Houston, Texas is home to Action America and although we generally concentrate on national issues, the huge and growing volume of problems created by the Houston city officials, has inspired us to try to help cover important issues here in our own community. As testament to the seriousness of the problems discussed here, this section of our site now takes about 25% the several hundred thousand hits that Action America takes each month. Thank you, Houston.
Wham-Bam-Tram rings in 2006
with 3 accidents in 4 days
(It's worse than first reported)
It turns out that the blind man who was hit by the Wham-Bam-Tram yesterday was not the first, but the second of three victims of our pathetic little tram, in the first four days of 2006. The Chronicle is now reporting that the first crash of the New Year occured at about 7:20 pm on January 3, followed by the accident involving the blind man the next day, just before noon and wrapping up the less than 24 hour crash spree with a crash in the Medical Center area at 5:50 pm that afternoon. At this rate, you are probably as likely to get hit by the Wham-Bam-Tram as by a drunk on New Year's Eve.
Although we don't really expect this crash rate to keep up all year (though we wouldn't count it out either), we find it interesting that the projection calculation that we do, following each crash, indicates that if the current crash rate for the year were to hold for the entire year, there would be 274 crashes in 2006. OK. So that's skewed by statistical randomness. But, it does show that Metro's propaganda about how things are getting better is nothing more than a wish. The still un-official crash total for last year, of 52 crashes, is only slightly less than the previous year's crash total of 67 crashes and like our calculation above, within that range of statistical randomness; just in the other direction.
(These crashes are happening so often that we can't keep up with them. We are posting this article now, so you will have the information, but we will update our related list of crashes later today.)
1st Wham-Bam-Tram Accident
of 2006 injures BLIND man
(We are still waiting on official 2005 final crash numbers)
Only four days into the year, the Wham-Bam-Tram celebtated World Braille Day by striking a blind pedestrian. The blind victim was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, with head trauma. This marks at least the 124th accident for the Wham-Bam-Tram, since it began operation. (We are awaiting delivery of the final official crash numbers for 2005, which we expect will run that number up.)
Such an accident was bound to happen sooner or later. We all watch out for that white cane and either stop or swerve, if a blind man accidentally steps in front of our car. Bus drivers do the same. But, our cars and the busses have two things in common that make them much safer than the Wham-Bam-Tram.
Cars and busses have rubber tires, which grip the road and they have steering wheels, which make them maneuverable. On the other hand, the Wham-Bam-Tram has steel wheels on steel tracks and it can only follow the path of the tracks. Two other factors that make the Wham-Bam-Tram even more dangerous are the fact that the Wham-Bam-Tram weighs much more and typically travels faster than the law allows cars to travel on the same section of road, meaning that it couldn't stop as quickly as cars and busses, even if it did have rubber tires.
The chances are that if that blind man had stepped in front of a bus, the worst that would have happened to him would have been having to listen to a few less than polite words from the bus driver and probably not even that. That's because the rubber tired bus would have probably been able to stop in time and if not, would have swerved.
Since it is only four days into the year, our projected total for the year that appears just below the counter, will be skewed until the next crash occurs. That calculation is based upon the number of days since December 31 and will become more accurate within a week or two, as more crashes occur. The current calculation shows that if the Wham-Bam-Tram were to continue to crash every four days, that would lead to more than 91 cashes this year. In reality, the numbers from the last part of 2005 would indicate a crash total for 2006 of somewhere around 50 or 60. Of course, until we receive our year-end report from Metro, we can't even be sure that our year-end numbers are correct (The last report only covers accidents through 12/7/05 and we have unconfirmed reports of at least two more crashes).
Action America has received many requests from our readers, over the last few months, for us to create a way for visitors to comment on the Wham-Bam-Tram and other Houston news. Well, we finally managed to get the time to do just that and we have created the Action Houston BLOG.
We will continue to post longer pieces on Action America and the Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter will remain here. But, shorter items will now be posted on the Action Houston BLOG. Also, in most cases, when we post longer pieces here, we will create a short piece on the Action Houston BLOG, where visitors can leave comments.
We invite you to visit the Action Houston BLOG and leave us your comments. There is only a little data out there now, but we plan for it to grow rapidly.
On a similar note, we have also created the Action America BLOG, for posts related to issues of national and international importance.
Congressman Ted Poe appeared on MSNBC
at the Mexico border with Rita Cosby
November 3, 2005 - For those of you who missed it, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2) appeared tonight on the MSNBC program, "Live and Direct" with Rita Cosby as she and the congressman actually visited some of the most dangerous areas on the Texas/Mexico border. After seeing that program, I must say that I am proud - extremely proud - that I voted for Ted Poe for Congress. Unlike many congressional Republicans, Congressman Poe puts our nation's security ahead of partisan politics and is willing to stand up to our "compassionate conservative" (another term for liberal) Republican president.
Together, Poe and Cosby traveled with law enforcement officers, to an area within our own borders that law enforcement officers are afraid to go alone or even in small groups. We're not talking about some place on the other side of the border. They were inside the USA and were not safe, even in the company of law enforcement officers. To put this into perspective, while patriots like Congressman Ted Poe, Congressman Tom Tancredo and Congressman Duncan Hunter, to name just a few, are fighting to not only have our existing immigration laws enforced, but to strengthen those laws, our "compassionate conservative" president is doing everything that he can to undermine the efforts of those patriots and doing so for purely political motives.
The BCIS reported that last year, more than 155,000 non-Mexicans were apprehended entering the US illegally, across our southern border. Many of them were from terrorist-supporting countries like North Korea, Iran and Yemen. As Congressman Hunter pointed out in his appearance on MSNBC, the terrorists realize that "you don't come through L. A. International Airport any more or Houston. You come across a land border."
Congressman Poe is calling for all persons entering the US, from any country, including Mexico, to be required to have a passport. Congressman Hunter is calling for extending the border fence that has been so effective in San Diego, California, to be extended all the way to Brownsville, Texas. The first year of law enforcement savings alone, would pay for the entire project.
If you live in Congressman Poe's district (TX-2) or even if you don't, we encourage you to write him and thank him for taking a stand for our nation's security. Considering the pressure that he is certainly getting from the Bush administration and the bushbot Republicans in Congress, he can probably use some words of support.
The Action America Exclusive
Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter
The Most Accurate such list available anywhere and we can prove it
(includes pedestrian accidents, only when an injury is recorded)
By combining crash data from many local news reports and the updated Metro Light Rail Accident Report, which appears as a scanned document on this site, Action America now has the "most accurate" listing of Wham-Bam-Tram Crashes available to the public. It seems that there were four accidents that were not reported in the local media, that show up in the Metro Light Rail Accident Report. Conversely, there were originally three crashes that were reported by the local media, that did not show up in the original Metro Crash Report, but in the updated report, there are only two crashes that Metro fails to report. It also seems that Metro has finally given in, largely under pressure from our readers and now counts the pedestrian who was dragged 100 feet, on July 8th, even though it "may" have been a suicide attempt.
No other source is presenting the complete list of Wham-Bam-Tram crashes, except Action America. Our thanks go out to former 18th Congressional District Independent candidate, Tom Bazan, for his work in obtaining the Metro documents.
crash rate for 7.5 miles of light rail is only 4 crashes per year.
Last year, the Wham-Bam-Tram hit more pedestrians than that (6)!
The dates and locations of each crash are listed below.
There have also been 90 injuries or more than 3 injuries a month.
The Wham-Bam-Tram now averages one accident every 7 days,
since the beginning of public operation on January 1, 2004.
(809 days / 124 crashes since "1/1/04" = 6.52 days between crashes)
The average for the 2005 calendar year was 7.1 days between crashes.
(365 days in the year / 52 crashes since "12/31/04" = 7.16 days between crashes)
Because the local media no longer considers the Wham-Bam-Tram's record crash rate to be news, we must rely upon periodic Open Records requests in order to calculate the crash rate for the 2006 calendar year. As of our last report, the 2006 rate averages 6.6 days between crashes.
(33 days since "12/31/05" / 5 crashes since "12/31/05" = 6.60 days between crashes)
At that rate, there will be roughly 55.3 crashes this year.
(365 days per year / 6.60 days between crashes this year = 55.30 crashes per year)
That's quite a difference from the only 4 crashes that should be expected.
To mislead the public away from the continuing seriousness of the issue, Metro will point out that the 2005 crash total represents an improvement over the 2004 record number of crashes. But, do not be deceived. At 53 crashes a year, the Wham-Bam-Tram still has an abysmal record that is more than 8 times worse than the crash record of any other light rail system in United States history. In only the first three months of 2005, it more than doubled the national average for an entire year. In fact, the Wham-Bam-Tram is a very dangerous failure.
Metro claims that the Wham-Bam-Tram will crash into vehicles, pedestrians and wheelchairs less often, over time. In 2004, the Wham-Bam-Tram crashed 67 times. In 2005, it crashed 52 times. That difference is within the statistical randomness that might show up in any statistical sample, over time. So, where's the improvement that Metro keeps promising?
Not only is the Wham-Bam-Tram a very dangerous failure, but the improvements that Metro keeps promising have not occurred, unless Metro looks at the media's increasing lack of attention to all of the recent crashes, as an improvement. They must think that if the public doesn't hear about the crashes, then they can pretend that they aren't really happening and that would constitute improvement. I suppose that they have adopted the tree falling alone in a forest question as their philosophy. If the Wham-Bam-Tram crashes into another vehicle or pedestrian and the press doesn't report it, did it really happen?
Well, the safety situation not improving. The Wham-Bam-Tram is still crashing at about the same disgraceful rate that it has been crashing all along. If the slight drop in crashes last year does represent an improvement and is not just statistical randomness, even that would be insignificant, since it would take decades, at that rate of decline, to drop to the national average crash rate.
The Wham-Bam-Tram is still dangerous and it's still a failure. After two years, there is no significant sign of improvement. It's long past time to either shut it down and fix it or if it can't be fixed, then scrapped, before more good tax money is thrown after bad.
Certainly, the overt cause of all these crashes is driver error. But, with a 10-month average of almost 2 crashes a week, it becomes clear that the root cause of these crashes is that the serious design flaws of the Wham-Bam-Tram itself, provoke driver error.
Click on date to go to a news article mentioning that crash.
The 2 dates in red are only referenced on the Houston Chronicle's interactive map of Wham-Bam-Tram crashes and in the Metro Crash Report. The crashes highlighted in light blue were not reported by the media, while those highlighted in yellow, do not appear in the Metro Crash Report.
|11/19 - no injury - Main at Gray
|10/4 - 1 injury - Pedestrian - Fannin at Reliant Pk.
|12/17 - no injury - Fannin at Southmore
|10/6 - 1 injury - Pedestrian - Main near Walker
|12/19 - 1 injury - Main at Alabama
|10/8 - no injuries - Main at Franklin
|12/20 - no injury - Fannin at John Freeman
|10/22 - no injuries - Main at Jefferson
|12/30 - no injury - 8250 1/2 Fannin (driveway)
|11/18 - no injuries - Fannin near Ross Sterling
|1/9 - 1 injury - Fannin at Binz
|12/15 - no injuries - Main at Jefferson
|1/13 - no injury - Fannin at John Freeman
|12/30 - no injuries - Main at Pierce
|1/17 - ?? injury - Fannin at Rosedale
|1/7 - 3 injuries - Main at Gray
|1/19 - 1 injury - Fannin at Dryden
|1/11 - 1 injury - Fannin at University
|1/20 - ?? injuries - 6500 Fannin near Dryden
|1/26 - 2 passenger injuries - Fannin at Hermann
|1/23 - 2 injuries - (derailed) Kirby at Holmes Rd.
|1/27am - 2 passenger inj. - Fannin at MacGregor
|1/23 - no injuries - Fannin at TX Childrens Hosp.
|1/27pm - no injuries - Fannin at MacGregor
|1/26 - 2 injuries - Fannin at Southmore
|2/10 - 2 injuries - Fannin at University
|1/27 - no injury - Main at McGowen
|2/12 - no injuries - Fannin at Oakdale
|2/3 - no injury - Fannin at Dryden
|3/4 - no injuries - Main at McKinney
|2/15 - 1 injury - Main at Pierce
|3/13 - no injuries - 8000 block of Fannin
|2/19 - no injury - Fannin at Southmore (bank lot)
|3/14 - no injuries - Fannin at Ross Sterling
|2/21 - no injury - Fannin at Montrose
|3/16 - 2 injuries - Fannin at Dryden
|2/24 - no injury - Fannin at Dryden
|3/18 - no injuries - San Jacinto at Hermann
|2/27 - 1 injury - Fannin at San Jacinto split
|3/22 - no injuries - Main at Capital
|2/27 - 1 injury - Fannin at Oakdale
|4/2 - ?? injuries - Main at Pease
|3/1 - no injury - San Jacinto at Southmore
|4/10 - 3 injuries - Main at Webster
|3/3 - no injury - Fannin at Rosedale
|4/18 - no injuries - Main at Rusk
|3/5 - no injury - San Jacinto at Rosedale (hit & run)
|4/25 - 1 injury - Main at Alabama
|3/10 - no injury - Main at Gray
|5/9 - ?? injuries - Main at Dryden
|3/15 - no injury - Main at Gray
|5/10 - 1 DEAD/4 injured - Main at Jefferson
|3/17 - 1 injury - Pedestrian - Fannin at Reliant Pk.
|5/13 - 4 injuries - Main at Jefferson
|3/22 - 1 injury - Main at Wheeler
|5/16 - ?? injuries - Main at McGowen
|3/23 - no injury - Fannin at TX Childrens Hosp.
|6/2 - no injuries - Fannin at Ross Sterling
|3/24 - no injury - Greenbriar near Braeswood
|6/4 - no injuries - Fannin at Wichita
|3/27 - 1 injury - Wheelchair - Main at McGowen
|6/13 - no injuries - Fannin at TX Childrens Hosp.
|3/29 - 3 injuries - Fannin at Binz
|6/15 - 1 injury - Main at Dallas
|4/3 - no injury - Main at St. Joseph Pkwy.
|6/21 - 1 injury - Main at Alabama
|4/7 - no injury - Fannin at John Freeman
|7/5 - 2 injuries - Main at St. Joseph Parkway
|4/12 - no injury - Main near Southmore (driveway)
|7/19 - no injuries - Greenbriar near OST #100
|4/17 - 3 injuries/2 on train - Fannin at Rosedale
|7/20 - no injuries - Fannin near Oakdale
|4/21 - 2 injuries - Fannin at Holly Hall (2 cars)
|7/22 - no injuries - Fannin at Wichita
|5/4 - no injuries - Fannin at a Med Center garage
|7/26 - no injuries - Fannin at TMC (ambulance)
|5/5 - no injuries - Fannin at Rosedale
|7/28 - no injuries - Fannin at Binz
|5/9 - no injuries - Fannin near Dryden
|7/28 - 1 injury - Pedestrian - Main at McGowen
|5/15 - 1 injury - Fannin at Rosedale
|8/10 - 2 injuries - Fannin at Dryden
|5/24 - no injuries - Fannin at 610E Service Rd.
|9/3 - 1 injuriy - Pedestrian - Fannin at Naomi
|5/27 - no injuries - Congress at Main
|9/6 - no injuries - San Jacinto at Ewing (no link yet)
|6/3 - no injuries - Rosedale at Fannin
|9/8 - 7 injuries - Main at Leland (no link yet)
|6/7 - no injuries - Fannin at John Freeman
|10/1 - ? injuries - Fannin at MacGregor
|6/8 - no injuries - Main at Pierce
|10/2 - ? injuries - Main at Alabama
|6/16 - 3 injuries - Main at Elgin
|10/10 - ? injuries - Main at McGowen (wheelchair)
|6/17 - no injuries - Main at Franklin
|10/20 - ? injuries - Fannin at MacGregor
|6/22 - 1 injury - Main at Alabama
|10/21 - ? injuries - Fannin at Southmore
|7/2 - no injuries - Fannin at Dryden (Metro fault)
|10/28 - ? injuries - San Jacinto at Rosedale
|7/8 - 1 critical injury - Pedestrian - Main at Rusk
|11/3 - 1 injury - Main at Capital
|7/13 - 1 injury - Main at Texas
|11/6 - ? injury - Fannin at MacGregor
|7/14 - no injuries - Fannin at TX Childrens Hosp.
|11/7 - ? injury - Main at Pierce
|7/22 - no injuries - Fannin at Holly Hall
|11/17 - ? injury - Fannin at TX Childrens Hosp.
|7/24 - no injuries - Main at Clay
|12/1 - ? injury - San Jacinto at Southmore
|7/28 - no injuries - Main at Texas
|12/6 - ? injury - Fannin at Braeswood
|7/29 - no injuries - Fannin near Dryden
|12/7 - ? injury - Fannin at Oakdale
|8/2 - 2 injuries - Fannin at University
|12/23 - 8 injuries - Main at Elgin
|8/19 - ?? injuries - Main at Gray
|1/3 - no injuries - Main at Walker
|8/20 - 5 injuries - Main at Congress (prison van)
|1/4 - 1 injury - Main at Lamar (Blind man)
|8/24 - no injuries - McGregor at Fannin
|1/4 - no injuries - 6900 block of Fannin
|8/25 - 1 injury - Main at Pierce
|1/27 - no injuries - Main at St. Joseph Pkwy.
|9/7 - no injuries - Main in Midtown
|2/8 - no injuries - Main at Lamar
|9/15 - 1 injury - Pedestrian - Main near Lamar
|3/20 - no injuries - ???
|9/19 - 1 injury on train - Main at Pierce
This list only includes crashes involving the Wham-Bam-Tram, itself and does not include other rail related accidents, such as the woman who flipped her car and died, while trying to get her wheel out of the track groove, the two vehicles that ran into the fountain under similar circumstances, the pedestrian who was bumped by the Wham-Bam-Tram during testing, nor the downed power line, that remained hot for over an hour on February 6, 2004.
Wham-Bam-Tram Crash #111 ???
October 20, 2005 - We have just received a report of what is probably Wham-Bam-Tram crash number 111. KSEV radio reported that it happened at about 6:00AM on Tuesday, October 20 at MacGregor and Fannin. However, we have no web link for this report. We will update the official Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter as soon as we can provide our readers with a link to an authoritative source for this information.
Also, we have heard reports of Wham-Bam-Tram Crash number 110, but we do not have the time of day or location of the accident. It was apparently reported on the evening news, on Monday, October 10, but nobody whom we have heard from caught the time or location and none of the television stations reported it on their web sites, nor did the Houston Comical propaganda paper. The one thing that each source has told us, is that the victim was a pedestrian in a wheelchair. Remember that we only count pedestrians, if there was an injury. There have been several minor brushes that were not counted.
We are trying to track down more info about this crash. We will update the Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter only when we can confirm the date, time, location and severity of the crash. In the mean time, if you have some information about it, please let us know, by using our feedback form.
Wham-Bam-Tram Crash 110 Confirmed
Numbers 111 & 112 still waiting confirmation
November 3, 2005 - The mysterious force that we in Houston have come to call "Tram Suck", was evident again today, as the infamous Wham-Bam-Tram had yet another crash. This time, it was at the intersection of Main and Capital, at about 11:15AM.
There are at least two more reports of Wham-Bam-Tram crashes for which we are awaiting official confirmation. There is no doubt that both of the incidents in question occurred. The only reason why we have not yet confirmed them as crashes is because we do not yet know if the level of damage in each case, constituted calling it a crash or if one or both amounted to little more than a door ding. We will update the Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter as soon as we can confirm one or both of those incidents as real crashes.
Wham-Bam-Tram Crash #108
We have heard for some days that there had been a Wham-Bam-Tram crash on September 8th, but were unable to confirm it and get details, as even the one local news source that reported it on television, did not post the same report on their web site and we were therefore hesitant to increment our counter. However, we have now received confirmation of this accident. Don Gallagher, who has been a reliable source of ours in the past, has just confirmed the report of that crash on our BLOG and via email. He actually heard the report on the Channel 2 afternoon news and made notes about it at the time.
The accident occurred during rush hour, at Main and Leeland. The tram was traveling south - the same direction as rush-hour traffic. The driver of the automobile was taken to the hospital, as were 6 of the (get this!) only 9 passengers on board the tram, during this rush-hour crash. That's right. There were only 9 passengers on the tram during rush-hour and 6 of them were hospitalized.
Interestingly, the Comical didn't think that a Wham-Bam-Tram crash that sent seven people to the hospital, was newsworthy enough for even passing mention in their propaganda rag. Such biased reporting (or as in this case, failure of report) has become standard fare with the Chronicle. I suppose that they must think that if they don't report items that demonstrate the massive failure of the Wham-Bam-Tram, then people will buy into the Metro propaganda, that things are getting better, even though the facts clearly demonstrate otherwise.
We will post a link to the next MetroRail accident report, which should list this report, as soon as we get it. In the mean time, this explanation will have to do.
Action America's John Gaver
Accurately Predicts Future
On August 29, the following email went out to several of our contributors:
Subject: Re: New Orleans
What'cha wanna bet that the next Wham-Bam-Tram crash occurs in the next few days and is one of those refugees from New Orleans and surrounding areas, who are naive to the extreme danger of driving anywhere within blocks of our infamous Wham-Bam-Tram?
On September 3, the Wham-Bam-Tram hit a pedestrian, from New Orleans, fulfilling most of that prediction. The only difference, is that it was a pedestrian, who was hit, instead of a car and he was one of the evacuees housed at the Astrodome, rather than someone who had driven here before the hurricane struck.
The fact is that people from New Orleans have not had a chance to developed the same healthy fear of the Wham-Bam-Tram that almost two years and over 100 crashes have instilled into Houstonians. It's a sad fact, but for just this reason, there will almost certainly be more evacuees, who will become victims of the Wham-Bam-Tram. They have escaped the flooding disaster, but little do they know of the extreme danger posed by the Streetcar Named Disaster.
Watch for more on this developing story.
Note: We were late in posting this, because we were shut down for the Labor day weekend.
Neal Boortz in Houston Thursday (8/25)
Signing FairTax Book
A large crowd of people showed up at the Borders Bookstore at Kirby and Alabama on Thursday evening, to meet Neal Boortz, hear him speak and have him sign copies of "The FairTax Book". This book, by Boortz and John Linder, went from not available to anyone, to Number 1 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List, in only 9 days. It was also Number 1 in its second full week of publication. Owing only to the fact that the publisher severely underestimated the demand and book stores were running out, it fell to Number 2 in the third week. As the next pringing hits the book stores, expect to see it at the top of the list again.
Boortz and Linder lay out an excellent econmic case for the Fair Tax. There are far more problems with our current tax system, than simply it's punitive tax rates and incomprehensible complexity. If you haven't bought "The FairTax Book" yet, then we encourage you to do so. It is a must-read.
After reading "The FairTax Book", you might want to learn more about why we need to scrap the income tax and replace it with the FairTax. In that case, you can find a lot of additional information on why we need to implement the FairTax immediately, in our articles, under the "Tax & Economy" section of Action America. Pay particular attention to the article, "The Economy Bomb - Ticking Down Faster".
Then, fire up the telephone and email and start contacting your congressman and senators and tell them that you want them to co-sponsor the FairTax, if they have not, already. The popularity of this book shows that this is a battle that we can win.
By the way, in case you didn't know it, Houston is the home of the FairTax.
Action America is still the Most Accurate!
Other sources are just now reporting Crash #100
August 10, 2005
A couple of hours ago, I received an email from Rad Sallee, of the Houston Chronicle, notifying us of this afternoon's Wham-Bam-Tram Crash, which they will be calling #100. Because the Chronicle article had not yet appeared and out of courtesy to Rad and the Chronicle, we delayed posting that information until we had other verification of the crash.
Since that time, both KTRK (13) and KPRC (2) have reported that crash and both incorrectly reported it as the 100th crash.
We challenge any news source to prove that any of the 106 actual crashes that we list below, did not occur.
Click on the date of each crash and you will be taken to either a news article about that crash or to a copy of a report from Metro, where that crash is listed.
We try to keep up with the links for all 106 crashes and keep them up-to-date, but occasionally, one or two will get moved before we can correct it on this page. However, most of the links that disappear are links to Chronicle articles and since the Chronicle appears to take their numbers directly from Metro, information about the related crashes have always been found on one of the reports that we received from Metro. But, just in case you follow a link and it should be dead, just refer to one of the following reports. The related crash will almost certainly be in one or more of them. (Note: Even the Metro reports appear to be inconsistent among themselves.)
The remainder of our links are to articles on the web sites of one of the three major network stations in Houston. So, in short...
The crash count is 106 and we can prove it.
For the record, our definition of an accident is a tram impact with either a pedestrian, who sustains transportable injuries or a tram impact with a rubber-tired vehicle or another train, on a public street, where the combined resulting damage to vehicles and people is high enough that a reasonable person would call it an accident, if it was his car involved. Generally, if it is high enough for your insurance to kick in, then, it's an accident. Metro only considers it an accident, if there is more than $1000 damage to the tram or there is an injury. So theoretically, the Wham-Bam-Tram could hit a Saleen S7, driving the Saleen into a light pole, totaling the half-million dollar auto, but causing only cosmetic damage to the rubber bumper of the tram and if the Saleen driver was able to walk away, Metro could ignore it. Would they? I doubt that they would go that far. But, they could. I just don't know where they would draw the line. I'm not even sure that anyone at Metro knows, until it happens.
Wham-Bam-Tram Breaks 100 Crashes
July 28, 2005
It's official! Action America has just received information from Metro that allows us to positively confirm that the Wham-Bam-Tram has shattered the 100 crash mark.
The actual total, at this time (8/10 update), including both this morning's crash and the pedestrian who was hit this afternoon, is 106 crashes.
For those of you who are in office betting pools, betting on the date of the 100th Wham-Bam-Tram crash, we can now confirm that, according to the best information available to us, that 100th crash occurred on July 19, 2005. Congratulations to those of your who had that date.
The most recent Metro report added four accidents or incidents (4/18, 6/2, 6/4 and 6/13) that have not yet been reported in the media. However, we delayed confirming those crashes, because the report included both accidents and incidents and we didn't want to count an incident that involved no real physical damage to either the tram, other vehicle or a pedestrian. The information that we received from Metro today confirmed that all four of those cases were, indeed, crashes.
Wham-Bam-Tram Alert Level ORANGE
Other Houstonians Alert Level still YELLOW
It's interesting to note that while the rest of Houstonians are at Alert Level YELLOW - "Elevated", those who ride the Wham-Bam-Tram are at Alert Level ORANGE - "High". The question that we have raised numerous times since the 9-11 attacks and one that this difference in alert levels raises yet again is, "Why is Metro trying to herd as many people as possible onto one easy target for terrorists?"
It would seem to be much more prudent to disperse our mass transit load as much as possible, thus limiting the amount of damage and loss of life that a single terrorist incident could cause, rather than forcing as many people as possible onto a prime terrorist target. It would appear that Metro officials may be willing to risk the lives of those Houstonians who depend upon mass transit, for no better reason than to save their own teetering reputations. I hope that is not the case. I would welcome a better explanation. But, considering their proven record of deceit (ex: they promised to increase bus service if voters approved their plan and have continued to drasticly cut bus service, instead) it certainly leaves one to wonder if they have actually stooped so low.
But, regardless of what may or may not be behind the absurd actions of Metro officials, the one point that all mass transit riders in Houston should consider, is the relative difference in safety between an ordinary bus and a high-profile target, like the Wham-Bam-Tram. In fact, if you can afford it, you might want to consider taking your own car or at the very least, car-pooling. Nobody expects to be the victim of a terrorist attack. But just a little caution, could significantly reduce the liklihood that you will become a victim.
Just one word of caution. If you drive your car, do not go anywhere near Main Street or the Med Center. If you have to cross Main Street, take the Loop. If you have to go to the Med Center, take LifeFlight. This is to avoid the new phenomena that scientists are investigating, relating to the Wham-Bam-Tram. It seems that besides the known forces of nature - gravity, magnetism and electricity - there may indeed be a fourth force. It is that invisible force of nature that causes vehicles and people to swerve into the path of the Wham-Bam-Tram. Sensitive instruments have detected the effect of this force on parked cars, as far as a block away from the Wham-Bam-Tram. For the time being, researchers are referring to this force simply as, "Tram Suck". It has also been known to suck extremely large amounts of money out of taxpayer pockets.
Don't get sucked in.
It took Local 2 Troubleshooters, to get Metro to release the evidence, but the evidence clearly shows a Wham-Bam-Tram operator blowing through a red light. It's probably very lucky that the near miss victim chose to go to Local 2 with his story, because they had the horsepower to get Metro to release the tram's on-board camera tape, before it could be overwritten. Had he gone to Metro with his complaint, we would probably only be hearing that the tape was reviewed by Metro officials, that no wrongdoing was found and that the tape had already been put back in service and overwritten. In fact, another Local 2 story in April reported that Metro officials were not pulling tapes when complaints were received.
This brings up an important point. If you personally witness such an event, DON'T file a complaint with Metro. Take your information to the Local 2 Troubleshooters first. Their tip line is (713) 223-TIPS (8477). If you take it to Metro first, then don't be suprised if the tape has been overwritten by the time you or any news organization gets to it.
But, the real news in this story, is the question that it raises.
How can the Wham-Bam-Tram be running red lights, if as Metro claims, the lights all turn red, 15 seconds before the Wham-Bam-Tram arrives in the intersection???
Think about it...
Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter Released
as Macintosh Dashboard Widget
Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter
widget for Mac (snapshot)
June 17, 2005 - Today, Action America released a Macintosh Dashboard Widget version of our famous Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter. This widget will allow Macintosh users, running OS-X 10.4 "Tiger" to have instant access to the current crash total, right on their Dashboard, without having to open their browser and surf to this page.
The Dashboard is a feature that is exclusive to the new Macintosh 10.4 "Tiger" operating system that gives users instant, one-key access a wide variety of customizable tools and data. It is a sort of pseudo desktop that is home to widgets: mini-applications that let you perform common tasks and provide you with fast access to information. Some of the more popular widgets include, real-time weather, stock tickers, flight information, package tracking, language translation and unit conversion. One widget that Mac users in a mixed PC/Mac environment seem to really like, does nothing more than show off their uptime, for their PC handicapped coworkers to envy. And now, The Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter widget is added to the growing list of available widgets, now numbering well over 500, almost all of which are free. (More...)
Wham-Bam-Tram becomes Killer! (update 5/13)
Tuesday night, May 10, Houston's infamous Wham-Bam-Tram, already proven to be by far the most dangerous light rail system in the nation, claimed its first life. Jesse Villarreal, 46, of South Houston, was pronounced dead at the scene, after a 10:30PM accident at Main and Jefferson. Also, four of the 12 passengers on board the Wham-Bam-Tram were taken to the hospital with injuries.
Though far from conclusive, from what we can determine from news reports, the cause was likely yet another of the many reported cases of a light seriously short cycling, when the Wham-Bam-Tram approaches. In fact, we have received several emails from readers, who have told us that under certain circumstances, some of those lights go from green, through yellow to red, in only one or two seconds. The accepted standard is at least three seconds of yellow. Unfortunately, nobody has caught that on video. When a light turns yellow, if you are so close to the intersection that you cannot possibly stop, without going into the intersection, we are taught that we should then have enough time to make it through the intersection. When that type of short cycle happens, it is virtually impossible to stop in time, unless you are traveling less than 10 miles per hour and as we have now seen, it is impossible to make it through the intersection. It should be noted that a remarkably similar crash occurred at that same intersection on October 22, 2004.
It is interesting to note that although the Wham-Bam-Tram was supposedly only traveling 25 miles per hour, when the accident occurred, the train dragged the truck 30 feet. Even on wet roads, I can stop my Suburban in much less space, from a 25 miles per hour speed, if I have to. If our Streetcar Named Disaster cannot execute an emergency stop, from 25 miles per hour, in less than 30 feet, while dragging a full sized pickup, then that alone should be cause for either seriously reducing the maximum speed of that abomination or even shutting it down entirely.
Another crash occurred at the same intersection, only three days after the fatal crash and in the same manner. Both drivers were traveling east on Jefferson and appear to have run the traffic light. It seems more likely, that the light short cycled, catching the drivers off guard.
Based only on news media reports, this would have been the 88th crash (the crash three days later makes it the 89th) since the Wham-Bam-Tram began its destructive sojourn through some of the most conjested areas of Houston. However, since the Comical and other news sources in Houston have taken to ignorirng Wham-Bam-Tram crashes, unless they are unusually catastrophic, it is very likely that the crash total is higher. It has been some time since we obtained a copy of the official Metro crash data, so we should probably try to get an updated copy soon.
Keeping an accurate count of Wham-Bam-Tram crashes is extremely difficult, when there are so many crashes involving the deplorable little tram and all of the major news sources in Houston either naively rely upon Metro numbers or worse yet, consciously aid Metro in spreading their propaganda. We invite the local media to follow the links that we provide below, for each crash, to validate our numbers. We have already done the homework. All they have to do is accurately report the results. We thank our readers for their patience, as we deal with these unavoidable issues.
Thanks to our alert readers, who often notify us of crashes before they are reported on the news and some that are never reported, combined with our own diligent follow-up, the Action America Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter remains the most accurate tally of Wham-Bam-Tram crashes and using a combination of news reports and Metro data, acquired through Freedom of Information and Open Records Act requests, we can prove it.
Our hearts go out to the family of Jesse Villarreal, who died so needlessly.
New "Pack & Ride" rule makes busses and even
the Wham-Bam-Tram safer for passengers
It took a lawsuit, but Metro has finally dropped illegal CCH (gun) ban
Houston's public transportation dependent citizens can finally rest easy. The criminal element in Houston can no longer view Metro bus and tram passengers as defenseless "TARGETS", since those passengers are now, just as likely to be packing, as any other citizen on the streets. [Read more]
Boss Hogg (aka Mayor White) announced, on January 12, several proposed changes to his Towing For Dollar$ Revenue $cam. Surprisingly, these changes do represent a minor improvement. However, they only address the one financial problem with their scam and don't even begin to address several of the real issues. In fact, since these new changes will reduce revenue to the chosen few wrecker companies, who paid a total of about $1.4 million for their "exclusive" zones, these changes will require all Houston taxpayers to subsidize the 11 chosen towing companies for the not-so-free tows that the new policy requires. The the revised Towing For Dollar$ policy still creates many problems and solves none. There is now no question that it is not about safety, but about money. [Read more]
Wham-Bam-Tram Shatters World's Worst Record!
67 Crashes on a 7.5 mile Light Rail System in a Calendar Year
January 1, 2005
It's first calendar year is now over and the Wham-Bam-Tram has set a record for carnage and destruction, by a light rail train, that is almost certain to never be broken. The ill-fated little tram's preliminary crash total for the year stands at a whopping 67 crashes (72 since the beginning of operation), shattering the previous per mile crash record, by over 1000%, though those numbers are likely to rise, once we receive year-end, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested documents from Metro that will likely include information on previously unreported crashes.
To put that into perspective, shattering the previous worst record, as they did, would be like a team shattering the Super Bowl point spread record, now at 45 points, by winning this year's Super Bowl by a whopping 484 points. That's the magnitude of the failure of that deplorable crash machine. [Read more]
The Houston City Council has approved the installation of CA$H CAM$ at a number of traffic lights around the city. Let's be clear about this. These cameras have nothing at all to do with safety or preventing accidents. They are intended solely as another source of revenue that bypasses taxpayer approval, for the city to squander. Action America exposes the flawed studies used by Mayor (Boss Hogg) White and other proponents of these revenue machines. But, we were not the first to find these flaws. A 2001 congressional report that states, "Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man." Furthermore, we cite and link to studies that show that the CA$H CAM$ actually increase rear-end and "adjacent approach" accidents. In other cases, we have found the real facts buried deep inside some of the studies used by proponents of the CA$H CAM$.
Conversely, many independent studies have shown that appropriate yellow light timing does significantly reduce both accidents and violations at signalized intersections, by changing the "Dilemma Zones" to "Option Zones". Interestingly, the only time that cities seem to become aware of that fact is during studies aimed at proving the effectiveness of the CA$H CAM$, after which the signals are re-timed for revenue generation.
Why should taxpayers have to pay millions of dollars for an ill conceived CA$H CAM $CAM that is operated at a profit, by a PRIVATE company, who returns only a portion of the fine revenue to the city, when the problems could be easily solved by adjusting the timing of the yellow lights at those intersections? Tell your state legislators to help us STOP the CA$H CAM $CAM. [Read more]
Your Metro Tax Dollars at Work
(Once more, Action America prints news that the Chronicle won't touch.)
Once again, thanks to our readers, Action America scoops the Chronicle and other local news sources. These photos werre taken by a concerned citizen, with a camera phone. They were taken on November 8, 2004. On December 8, 2004, after they had been published on this site and on many blogs for a month, KTRK-TV finally did a very fine story on these photos. Neither the Chronicle nor any of the other TV stations have reported this news. [Rread more]
Who says HPD doesn't have ticket quotas?
33 traffic officers put on desk duty for not writing enough tickets (KHOU)
(in reverse order)
Wham-Bam-Tram Shut Down due to a little rain
Most of the Wham-Bam-Tram route remained out of service till after 7:00AM on Nov. 2
Gee, this sounds familiar. Where have we heard this before? Oh, yes! We said it. Back when it was first proposed, long before the Wham-Bam-Tram earned its nickname, Action America and many other voices of reason warned Metro and the City of Houston that the proposed train would not run in more than 3 inches of water. This is the second time that the Wham-Bam-Tram has had to be shut down because of high water. Passengers riding from the south, had to transfer, at the Med Center, in the rain, to guess what - good old dependable BUSSES - to complete their trip into downtown. Interestingly, if the bus routes had not been eliminated, to force riders onto the failing Wham-Bam-Tram, those riders would have likely not even known that there was high water, because the busses would have simply gone around or even through the high water. Also, bus riders would not have had to change vehicles in the downpour, either. This is Metro's idea of a World Class mass transit system. 20 times the national average in crashes, 13 times the previous worst crash record, 50% more pedestrians hit than the national average for all kinds of accidents, shut down twice, because of power lines and shut down twice due to high water. And those are only the incidents that they have not been able to hide.
8/7: The Associated Press Takes Notice of the Wham-Bam-Tram
This AP article was printed in newspapers and reported on TV stations around the state and across the nation, but not in the Houston Chronicle or on KHOU-TV. From the Dallas Morning News to the the Waco Tribune-Herald, from local stations like KTRK-TV and KPRC-TV, to national news archival sites like Topix and 1st Headlines (who both linked to the KTRK-TV version), this AP article was part of the news. It is being discussed on transportation forums and government waste blogs across the country. But our search of the Houston Chronicle and KHOU-TV sites show that neither the Chronicle nor KHOU-TV chose to run this timely AP story about Houston's light rail fiasco, once more showing that, like Nero, while Houstonians' ears are burning, as the nation laughs at Houston, Metro and the Chronicle fiddle. As for KHOU-TV, who knows? I'm not suggesting that KHOU's reporting is great, but they are normally better than that.
!! We Need Your Help !!
8/4: Chronicle policy is now to censor news of Wham-Bam-Tram crashes
Gathering Timely Wham-Bam-Tram Crash Data Will Now Become Much Harder.
If you see or hear of a Wham-Bam-Tram crash please use our "Feedback Form" to let us know about it. We will have to resort to Texas Open Records Act requests, every month or so, to fill in the blanks.
In a comment posted on MET-Houston and forwarded to me by Spence Kerrigan, the Chronicle's Lucas Wall stated, "But FYI, the Chronicle is no longer reporting every light rail collision in the paper. This decision has to do with space constraints and the fact we do not report on every fender bender car crash." Wall can't even stop his spinning ways in newsgroup posts. He tries to equate automobile "fender benders", that unless a city vehicle is involved, does not cost taxpayers a dime, with the many Wham-Bam-Tram crashes, each and every one of which, costs the taxpayers of Houston, thousands of dollars, on average ($600,000 in just the first two months) and clearly demonstrates just what a boondoggle the Wham-Bam-Tram has become.
It would seem that since the Chronicle was one of the biggest supporters of what has now become widely known, as the Wham-Bam-Tram Boondoggle, they are now too embarrassed to keep reporting on what a big mistake it was to build that ill-advised and ill-fated system, in the first place. With arrogance that is typical of the media, they seem to think that if they don't report it, then we shouldn't care about it. So, instead of reporting on Wham-Bam-Tram crashes, that many taxpayers are concerned about, they gleefully report that ridership was up 11% in July, as if anyone outside of Metro should care. Interestingly, since the All Star Game was in July, that number should have been much higher than just 11%. They would like to think that sites like this receive few visitors. In fact, roughly half of the 650,000 plus hits that this site received in August, comprised visit this page.
8/31/04: Thanks in part, to letters from many of our readers, the Chronicle has partially reversed their decision. We understand that they will now report all crashes that fall within FTA guidelines. Those guidelines are concerned only with human injury and damage to the trains - not cars. That means that if the Wham-Bam-Tram, were to total a $200,000 Ferrari Maranello, but the driver was uninjured and the tram only sustained minor cosmetic damage, it would not qualify as a crash under FTA guidelines. Would the Chronicle report such a crash? I would hope so. But, where would they draw the line? Based on the Chronicle's bias on this issue, it is only reasonable to conclude that there will still be a number of crashes that will go unreported. In fact, we are currently in the process of trying to validate information about another possible Wham-Bam-Tram crash that has not been reported by the Chronicle.
Thank you for your understanding and any assistance that you might provide.
7/13: CRASH 50!
All-Star Game visitor scores the big Five-Oh!
How's that for a big Houston welcome?
7/8: Wham-Bam-Tram Accident Victim
Critically Injured; Requires CPR
Hundreds of riders are stranded, as rail system shuts down for over 1-1/2 hours, after pedestrian is hit and dragged 100 yards by the train. This was the 3rd pedestrian victim of the tram and the 4th major outage for the system. The pedestrian accident rate for the Wham-Bam-Tram now exceeds any other city's over-all accident rate.
7/1: Tram Driver Suspended With Pay
(Note: When car drivers are at fault, they get a ticket and must pay a fine and damages, while tram drivers get what amounts to a paid vacation. If this is Metro's idea of justice, we can certainly expect to see more tram driver "mistakes".)
(Note the blood red arches.)
At that rate, repairs will cost more than 3.5 million dollars this year.
Enough is enough! According to a KHOU report, the Wham-Bam-Tram had more crashes in its first two months of operation, than the rail systems of any other city had in the first year of operation. With these numbers, this is a class action suit against the city, just waiting to happen. How many more accidents will it take, before Metro or the City of Houston takes this menace to traffic safety and growing expense to taxpayers out of commission?
How Safe Are Children In Your Neighborhood?
To aid you in answering that question, Action America provides this link to the official Texas Department of Public Safety
Action America provides email and/or phone contacts for the Mayor, City Council and a number of city and county departments, as well as some media sources. Follow this link. We hope that you find this information useful.
As time goes by, we hope to add more links here. But, for now, here's a start. If you manage or know of a Houston centered Conservative Site that you think should be listed here, please use the Action America Feedback Page to let us know and we will review it at our earliest opportunity.
The Houston Chapter of The FreeRepublic Network
Lone Star Times
Houston Taxpayer's Discussion Forum
Former Marine (2nd Force Recon) and well known conservative activist, Herb Meadows was killed in an arson house fire on October 4, 2001. As of January 11, 2004, the police and fire departments have issued no finding, other than that it was arson. There were many oddities about the case that investigators were told about, but have yet to act on. Follow this link to find out what you can do to bring the perpetrator of this horrible crime to justice.