Today’s Headlines

  • Voters Approved $75B for Local Transit Initiatives on Tuesday (APTA)
  • Oil Prices Poised to Rebound, Says International Energy Agency (Grist)
  • Latest Biofuel Craze: Tree Fungus From Patagonian Rainforest (Guardian via Planetizen)
  • Transit-Friendly Republican Paul Weyrich for Transpo Secretary? (Yglesias)
  • Child Struck by Car at Busy S.I. Intersection This Morning (S.I. Live)
  • Bronx CB8 Votes Against Developer’s Request to Build Extra Parking (R’dale Press)
  • Plans Advance for NYU Bike-Share (AMNY)
  • MTA: Subway Delay Text Alerts Available This Month (Queens Courier)
  • Berlin Transit Agency Claims Exclusive Rights to Its Maps and Timetables (Wired)
  • Speaking at Columbia, Dan Doctoroff Predicts Return of Congestion Pricing (TRE)
  • From the comments, it seems like Wired got the story kind of wrong about the Berlin transit iPhone app. People are saying that what they’re objecting to is the unlicensed use of the graphical map (which a very legitimate thing to assert copyright protection over) and not the timetables (which are not).

  • Ian Turner

    At the risk of sounding like Larry, all these transit improvements are paid for by debt. Obviously infrastructure investment is important, but California is now has $136b of debt authorizations as a result.

  • “which a very legitimate thing to assert copyright protection over”

    Why should public institutions (assuming this is one) make intellectual property claims in the first place? What possible gain is there for the public? It is absurd for the stewards of publicly supported work to claim any intellectual “ownership” that is exclusive of the very people that financed its production. This has come up before with riffs on subway maps around the world, and all I can figure is that there are lot of sad bureaucrats eager to throw their weight around, for no public gain. A similar situation here developed when weather forecasting lobbies tried to have the national weather service curtained off from the public (working through congressional Republicans, Santorum in particular), because the internet allows the information they produce to instantly reach the public at no great cost, disrupting the traditional forecasting business—a classic luddite scenario. In that case the NWS took the public’s side and the effort at hiding the information failed. For the public and new businesses, giving away the already-produced information is the more productive course by far. That republicans often come out with the opposite opinion is just another way that they have been pro-business, anti-capitalist economic frauds.

  • I’m not saying they SHOULD make a copyright claim in this situation. I’m just saying they have (disclaimer: I don’t know much about EU copyright law and am assuming it is comparable to US copyright law) the right to do so.

  • J. Mork

    Sources: MTA To Toll All East River Bridges
    Cash-Strapped MTA About To Drop Hammer On Everyone
    Congestion Pricing May Also Be Back On The Table

    http://wcbstv.com/topstories/michael.bloomberg.east.2.859306.html

  • I have actually been avoiding updating Fahr-Info on my iPhone because I don’t want to lose the map feature. The app has been *very* useful on my trips to Berlin and I often use it to demonstrate how far behind MTA is in providing comprehensive service to its users.

    It’s curious that BVG would prefer to lower itself to the MTA’s user-unfriendliness. For what purpose? No one is making a profit from the artistic rendition of Berlin’s metro map. If anything, BVG should consider paying the app programmer for providing a value-added service to the transit system’s users: the public who invest and support the existence and operation of that system.

  • Added James Yglesias of Brooklyn Heights: “You can’t punish us for driving.”

    Can we at least charge you for the extra cost of driving over other modes of transportation?

    In any case, I’m not believing it until I hear it from a legislative leader.

  • J. Mork

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/11/08/2008-11-08_tolls_could_be_next_for_4_city_bridges.html

    A state commission is considering adding tolls to the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and 59th Street bridges to ease the MTA’s billion-dollar budget hole, sources said.

    […]

    The Ravitch Commission, appointed by Gov. Paterson to find a long-term solution to the MTA’s financial woes, is expected to hand over its recommendations on new funding sources for the MTA next month.