The Fractiousness of Bay Area Transit

From outside, it can appear that the San Francisco Bay Area is very good at transit. But when you look deeper, you'll see that the system of regional governance makes change and improvements for commuters nearly impossible, says Yonah Freemark.

Freemark writes:

"Though one agency, BART, provides service to much of the region, most of the other transit operators are confined to their limited districts. This means that buses in San Francisco are run by one group, while those in Oakland and San Jose are operated by two others. Each has its own staff, own maintenance facilities, and own priorities."

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, meanwhile, "is structurally suburban-oriented because each county, rather than city, is represented."

Which results in Oakland, a city of almost half a million people, has no direct representation on the commission.

Full Story: Is Effective Decision-Making Possible at the Regional Scale?
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Comments

Fractious

frac·tious (frkshs) adj.
1. Inclined to make trouble; unruly.
2. Having a peevish nature; cranky
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fractious

That probably is a good description of Bay Area transit, but I think the article is about the fragmentation, not the fractiousness, of regional transit governance.

Charles Siegel

Tim Halbur's picture
Blogger / Alum

Fractious

Charles-

My dictionary includes the definition "(of an organization) difficult to control, unruly, e.g., the fractious coalition of the Social Democrats."

But truthfully, I dug further in freedictionary.com, and it looks like the word I was attempting was probably "factious", as in, "Of, relating to, produced by, or characterized by internal dissension."

Best, Tim

Tim Halbur
Managing Editor

Re: Fractious

Tim:
I think I misunderstood your intention.

I thought that you were using "fractious" to mean fragmented, based on the article and on your quote:
"Though one agency, BART, provides service to much of the region, most of the other transit operators are confined to their limited districts. This means that buses in San Francisco are run by one group, while those in Oakland and San Jose are operated by two others. Each has its own staff, own maintenance facilities, and own priorities."
It is natural to confuse "fractious" with "fragmented," because it is related to "fraction."

If you were using the word to mean unruly or difficult to control, then my point does not apply.

Best,
Charles Siegel

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