluded from succession and that the throne should pass directly to Mearh’s daughter Atheanne after Hrevyn III’s death. According to sources, Hrevyn III threatened to abdicate on the spot if this proposal was put into practice and Atheanne (who was barely 18 years old at the time) refused to step in.

Hrevyn III died in 1970 and Mearh succeeded him as King of Wyster. Although he was initially unpopular in political circles, a large part of the population considered him a ‘man of the people’, for taking risks and putting protocol aside. His marriage calmed down a bit and under influence of his wife Queen Soor, the new King slowly discovered his role as monarch. He showed that he was there as King not only to party but also to support the people, for instance when a landslide all but destroyed two villages in county Troc in 1984 and after the shooting attack in the Promynad Stadium in Hreawirc that left nine visitors dead and several dozens injured in 1991.

The new millennium saw a calmer agenda for the King, with his daughters taking over several official tasks. Queen Soor died in 2008. Although the King’s health remained good until the very end, he became frail, with a faltering voice. His last public appearance was in June 2014; after that, he only made a couple of appearances on television.

Queen Atheanne (68) is the new head of state of Wyster, although her coronation will be scheduled after the ten days of mourning only. The Queen doesn’t have any children, so her younger sister Princess Learra is the heir presumptive; Learra’s eldest son Prince Thyllyn (35) is second in line.

QUARTA launching study for proposed Jackson Blvd/Stanley Rd Line 16 BRT, other long term corridor studies announced

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIAQUARTA, releasing their new 2030-2050 plans, has announced several major corridor studies, starting with a short term study they are launching now for a Line 16 BRT to serve the Jackson Blvd/Stanley Rd corridor, building on the success of the Line 15 BRT serving the islands off the coast that opened in 2016.

Currently, bus route 33C provides frequent (usually about every 6 minutes) reliable local bus service to Jackson Blvd and Stanley Road, and the ALink and BLink select bus service lines, remnants of an early failed attempt at BRT, run along Stanley Rd, providing some limited stop service to the corridor. However, this new plan would call for the construction of a complete busway along Jackson Blvd and Stanley Road, similar to the existing Line 15 BRT running between Shelton Beach, Terrapin Park, Quentins Point Beach, and Hayes Island. Stations will require pre-boarding payment at turnstiles like the rest of the QLine metro system, and though mostly at grade, similar to a light rail, the BRT would run separate from traffic.

Line 16 BRT Corridor Study

One major question the city faces is design. The arrangement of the lanes, especially around major difficult junctions such as Quentinsburgh/Capitol East (serving the Emmerly/Capitol/Quentinsburgh Transit Center) and in southern Shelton Beach (where it would end with the Line 15 BRT) needs to be figured out, and elements like flyovers would likely need to be restrained to the most necessary locations to keep costs down. However, this is a relatively short term project, with the environmental study planned to conclude by the end of 2018, and if the study makes it clear this project will work and demand exists, QUARTA hopes to have it completed by 2023-2025, depending on the amount of added construction of flyovers and stations that would be required.

QUARTA also announced several longer term corridor studies;

  • West Mathersburgh Blvd Corridor, likely BRT or a branch of line 5 from Mathersboro to Haroldsburgh
  • Bond Extension to Kettingdon Heights, proposed extension of line 2
  • Hinespoint Rd Corridor, likely BRT or an extension of line 12; will not happen until demand increases
  • Putnam & Grentens Corridors, likely BRT providing an E-W connection thru N Central Quentinsburgh
  • Greendale Meadow/Greencreek Corridor, likely BRT, a branch of line 4, or a new line branching off line 3 to Gillepsie

Current QLine Corridor Studies (1)

The city of Gillepsie was especially happy about the Greendale Meadows/Greencreek Corridor Study, which would be the first project to try to extend the metro system, whether by subway or BRT, to connect Downtown Gillepsie with Downtown Quentinsburgh.

“We’ve managed to do okay in spite of it, but we’re the only major suburb in the area with no 1-seat metro ride to downtown Quentinsburgh,” Gillepsie Mayor Regina Thompson explains. “Other cities like Northcross, Highfield, Caroll Hill and Franklin Hill, and even far out areas like Haroldsburgh, Mathersburgh, and Horizon Springs have been given direct access to downtown. Why haven’t we? We’ve been well established for years and still isolated. They’ve talked about extending the 10 a couple extra stops to connect us to downtown when it’s finished, but even then, a local only train that runs through all of North and West Quentinsburgh before getting to downtown is barely more convenient than what we have now, and would be even longer than our current two-seat ride on the 11 and 7x.”

While routes haven’t been decided yet, the Gillepsie extension corridor has three alternative modes planned as options right now.

Option A would simply create a BRT line connecting Gillepsie with the Emmerly/Capitol/Quentinsburgh transit center, and is the cheapest alternative. There is a version (Option A2) that would have the BRT also run nonstop from Emmerly/Capitol/Quentinsburgh to Quentinsburgh Union Station, adding the extra service that would connect Gillepsie to downtown Quentinsburgh.

Option B would create a new elevated branch of line 4X that would run to Gillepsie, and the idea of how that would work and how it would affect existing routing is somewhat fuzzy. The QUARTA system doesn’t currently have any branching metro or BRT lines, so they don’t have any clear examples within the system to look to.

Option C, preferred among Gillepsians, would create a new elevated metro line, likely line 17, that would run with Line 3 from the terminus at Quentinsburgh Beach through Downtown Quentinsburgh and the Emmerly/Capitol/Quentinsburgh Transit Center and then branch off around Greencreek to run to Downtown Gillepsie, likely terminating alongside line 11. This alternative would provide local and express service to Gillepsie, but would also be the most expensive of the three. But Gillepsie residents say it’s worth it. And it would likely take pressure off of Line 4 as well, making it significantly preferable to the Line 4 branch alternative.

Many Kettingdon Heights residents are very hopeful about the line 2 extension. Similarly to Gillepsie, the neighborhood has a history of not having adequate metro connections to downtown Quentinsburgh.

“We’re living in one of the poorest parts of the city”, explained Jules Randolph, a father with 5 kids living in Kettingdon Heights. “And sometimes it can be difficult to get where I need to for work. I finally got a good paying job closer to downtown, but the subway doesn’t reach all the way out here so I have to take the local bus all the way in. Don’t get me wrong, the bus isn’t terrible, but it’s pretty slow and inconvenient. Our neighborhood has been a bit neglected, especially considering early plans from three decades ago showed lines running to Wally Cleaver and Kettingdon. They could have given us the service we needed with just a few extra stops built on, but they chose not to. But at least it looks like they might finally do it.”