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dbdb

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Everything posted by dbdb

  1. dbdb

    Airline Fees

    With Ryanair the base fare/mandatory cost is low and everything else is just an option. With WestJet and Air Canada, the base fare is still relatively high and the mandatory surcharges, fees and taxes bring it up even higher before the options. When you're paying nearly $200 for a ticket, the $1 for this and $2 for that is petty and insignificant. I flew JetBlue from JFK to SEA last summer. What I really liked is the simplicity and the low cost. The only thing I didn't like is that on a 6 hour flight, there was no buy on board and I didn't expect that. Had I known, I would probably have brought something or at least bought something from the airport. What I'd really like is for the security screening and associated surcharges to be optional. I'd be content with a lower cost and elimination of the theatrics travelers are subjected to at the security checkpoint. If it makes other travelers feel safer then they can pay for it. I think that would be a good place to start, followed by better deals for the airports to reduce or eliminate the AIFs and reduce the landing, gate and parking fees built in to ticket prices.
  2. This slightly older photo includes some explanation: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?...8157&nseq=4 And this news article about the derailment: http://tinyurl.com/yf4ch28
  3. dbdb

    Beta RTS Driver Barrier

    From the picture, there's an obvious way to defeat the barrier. Grab and light a flare from the flare/first-aid box and chuck it around or over the barrier forcing the driver to open the barrier to escape the flare. Perhaps someone should point out that the flares should be secured in the drivers compartment.
  4. dbdb

    CTrain - U2 cars

    That's what I remember from my C-Train rides when I visited Calgary when I was little. I believe the color and pattern on the seats is pretty close. The floor was a sort of burnt orange textured rubber like this:
  5. dbdb

    Man tries to blow up U.S. plane

    On my flights on United where there is a fee for 1st and 2nd checked bags, the overhead bins were filled to capacity. Beside a likely safety risk of too much weight in overhead bins there were still over a dozen bags on a A320 that had to be gate checked. There's no revenue in those and I expect more than a few gate checked bags slow down the ground crews. As with the ID requirement, the no carry-on rules benefit airlines more than they improve security. The ID requirement stopped people from reselling return segments of round trip fares. The carry-on restrictions force people to check belongings that traditionally would have been checked anyway. Now the "free" alternative of carry-on has been taken away without making the airlines look like the bad guys ... they can now say "it's not our rule, blame the TSA!" Whether the motives of the TSA are honest or not, the airlines charging a baggage fee, which are most of the big U.S. airlines, benefit and really have no reason to lobby the TSA to change the rules.
  6. dbdb

    driver shields and fold up chairs

    The business case probably makes sense. If indeed fares are the primary cause of physical confrontation then what should be considered is the expense of safety shields vs lost revenue from fare cheats. If a shield will cost $2000 up front and lasts 10 years and fares are $2.00, ignoring the time value of money, that's about 100 fare cheats/year. That assumes an entire fare is lost, not a partial fare which probably a more common source of disagreement. Both options appear to have merit reducing violent attacks on drivers. Further analysis is probably required to determine the economically best course of action.
  7. This is not a simple situation. The U.S. wants to know who is on the aircraft in their airspace. I don't like it but it's not an unreasonable request. The conflict occurs because Canadian airlines often choose routes through U.S. airspace between Canadian and other International destinations. The solution to resolve the conflict is simple but costly for the airlines: fly around U.S. airspace rather than through it. If our airlines had to fly around U.S. airspace to say Jamaica or Mexico the trip time and associated costs would go up dramatically. Perhaps enough to encourage consumers to fly foreign airlines not bound by Canadian privacy law. Ideally, we should convince U.S. officials that our screening of passengers is at least as good as their own. Given that, there is no value in knowing the identity of passengers on flights transiting U.S. airspace, originating in Canada. I don't think we'd be able to get U.S. authorities to accept that rationale, especially since much of the U.S. population still believes the fallacy that the 9/11 hijackers entered the U.S. through Canada. The bombing suspect was on a watch-list but not on a no-fly list. He was traveling using his own identity. The intelligence community failed again because information wasn't shared among the relevant agencies. This was the same reason 9/11 was not prevented. Knowing his name did not prevent the attack. The identities of the 9/11 hijackers were also known and those attacks were not prevented. Unless the no-fly lists and watch lists become more reliable, knowing passenger identities is marginally useful at best. The last line of defense did work in that passengers and crew took an active role in preventing the success of the bombing. The second and third last lines of defense, security screening and no-fly lists proved useless in this case. The first line of defense, intelligence failed. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/12/30/y...ulmutallab.html
  8. I think the first deliveries will be pretty quick after certification. When I was on the Everett factory tour in August, #7 and I think #8 were both on the assembly line. #7 just got wings and #8 was getting forward and aft sections. They're the first 2 going to customers. I believe both are destined for ANA.
  9. It's an urban legend/misinterpretation of the facts that it's possible to be electrocuted by standing near and urinating on the 3rd rail (or an electric fence). Think about it. Once you are electrocuted, your muscles will tense, even if the fluid stream were sufficient to conduct electricity, it would be interrupted by the reaction almost instantly. In the case cited above, it states the drunk "came in contact with the 3rd rail", as in fell on, sat on or stepped on the 3rd rail.
  10. dbdb

    Saskatoon Updates

    Lots more salt on the roads in the winter. Not as much as big cities in the east but still more than Vancouver.
  11. dbdb

    2 males stabbed in separate attacks on Calgary buses

    CBC seems to rely quite heavily on dated stock photos. Every time they talk about the airline industry in Canada, they have the same photo of an old WestJet 737-200 which haven't been in the air in 3 or 4 years.
  12. dbdb

    Hybrid Spottings and News

    There is technically no such thing as mobile WiFi so accessing fixed access points while on a moving bus is not practical. The bus could have a WiFi access point and bridge it to the fixed network via mobile WiMax or cellular but if you're going to do that, why bother. The rider that cares about a few minutes of connectivity while in transit would probably already have a mobile wireless device. Besides, Mobile WiMax, the ideal technology is probably still a few years away from being rolled out in Canadian cities.
  13. dbdb

    Calgary Transit on Google Transit

    C-Train with sails?
  14. dbdb

    VIA Rail

    There's an article on CTV. It's a little unclear what the intent is, the article makes it sound like they are trying to compete in the iTunes space. My guess is that they are really thinking of something more pay-per-view/listen media on board trains using your own mobile WiFi enabled computing device. Personally, I think it's a dumb idea if there is already Internet. Certainly not worth investing a cent of money or a minute of labour. Just make the data link to the train better, charge for access and let people do what they want. If a media provider wants to come in and do everything, fine but I doubt that'll happen. Just make the trip more comfortable than a bus, reasonably close to schedule and less hassle than flying at a competitive price to driving.
  15. dbdb

    Westjet

    Here's a news release WestJet put out, outlining what they did during the holiday travel problems. The dollars and cents items are probably not that unusual although I'm sure Air Canada was less liberal with meal and hotel vouchers. Read the news release here. This quote illustrates WestJet's key to success: I assume that executive VP is Ken McKenzie, Executive Vice-President, Operations. What are the chances of David Legge, VP Operations at Air Canada piloting a revenue flight on x-mas day? The fact that the executives are connected with what's going on on the front line and that employees' extraordinary efforts are publicly recognized is what makes happy staff. Happy staff lead to happy customers, unappreciated staff (Air Canada) lead to unappreciated and unhappy customers. And finally a quote that shows WestJet recognizes that their success is measured by customers getting to their destination: Other airlines will just go by the book and say "it's the weather, it's not our problem". Air Canada management has forgotten this and tries to replicate the success of WestJet by monetizing every aspect of a flight. The really sad part is that Air Canada makes you buy insurance or a top end fare if you want anything beyond the strict minimum required by government regulation.
  16. dbdb

    VIA Rail

    Since Via operates in the red, it's finances at the whim of the government. If there was any hope of it becoming profitable as it exists today, I'm sure it would have been sold off like CN and Air Canada. Short of a major shift in government priorities, I don't think we'll see an increase. A decrease is unlikely given the current brittle political environment. CBC is more vulnerable because there are parity services from competing media interests as well, CBC can be an easy target for a vengeful politician reacting to unfavorable attention.
  17. dbdb

    Cascades

    Given the holiday season and likely extra traffic, perhaps they just needed a little more power than usual across their entire network.
  18. dbdb

    Westjet

    Here's something a little different, spotted today on the WestJet web site. It sure beats Air Canada giving people the [non-]"choice" to sit on a plane for 12 hours. This is why WestJet has such a loyal following. They treat passengers as a valuable asset, not an expensive liability. In other news, it sounds like the WestJet/Southwest code sharing deal is done, just waiting for the regulatory approvals expected early in 2009. WestJet is expecting code share flights in late 2009. It's more erosion of Air Canada's monopoly destination pairs.
  19. dbdb

    VIA Rail: Canadian Discussion

    It depends if Via is naively padding the schedule or if they're basing the new schedule on real data. Padding won't help because the probability of delay is the same, the train will just encounter the unexpected delay at a later time. If they have real data, it means the current schedule does not take into account the empirically observed time between stations. Another thing that Via could consider is reducing the station stops on the Prairies to just the major cities and utilize the least congested route at the time of departure. The tourists wouldn't miss much scenery because the train goes through the heart of the prairies at night and they're really interested in Biggar, SK at 3:30 AM. Flexibility to use different routes on CN right of way or even CP right of way between points where CN & CP can interchange would allow the use of the best path.
  20. dbdb

    VIA Rail: Canadian Discussion

    The best quote of all: Perhaps one day the service can be improved to the same level as the settlers traveling to Western Canada via wagon. Then we can celebrate out technological progress.
  21. dbdb

    SkyTrain stopped for two hours

    Microsoft does sell an "embedded" version of Windows, basically a stripped down version without most of the junk responsible for crashes. In the old days, DOS was actually pretty good for embedded systems because it was simple. Unfortunately it can be difficult to find spare parts if the hardware goes and DOS doesn't support newer technologies. We seem to be getting away from engineering systems to do simple tasks and do them well, instead they try to do more things less well. From a risk perspective, you'd probably want to favour technologies or systems where spare parts are readily available, the system is supported and is designed to fail safely and fix quickly. Sounds like that's the case with Sky Train. At the same time, the system needs to meet all the functional requirements. While things like old ATC/RADAR systems did their jobs well, they often don't meet the functional needs of today. When they were designed, I doubt they were expected to handle today's volume of traffic and no longer meet the needs. Perhaps Sky Train is now starting to experience something similar.
  22. dbdb

    Saskatoon Updates

    Articulated buses are probably not a good idea if they mean frequency is reduced to the point where there is time for coffee.
  23. Perhaps this is that new "clean diesel" technology that's supposed to be superior to trolley buses. If there's no fuel, there's no emissions.
  24. Spotted this in CBC today: Jazz removes life vests to save fuel Makes you wonder what other non-essential safety equipment might be on the chopping block.
  25. FYI: 100 worst aviation accidents
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