NY Botanical Garden Holiday Show: Look Who Is Sneaking In

 The New York Botanical Garden
TheHoliday Train Show®: A 23-Year Tradition


A must-see New York tradition where enchanting model trains zip past popular landmarks under the twinkling glow of the magical Haupt Conservatory! Step into a city in miniature featuring more than 150 iconic buildings, all re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials. Marvel at G-scale trains humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center—surprising at every turn—on a quarter-mile of track as they enliven this cherished holiday experience. The Artist’s Studio showcases how visionary artist Paul Busse and his team craft these amazing small wonders. Real trains, real landmarks, real fun—only at NYBG!

Why It's UBER!
Why It’s UBER!
Take Uber to the Holiday Train Show®

The Garden has partnered with Uber to provide new users a free ride (up to $25) to or from the Holiday Train Show! Using Uber’s free iPhone/Android/ Blackberry 7 app, you can request a pickup and a car with a professional driver will show up in minutes. Your credit card is billed directly for your trip and there’s no need to tip, so you won’t need to carry cash. You can even see the car coming toward you on a map!

Follow these simple steps to get $25 off your ride:
1. Download the free Uber app or sign up at get.uber.com/ go/NYBGHTS.
2. Enter your information in the Uber app and promo code NYBGHTS when you sign up.
3. Request a ride 5–15 minutes before you need one. $25 will be applied toward your first ride on uberX, UberBLACK, or UberSUV (excluding uberT).For more information, please visit uber.com/nyc.

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All Aboard all about helping FEC move more freight

Palm Beach Post recently ran an article “Miami’s port bets big on Panama Canal expansion”.

It was a good overview of the opportunities presented to East Coast ports resulting from the Panama Canal’s expansion. When the canal first announced their intention several years ago, it got the attention of all the ports along the East Coast.

Most ports can’t accommodate the megaships that the canal expansion envisions. Port of Miami was one of those. However, they were one of the first to not only plan on how to accommodate these ships, but also how to finance the needed infrastructure. They are the leader of the Florida ports.

One short sentence in the middle of the article piqued my interest: “As part of its (Port-Miami) three-pronged strategy to boast cargo … a rail link to the FEC rail yard … has been added.” You don’t read much about this except in industry publications. The journal Progressive Railroading had an article in April 2013 on the canal expansion and railroads. It stated: “Among railroads anticipating a bump in intermodal traffic (large containers) … , Florida East Coast Railway … FEC is working with Port-Miami and Port Everglades to build on-dock facilities … FEC execs view a big part of the railway’s strategy to grow intermodal traffic.” Quoted in the article, FEC President and CEO James Hertwig said, “We’re prepared to handle the cargo and we’ve got plenty of capacity.”

Read more of the article


There was also a great comment by Julian

I think it would be justice if that train loan of containers did not come up the railroad but instead came up I-95. So much more appropriate for those who hate rail transport of either people or freight. Can you not see it: Hundreds, nay thousands of diesel powered eighteen wheelers doing 70 mph every day, all day long, all night long, clogging all lanes of the main artery through Martin County. Tons of pollution, noise, smog, hammering the asphalt into pieces in a matter of months.

Barreling through Palm City, the locus of all opposition to rail transport.

It is a good thing Henry Flagler is not alive and in charge. He had little toleration for those who could not think clearly. He would likely shut the railroad down for a month, say January, and put everything on a truck thru Martin County so those who could not think clearly could feel the pain.

Are the people of Martin County so in love with SUVs and diesel trucks? Or do they think they can pass a law against people or goods traveling?? This is still a free country and you can oppose efficient transportation, clean transportation and insist on the freeway solution to everything, but you should really stay in Los Angeles awhile if that is the future you want for our county.

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Strategic planning: Why Florida East Coast Railways has new facility, locomotives

Florida East Coast Railroad has been in the news recently.

First, its on-site intermodal transfer facility at PortMiami opened, where cargo can be moved from ships directly to rail so it can begin its trip to its destination immediately.

Soon after, it was announced that two state-of-the-art locomotives designed by GE were on their way to Jacksonville to join FECR’s fleet, and another 22 would arrive in January.

The announcements are all part of a plan from FECR to strategically expand and grow its business, said Fran Chinnici, the company’s senior vice president for engineering, mechanical and purchasing. The end game: decongest Florida highways by shipping less freight on trucks and more by rail.

“There’s a lot of business we can win,” Chinnici said. “We actually have better service door to door than trucking in Florida; not many railroads can say that.”

He said when something is shipped between Jacksonville and Miami there are often not many goods coming back, so trucks “deadhead” back, or drive up empty, which isn’t cost-effective. Even if a locomotive is sent back to Jacksonville empty, it’s more cost effective than if a truck was, Chinnici said.

With the opening of the intermodal facility in South Florida, a shift to intermodal shipping and the Panama Canal expansion, Chinnici said FECR is preparing for more business.

Because of that, the company has been planning to upgrade its locomotives for about a year, and decided to invest in 24 new GE units.

“The big driver is fuel, efficiency, and environmental regulations,” he said.

The new locomotives are about 8 to 10 percent more efficient than the current ones, Chinnici said. On a tier system for clean emissions, the current trains ranks a less than one. The new ones are above a three, and Tier Four has not been released yet. The new locomotives will also have the option to convert to liquified natural gas later one, which is even cleaner and safer, Chinnici said.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Admits He Tried To Sideline Lyft’s Funding

The battle between ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft has been brutal and very public, with claims that Uber was having its employees call and cancel Lyft rides to tie up the drivers and a leaked plan that laid out how Uber was sending ambassadors to poach Lyft drivers.

Apparently, however, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took it even further than that.

In a recent Vanity Fair profile, Kalanick admitted that he went to potential investors to thwart Lyft’s fundraising efforts.

“We knew that Lyft was going to raise a ton of money,” Kalanick told Swisher. “And we are going [to their investors], ‘Just so you know, we’re going to be fund-raising after this, so before you decide whether you want to invest in them, just make sure you know that we are going to be fundraising immediately after.'”

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the questionable business tactics Uber has reportedly taken on recently. But the comment reveals another layer of how far Kalanick is willing to go to succeed and sideline its rivals.

Kalanick admits that he can sometimes take things too far.

“Look, I’m a passionate entrepreneur,” he told Swisher. “I’m like fire and brimstone sometimes. And so there are times when I’ll go–I’ll get too into the weeds and too into the debate, because I’m so passionate about it.”

But others don’t view this approach so positively. Take this venture capitalist’s description of Kalanick: “It’s douche as a tactic, not a strategy.”

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The organisers of a Facebook page which informs users if controllers are on board buses and trams

Facebook alert – The organisers of a Facebook page which informs users if controllers are on board buses and trams on the Ligne d’Azur network have denied that it’s been set up to help people dodge fares. 1800 people have signed up to the group which offers information in real time. The page  which is called ‘solidarite aux sans ticket’ warns that it has not been set up to help people evade fares but to simply give them information which will persuade them to buy a 1 euro 50 ticket instead of risking a fine of between 32 and 86 euros. 

With 25 systems in 12 countries, Veolia Transdev’s light rail experts have plenty to share: from large scale line extensions to preventing fare evasion and conducting passenger safety campaigns. Our “expert.net” knowledge management process facilitates and strengthens the sharing of best practices and the continual enhancement of our multi-country know-how to the benefit of our local contracts.

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26-year-old successfully crowd funds to pay for her $362 Halloween Uber ride

A woman named Gabby woke up on her 26th birthday and discovered the 20-minute Uber ride she took the night before, on Halloween, had cost her over $360, leaving her unable to pay her rent, she says.

She posted a plea on the crowdfunding site “GoFund.Me” desperately asking for help. It worked. She raised $512 in 12 hours.

Last night was Halloween. Great time. Today is my 26th birthday. Not so great time. I live in Baltimore and went out with my friends to celebrate my birthday at midnight. When 3 AM rolled around, I suggested we take an Uber home to avoid drunk driving (#responsibility/#MADD). I live 22 minutes, tops, from the party I was leaving.

When I awoke this morning, I heard a friend talking about how outrageous Uber rates were the night before (9x original rate). I checked my bank account to, unbeknownst to me, I see a charge for $362. Not only is it my 26th birthday, it is rent day. My rent is $450 and I can no longer pay it today due to this completely outrageous charge.

I have had little to no luck in disputing this transaction.

I waitress at two restaurants and freelance for a City Paper. I worked incredibly hard this week to be able to enjoy my birthday this weekend. This misunderstanding has cost me 80% of the funds I have to my name (embarrassingly so) and I spent a good two hours of my birthday crying over it.

I feel taken advantage of and cheated by the Uber name. $367 for a 20 minute ride should never be justified, even on Halloween. Please donate even just $1 if you think this is utter and complete bull—- and also hilarious and very, very depressing at the same time.

Thanks for the ride, Muhammed.

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With help from Penney Vanderbilt