The Board of Directors of Metro met Thursday for their regular monthly session (here’s a link to the agenda). It was also the first meeting run by the new chairman of the Board of Directors, Supervisor Don Knabe.
Here are a few highlights of issues they tackled that I thought would most interest our readers:
•The Directors voted to create a “transit court” for the agency to handle disputes arising from tickets issued by the sheriff’s department to bus and train passengers. Under the current system, those disputes go to the criminal courts — a financial burden for them and Metro. “The proposed system will create a two-pronged approach, providing all but the worst offenders an opportunity to resolve citations without appearing in Criminal Courts,” wrote Metro staff in their report on the issue. There is also a revised code of conduct that includes, in my view, nothing shocking — and, yes, the ‘no spitting’ rule is thankfully still in effect. Metro staff report
•The Directors also voted to increase the budget about $33.5 million for the Expo Line’s first phase from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City. That takes the budget for the project from $862.3 million to about $895.9 million. The increase will pay for a new station at Farmdale Avenue adjacent to Dorsey High School, additional fencing to prevent jaywalkers from crossing the track and other improvements along the line. Metro staff report
•The Directors accepted the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Committee convened to look at Metro rail and bus operations. The committee’s report is thoughtful, but I don’t think anything in its report is surprising — it’s basically a statement/reminder of values and priorities. As for Metro service, the committee said:
1) Highest priorities include weekday services and basic weekend service in areas of high demand.
2) Later-night service in areas of higher demand is of secondary but still important priority to provide basic mobility.
3) Lowest priorities are owl service and service to low-density areas
The committee also recommends improving transfers to make them as seamless as possible and that part of that should be implementing a more liberal transfer policy. At present, as Metro riders know, the agency requires riders to either buy a ticket for each ride on an individual bus or train or buy a daily pass. Blue Ribbon Committee report
•Financial firms were chosen to handle bond sales to help fund Measure R projects — if, in fact, the agency definitely chooses to make such sales. Among those firms are two familiar ones, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Staff report