The Metro Board of Directors is scheduled to vote Thursday on proposed bus service changes that would take effect in June.
On Tuesday evening, KCRW’s “Which Way L.A.?” featured a lengthy segment on the bus changes. Among the guests was Conan Cheung, who manages service planning and scheduling; Esperanza Martinez, a lead organizer with the Bus Riders Union, and; Brian Taylor, the Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA. Listen here.
In addition, Metro CEO Art Leahy wrote an op-ed piece that ran in the Daily News on Tuesday that puts the service changes he proposed in the context of the changing transit scene in Los Angeles County. Excerpt:
In approving Measure R, Angelenos voted with their pocketbooks for a new more balanced transit system that would move people cheaper and often faster than they could slog through congested streets and freeways. They voted to retain a solid bus program and fare subsidies, but they also voted for a massive expansion of rail. We need both.
It’s also time to recognize Metro is no longer the only game in town. Back in the 1980s, Metro buses carried about 85 percent of all transit users in the county. Today that percentage has shrunk to 61 percent thanks to more than 200 percent growth in service operated by the municipal bus operators plus the exponential growth of Metro Rail and the Metrolink commuter rail network.
There’s too much duplication of service and, as a consequence, Metro buses today overall are running less than half full.
That doesn’t mean the pendulum has swung back to rail. It means we must finally recognize the dynamics of transit here are changing. Rather than duplicating bus and rail routes and wasting scarce public resources, we must better integrate the various public transit services. And there should be an emphasis on quality not just quantity. Buses and trains should arrive on time and vehicles and stations should be clean. As a former bus operator, I know how important this is to our customers.
The Board of Directors meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station. The Source will provide live coverage of the meeting and the discussion and vote on the service changes.