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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FIB, Quentinsburgh Police, QUARTA, investigating after death threats toward President Rosenthal broadcasted over the loudspeakers and displays of a Line 3 train

BREAKING NEWS

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA- 4:10am: The Freedemian Investigation Bureau (FIB) and the Quentinsburgh Metro Police Department (QMPS) are investigating an incident on a QUARTA train yesterday evening, after the displays and loudspeakers on a Line 3 QLine Metro train began broadcasting threats and warnings towards President Angela Rosenthal as it pulled into the Capitol Mall/National Court station, the closest station to the Executive Residence.

Reports from police and witnesses say that around 10:26pm, as the local 3 train was pulling into the station, the loudspeaker began crackling and the displays on the front, sides, and insides of the train glitched and turned bright orange as if rebooting. After that came about five minutes of cryptic text, including the phrases “hope you enjoyed your reelection, it’s your last term anyhow” and “here today Angela, but soon with the angels”.

Trains were backed up for around a half-hour during the initial confusion, but QUARTA rerouted all Line 3 and Capitol Shuttle trains onto the express tracks and announced that trains would be skipping the stop until around 6:00pm Saturday evening to give the police and the FIB the chance to fully investigate to make sure that there’s no threat to the safety of the riders.

“So far it appears the displays were somehow hacked from the outside. No one operating the train or its displays/loudspeaker were responsible for the incident”, Police Chief Henriette Martina explained to reporters. “But this is going to require a pretty thorough investigation.”

“We’ve had incidents where displays have been glitchy before, and even one or two dumb pranks like the incident last baseball season when some kid made the display of a Capitol Shuttle say ‘Qburgh Quails are looserss heh get rekt noob subscribe to my TubeMe’, but never anything like this before,” Lenny Grent, with the technology support and IT division of QUARTA, explains. “It’s only happened with someone editing what the displays say like twice since we created the newer systems 10 years ago, and usually things so minor that it wasn’t worth investigating too deeply. We honestly didn’t expect something this serious to come up. I believe we fixed the initial glitch and vulnerability on most newer displays, but this was a renovated Q500 train and I think it’s using one of the early display systems, which might be part of the problem.”

President Rosenthal was recently reelected, and still maintains a near-record approval rating of around 80%. The seeming lack of enemies or disapproval makes the incident even more odd in the eyes of many. But security will be high near the Capitol Mall in the coming weeks as the investigation continues.

Vice President Patrick Houser and Vice President-Elect Katherine Nelzer are expected to give a joint speech later today addressing the cybersecurity state of Freedemia and what they’re getting ready to do to address it. While the whole plan is still in progress, currently there are plans to send a bill to the legislature by February that completely overhauls the military to include major cyber security provisions and departments instead of a focus on land/sea/air combat.

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.

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.

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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.

One month after typhoon in Iucan, Brugas – Neo Delta gets ready for the Isle & City Games

TAIAGO – After more than one month of the passage of the Typhoon Nakoe through the city of Iucan, in the Brugas archipelago (Neo Delta), which has brought destruction to the city and other areas of the islands, efforts are being taken in order to rebuild the most affected places and  get the archipelago ready to host the next edition of the Isle & City Games.

Although Iucan is not expected to host ny sport events (the closest event shall take place in Danipa), the area is well-known for the Jolia Beach and the Janni Dunes, which attract thousands of tourists every year. Most of the events of the Isle and City Games will take place in Taiago, the capital of Brugas, in the newly build Athletic Village. The region was not greatly affected by the typhoon. Even so, the organization of the games decided to hold the beginning of the event.

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Flooding and damaged areas of Iucan – Brugas.

Some areas of Iucan still suffer with eventual floods during rainy periods. The government of Brugas started a campaign to gather money and resources parts of Iucan. It is expected that more six months will be needed to Iucan look like it was before the typhoon.

 

Typhoon Nakoe to hit Iucan and other cities in Brugas, Neo Delta

DANIPA – Typhoon Nakoe is expected to make landfall near the city of Iucan in the Danipa Island next Friday night (local time).

The Taiago Climate Observatory said that Nakoe was the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale until this morning, but it is expected to lose strengh as it hit the Brugas archipelago. Winds could reach 93 mph as of Wednesday afternoon.

Nakoe Thyphoon
Typhoon Nakoe approaching the Brugas Archipelago.

More than 76 milimeters of rain is expected in the region of north Danipa and the Reme Islands.

In Iucan, thousands of citzens evacuated the eastern part of the city, which must be hit by strong winds and heavy  waves in the Iucan Beach. Hundreds of people took refuge in government shelters across the city. Cities of Danipa, Fluka, Tedema and Reme are also in alert. More than 20 flights to and from Danipa might be canceled. In Iucan, bus and tram services will be suspended on Friday evening.

Authorities expect Nakoe to weaken to a tropical storm but still to produced heavy rain in areas north Danipa, mainly in Iucan.

 

Freedemian Department of Transportation considering new tolls on U-4 between Vandover and Quentinsburgh due to improved rail service

FORT ELWOOD- Drivers traveling between Quentinsburgh and Vandover may soon see new expenses added to their trip, as the federal and state departments of transportation consider putting tolls on Unionway 4 between north Quentinsburgh and southern Vandover. This means the extensions of U-4 running through Haroldsborough and Fort Elwood  would also be toll highways, although local traffic will be able to drive for free. Tolls would most likely be located between towns, such as between Quentinsburgh and Haroldsborough, between Haroldsborough and Fort Elwood, and between Fort Elwood and Vandover. An entry toll will also be added to the Freedemia/Nature border for entering traffic.

The reasoning behind pushing for the new tolls is improvement of parallel rail transportation. After recent changes to the MetroWest Commuter Rail, one can easily get back and forth between Nature City (in Nature), Laneston, Vandover, Fort Elwood, Haroldsborough, Mathersboro, and Quentinsburgh, and technically, even further south to places like Graham City. The MetroWest line is the most reliable and frequently running regional intercity rail line in the country, and is generally seen as the most reliable in all of Western Tarephia. It is also reasonably affordable, with prices at f’5.50 per ride.

The primary reasoning used over the past decade or so against tolls on U-4 was the lack of reliable public transit alternatives. However, with the MetroWest, there is a viable reliable transit option. Local transit systems have even started better serving the commuter rail stations to connect them to the rest of the area. This is the alternative that was needed.

In order to make the commuter rail much more viable to intercity  travelers, the toll price currently proposed is f’6.00 for a full trip to Vandover, a full fc50 more than the MetroWest line. While many will continue driving, the hope is many will switch to using the MetroWest commuter rail instead.

Tolls are also being considered for the U-4 between Franklinsburgh and Anneitasburgh, perhaps the country’s most important and longest stretch of unionway, connecting the isolated eastern corner of the country, the populated western part, and the many towns lining it. However, more improvements to rail transit in the area are still needed before that can happen.