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Friday, October 29, 2010


Finally, A Subway Extension West

Good day, no reason to stay buried when big news happen, by the most irresponsible 'blogger' out there;).

Things have gone in the right direction. A 10-0 decision to build the west-side subway extension along Wilshire Blvd! Plenty illogical decisions were made before by the MTA - including a green line that could be called the green 'cut off' line, ending just short before LAX. Finally the city seems to have matured enough to make sense. A quote by Genevieve Giuliano, director of USC's METRANS Transportation Center, hits it on the head:

"A subway is the single biggest item on the transit construction list, and this is the single busiest corridor in the entire region. If there should be a subway anywhere, it should be there."

Yes, yes. It shouldn't be built along Exposition blvd, or say, "Manchester blvd", for it to make sense. It should be built under Wilshire blvd for the reason mentioned above. Duh, most people and most commerce. A subway there would equal more customers plus less car traffic. Should NIMBY's win over all that? In their minds, they're all that matter. But a responsible leadership should think about the greatest good for the greatest amount of residents. A subway extension along Wilshire blvd is just that. For now, the project begins in 2013. That's better than nothing, considering just recently it appeared to have been a possibility only in the very distant future. Read the second paragraph below to see how such developments can increase Los Angeles as a city overall.

In a side note. The finally added monitors to the existing subway platforms display cartoon like train images, and don't display time information about upcoming train. Folk, only right before the train arrives, will we let you know that it's arriving. Before that, stand and wonder, will it arrive in 5 minutes or 15 minutes? At least there are now display monitors, whereas before their installations, the subway platforms felt even more deserted. But enough information is apparently too much for their riders. "Here's a half cookie, don't you eat the whole".

Ok, now, back to the west side subway extension. If L.A had an all covering, effective transit system, preferably city trains and subway lines, it would be a super-city. Instead of staying home, many more would travel around the city more, and help businesses at their destinations, as well as improving their own quality of life. Moreover, tourism, would increase to the point of being more proportional to L.A's size and amount of landmarks. The lack of efficient public transit has so far been a major obstacle to tourists' appreciation of what the city actually has to offer. They hear how it's a chore. People frown when hearing about how going to say Santa Monica from the city center or Hollywood takes over 1 hour. Hours back and forth get tiring. In NYC, all parts of the city are easily accessible, and prospective visitors know that. They know that if they visit NYC, experiencing the very city they're visiting won't be a major hassle or headache. Many tourists don't want to, or can not, rent a car. Nor is renting a car economical compared to the relatively affordable rates of public transit. Hopefully the west side subway extension is the beginning of a larger, eventually all-covering train system in L.A, that will make tourists forget about cheap fast food joints at their nearby intersections, and instead focus on where they want to go, and being able to do so efficiently. Instead of remembering the hassle of traveling around the city, they'll remember its destinations and landmarks better.
The 10-0 vote on the west side subway extension is clearly a sign in the right direction. Let not NIMBY's prevent the immense benefits of building it and/or others. If they want to be NIMBY's move to/back to the country side. L.A is a metropolis. Apology, but some facts sound condescending.

Alright, here we go. 'Beverly Hillbillyhills' - a deep rooted resentment of anything that reminds them of "urban", except their own comfortable proximity to it: NIMBYism always on time.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007


Late Update

Hello, anybody. I'm sorry about having left 'whoever' in the dark. It's been a time of assessment and, re-assessment. After having spent close to 1 year on rants and otherwise regarding MTA, and since there's a finite thing to complain about, and when you complain about one thing, you begin to see other 'bigger' things to complain about etc. Hence, it came to a bit of a dead end regarding public transportation rants. But heck, after some reading, and reassessments, some exiting things seem to be going on in LA as far as public transportation is concerned. There seems to be a challenge in convincing skeptics. That will, or might (:) become the new focus of this blog. Just exactly when, isn't sure yet, but the blog will be back to 'complete the circle', so to speak. Not sure what approach to take yet, but we'll see. It's likely to be more from outside in rather than inside out. Exciting things seem to be going on in LA, and I'd want to be part of the change. Enjoy the bus and the train in the meantime (if possible).

Friday, June 01, 2007


MTA's Unfair Fare Hike - Update

So after the public hearing on May 24, the MTA received mostly protests, expectedly, from transit riders. It seems the fight isn't over. The Bus Rider's Union keeps it up, albeit whether their charges are fair or not could be discussed, but at least someone is standing up for those riders. They claim the MTA is racist. Well, are they really? Perhaps "elitist" would be a better word for it. After all the fare hike would adversely affect the poor regardless of race. They may be a bit crazy, but at least they're fighting hard, and actually bringing real results to riders. The fight against MTA's proposed brutal fare hike seems to have succeeded in placing a limit on the hike and making it less drastic.

MTA's Latest Fare Hike:

MTA Fares
 CashDaily PassWeekly PassMonthly PassMonthly Senior Pass
Current $1.25 $3.00 $14.00 $52.00$12.00
As of July 1 $1.25 $5.00 $17.00 $62.00$14.00
January 2009 $1.50 $6.00 $20.00 $75.00$17.00

Remarkably the cash fare will stay the same until 2009, and the monthly senior will rise by only $5 until 2009. Clearly this is much more reasonable than the previous proposal. Still, the day pass will go up to $8 by that year. That's amazingly expensive if you're going through just say 2-3 transfers, and perhaps even short rides in a day. If you're traveling just a few times per week, and a weekly pass isn't feasible, then it may cost $24 plus for only a few simple routes per week. But at least it's not as expensive as the previous proposal would've been, and there's more to come in terms of a possible reversal or further changes (apparently law suits among other things), so even with this change, there may be more hope. Sure, it can't be easy for the MTA, but there's got to be better ways to close their budget gap than to place the burden on the riders, almost exclusively.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Current MTA Improvements

To be fair, a few areas have improved lately with respect to public transportation in Los Angeles. On MTA's side of it.

It appears that subway connections have been symmetrized between the Purple Line and the Red Line at Wilshire/Vermont, at least since a while back, according to one fellow who confirmed that the Metro Red Line train now defers departure until transferees from the Purple Line from the upper level (or, was it lower?) have had time to board that train. That was also the case when I last tried it. Finally some common sense is seen in such basic area.
(edited on 5/24) Not. Those must have been exceptions. Too bad. Sometimes dreaming is necessary though. The second train still arrogantly departs right in front of your face as you descend down the escalator from the upper level. In other words, no, the connections don't appear to be synchronized. Oh well. It must be that they sometimes, depending on, uh, the second train waits for transferring passengers before taking off, depending on... who's operating the train frankly. However, to expect the practice to be a new policy would be foolish. This is MTA after all. The worst of them all among major cities. It's the bloody worst. (end edit)

Moreover, Metro Rapid buses appear to run on more and more major arteries, and not only Wilshire blvd anymore. They now run on many main routes, and at the same time hold about twice as many passengers as before. It clearly shows that action has been taken and at least partly replaced the blatant neglect of the past.

Another major confusion that lasted for years was that of the Metro Red Line and Purple Lines on which passengers frequently got confused as to whether the train was the North Hollywood train or not. The train operators now seem to alert passengers upon boarding them which train they're on. That's also a very basic area, as riders frequently boarded the wrong train and had to go back to catch the right one, which never was really obvious.

Well, those are a few improvements, and there are probably others. Whether they're sufficient or warrant a tripling in fare hike is another question though. Is MTA's budget gap's partial, and presumed remedy, let alone not guaranteed, worth hundreds, if not thousands, of riders not being able to afford it at all? Aren't there better ways to fix it. A partial hike would be very understandable, but not this brutal doubling; tripling in a short period of time, and as if the services were that good.

Monday, April 30, 2007


LA's Transit System Complete? Not Yet

It struck me recently that with all the current issues around transportation and traffic, it's going to take decades before the LA transit system is complete or sufficient. The politics, the budget issues, the lack of funding, the wrong trends, etc; there may not be a complete subway system around in LA before I'm 90 or gone.
Should one simply accept it, and move on? It's never going to be like NYC or S.F here in our life-time, so really, why whine about it? It's a mammoth that's going to take its course regardless of how important is is, or how urgently it is needed anyway.

Public transportation ought to be a public priority. It would ease traffic, improve air quality, improve commerce, apart from providing the only means of transportation for thousands of residents.
Yet, there's this eternal quibble and NIMBYism surrounding it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


MTA's Unfair Fare Hike

With MTA's recently proposed fare hikes, they'll place a huge burden on low-income riders where even a $1 difference will have a significant impact. Instead of convincing voters to vote for public transportation bills, invite advertisers on Metro stations, lobby for more funding, improve services that don't require a big budget in order to draw new riders, etc, they go for the mainly working class that make up the bulk of their ridership. That's the coward way.
The problem of transit in LA relates to the car and freeway mentality. It's Not that riders pay too low fares. A few cents increase, Ok, but several bucks in a matter of a couple years, it's unreasonable. It's not riders fault that MTA has a budget gap. It's partly their own fault. They didn't want to fix the nitty gritty details that would've enhanced the transit system. It took them until recently to provide long needed improvements. It took decades. Now riders are going to pay for it? It was those riders that long wished for basic improvements, all the while the MTA didn't care.
They ought to be lobbying for better funding, or help switch voters thinking to be in more support of public transportation fundings. There's something seriously wrong with the picture that one of the worst public transportation system among major cities also suffers a great budget deficit. It would be another thing if the system was already great, but it's either bad, or sucked overwhelmingly until just recently, with few exceptions. Riders were already the most affected by that which sucked. With a major fare hike, they will now effectively have to pay for having endured it.

MTA's Proposed New Fare Hikes:

MTA Fares
 CashDaily PassWeekly PassMontly PassMonthly Senior Pass
Current $1.25 $3.00 $14.00 $52.00$12.00
As of July 1 $1.25 $5.00 $20.00 $75.00$37.50
January 2009 $2.00 $8.00 $32.00 $120.00$60.00

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


MTA Still Require Riders to Carry Own Change

Does the MTA not realize that it can be a real hassle for people to try to break bills in advance each time prior to riding a bus? Do they not know that there are no coin machines except inside laundromats and that they require you to be a customer before using them? Don't they already know that most businesses are not fond of breaking peoples dollar bills unless they purchase something, and that bus riders are not fond of purchasing something every time they need change for the bus?
Just wondering why this insistence on placing such a burden on riders. There are many bus systems in the world that carry change on the buses. Perhaps it's an issue of safety for the MTA. Ok, but there's got to be some alternative to the current mess. The current mess is completely unreliable, in that unless you manage to find change you may not be able to ride the bus. You can ask the driver for mercy, but if they're sour or cranky types, or simply in a bad mood, they might refuse to let you on on anything less than full fare, which means you'll have to wait for the next bus, which can wreak havoc in a person's schedule.
Wouldn't it be a good time to implement some newer system--perhaps electronic bus cards-- on the newer buses, like on the new Metro Rapid ones? Or, likely the MTA doesn't consider the current mess to be a big deal. Typically, only their customers do. If it was a good idea, it'd probably have happened already.
But the moral is that you're forced to beg for change everytime you need ride the bus, and don't find a daypass or busspass feasible. And in cases where you can't obtain coins without making a purchase, you're forced to spend more money as well. Add to that that the cheapest items cost typically at least 50 cents. That ends up as paying the fare plus 50 cents plus the extra effort.
The alternative is to keep a jar of quarters at home and keep it sufficiently loaded at all times. In a way, this is laughable, but it's the reality.

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