Why may hailing a cab in Manhattan get easier?

The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved a plan that would allow drivers to use taxi-hailing apps in some parts of the city, beginning in February. The technology is similar to what D.C. residents and others use now to summon town cars through services such as Uber DC. The program will be temporary to start, a concession to livery services that have fought to keep the apps out as a competitive advantage.

Is the Acela likely to get more crowded?

Amtrak will replace the entire fleet of trains used on its Acela service in the Northeast U.S. after scrapping plans to buy more passenger cars. The taxpayer-supported railroad plans in early 2013 to seek bids from companies. The contract could be worth more than the $1.2 billion Amtrak spent for the existing fleet in 1996. Replacing the trains rather than making them longer by adding cars could mean the popular trains become even more crowded, said rider advocates.

How contagious is the bacterial meningitis that killed a Maryland high school student?

A junior in Anne Arundel County died earlier this week, and health officials strongly suspect bacterial meningitis. A letter was sent home to students' parents Wednesday. Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation to membranes in the brain and spinal cord. Attacks of the sometimes fatal illness cause anxiety among parents. But health officials said the bacterial form of the disease is not highly contagious, and is not spread through casual contact.