Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Announcements in the Metro Stations 2
With reservations, I say, this is probably one of the dumbest things the MTA's come up with (It was probably supposed to be a good decision). It just reeks with an out-of-touchness.
It's obvious that no-one; none, is standing near the edge of virtually any subway platform, yet they keep spewing that message at awkward moments, like past midnight when there are two people waiting for the train, and implying some urgency.
While, if it was only about some mis-guided announcement, by itself that'd be easily acceptable. But the dumb announcements come from the same transit agency that's screwed up in about as many areas as they spew that message per day. You know that it's the MTA, the same agency that's become infamous in the world of public transportation, that'd crafted those messages. That's what makes it that painful.
Anyway, why couldn't they announce something of higher importance? Not to say that safety cautions aren't important but they're already posted on notes everywhere. So how about either to shut-up, or announce when the next train is coming?
After all, what's the percentage of transit riders who stand or walk near the platform edges? About 1 promille per day? Yet everyone has to hear that message, over and over; morning, lunch, midnight, day in an day out, and for how many years?? That damn "ding dong ding dong", Look MTA's found a new toy to play with! Jeeeze!
What's next? "Ding dong ding dong: Remember that it's illegal to drive motor bikes on Metro stations", and repeat that message 99 times or so per day?
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Announcements in the Metro Stations
Ok, MTA, we KNOW, probably 99% of us KNOW that you're not supposed to sit on the edge of the subway platform, and we KNOW, now 5 years after 9/11 with notices everywhere, that it's advisable to report unattended packages at subway stations. Why Now? Why these arbitrary, annoying messages one of a sudden? Are you bored? Didn't you find anything better to do than spewing these headache messages over and over?
Sometimes, or oftentimes, the announcement(s) come when there are about 3 people in the station that can hear them, and in 99.9999% of the cases these people aren't even standing, sitting, or walking near the edge of the platform. If you're going to say something, say something of relevance to more than 1 out of 20000 people, as that darn announcement signal can be quite disruptive. And also, you don't need to remind everyone 2 times per hour, sometimes, that they may not stand, sit or walk near the edge of the platforms. What's all this meaningless gibberish? How about announcing when the next train is coming instead? That's indeed information that's lacking, and would be much better followed that damn Ding Dong Dang.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
So now there will be updates, but probably less often as many of the issues have already been posted about.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Another inane thing about the subway stations are the scrolling displays that instead of displaying the time for upcoming trains, keep displaying these security messages, and notes about some broken escalator. If an escalator doesn't work at some particular Metro station, good that they inform people about it. But just don't use the only electronic display in the entire station, where the most intuitive thing to look for is time display for the next train. But MTA and times/schedules is among the worst in the world.
For 10 years-plus now, L.A. MTA hasn't figured out that scrolling electronic displays are for reporting schedules, or, duh, just any information that is of immediate interest to the greatest amount of people. A broken escalator might be of crucial interest to about 10 people each hour, whereas most riders are able and can walk the stairs if necessary. Same with the security messages. Put up permanent posters that get time to sink in, rather than wasting the screen display estates. As good as the subway is, there's still a lot of confusion. People have no clue when the next train is arriving, or where it's going to, as colors, signs, all look the same for all destinations, and are placed in no particular order.
Most developed subway systems prioritize time and schedule for main information display. Not arbitrary, even stupid, messages like those telling parents to look out for their children at subway stations. Duh, please. For some reason the MTA thinks parents need to be reminded of their parental responsibility at the subway station, never mind that most people who are in a station at any given time aren't parents or don't have kids.
And sometimes some voice announces some highly arbitrary message over the mike, such as reminding people of not eating or drinking in the stations. Like, once a day or so. There's no consistency, and sometimes the message is in Spanish. Well, for whatever reason, MTA is the most unprofessional public transit agency in the developed world. I'd bet they are. They don't even seem to look at others for ideas, but go their own stubborn ways until things get stuck and don't work well.
MTA likes to not inform people. It's as though "be happy you've got these new tap machines, now shutup and go ride the train". Oh, also, the escalator at the west end entrance to the pershing square station might not be working. Now several thousands know it, but they don't know when the next train will arrive.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Metro's 'Self' Ad Campaign revisited
It's just a sign of how out of whack they are with realities of public transportation in L.A. All issues, and more, addressed on this blog fly in the face of their idyllic little posters and pictures that imply strongly that MTA and their services are "great".
And moreover they can't be making much sense. Not until the MTA actually improves services and enhances standards will they lure new customers, since that must be what they're aiming for, partly.
They don't seem to get it. MTA's currently associated with 2 main things, probably, without being smug, to most bus riders who use their services. One is bad, unreliable and/or unpredictable services. The other one is MTA's ad-campaign. That means that on one hand there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, on the other hand there are self-glamorizing ads promoting the service that stands for those issues.
It's almost as if dumb dumber are running the MTA. How about focusing on improving services first, then promote those services without having to lie? Eh, not the other way around. Because as long as public transportation is sluggish, inefficient, overcrowded and more, people will take notice of that, and will continue to avoid it, regardless of what the arrogant oafs within the MTA think.
It's also suggests that to flash fancy self-promoting ads to a crowd that largely hates their service, means they don't take their riders seriously. But that's nothing new.
As if a customer who waited for the bus for 30 minutes, then came the bus and it was full, so he had to wait another 20-30 minutes for the next one, and it happens on occasion after occasion. How in hell is that person going to be appealed by their ads? That's like acting like a careless jerk, then go about and expect people to dig you anyway. That's arrogance.
If they really want to increase ridership, they should focus on providing excellent services that make up for a real alternative to the car. Trying to compensate for a lousy service with paper ads just won't cut it.
And since largely the same people keep viewing these ads over and over, the ads won't have the indented effect of attracting new riders. But, frankly the MTA makes up for that. By allowing to show those money-making schemes on Metro bus ad monitors, that prey on poor and low-income people. As if scams were just what these people needed to be presented with. Most riders don't care anyway, but in cases where they do, they will be ripped off.
The largely same revolving faction of people keep viewing the largely same Metro ads. An ad that's being shown to the same group of people over and over will lose effect, if it, in this case, ever had any. Moreover, it's the riders themselves who are the true insiders, and will know whether those ads reasonate with reality or not. Not the promoters behind them who never utilize the bus themselves.
This is similar to selling a brew that monopolized on the market, and then promote that brew to the people, who purchased it not because they liked the taste of it, but because there were no other choices on the market. Reminds of Communism in a sense, where some central government promotes a government-made product to the people who have no means of choosing something different. With MTA, people in Los Angeles who use public transportation do it mostly because they can't afford to drive. It's quite crude to launch a self-promoting ad-campaign to people in such a position.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Many Things are Lacking In L.A.
A partial list of areas that either lack or are in excess in L.A.:
- Police officers (lack)
- homelessness (excess: leader in the U.S)
- Traffic light synchronization (lack: a simple thing, but a lack)
- Gang violence (excess: leader in the U.S)
- Green space (lack: overall)
- LAX airport (lack: too low-end for the city)
- Affordable housing (lack: working people are getting evicted)
- Jail beds (lack: the overcrowding is one of the nation's worst)
- Hospitals (lack: there's about one major hospital in the entire South L.A.)
Those were not mentioned for the sake of it. Rather it's because MTA's sloppiness seems to be part of a larger pattern here. Maybe it's that L.A. is young, sprawling; it's hot etc. Maybe it's just the weather that makes people here too lazy to care enough. It's just that when it comes to fundamental issues, like public transportation among other things, that laziness really hurts.
But when looking through the lense of that general pattern, it's not stunning to see why public transportation can be so bad, when even housing is. Many profound areas of L.A. are bad in terms of being low prioritized or under-funded. In those cases, such as under-funded jails or neglected homeless people, a negative bias could be argued to lie behind. Public transportation becomes extra weird, because it encompasses all types of people and isn't an area of crime or illness. But not even that appears to make any difference in this city. MTA doesn't care. They don't seem to distinguish between regular citizens and those with special needs.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Letters To the Times
There are at present some good forces behind Los Angeles transit. For example mayor Antonio seems quite determined to improve the system to a level, well, where blogs like these basically wouldn't make sense, and where it wouldn't be an urban embarrassment anymore.
However, here are a couple opinions from other transit, or would-be transit riders, and they confirm that there are very basic things that need to be done by the MTA to increase ridership, and subsequently expand transportation services. And as usual, they're rather no-brainers:
Ideas to get more riders on trains, buses
Friday, August 04, 2006
A Note on the Metro Green Line
Without the obvious flaw in and of itself, for a rail line to end as abruptly as the Metro Green Line does prior to its most logical final destination: LAX, another thing that's apparently being neglected is that you can't travel the Flyaway bus on a Metro day pass. That's a shortcoming that's an issue to many people on short budgets, such as economically poor residents, budget travelers, as well as residents who live in many areas of South Central L.A, and where Downtown L.A is farther away from them than LAX.
They wouldn't find it as convenient as stated by a certain LAX official, to take the Flyaway bus everytime they want to get to LAX. That would be a detour for those who must first go eastward (or northeastward; a detour at any rate) to Downtown L.A, then from there catch the Flyaway bus west.
Plus the flyaway requires a separate fare of $3. That means an extra cost of $1.25 for anyone who doesn't live within walking distance to Union Station, plus the detour.
In other words, is the stated convenience of the Union Station Flyaway really such a good excuse for not extending the Metro Green Line to LAX proper? No. Any sensible city would fix that gap without trying to argue 'why'.
It's annoying to have a half done rail system. There's no consistency in it. That alone is a frustration, besides the actual shortcomings like aformentioned.
I think, as I'm sure many others do, that a rail-line connecting LAX to the rest of the city would enhance the quality of the general airport experience, by streamlining transportation there, as well as enhancing the city's general infrastructure network.
We could do without yet another bus. Heck, otherwise why don't we just go back to horseback shuttle? Speedwise, what would be the major difference between that and bus in L.A, today? I bet a horse-ride would be even faster.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
MTA's Bus Priorities Are So Stupid
Like mentioned in an earlier post, you can often see empty buses pass by across the street from where the actual crowd is waiting for it. It'd be a no-brainer to take those empty buses and place them where the crowd actually is. Why? Well, so that dozens of riders won't have to go through the undue frustrations of waiting for extended periods of time, then when the bus they've waited for finally arrives it's either operated by a rude driver who won't stop no matter what, or the bus is simply out of room. That's just such a provocation. Everyone knows that it's not impossible or even unrealistic to add buses to routes where they're needed the most. Yet the MTA won't do so, or if they do, it'll be only after they've neglected the dignity of bus riders for several years. You see all types of people and the expressions on their faces when the bus finally comes, but is too crowded to allow them aboard, need only be witnessed once to realize that a change is needed.
It's really a freaking battle to use the bus in L.A. It's a 50/50 game between reasonable convenience and excessive frustration. Yet, all it'd take to reduce some of those frustrations would be a nod up in MTA pro-activeness. How come that doesn't happen? Are they busy fighting with the Bus Union or what? Well, who cares, it's the riders who pay the price, and thousands are sick of it, while only a few dozens of leadership figures who could make the change don't care enough.
Then again, it's a part of the same leadership that's allowed witnesses to get murdered in local jails, allowed veterans to die diseased on local streets, and allows all denizens to get dodged by the bus . This is Baghdad, dude. They're literally fine with allowing people getting murdered, and die in filthy conditions on the streets, otherwise they wouldn't be so slow about doing something about it. Where have their priorities been? To dress up for some West side party? It's bullshit and everyone pays the price, including grandmothers and the elderly who can't freaking rely on something basic as transportation in a city that vastly depends on it.