QUARTA beta-testing Stop Request buttons at bus stops serving multiple routes

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA– Bus riders waiting at stops home to multiple routes may see a new feature coming within the next month. QUARTA, with the help of Trenchent company Trannovation Solutions, LLC., is rolling out Stop Request buttons to bus stops across the city.

This is being done primarily with the idea of saving time and making bus service more efficient. Currently, if there’s someone waiting at a bus stop home to multiple routes, every bus has to slow down, just in case the person at the stop wanted that particular route. This leads to a lot of lost time- many times, the individual is waiting for a particular bus, but every bus in between still has to slow down and pull towards the bus stop, just in case.

The idea behind Trannovation’s StopRequest Kiosk, a post designed to match the design of the QUARTA bus stops and with a button to request each route, is that the rider can request which bus they need from the bus stop ahead of time. This means only the route requested by the rider will have to slow down and pull over.

To use an example, let’s say Jimmy is waiting at a bus stop home to routes A, B, and C. Jimmy wants to get on route C. Currently, Jimmy would just wait at the stop visible to the drivers of approaching buses, and they would automatically slow down and pull to the side. While Jimmy can wave them off, signifying he doesn’t need that route, by that point the buses have already reduced speed and got ready to pull over and stop. If Jimmy’s route C comes after routes A and B, then riders on those buses lost time that the bus used to slow down. While this seems like only a little bit, when that happens ten to twenty times along the route, it adds up.

However, with the new StopRequest Kiosks, Jimmy can directly select “Route C” from the bus stop, signifying that you want only the C bus to stop, freeing up routes A and B to skip the stop entirely unless someone is getting off. This means that coupled with new dedicated bus priority lanes, routes A and B can literally pass the stops full speed (unless someone is getting off) without pulling over, because they know that Jimmy is waiting for Route C. This could make a huge difference in timing and efficiency of each route. Little tweaks like that can help the QUARTA bus system run far more efficiently.

While QUARTA’s QLine Metro has become exceedingly more efficient in the past few years, QUARTA’s bus network has lagged behind. Along major corridors like Capitol Blvd West, many have crowded onto the subways because of the long commute times on the local bus. This has greatly improved with the creation of bus priority lanes, (lanes where only buses and cars immediately turning right are allowed) but it still needs large improvements to be an efficient and appealing alternative for commuters.

QUARTA hopes to have the entire system fitted with the first phase of these stop request buttons (on most major lines/corridors) by February, and the whole system if the test period is successful by June 2017. Trannovation is also rolling out this new system in Trenchent and San Grande as part of Lake Area Rapid Transit (LART), and Laneston and Vandover’s VAULT (Vandover and Urban Laneston Transit) is supposed to start testing in January 2017. Trannovation is also working on an app version that allows individuals to request a bus to stop from their phones or mobile devices. However, the app is still in development and is not being publicly tested. Employees of QUARTA and LART will have a chance to test out the first version of the app come mid 2017.

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Roadway improvements along urban NW Freedemian Coast progressing steadily

VANDOVER, FREEDEMIA– Drivers today were able to drive for the first time on the new Vandover East Thruway. The freeway, also known as Unionway 308, connects from U-208 to U-108 and creates a new north-south freeway through central Vandover while creating a strong alternative for through traffic going to Laneston or Nature.

The project is part of a larger set of improvements to thru roadways along the northwestern Freedemian coast to ease traffic on the stretch of Unionway 4 between Laneston and Quentinsburgh. Several other projects are underway, including the widening and improving of parts of M-82 through Mathersboro, M-13 up through Haroldsborough and Fort Elwood, and southern Dansels Road (now M-23B) through southern Vandover. Improvements to M-23 (Laneston Lake Pkwy) in Laneston and Vandover are also underway.

One portion of the bigger project, the construction of the M-282 just east of Mathersboro, is nearing completion. The freeway will connect the U-204 directly to the M-82 to improve access to Mathersboro and create a stronger alternative to Unionway 4. The freeway then continues to provide a better connection to the relatively new Walter Sanderson International Airport.

The overall project, known as the Secondary Coastal Corridor, is a partnership between the Quentins Department of Transportation, the Reeds Department of Transportation, and the Freedemian Department of Transportation (since the project crosses state lines). While the overall goal of the Freedemian government is to continue to improve transit alternatives (such as the MetroWest Commuter Rail and Greenleaf Bus Lines) the need for alternative automobile routes along the most urban part of the nation was large enough that even the commuter options weren’t enough to fix the problem alone.

The project also has renewed interest in enacting tolls on U-4 between Laneston and Quentinsburgh, as there will not only be several viable commuter options, but a new roadway alternative as well. The Freedemian National Legislature is supposed to meet later this week to make a final decision, a meeting which originally wasn’t supposed to happen until January. A recent vote done during the Monday general elections passed with 68% in favor of the tolls as long as an effort was made to improve alternative routes.

road-improv-corridor
A diagram showing the current bottleneck situation (U-4 corridor in red, current alternatives in yellow-brown) and the alternative that the Freedemian Department of Transportation (and state departments) are trying to create with current projects. The area highlighted in green is undergoing new construction and road improvements. The green line indicates the corridor that they hope drivers will start to use as an alternative when complete.

Graham City Transit finalizes BRT design, lane arrangements, plans to use existing buses at higher frequencies 

GRAHAM CITY- Yesterday, the Metropolitan Graham Transit Authority released final plans for the lane arrangements and design of their new BRT system. The struggling system chose a different method than many other systems in order to use existing ordinary buses to provide the new transit service.

The three lane arrangements that will be used in the Graham BRT system.

Lane arrangement A is for former four lane roads with no middle lane that needed on street parking. It runs the BRT in the center of the road with platforms and on street parking in the middle lanes on each side of the road.

Lane arrangement B is going to be the most common in the system. It uses center platforms in the former center lane of five lane roads, while running the BRT lanes in the opposite direction of traffic.

Lane arrangement C is basically a regular street side bus stop for when the BRT is making a loop on smaller streets near the beginning and end of each route.

The reasoning for the oddly designed lane arrangements is the lack of funding to buy buses with doors on both sides. Using existing and newly purchased ordinary buses means all doors are on the right, requiring an unusual lane setup.

MGTA plans to just run regular buses and occasionally accordion buses very frequently (every 2-3 minutes during peak) to make up for the smaller bus size until they gain the means to buy better buses.

The Graham City Economic Crisis has been very hard on the city and the transit system. Most of the routes being created are to replace demolished old condemned elevated subway lines in the city, although a couple will follow new corridors that need better service. The nearly broke system normally would never be able to fund such a project if not for emergency funds provided by the federal government (taken from more successful and well off systems like Quentinsburgh’s QUARTA) and newly reallocated funds from elsewhere in the state. The hope is that as the city and the system get back on their feet that they will then be able to sustain themselves without being on ‘life support’ from the federal government.

Construction on the first two lines, both running along former subway corridors through important but poorer neighborhoods, will start in August. (A temporary service is already running on these lines.) The construction on those lines is expected to be done by 2018. MGTA hopes to have a strong system in place by 2020, in step with the city’s recovery from economic crisis.

Woolonian Rebel Attack in Ewes; explosions destroy part of Cross Ewes Expressway/Alpacatown Freeway, poison dart attack in nearby subway station

BREAKING NEWS- EWES, WOOLPORT- An attack significantly larger than the roadblock explosion in Pastureville earlier this week and the most high scale attack since the May attack killing five high ranking government officials and a reporter occurred tonight. A multifaceted attack occurred in southern Ewes earlier tonight, with explosions taking out a major bridge on the Alpacatown Expressway that collapsed onto the Cross Ewes Expressway and a bia bia poison dart attack in the nearby Woolhaven subway station. The borough of Ewes is on high alert, and the metro system, motorway A-1 and large sections of A-8 and 8B are all shut down until further notice.

An estimated 23 people died at the scene of the bridge collapse, most of which were on the bridge when it collapsed, while a couple died from getting crushed by falling cars and debris. About 8 people died in the poison dart shooting in the Woolhaven subway station. The men and woman responsible for the subway attack were apprehended shortly after the attack; however those responsible for the bridge explosion are still at large.

The portion of expressway that was blown up was actually a major exit connecting Highway 8B with the Alpacatown Expressway/A-8. The actual Alpacatown Expressway at that point goes through a tunnel, which was not damaged. However, the tunnel has been shut down out of concern that other explosives could be in the tunnel. Squads are checking at this moment to check the safety of the tunnel. The Cross Ewes Expressway is completely blocked at the junction, and is closed in all directions for a large distance.

President Ferdinand Sealy and Woolport Mayor Michael Segaset spoke together to the city shortly after at a press conference in downtown Ewes.

“Tonight, the Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels staged the largest attack on civilians since the Woolonian Civil War. They have crossed a line. It is one thing to attack a government. It is another to attack completely innocent individuals. This did not reflect the goals of the WTR, claiming that their only anger was against the modern Woolonian government. They’ve gone too far.”

Shortly after, a statement from the WTR came saying “Mr. uneducated Sealy. We were not the planners nor perpetrators of this attack. We would have targeted something or someone closer related to the Woolonian government, as you said. This was done by our allies, Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing, who tend to be… less…patient and understanding than us. However, the time had come for action on our end. Perhaps now you will take us and our purpose more seriously.”

Current information does back up that assertion. While the attacks in Pastureville were clearly done by the WTR and the attack killing Gerald Astern and others in May were as well, the attacks in Freedemia and tonight’s attack appear to have been the work of Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing. This, however, is the first time evidence shows the group’s are working together.

More information will come in as received. PWN is dedicated to bringing the most up-to-date accurate news.

QUARTA rolls out QTransit App, featuring trip planning, transit GPS, maps, etc

QUENTINSBURGH- On Friday QUARTA, Quentinsburgh’s public transit authority, released a new app for passengers called the QTransit App. It is already being hailed as one of the most advanced transit authority apps in the world.

The app boasts a huge number of features, including maps and schedules for every route and the entire system, a transit GPS and trip planner powered by StepMaps (Stepstone Technology), transit news updates, and live updating information about nearby destinations. (Payment for fares and digital passes were considered as additional features, but were decided against.)

The most basic feature is simply that riders can now have route maps and schedules at their fingertips. Unlike many other apps, the digital maps are interactive, and real-time arrival can be pulled up for any route or QUARTA service, including bus, metro, commuter rail, trolley, and more (basically just excluding QCycle Bikeshare, as bikes are not wired with real time GPS).

The app also provides easy free digital access to the QRider newsletter and transit news updates from the newly created QUARTANews (which will also go live at the new site quartanews.fr). Users will be able to even set the app to get live notifications about service changes and transit news, accirding to their personal preference.

However, the two most prominent features being praised are the live transit GPS and the StripMapLive nearby destination feature.

The QTransitGPS, powered by StepMaps, is basically a StepMaps or Glofish Maps dedicated to public transit. Riders can either put in a starting destination or use location services on their device and get a multitude of convenient public transportation options. Riders can put in preferences, such as “local bus only”, “bus and metro”, or “fastest possible trip”. Like a regular GPS, it will give multiple possible routes, and can recalculate if the passenger needs to change their route. The app will even show you how to get to the nearest bikeshare location to get to a destination not served by transit, or give you information about intercity rail or bus if you need to go somewhere outside of the QUARTA service area. The app proves especially helpful for finding the nearest bus stop or metro station.

However, perhaps even more impressive is the StripMapLive feature. Also powered by StepMaps, the feature uses location services to figure out where the passenger is, and then shows details about where they are; what features that station, bus stop, or area has; and show nearby destinations. StripMapLive shows details that would never be able to fit on a normal paper map, or even a regular digital map, such as restrooms in metro stations, whether stations have elevators in addition to the the regular ramps, and where a passenger could get off and get a bite to eat along their route. It also conveniently shows transfers, and can send notifications to the passenger when they’ve arrived at their stop.

“StripMapLive takes the concept of the strip map to a whole new level,” head developer Gracie Fletcher told PWN. “It goes beyond just telling you a list of stops. For the first time you can get a strip map for any route in the system, even a local bus, and even find out what’s along the route.”

The original app, the QRider app, only had PDF versions of the system and route maps, trip planning and real time tracking. These new features make the QTransit App much more revolutionary.

QUARTA also plans to launch some of these features, especially the QTransitGPS, online as well, as part of a website revamp currently in progress.

StepMaps and the designers of the QTransit app hope to create similar apps for other Freedemian cities with rapid transit. Laneston/Vandover and the VAULT system are expected to get a similar app in the next few months, as well as Personsboro/Leonard’s PLATA system, and Graham City is getting a beta version until at least the core if the new BRT system being built in place of demolished subway lines. Graham City’s transit will be getting a total revamp and rebranding upon the completion of the first two BRT lines under construction..

As of right now, the app is available for StepStone devices, Megamer GamePhones, Zenergy devices and Saehan Group devices. QUARTA plans to expand the app to other operating systems in coming months.

QUARTA considering options, planning Capitol Shuttle extension to address reduced ridership, need

An earlier version of this article stated the Capitol Shuttle extension would be built fully elevated and two stops long. However, the extension will actually have three stops, including an infill station at 5th St/Warren Sq, and will start off underground to connect from the existing CS tunnel.

QUENTINSBURGH- Back when it first opened, the seven stop Capitol Shuttle was an integral part of the QUARTA QLine system. The system was going through rapid expansion, and the system made it possible to transfer across several of these major lines without having to go all the way into downtown. It also provided a direct line to the Capitol Mall from the 1, 2, 4 and 5 (today, it connects to the 13 and 14 as well). Students could get to Quentinsburgh State International University from line 3, and two stations not served by any other lines (Garland Park and Freedemian Pkwy/Capitol) opened in neighborhoods nearby that needed it. Acting as north downtown Quentinsburgh’s main connection to the rest of the system, the small one car Capitol Shuttle flourished, seeing huge ridership levels for such a small route.

However, it would soon be discovered that the Capitol Shuttle had two major flaws. First, it wasn’t able to connect to Line 7 due to where the tracks crossed, losing one of the most important connections in the system, and second, by ending in the Capitol Mall, it failed to connect back around to the lines heading east, the 2, 7, and more recently, the 14. Suddenly it was clear that the shuttle didn’t connect to any of the lines serving eastern Quentinsburgh, simply the ones going north. It still acted as a valuable addition to the system, as only two other transfer stations in downtown actually made the connections it provided possible.

Today, however, with two new east-west tunnels through downtown, transfers are easier than ever. A new tunnel on line 4 connects line 5 with the 7 and 14 heading to the airport. Line 2’s new C shaped route connects several major lines through and around downtown, being home to two of the systems’ largest transfer hubs, Wellson/QSU Hospitals and Fredrick St/Convention Ctr.

Line 13 is especially important, almost replacing the Capitol Shuttle in all functionality. With its loop-like route and its new east-west tunnel between Grand Ave and James St, line 13 literally connects the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 14 all without leaving downtown and within 7 stops. The 7 stop CS (Capitol Shuttle) connects the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, and 14, but in a much less convenient way, and without connecting to line 7 at all, generally considered the second most important line in the system. The CS is also one of the most outdated lines, being the only line to have stations and platforms that have never been remodeled.

With alternatives like the 13 existing now, the Capitol Shuttle is seeing the lowest ridership in the line’s thirty year history. It had at one point gotten so low that earlier this year QUARTA had considered just shutting it down. However, outcry from the Garland Park community, which relies on the CS-only subway stop there and makes up about 80% of its current ridership, pushed QUARTA to leave the line open.

Since then, QUARTA has been looking for a way to save the line. When creating plans for line 10, using the Capitol Shuttle tracks was considered, but was quickly taken off the table after it became clear that doing so would eliminate all connections line 10 would have had in downtown. A concept for making a new tunnel and running the CS under DaSilva St to connect to eastbound lines was also suggested, but cost and difficulty in construction removed that option as well.

However, they appear to have found a solution. “This could be the very thing that saves the Capitol Shuttle”, one planner we talked to commented.

QUARTA proposes a simple, three station extension of the CS along a new stretch of elevated track (though it begins underground) to be built along Arthur Read Blvd, creating transfers at Arthur Read/Fredrick (2, 2X, 10 [future]) and Arthur Read/Freeman Station (4, 4X, 7, 7X, 14, 14X) and an infill station at 5th St/Warren Sq. The improved line could act as a downtown bypass of sorts, as transfers from trains from the east to northbound trains can suddenly be made without having to crowd downtown stations. Also, such an extension makes connections between the different parts of lines 2, 4, 10, and 14 easier, not to mention the ease of connecting to a line like the 5 that doesn’t really serve downtown or connect well.

The extension would also serve to connect riders from the east side of the city, nearby Hayes University, and even from QCommute line C2 to the Capitol Mall and Quentinsburgh State International University. Riders will no longer have to go through downtown to get to the Capitol Mall, while finally connecting to line 7.

With planning almost done and construction soon to begin, the three stop extension should be done by late 2017 and ready for operation at that time. It should finally restore the ridership to the line that is needed.

QUARTA releases plans, timeline, for Line 12, 9 extension, and other projects

QUENTINSBURGH- At a public meeting at the Quentinsburgh Convention Center in Downtown today, QUARTA, the area’s rapid transit authority, revealed plans and timelines for the completion and opening of several QLine Metro extensions.

Today was the first day QUARTA formerly released a solid plan and timeline for the brand new Line 12, as well as a new extension of Line 9 into Meisler and Horizon Springs.

Line 12 will run with the line 9 along Hinespoint Rd from Northern Quentinsburgh through downtown Northcross, and then branch off to connect to the under construction Line 7 extension to run through Berkeley Ridge, and then finally the line will switch to Line 4 tracks in Caroll Hill to terminate in Franklin Hill.
This actually restores and improves on the service provided by the short lived original line 12 that was operational for a short period of time in 2015, which ran along line 4 tracks between Northcross and Franklin Hill. The line was originally temporary, running along an extension of track between downtown Northcross and the Line 4 curve near Greendale Meadows, until line 13 was completed to serve the area, rendering the original 12 unnecessary and redundant. This will be the first Northcross-Caroll Hill-Franklin Hill local service since.

The Line 9 extension to Horizon Springs has been in the works for several years, originally having been a plan for an extended Hinespoint line 10 (before it was eliminated in early 2016 and replaced by a longer Line 9). The line would continue east out of Northcross, turning to serve the growing town of Meisler and terminating in Horizon Springs. The plan had been discussed during the planning for the Line 14 (then Line 6) extension to Haroldsborough, but at the time it was decided that there wasn’t enough density or demand at the time.

QUARTA seems to have changed their mind on that. In the released statement and in a short post on TweetBook, they cited “the need for investment while finances are good and funding is still abundant”. The extension will be built in two phases, the stretch to Meisler (2018) and the extension to Horizon Springs (2022).

Both lines have an unusual yet helpful thing going for them. The extension of Line 9 to Meisler and the stretch of construction through Northcross for Line 12 are both running in areas currently relatively undeveloped. This creates opportunities for transit oriented development, makes station location selection simpler, and eases construction considering it will not be a hindrance to traffic or have to deal with dense areas. This is the reason those stretches are expected to be built much quicker. The Phase II extension to Horizon Springs is running through a mostly developed area, requiring much more work to complete.

Firstly, the section of track that will be focused on is a bridge where line 9 will enter Meisler. The short stretch is the most complicated, expensive, and difficult to build portion of the entire line, having to deal with an entirely new bridge over a creek and nearby ravines.

QUARTA released a timeline of all the QLine extensions in planning or under construction right now at the meeting as well, which reads as follows:

January 2017– Line 14 extension to Haroldsborough (under construction)
Mid 2017- Line 6 extension to Sandboro (under construction) , Line 7 to Berkeley Ridge (under construction) set to open
Early 2018- Line 9 extension to Meisler to open (phase I of line 9 extension) (construction to start July 2016)
Late 2018– Completed Line 12 to begin operation (construction to start July 2016)
2022– Line 10 Phase I to begin operation (in planning) , Line 9 extension to Horizon Springs (in planning)
2026– Line 10 to be completed (in planning)

Station locations in Meisler and Horizon Springs are still being finalized. Residents will be invited to public meetings in their towns this coming month. A meeting in Northern Quentinsburgh will also be there to answer any questions about line 12.

(Station locations along the new Line 10 will also have meetings in July in downtown, central, and northern Quentinsburgh, as well as one in Matherspark Village.)