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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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