The Reason Foundation — long-time critics of rail mass transit — put together the above video posted to YouTube last week. It’s amusing. It’s also a little factually challenged.
So in the spirit of fun, here goes:
•It’s about 29 miles by road — not 17 — from LAX to downtown Burbank, according to most of the maps that I consulted.
•To the dude in the video: if you seriously got from the LAX terminals to Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank using only buses and rail in 78 minutes, then you’re some kind of Jedi Knight of mass transit. That’s more like a two-hour trip — owing in part to the bus between LAX and the Green Line’s Aviation station.
•It’s hardly a secret that LAX-to-Burbank isn’t terribly well served by transit. As part of the Measure R sales tax increase approved by voters, a transit connection between the airport and the future Crenshaw/LAX Line is under study.
•There might be faster alternatives between LAX and Burbank. One idea: shell out a few more bucks and take the Flyaway bus to Los Angeles Union Station, a trip that usually takes 30 to 50 minutes depending on traffic. From there, it’s possible to take the Red Line subway to Universal City and catch a bus to Warner Brothers. Or take Metrolink from Union Station to Burbank and then bus or taxi to the studio.
•To the bubble suggesting that light rail is less energy efficient than cars…that’s hardly an undisputed fact and there are other considerations such as pollution. The federal government has found that transit produces a significantly less greenhouse gases than single-occupancy vehicles. Here’s a good report.
•Transit is heavily subsidized — in Los Angeles County and elsewhere. The correct figures: Metro currently subsidizes on average 72 percent of a bus fare and about 76 percent of a rail fare. See page 64 of this year’s adopted budget.
•We can confirm the video’s keen observation that trains are more crowded during rush hour. However, the trains don’t run all night, as the cute thought bubble alleges.
•A new 40-foot CNG-powered bus costs about $450,000 and a new 60-foot CNG bus about $750,000 — not the $300,000 figure shown in those clever bubbles!
•It’s totally fair to question how much bang taxpayers get for the bucks they invest in any type of transit, rail included. But chew on this: if we got rid of the rail system in L.A. and put everyone on buses and put more buses on local streets and freeways, is there anyone that really thinks traffic or transit would improve?
Comment away, people.