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Plaza at Union Station

Plaza at Union Station

Our brains are extremely sensitive to the surrounding environment. In a high-functioning city such as Los Angeles, the built environment should be enriched so that we can all exercise our brains and contribute to the well-being of ourselves, our families and neighbors.

The monotony of the drive-alone commute is tedious at best and more often crushingly boring. Our transportation network can surely offer opportunities to become interested in our surroundings and appreciative of the work constructed by others. It is good to be inspired by our neighbors, notice the problems in the city and appreciate everything that we are doing right.

With these experiences we might be able to decide how we better fit into the big picture that is society and contribute to Los Angeles’ prosperity.

Leaving your house by car and driving alone until you arrive at your job’s parking lot allows for possibly the least amount of opportunities for social engagement (although I do understand that many find it necessary to drive alone). Cut off by thick metal and glass and high speeds make interaction while traveling nearly impossible. Sharing your ride as a multi-modal communal journey presents any person with countless interactions (both negative and positive) that will contribute to their Los Angeles perception.

It is every person’s right to pursue happiness and fulfillment and I believe that makes it the government’s responsibility to support projects that are known to benefit the public. I encourage everyone to ride public transit, bike, walk, and carpool so that we can learn about each other, appreciate the diverse complexity of Los Angeles and contemplate how our work affects our growing society of health, education, prosperity and happiness.

Learn about how you can move through Los Angeles with Metro Rideshare!

Categories: Go Metro, Policy & Funding

8 replies

  1. “It is every person’s right to pursue happiness and fulfillment and I believe that makes it the government’s responsibility to support projects that are known to benefit the public.”

    A different perspective is that one person’s right to pursue happiness may not be the same as what government thinks what everyone believes to be their happiness.

    For example, you the article writer working as a propagandist for Metro might say looking at the surroundings is happy…but mind you that is your (government) view only. My view could be that I could careless about the surroundings, but rather consider basic life necessities like being able to freely eat and drink on board Metro to be happier and that my right to pursue happiness is being violated with Metro’s no eating and no drinking policies.

    And as with anything, a compromise should be reached like making an exception to bottled water with twist on caps or at least providing some basic services like having a food kiosk at Metro stations where eating and drinking is accepted on the stations, but not on the trains.

    But of course, you are government. Once you say that eating and drinking is a no-no because you deem that is the best for us in the name of public safety and health, you will impose blanket-ban restrictions on said pursuit of happiness. And usually said blanket bans lead to nonsensical things like government shutting down kids’ lemonade stands and Girl Scout cookie sales because they don’t have the right business license or county health permits or the sort.

    http://www.lemonadefreedom.com/2014/05/20/police-shutdown-11-year-olds-lemonade-stand-in-california-may-19-2014/
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41783295/ns/business-your_retirement/t/cops-shut-down-ga-girl-scout-cookie-stand/

    But it’s all ok so long as the government says they are pursuing the right to pursue happiness by securing everyone’s public safety and health as that is government says it’s their responsibility.

    And little by little, our freedoms are lost, while government pushes their agenda on what they think is happy.

    By far and large, I would be keen to say the government’s responsibility is not to look after the public, but to stay the heck away from regulating our lives.

    • Unfortunately, the sad reality is that taking in the surroundings and seeing what LA has to offer only lasts a few days of being a new Metro rider.

      Once it becomes a boring and tiring daily old routine, the time commuting on a Metro bus or Metro Rail is used as nap time, listening to music, reading a book, playing a portable video game, or staring at smartphones.

      Being a Metro rider isn’t much different from driving, you just do different stuff than the time spent when you were driving. The surroundings still pass you by.

      • Agreed.

        Everything is new and exciting the first time. You might look at the surroundings, take a look at the artwork, be impressed by it. But once it becomes a daily routine, meh. Most people on Metro just keep swiping their smartphones anyway by creating an artificial bubble around them, not paying attention to the things going on around them. Sadly, that is the generation today.

        https://youtu.be/RsO9MIaIazM

        And despite all the messages that they need to put their smartphones down, they are not going to give up that convenience easily. And no, the increasingly libertarian generation does not want a flat right ban on this behavior either as they’re getting tired of nanny state laws and regulations affecting every personal lives and matters.

        Metro can focus on the one small short aspect of riding transit, the longer term is how the Metro can better the experience for the casual, daily rider once it becomes the daily routine. Artwork and PRs to take a look at the surroundings are nice, but doesn’t reflect the reality that what casual, daily riders today want are USB chargers, public WiFi, better 4G/LTE reception (Millennials are techies), and some basic needs like being able to drink at least bottled water.

        But what Metro can do is start working together with cell phone companies to start placing public relations ads like this on their stairwells:

        http://calico.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/112.jpg

        What better way to use empty and boring blank staircases as a public relations ad to stop people from walking around mindlessly staring at their smartphones like zombies, rather than a flat right ban on it?

  2. I want to know how successful is the Metro Rideshare program and how does it stack up against private enterprise rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft in terms of pricing and ease of use.

    Does Metro’s Rideshare program offer an app like Uber and Lyft?

    • Hello, absolutely, thanks for your questions. Our services reach much wider than a company like Uber and Lyft. We actually integrate their services into a variety of our programs so that the maximum number of mobility options is always available. When we talk about Rideshare, we’re looking at a suite of options that can bring you to work, or an event, or a family’s house without driving alone. We work closely with a lot of large companies in Los Angeles County that must comply with certain Air Quality Management District regulations. We help those companies work with their employees to develop ridesharing programs that cut back on the number of cars arriving at the work sites.

      Rideshare first integrated Lyft, Uber and other ride-hailing services in our Guaranteed Ride Home program. In this program, employees who have signed up to carpool to work receive a type of “commute insurance” wherein if their ride flakes due to an emergency, they won’t be stranded. In that case, the employee would be able to take an Uber, Lyft, taxi, bus, etc. home and be fully reimbursed for the ride. This program was established to address concerns from carpoolers regarding being stranded.

      In terms of a similar app, we have created a site ridematch.info (please excuse the old interface we are updating and will be back with more this winter!). Ridematch.info connects people who have similar origins and destinations in order to facilitate ridesharing. This is an excellent low-cost solution since we’re non-profit and don’t charge for rides. The ride is yours to negotiate with the other party. A second feature of Ridematch.info is the event interface. Event hosts can send out a link in their confirmation email where people can enter their trip origin to find other people nearby heading to the show. Like I said, we’re undergoing a re-design process currently so that we can bring the user interface up to the industry standards set by the other tech companies.

      Thanks for your questions, please respond with any more!

  3. “In terms of a similar app, we have created a site ridematch.info (please excuse the old interface we are updating and will be back with more this winter!). ”

    I’d be wary of making official remarks like this. Past history has shown us that Metro isn’t really reliable at making promises with timelines regarding updating websites (taptogo.net).

  4. The “no drinking” part of Metro’s policy is grossly outdated. I agree that it’s a blanket ban that doesn’t fit with the times. The restriction was made in the era when glass bottles, aluminum cans and paper cups were the norm which spilled all over the place.

    Today we have spill proof drinking mechanism like plastic bottles and spill proof tumblers. They should at least ease restrictions on these as exceptions.

    People get tired after biking and walking all day and are thirsty, especially on a hot summer day like today. You can’t prevent prevent people from saying that they can’t drink because of some outdated policy when they can be drinking from things like these:

    http://cf.ltkcdn.net/greenliving/images/std/85323-425×281-PlasticBottles.jpg
    http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/twc/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/nike-sport-water-bottle.jpg
    http://files.tested.com/photos/2013/10/08/54049-travelmugs_all1.jpg

    It’s one thing to say no to everything, it’s also another to look at how time have changed and to learn to relax some restrictions due to changes in consumer items.