When is a fare hike really a fare cut (Human Transit)
Transportation planner Jarrett Walker gives a brief review of Metro’s proposed fare restructuring/increases and likes what he sees. In particular, he’s pleased that the agency is proposing to get rid of the transfer penalty, which requires passengers to pay full fare whenever they transfer buses and/or trains.
The vast dense core of Los Angeles is one of North America’s great grid systems, designed to allow easy travel between any point A and any point B via a single connection. Unfortunately, their current fare structure charges for a connection. This makes as much sense as a road tolling system that charges only for turns.
It’s nonsense. Connections are an inconvenience to passengers that is required by the structure of an efficient network. Charging for connections encourages riders to demand wildly inefficient services like the late and famous 305, which zigzag diagonally across the grid, increasing complexity without adding much useful service. It amounts to punishing customers for helping Metro run an efficient and attractive service pattern.
Like other fees, fare penalties for connections arise in part because journalists and activists over-react to the base fare figure, creating more political heat for raising that number. So like money-losing airlines, the agencies have to look for other things to charge for to hit their fare recovery targets. But charging for connections is counterproductive, because connections are the foundation of the network. Airlines don’t do it. In fact, airfares via a connection are often cheaper than the nonstop. That’s because the connecting itinerary lets the airline run a more efficient service pattern.
Walker acknowledges that under the pair of Metro staff proposals, fares would overall increase. It depends on what the Metro Board ultimately approves but under the proposals some people would end up paying more — in particular those who use passes — while some passengers may find that they are paying a lower fare because transfers would be free.
The public hearing on the fare proposals is at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, at Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles (next to Union Station). Here is an earlier Source post looking at the proposals.
Gold Line extension gets low priority from SanBag (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
The San Bernardino Associated Governments subcommittee that deals with transportation funding has recommended first providing funding a pair of Metrolink projects over extending the Gold Line to Montclair and eventually to the airport in Ontario.
SanBAG officials say at this time there’s only so much money to go around and the Metrolink projects — extending tracks to Redlands and double-tracking some sections of the San Bernardino Line — have more countywide appeal at this time. That said, officials are generally supportive of the Gold Line projects but say that it’s a moot point until the Azusa-to-Montclair segment secures funding. If the project stays within L.A. County and ends at Claremont, then San Bernardino funds for construction and operating costs wouldn’t be needed.
In the meantime, the Board of the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority last week approved issuing a RFP to find a firm to conduct an Alternatives Analysis of a Gold Line segment between Montclair and Ontario airport. The study is expected to take a couple years to complete.
My write: High noon at Bergamot Transit Village (Santa Monica Daily Press)
The proposed development near the future Expo Line station in Santa Monica would have five buildings, 765,095 square feet of development, 473 apartments (93 affordable/workforce units) and 25 artist live/work spaces in three buildings. The tallest building would be 85 feet — taller than surrounding buildings. In this op-ed, Bill Bauer writes that the City Council should reject the development for being too tall, too large and too much of a traffic generator.
Santa Monica’s traffic woes in recent years are legendary; the question is what, if anything, can be done about it? The second phase of the Expo Line will at least offer an alternative for some east-west commuters. I suppose the ultra-hypothetical question is what if Santa Monica was served by Expo, the Purple Line Extension (which is funded only as far as Westwood) and a Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project that connected with Expo, the subway and traveled south along the 405? They key word there is ‘hypothetical,’ btw.
Are streetcars really part of a city’s transit network? (The Atlantic Cities)
Yes and no, writes Eric Jaffe. On the one hand, they are often run by regional transit agencies and allow transfers to their buses and trains. On the other hand, they usually carry a very small portion of overall ridership, raising the question whether streetcars are the best use of local and federal funds.
Satellite photos show how dire snow conditions are at Yosemite and in the Sierra range (National Parks Traveler)
Not a transportation story, but since drought is in the news — and we will all be impacted — the visuals here are pretty striking. If the mosquitos aren’t too bad, looks like 2014 will be an early backpacking year. Maybe this will be the summer I finally haul my ever-widening backside up to Honeymoon Lake and Granite Park.