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Saturday, July 01, 2006


Buses are So Loud.

Picking another issue from the smorgasbord of issues about MTA, this one may be trivial, but along with all the others, obviously still adds up to what is a systemic issue of neglect and lack of judgment within L.A. county (yes, that pattern can be found in a combination of jails, hospitals, Skid Row, the MTA, LAPD, and other local institutions that sort of sometimes reek with a sense of sociopathy.).

Bus Noise
Why do MTA choose to purchase bus "a" over bus "b"? Is there something other than price alone that influences their decisions when purchasing buses?
Some of their buses are very loud. If anyone remembers the time during any MTA employee strike, and how quiet and peaceful the streets were then, despite car traffic hardly being a small thing in L.A., and just notice the difference in noise level as soon as the strikes were over. The MTA buses, or "monsters" (a loud bus, that's rarely on time, with a rogue driver, makes for the monster), once again roamed the city streets and seemed to clearly account for maybe 30%-25% of the outdoor noise levels. They seem louder than some 18-wheelers. Like, really loud sometimes almost screamingly loud.

Frankly, I do not know if the issue of noise has been addressed by the MTA, but doubt it. It's clearly an issue that affects the general quality of life for people who live near where the buses operate. What would've been the big deal in choosing more quiet buses? Now, the entire city is stuck with the noise for years to come.

It's just clear how loud buses haven't been of a concern to the MTA, or they'd prevented it, or at least changed something.
It's the same reason for why the MTA lets people wait ad nauseum for buses on holidays, weekends and evenings without giving them any hint whatsoever of when the bus will arrive (let alone that the 1-800-COMMUTE info-line closes at about six pm or so). If they can be conscionable about letting people of all ages and backgrounds wait for the bus for sometimes close to 1 hour in uncertainty, why the heck would they mind their buses being terribly noisy? Hum, almost makes this post redundant.

The MTA--granted one of the worst, if not the worst, public transit system of any developed nation's major city--have years of experience on their hands in how to disrespect customers. Loud buses are probably just part of the game.

*They did one good thing in expanding the clean-air fleet. It's an exception though, not a rule, for the MTA to make really sensible decisions.

The newer the bus, the quieter the engine. The problem is that, with the Bus Riders Union's meddling in the system, a lot of the older, noisier buses have had to remain in service past their scheduled retirement ages, just to run "trippers" (a one-way or round-trip on a line, using a bus that is not scheduled to operate all day).

Go look at the Orange Line. Those silver buses have the quietest engines in the transit industry.

(And it is the manufacturers, not MTA, that makes a bus engine louder or softer. Blame where it is due, please.)
But the manufacturer doesn't decide for the MTA what bus model to purchase, right? The MTA is not forced to buy a certain model are they? Do manufacturers force them to buy their noisy products? Blame is due on the MTA for the choices they obviously make.

And it's true that newer models are quieter. The thing is that other transit systems have used quieter buses since 10 or more years earlier. The MTA would too, if excess noise was a concern for them.
There are companies in the hundreds who manufacture buses. MTA probably picked the loudest, most ruthless in the industry.

The Bus Rider's Union. Hmm, what the, is that? I've got no opinion on them, but find it awkward that a union exists for transit riders in the first place, although I knew they existed (ironically I'm not a member).
I do have an opinion on their existence though which is coming for an upcoming blog.
It may surprise you to learn that all of the transit vehicle manufacturers (and there are not hundreds ... there aren't even a dozen) use essentially the same engines (and there are only three companies manufacturing all of those).

And the Bus Riders Union is a misnomer, because the last two times there was a strike against the MTA, they supported the strikers and left the passengers to fend for themselves. Mainly, they exist to push a Marxist agenda (right now, they are pushing for amnesty for illegal immigrants, for whatever THAT has to do with bus service).
Yup, the strikes appeared inconsiderate, and did cause a heck of a disruption for everyone, and was bothering as it continued. They obviously didn't care much for people who would lose their jobs or couldn't get to and from nessecary destinations.

The Bus Rider's Union is pushing for legalizing illegal immigrants?

I could easily see how that applied to the interest of the MTA itself, however, as illegal immigrants probably make up the bulk of their ridership. Maybe, without them, MTA would be even more useless as there wouldn't be enough passangers to warrant the current services. Well, who knows, but in that respect I could see how that would work out.
(don't know about the Union's agenda though).

I couldn't imagine there were only so few bus engine manufactures. But what I knew, was that there've been quieter buses around since long before MTA bought the Orange line ones.
I happen to live in a loft in downtown and have had to put up with the screaming buses for several years now. It's not just the noise of the engine (which is bad enough), but when the buses accelerate quickly from a stop, at the higher end of the revs, this god-awful screeching-screaming noise kicks in. Sounds either like a really bad, really loud belt slipping or like some kind of tea kettle from hell. What the f? I'd even put up with some unsightly overhead cables to live with the whisper-quiet electric buses like they have in San Francisco. Sigh...
I live downtown too, and the noise is really ridiculous. Especially that screeching scream noise they make when accelerating. Is this an issue for MTA, are they aware, and do they have a plan to deal with it? It is both the manufacturer and the MTAs fault, but more the MTA fault, because they did have choice. Who would be the best targets to write to? Lets get all downtowners to write. It has got to change.
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