Why You Ride (or Don’t) Thursday roundup

Here are our selections this week:

Read the surveys, after the jump.

Name: Andrew
Occupation: Consultant
Location: Hollywood

Your Transit Routine:

How often do you take transit and for what purpose?

I take the Metro Red Line every weekday to get downtown. I also take the Red Line on the weekends and the occasional bus.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

Hollywood to downtown, work. Around Hollywood, pleasure.

What lines/routes do you take?

Red Line. The 2 bus line.

How long does it typically take?

To get downtown, 15 minutes. Along the others it depends on where I’m going.

Briefly, how would you describe your typical transit experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?

I love it!

On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?

$50 – $100

Why do you take transit?

I like the subway because I know exactly when it’s coming and when it will get to work.  Some of my colleagues deal with very variable commute times by car, and I know exactly how long it will take.

It’s also great not having to pay for parking downtown, and to be able to walk a little bit in the morning.

Other Transportation:

Do you use any other forms of alternative transportation?

No.

Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?

I have a car.  If I could get everywhere by subway or rail then I would probably get rid of it, but as it were that’s very difficult to do in L.A.

Your Perspective:

If you could make one change to improve your transit experience, what would it be?

– Smarter transfer system between rail lines: it’s kind of absurd that the expectation if you’re transferring between rail lines is that you exit and re-enter.  This problem is compounded if you’re buying paper tickets and are expected to walk out, but another ticket and re-enter.  This needs to be changed.

– Cash purse on tap: my girlfriend comes and visits me sometimes on the weekend, and it’s a hassle to think if we want to take the buses I need to have cash on hand or we have to buy paper tickets.  Can we please get cash purses on TAP already?

Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?

More rail: my opinion on buses is while they alleviate traffic since that makes more people that aren’t driving, they’re still subject to traffic and traffic lights.  Dedicated rail and subways actually eliminate street traffic and are more reliable and predictable.

Do you think L.A. transit is better or worse since you started riding? What’s changed?

It’s pretty much the same. I’m a recent move to L.A., so I don’t have much of a historical perspective.

How would you encourage Angelenos to use transit?

[No answer provided.]

***

Name: Carolyn M.
Occupation: Security Officer
Location: Burbank

Your Transit Routine:

How often do you take transit and for what purpose?

I use both the buses and rail every day, for everything, since I do not own a car.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

Everywhere. Work, errands, to visit friends, job interviews. Although, I missed a Civil Service exam because the BUS NEVER SHOWED UP! And yes, I called that day and complained.

What lines/routes do you take?

I take the bus and train for everything, so I have probably ridden almost every line there is in two years. Mostly? 222, 94, 183, 155, 96, 164, 152, 153, 154, 240, 780, 217, 794. Although I have ridden others. I stopped riding the 92 after being treated like garbage by the female driver two years ago. The Red, Blue and Green lines. Metrolink.

How long does it typically take?

Much longer than it should. There need to be more DIRECT routes down busy roads. There are many routes that could easily be a straight shot from point A to point B but they weave around so much that the trips take forever.

Briefly, how would you describe your typical transit experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?

I hate it. There has to be a better way.

On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?

$50 – $100

Why do you take transit?

I do not have the money for a car at this time. It’s cheaper and less stressful (usually, but not always) than driving.

Other Transportation:

Do you use any other forms of alternative transportation?

Walk, used to bike, but the brakes are broken, car pool when available.

Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes. I cannot afford a car at this time.

Your Perspective:

If you could make one change to improve your transit experience, what would it be?

More frequent service and consistent service. For example, why do some buses run until 1 a.m. but others only run until 8:30 p.m. at night? I live in Burbank, and the 96 and 155 buses stop running extremely early. That means I have to take the 222 to the 94, with a long delay sometimes between the two, in order to get home. There should also be some kind of notification at the Red Line stations as to the TIMES the buses will be arriving and departing, and what TIME THE LAST BUS WILL LEAVE! People get stuck there all the time. Transit should not so frequently leave people in a complete panic about how to get home or to their jobs because the buses stopped running, without their awareness of what time that would occur. Paper schedules are NOT enough! In addition, I would NOT decrease bus arrivals and departures on Saturdays and Sundays. They are generally 45 minutes to an hour apart. However, the people actually RIDING those buses WORK on weekends. The reduced hours on the weekends feels like a decision made by people that consider a “work week” to be Monday-Friday from 9-5 p.m. It is not.

Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?

1. Electronic notifications at hubs and Red Line stations about times both buses and trains will run.
2. 1-800-Commute phone number with operators should NOT just be available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It should be available from the FIRST bus/train to the LAST bus/train for people who are either stuck or lost.

Do you think L.A. transit is better or worse since you started riding? What’s changed?

It’s gotten worse. The fares increased, but the connections decreased. I rely on Metro buses, the Red Line, Metrolink and Burbank buses. It used to be enough to have a Metrolink or TAP pass to transfer for free. Now? I have to pay $1 per ride. AND, the times that I can take the Burbank Bus have shortened. The last bus used to leave my workplace at 7:30 p.m. and now it leaves at 6:00 p.m., which means I am stuck without a bus ride. It changes the hours that I can work. I work for a studio that does not close, and have a job that is 24/7 and sometimes on-call. Sometimes I end up walking 5 miles home, at between 1-5 a.m. That is completely ridiculous in a major metropolitan area.

How would you encourage Angelenos to use transit?

I would increase the hours that the buses run on weekends, to encourage people to use the bus instead of driving for work, errands, and going out. It would also be nice if the buses ran along Sunset Blvd. later than 11 p.m. for the people that are going out, and possibly drinking. Give them an option other than a taxi or unsafe driving. I’d encourage that for Angelenos.

I would also like to assure them that the buses are on-time, and figuring out the schedules are easy (right now? Neither one of those are true).

I would also train the bus DRIVERS that ANSWERING QUESTIONS IS PART OF THEIR JOB! Some of them are tremendously friendly and helpful. Some of them? Not so much. I have had many drivers deliberately ignore me, tell me that it “isn’t their job to answer my question,” or be flat out rude. That’s completely unacceptable to fare paying riders that rely on public transit. Give ridership a way to instantly report this behavior. The number on the front of the bus is not enough. Are the cameras on the bus watched? Are kind and helpful drivers rewarded for their assistance? They should be! ARe the rude jerks that drive for you disciplined accordingly? THEY should be, too! There are plenty people in line for work these days.

***

Name: Mike Johansen
Occupation: PC Technician
Location: Ventura

Your Transportation Routine:

How often do you drive and for what purpose?

Errands and to go out within Ventura County.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

Home and places of entertainment.

How many vehicles do you or your family have?

1

How long does your commute typically take?

Varies.

Briefly, how would you describe your typical driving experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?

I deal with it.

On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?

$100 – $300

Do you use any forms of alternative transportation?

Bicycle.

Why do you drive?

Convenient.

Your Perspective:

Why can’t/don’t you take transit?

Well I think there should be a rail line from LAX to Union station for people who are flying in to go to California outside of LA. My mother used drive down from Santa Barbara to pick up my uncle who flew in from France, 100 miles each way. If he could get to the Amtrak station, the Pacific Surfliner goes as far as San Lui Obispo.

Have you tried to use transit before? What was your experience?

On occasion. It doesn’t go anywhere I need to go.

What could local transit agencies do to encourage you to take transit more often?

Have a line going from LAX to Union Station

How do you feel about buses?

I’d ride a bus, but only if it has a dedicated lane.

How do you feel about rail?

I’d ride rail if it there was a route that served my needs.

Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?

A combination of freeway lanes and more rail lines. I also think freeways and rail should be funded from gasoline tax, sales tax from auto sales and even anything automotive related (car parts, etc) and traffic fines. Money from all those sources should go into the rail, the streets, and the freeways and nothing else.

2 replies

  1. Comments like Mr. Johansen’s request for a rail line from LAX to Union Station are frustrating. The LAX Flyaway does exactly what he asks for and at a miniscule fraction of the cost of building a rail line. I’m as big a fan of rail as anyone but this is a case where it’s not needed.

  2. Fred, probably the most useful idea in this batch is to have better bus information at the rail stations and other major hubs. We need electronic signs that tell you for each bus route when the next bus is or whether bus service has ended for the evening.