What happens to ridership when rail is built? It goes up

One of the most persistent criticisms of Metro by critics in recent times is that the agency is spending too much money on building new rail lines and that rail lines do nothing to grow public transit ridership. In particular, some people and groups have complained that new rail lines have triggered the elimination or consolidation of certain bus lines.

Over the past few months, Metro Service Planner Scott Page — a 23-year veteran of the agency — combed through dozens of documents in order to better understand the impact of the opening of Metro Rail lines on the agency's ridership. Scott focused on bus lines that ran parallel to rail lines that were either completely discontinued or modified so that the bus line became a feeder line to the rail station.

His conclusion: ridership on Metro Rail lines is considerably higher than on the buses that previously served corridors where rail was built. This suggests that the idea that Metro Rail is harming ridership simply isn't true. If anything, the data suggests the opposite — that rail appeals to and serves a broader spectrum of the taxpaying public and that the rail lines have created an integrated system in which buses are still important and compliment the growing rail system.

Some background: Before the Blue Line opened in 1990, Metro's predecessor agencies only ran buses. Today, Metro operates 183 bus lines serving a 1,433-square-mile area with an average weekday ridership of nearly 1.1 million. Metro's five rail lines have a total of 87.7 miles of track and have an estimated 351,000 or so average weekday boardings.

Below please find a white sheet written by Scott as well as a spreadsheet with bus and rail ridership numbers.

Bus Rail Interface White Paper

 

Blue Line

 

 

Red Line

 

Green Line

 

Gold Line

 

 

48 replies

  1. “Over the past few months, Metro Service Planner Scott Page — a 23-year veteran of the agency…”

    Metro expects us to be convinced with an investigation done in-house rather than an independent outside study?

    Isn’t this the same as the TSA’s own internal analyst saying that there’s nothing wrong with TSA misconcucts? Or the police’s own internal investigation that there’s nothing wrong with police conducts?

    C’mon, you don’t expect us to believe this right? We all know this is the same as any place: “do what ever you can to protect your own brothers.”

    If anything, Metro is wasting tax payer dollars on a lot of things.

    We’d like to know what the average pay of these “Metro analysts” and “Metro Service Planners” make with our tax dollars. You can set a good example Mr. Hymon and the rest of the Source bloggers: how much of our tax dollars pay you guys to be Metro bloggers? Let’s start with that. If you guys are being overpaid, you guys can afford pay cuts like the rest of us in this tough economy. That would free up a lot of money to restore bus services that were cut.

    • Hi John;

      I’ll address the issue of our study, which I do think is useful when it comes to informing the public about policy — after all, we frequently ask the public for their views about how transit dollars should be spent and what kind of projects they should be built on.

      The problem with much of the criticism leveled at Metro is that it almost never has any data to back up the assertion that rail is somehow killing the bus system. Media often repeats such claims in he-said/she-said type stories. Scott dug around and produced the data and explained the parameters — it’s a comparison of new rail lines versus the bus service in that immediate rail corridor. It’s here for people to view, use, criticize, etc. We also provided the spreadsheets that has more information about the source data in case anyone wants to study the issue further.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Hi Steve, it looks like the Red Line statistics were not completely absorbed, since I can’t scroll down below Route 429. Could you take a look at it? I feel the Red Line is the most powerful of the ridership comparisons.

    • Hi Chris;

      My apologies for that. We’ve been having some tech issues with the blog — I’m going to try to replace or post link to the full Red Line report here. Gimme a couple minutes and I should have something available.

      Best,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Hi Chris;

        The entire Red Line spreadsheet should be visible now although it’s a little blurry (I had to extract the page from a pdf document). I’m sorry about that but it should be readable. Thanks again for the heads up,

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

  3. Considering I have ridden both my whole life(rail since its birth), I have to commend Metro for giving us more choices. If we had no rail, the complaints would be much different. Politics in this city can make many feel short changed if a rail line is not built through their neighborhood. When organizations like the Bus Riders Union get on busses handing out fliers about how everyones civil rights are being violated, Metro deserves to do in house studies. There would be obvious bias from both ends, but an objective and intelligent individual has to make a decision on what is best for them, and hope that there are enough people that feel the same way.

    Rail has made metro much more attractive to many. There are a lot of people I know that decided to ride buses after they had pretty good experiences with our rail system. I’d like to see comparative numbers on the cost of fuel, mantainance, and cost of labor to operate buses in comparison to the building of rail lines. People forget that even if Metro were to fail, those rail lines are still pieces of infrastructure that will be around for decades if not centuries.

    Bus service has improved greatly in the last five years in my opinion as well. Many cry out as if our bus system is neglected, but even in the last ten years, we have gotten larger, faster, cleaner buses. I feel that a larger percentage of our buses run on time thanks to our TAP system (which I do not think is perfect). Our objective should be to have a system that is multi mode, and that compiments each other. This Bus vs Rail mentality is the type of logic that put L.A. in the position it is in today.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Page’s assessment (thanks Metro for not spending money on an expensive outside consultant to do the study). Most people who complain about rail have never traveled to another city with heavy urban rail use. I have. I lived in Europe and Latin America for 6 years and frequented the rail systems of cities such as Madrid, Mexico City, Paris, Budapest, Prague, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, as well as New York City, Boston, D.C. and San Francisco All those cities put our rail system to shame. In Madrid, where the subway system is absolutely monstrous, rail construction just keeps expanding because it’s such a roaring success.

    Take a survey of L.A. County transit users about their preference between rail and buses, and most of them will tell you they prefer rail. Buses are often late, get stuck in traffic, are overcrowded and smelly. Rail, by contrast, is nearly always on time, has more room than a bus and doesn’t not get stuck in traffic if built underground or in its own right-of-way. For these reasons, most people like rail and dislike buses. The more rail you build, the more people will get out of their cars and use transit.

    I’m tired of using the bus. It’s made me late to many meetings. Please continue to make a heroic effort to expand Metro’s rail system, and L.A. will become a world class city.

  5. Even if a lot the riders on rail used to ride the bus, isn’t that still a good thing? With more people on rail, there is less gridlock on the road for drivers. A smoothly running mass transit system is good for us all — not just for those who frequently use the system.

  6. Rail is better than buses, but there are a lot of improvements Metro can do to make rail even better over buses.

    For example, here’s one advantage bus stops have over rail stations: bus stops usually have something for people to do within literally a few steps from the curb. The Carl’s Jr. is literally ten feet away from the bus stop. The 7-Eleven is ten feet from the bus stop. People have something to do, something to buy while they wait for the bus.

    Metro Rail stations on the other hands, there’s nothing nearby. It’s usually just an platform where people just wait until the train comes. There are no conveniences right at the station. You can’t oggle at the latest issue of Sports Illustrated inside the cool air conditioned 7-Eleven until the bus shows up. You can’t go into to Carl’s Jr. and buy a cup of Channel Islands Roast Coffee as you wait for the bus to show up.

    Rail stations lack these conveniences. I’d like to see Metro improve upon this pronto. All over the world they have conveniences like these directly at rail stations but Metro doesn’t.

    And no, having businesses nearby rail stations is not close enough. It needs to be directly AT THE STATION. Literally, I want a Starbucks at the platform, a place where I can buy a latter within just a few feet as I wait for the train to come. I want a newspaper stand where I can peruse over this week’s political cartoons that are on Newsweek while I wait for the train. I want a vending machine nearby if I get the urge to drink a Sprite. Everyone else in the world they have this, except LA. Why is that?

  7. Will Measure J fund higher frequency on the main bus routes too? 10 minute headways are nice if you live/work near a subway stop, but it’s often quicker to walk a couple miles than wait 20-30 minutes (or more) for a bus in much of central LA.

    Also, NextBus is often way off when I’ve checked it, compounding the problem. Will any of the additional funds be allocated to perfecting that technology?

    • Hi Corner Soul;

      Measure J does not explicitly fund higher frequencies on bus routes. It provides funds for transit and highway project acceleration as well as continues to providing funds for local return and operations — conceivably that money in the future could be used for tighter headways. But keep in mind these are tax revenues that won’t be collected until after mid-2039 when Measure R is set to expire.

      As for NextBus, I’ve personally found it to be pretty accurate (you should also know that my testing of it may be biased by the fact that I live in the San Gabriel Valley where Metro buses encounter less congestion). I do hear occasional complaints about it. I think it’s a matter of Metro working with NextBus to ensure that it remains a useful tool for riders.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. Please let’s not start the food on the train discussion again. I would like to avoid giant rats and cockroaches on the subway platform. Thanks.

  9. Calwatch,

    How do airport terminals keep their places clean and rats free then? They have restaurants and places to eat while waiting for the plane and they see just as many people as train stations do too. They are bound to County Health Laws (you know, those A-F ratings on the front signs) just as any other place in LA County too.

    And why are convenience stores like Famima where they sell food and drinks allowed inside Union Station, but not elsewhere?

    Please explain why we can’t have the conveniences offered at Union Station at other stations? Union Station is clean and rats free enough, don’t you think?

  10. It would be interesting to see a similar study but with whole system. Obviusly before 1990 the whole system was only buses.
    I don’t live in Los Angeles, and never even been there, but some things I read, are that many complains are from people that doesn’t live near a rail line and suffer service cuts, like fewer frecuencies or elimination of bus lines (again in areas NOT served by rail)
    I think it is very good they are building all these rail lines in LA, a very good improvement in transportation. But maybe, the perception of people living in areas not served by rail and suffering bus service cuts is that the money is going to that rail lines. (which is not necessarily true, but could be people’s perception)

  11. Not to totally derail this topic and get off topic about NextBus, but from my experience, the service is far more reliable outside of DTLA and certain parts of the SFV. I have a feeling that tall buildings or mountains are blocking the GPS signal from updating. The Simi Valley, Universal Studios, and Moorpark transit NextBus feeds all update every 20 seconds – while some Metro feeds update every 5 minutes or more. I’m just guessing, but it appears to be geographic related issues. Just my 2 cents based on experience, but I use NB for *everything* and do agree there are certain points in time when it seems less reliable.

  12. I’m reminded of some things the naysayers were saying in the late 1980s about the Blue Line:

    They said that a trolley line running through places like Watts and Compton would be plagued by gang violence. In fact, there’s practically none, and during the L.A. Riots, the Blue Line was one of the few safe places to be.

    They said that nobody in his right mind would ride it, because of the areas it passed through. They said that Angelinos and other Southern Californians would be impossible to pry from their cars. They said that it would cost so much, and serve so few, that the subsidy money would be better spent paying every potential rider to drive the freeways instead. In fact, there was a major design goof made: most of the station platforms were one car-length too short, and had to be lengthened within the first few years, because two-car trains didn’t have enough capacity to keep up with the rider demand.

  13. Hands down, vanity is what causes a lot of new riders to form around rail. People dislike buses and prefer rail. I ride both, but I have a hard time convincing anyone to get on a bus. If rail is option, they usually suggest it to me! This isn’t some small group of people, this is everyone I ask around me when I’m waiting for metro. I came from Phoenix where they had added a Light Rail about 3 years ago, all of a sudden people who refuse public transit decided to do it, on the simple premise that it was rail and not a bus. Fascinating…

  14. Hey Steve

    Is their a way for Metro to Separate the Pasadena Gold Line Boarding from the Total Gold Line Boarding data. It seems kind of unfair to include the Eastside Gold Lines boardings as part of the post rail opening ridership in the Pasadena corridor.

  15. Please post documents as pdf. And accessable without a password. This third party host? You can really trust them with your Facebook password? I do not want to find out! Metro documents that are public should be available on the Metro website without any go betweens.

  16. I agree rail is favored over busing. Which is primarily why I cannot support the MTA’s current plans. Metro neglects the San Fernando Valley and has no plans of bringing mass transit to the SFV. The orange bus was a quick fix to nay sayers 20 years ago but the current plans for the north-south corridors, especially the Sepulveda pass, is inexcusable. Hundreds of thousands of daily commuters and allocating enough money only for buses is insulting. Perhaps after the defeat of Measure J metro will take the needs of North LA seriously.

  17. North LA,

    When did North Hollywood and Universal City leave the Valley? LA’s premier transit line serves the Valley here plus the Valley has 2 Metrolink Lines running through it that LA County funds including from the Westside and South Bay which have no Metrolink service. Measure J would speed up the transit line along the Sepulveda Pass which would mostly serve Valley residents. You are pretty naive if you think the Valley is suddenly going to get a bunch of rail lines if Measure J is defeated.

  18. This is a good piece of analysis, and it’s helpful that Metro published it (and one of their own planners is in the best position to do it). This really needs to be publicized, because a lot of people have this belief that only previous bus riders will ride trains. Basically it’s saying that the rail lines have been built in the right places, places where they increase transit ridership. It certainly would be possible to build a rail line that carried a similar number of people as pre-existing bus lines.

  19. Its not surprising that if you invest hundreds of million of dollars to improve transit service that you end up with more ridership in return. However, it does not ncessarily follow that it was the technology used which caused most of the increase in ridership. Having frequent service which is faster, more convenient and takes you where you want to go is what most people want over anything else.

    I like what Jarrett Walker–author of the Human Transit blog–said about this. He commented on his blog that rail should be the choice when you need a very, very long bus to handle the passenger demand. The Orange Line extension along Canoga Blvd is certainly not that case. Transit useage in the far westend of the San Fernando Valley is very low. Adding a rail line that would only run along Canoga Ave would have a very low ridership.

  20. @Matt

    Metrolink is helpful, but is too infrequent to be an alternative to driving for most people. It is also less subsidized then other services so it cost more to ride which doesn’t make it exactly a fair comparison when we’re comparing what we get for our dollars. The valley is about 1/5 the county’s population and has two rail stops at its south eastern point. If that is all it took for a community to be served, then all the rail line expansions going west, east, and south from downtown would be unnecessary.

    It is the big picture we must consider. For example, the defeat of Measure J may give Metro a reason to consider the needs of the community in most need of automobile alternatives, if only so they can have enough votes to raise additional revenue. In any event, why would 1.8 million people want increased taxes when we plan to see a fraction of the money we pay in those taxes come back to serve us.

    If LACMTA wishes to ignore the needs of North LA and build everywhere but north, then let them take 30 years to do it. We can wait 30 years for our bus routes.

  21. Dennis,

    “Transit useage in the far westend of the San Fernando Valley is very low. Adding a rail line that would only run along Canoga Ave would have a very low ridership.”

    You cannot assume that just because (bus) transit ridership is low in the Valley, there’s no point in putting rail in the Valley.

    It’s like saying “people don’t get sick all the time so what’s the point of having universal health care.”

    Have you considered that people would rather choose cars over slow buses, so that’s what they all use in the Valley?

    North LA,

    You couldn’t have said it any better. People in the Valley have long been overlooked by Metro. They think we’re not part of LA when we pay the same taxes as everybody else in this city.

    When we considered breaking off from LA because we were far too neglected, they came back to us crying saying don’t go, we need your taxes. And now they’re doing the same thing again. Neglecting the Valley and trying to push their own agenda. Enough is enough.

    You want Measure J Metro? Build a rail line in the Valley instead of this BRT Orange Line crap and run a rail all the way from the Valley down through Sepulveda Pass along the 405 down to LAX. That is the minimum to convince Valley residents to vote for Measure J.

  22. @Dennis Hindman

    Your comment about “technology” is inaccurate. Please list a current “technology” that moves more people faster and safer within a city. Clearly an “old” technology is working very well and moves people fast and is frequent.

    I, reqretfully, have to agree with @North LA, the SFV is woefully ignored by Metro and politicians(same thing?)Helping the SFV helps Northern LA county and Ventura county/Simi Valley, particularly if there was convenient rail service from the NORTHERN SFV to West LA that went under the 405. More buses will not stop cars except when a car is behind a bus, well maybe that is their masterplan.

  23. Pretty much every part of the county feels they aren’t getting their fair share of transit or any other government service. People in South LA, think they are slighted because their rail runs at grade along Expo and the Blue Line and soon Crenshaw for a very short section. People in the South Bay complain about no Metrolink service and only having a little of the Green Line. West LA has just a couple of Expo stations currently and nothing else despite being the work center for LA and the worst traffic. The SGV always feels slighted too, because they think the Gold Line should be out past the LA County line to Ontario by now. In comparison, the Valley is no worse off with the Orange Line, 2 Metrolink lines and the Subway, and hopefully someday a tunnel line under the SM Mountains.

  24. The White Paper has interesting data but it provides an overly simplified portrayal of the effects of the introduction of rail service into an existing corridor that is currently served only by bus routes. Somebody looking at the spreadsheets could be led to believe that 50 to 75 percent of the riders on the rail lines are new transit riders who previously used private autos for their travel. In fact, since Metro service operates on a grid system, much of the ridership on the rail lines is siphoned away from bus routes that didn’t even operate in the new rail corridors.
    The scope of the White Paper should be expanded to include other bus routes in the transit system. It should also include tabulations of the number of buses that were taken out of service, and the relative operating costs of the bus and rail services.
    Another factor that should be considered is the amount of development that has taken place in the corridors since they were converted from bus to rail. The Blue Line was opened over 20 years ago, so many of the current riders live or work in areas that weren’t even developed when the Blue Line opened, so they should be counted as a different type of “new rider”.
    Ideally, this type of analysis should completed soon after the new rail line is opened, after new riders have a chance to understand and adapt to the new system, and after Metro has a chance to revise their bus service to account for the new travel patterns of their passengers. However, it should be completed before the property owners in the corridor take advantage of the new rail line by increasing the nature and density of development around the new stations.
    I assume that Metro is already anticipating this need and that Mr. page will soon be preparing a new White Paper documenting the impacts of the Expo Line. I hope that paper won’t be limited to the bus lines that compete directly with the Expo Line, rather that it should also include impacts on parallel bus routes that operate as far north as Routes 33 and 733 on Venice Blvd.

  25. @Matt

    Get the facts right, West LA/Santa Monica have current construction on Expo Phase ll and the Purple line subway!! South LA has Expo/Blue/Green and the currently being built Crenshaw light rail line. And the Green will probably be expanded soon also.

    Ontario is NOT in LA(city or county) I guess your suggesting other counties be funded by LA taxpayers…..

    Metrolink lines pass through SFV and primarily serves Northern LA county and Ventura County. By comparison ridership from SFV is much fewer and they MUST go to Union Station. Metro will probably propose adding a Bus route, BRT, on the 405 and the 2 million people of the SFV should cheer..or cry.

    The subway is only a couple of miles BTW, a good start from 20 years ago. Prop J probably dies in the SFV.

  26. Just to clarify, the Purple line extension is proceeding soon with utility work to allow the actual construction of the subway.

  27. In the SFV,

    Are not Chatsworth, Northridge, Van Nuys, and Burbank in the SFV? Metrolink serves these stations and does not just pass through the Valley as you state. The fact that the Valley does not patronize these stations in great numbers is not encouraging for future transit ridership. It is faster to get to Downtown LA from Northridge via transit than it is from Westwood even though it is twice as far away. Cry someone else a river.

  28. Fares also increase dramatically when rail is built because it costs so much to build, operate and maintain than buses. In the end, you get $2.00+ fares which screws everybody.

    People need to realize that you’re all just using your own tax dollars to impose more fare hikes on yourselves.

    If you want $2.00 or $3.00 fares in the future, then vote for Measure J. I personally don’t.

  29. The only thing I’ll be for more expansion of rail service is if they promise to make my fares lower for shorter trips.

    I only have the need to get on the Red Line from Mid-Wilshire to Downtown LA and I already fork over $75 a month for this service. I have no need to go to wherever the Expo Line or the Gold Lines are going. I don’t care where they plan to expand the Gold Line all the way to Ontario. Getting from my home to work day-to-day and that’s all I care about.

    If they want to expand the system, fine. But I’m not paying more of my tax dollars just to see my fares go higher in order to subsidize people living in East LA so that they can now go all the way to the beach. If it’s going to make my monthly pass go up to $100 a month, screw it because I’m already paying too much as it stands now.

    Besides, who came up with this dumb idea of unlimited ride passes anyway? Why should I even pay $75 a month just to go from Mid-Wilshire to Downtown LA when others can go all the way from North Hollywood to Downtown LA for the exact same price? It’s not even fair to begin with. Make those that travel farther pay more and make those that travel shorter pay less.

    Whomever thought it was a brilliant idea that everyone can pay same price without regards to travel distance lacks common sense. Yeah, let’s make going down the block in the neighborhood cost the same as going from LA to Disneyland. Brilliant. And you wonder why this city is broke.

  30. It’s nice to have some hard numbers, although this confirms what we always knew anecdotally.

    Watch out: in a few years, anti-rail types will claim that “LA is especially attracted to rail” and “we can’t expect the same result elsewhere”. But in reality, Minneapolis had exactly the same result from building its first modern rail line, so did
    Salt Lake City, so did Denver, so did Phoenix…

  31. “I like what Jarrett Walker–author of the Human Transit blog–said about this. He commented on his blog that rail should be the choice when you need a very, very long bus to handle the passenger demand. The Orange Line extension along Canoga Blvd is certainly not that case.”

    True, but the *existing* Orange Line, which *does* have high demand and need unusually long buses, *is* that case, and *should* be rail service.

    Political interference prevented this.

  32. “However, it does not ncessarily follow that it was the technology used which caused most of the increase in ridership. Having frequent service which is faster, more convenient and takes you where you want to go….”

    …is what you get when you build rail instead of trying to use buses. So, y’know, it IS the technology.

  33. As much as I don’t want to say it, but I actually have to agree with a conservative here.

    Metro needs to figure out a better solution to make fares cheaper for those that uses it over shorter distances. This flat fee anywhere in the city is nothing but a sham in disguise to keep us burdened with tax dollars forever.

    Everyone in LA doesn’t pay a same flat rate monthly fee for electricity do they? Yeah, let’s make the common individual living in an apartment pay $80.00 to the DWP while all those Hollywood studios who uses more electricity to also pay the same $80.00. Oops, but the cost to taxpayers for this benefit is that everyone now pays 50% in sales taxes. BRILLIANT!!

  34. @Matt

    There is nothing implied or present in the phrase “passing through” that suggests that something can’t have stopped there such as this bit of dialog explains;
    Q ‘why are you here?’
    A “passing through’

    Not everyone wants to get to West LA/Westwood/Santa Monica/LAX/South Bay by “passing through” Downtown Union Station or 7th Street or by some form of speed limited bus.

    @Nathanael +1

  35. I don’t know why LA has a flat rate. Most cities have either distance-based or zone-based fares. (London’s zone system is famous.) NYC has a flat rate due to historic accident and resistance to change.

  36. FYI, there is a serious push for light rail (Blue/Green/Gold style) along the route of the 405 to Van Nuys. That should benefit the SFV. Then extend north. 🙂

  37. Nathanael,

    Correct. And the end result for NYC for resisting to that change is that they now have to deal with $2.25 fares with more fare increases on the horizon, without regard to how short or far people travel.

  38. The average ridership before and after the rail lines went into operation is completely taken out of context. Population growth is not taken into account. Retail price of gasoline has risen at least 300% for any of the dates used for data of pre rail lines.

    Rail lines will not inherently get you where you need to go faster than a bus line. An example would be comparing the time it would take to take a trip from point A to B between the two closest subway stops beneath a level above ground service and a bus line that has the approximate same starting, stopping points and service frequency while running on a uncongested street or transit way (BRT). Even though the subway can reach speeds upwards of 70 mph, this is more than mitigated by the time it takes to get in and out of the hole in the ground.

    In fact, it would be faster to ride a bicycle between these two closest subway stops, rather than take the subway train. I know this because I have measured the time differences between these two modes of transportation from the North Hollywood subway stop to the Universal subway stop. Plus, the bicycle can take you directly from your home to your final destination and vise versa, while riding the train in the subway cannot do this in the vast majority of the cases.

  39. Dennis,

    The same argument can be said with the bus versus a scooter or a moped. Why would anyone want to wait for the bus under the hot summer sun risking heat stroke when they can just hop onto their scooter and get going? The cost of operating these things are much cheaper than driving a car or even taking public transit due to its excellent gas mileage. Plus, they get around faster than any bicycle could. It is small enough to snake through to the front of the line at most traffic stops while the other cars and buses have to wait at the back of the line.

    Would you then say that LA is better off giving mopeds to everybody than spending millions each year on bus service?

  40. @Dennis
    If you seriously believe that “Rail lines will not inherently get you where you need to go faster than a bus line.” I urge to get on your bicycle(or bus) at the NOHO station and beat the redline to Union Station(yes you and the train must leave at the same time and follow the same path more or less). But your less than serious comment about this race “between these two closest subway stops” suggest that you are jesting with us because the standard of the two closest stops is not how the vast majority of people use this form of transit nor is it the way that these issues should be looked at. Since rail lines are inherently faster, your response appears to deflect from the real question of improving traffic.

  41. Dennis,

    “In fact, it would be faster to ride a bicycle between these two closest subway stops, rather than take the subway train”

    And how will a tourist or a business traveler visiting LA who stays at a hotel accomodation get a hold of a bicycle or know his/her way around the city using a bicycle? Last time I stayed at a hotel, they didn’t provide bikes as amenities like heating irons and hair dryers.

    The flaw with your logic is that it’s only “you.” People who use mass transit is not just “you.” It’s everyone from those that live here to those that come to LA as tourists or business. And while you maybe fine with a bicycle to get from one station to another faster because you already have one that you can keep in your apartment or garage, tourists and business persons do not have that luxury of having a bikes as amenities in their hotel rooms.

    Has the thought of “well how do other people use transit in other parts of the world, do they actually use it for one station stops?” Yes in fact they do. And they do so because they have much more logically minded fare structures: you can either walk 15-30 minutes to get there or pay like $0.80 under distance based fares (cheaper for shorter distances) and get there without walking. And no, people cannot sponstaneously conjure up a bicycle when they want to either.

  42. Yeah, wouldn’t it be cool if we could spontaneously conjure up a bicycle whenever we want to take a short trip within town? Wait a minute, don’t they have bike-share programs in Europe and a few cities in the U.S.? Didn’t Long Beach just sign a contract with a vendor to start a program there? Is Metro or Los Angeles (City or County) looking into a bike-share program?

  43. When I go visit Singapore, yes I do use their subways for one station stops. If you don’t know Singapore, it’s near the equator so it’s always hot and humid. I can risk getting a heat stroke and dehydration walking around town or get by cool and just as fast by using the SMRT.

    And the cost is cheap because it the fares are done by the distance instead of per ride. If it’s only one station away, I only pay for one station worth. If it’s three stations away, I only pay for three stations worth. It’s very easy; I just load up my EasyCard with cash, tap-in and tap-out. It appalls me why we can’t have something as logical as that here.