Thursday, 17 June 2010

A Bridge Too Far

Sometimes...you read a story...and you realize you have a connection to the story.

Today, we came to realize that Arizona is going to spend $1.25 million...to build these special bridges....for endangered squirrels over a mountain road.

The logic? The state doesn't want them to be roadkill.

Apparently, Red Squirrels are awful dang rear in the state...maybe 250 of them total. They'd like to ensure their survival....because they think at least five per year die from cars.

The region affected? Mount Graham....which is a bit far out on the normal drive for most folks.

I sat there reading this...and I didn't really want to say much...because I'm one of those drivers who actually hit a Red Squirrel back around 1989...on one of these roads in the Mount Graham region. I can remember the episode because thats the only animal I've ever hit in my life....and I remember at the last second...this blur of red going across the road.

So...$1.25 million to be spent. I can imagine this engineer getting into this...having to figure out the length, the height, and what entices a squirrel to enter such a bridge. My guess is that someone will want to name these after famous congressmen or senators....and we'll eventually have the Harry Reid Squirrel Bridge...somewhere. Just my hunch.

My METRO

A few days ago....in our local DC paper....they covered a METRO (our subway & bus network) episode.

METRO has come to admit that the scanners on the bus network (on board each bus as you enter)....have a fairly noticeable failure rate. You board...swipe your card...and it is supposed to deduct the fare from your account. It's a great system...if it works.

On any given day....there's probably at least one bus every hour running around...with a scanner that won't register or has failed. This means you enter the bus...swipe your card...get no reading....and then get a signal by the driver to just get on and forget about the charge.

Since arriving in January....I've had this to happen to me at least four times. That's around $6 that they never got. Multiply that by maybe 200 customers over a three-hour period....and you've missed $300.

They won't say how much has been missed, but I'm guessing they miss out on at least $500k a month throughout the entire DC bus network. Yep, a minimum of $6 million a year. That would buy twelve new buses.

They talk about more maintenance personnel and better machines...but neither item has shown much advancement. Me? I'm thinking I'll save bucks over the remainder of 2010.

And folks why METRO is such a failure?