How We Roll, Wednesday, August 19

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Sunday art appreciation via @instagram: In his most recent series of work, graphic designer and illustrator Kim Jung-bin (@hi_bin) from Seoul, South Korea, shares comical drawings featuring historical and cultural icons, all of which are no more than an inch (2.5 centimeters) in size. Jung-bin says that these tiny illustrations are parody images based on word play. “I take words from quotes of a well-known figure or a title of some famous work and replace it with something that sound phonetically similar,” he says. While many of the visual puns he demonstrates can only be understood in the Korean language, there are some obvious ones — like Abraham Lincoln eating a slice of ham or the King of Pop riding a bicycle to illustrate “Cycle Jackson.” Jung-bin admits that it’s not always easy to come up with witty puns that he can also visualize, but he enjoys the humor and letting others join in on the fun. “I believe that an artist must be happy to make people happy, and that’s what I aim for when I’m drawing.” #BikeStyle #artoftransit

A photo posted by Metro (@metrolosangeles) on


Transit-oriented things to do the next five days (in case you missed the Source posts) :

  • See Metro CEO Phil Washington tonight at the Zocalo Public Square forum:

  • Take Metro to see Morrissey at FYF Fest at Expo Park like this super-fan:

Tourist ‘red carpet,’ Hollywood and Highland, to get diagonal crosswalk (L.A. Times)

Word from the city of L.A. is that scramble crosswalks will be installed no later than the end of the year at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in the tourist heart of Hollywood. It’s the same intersection the L.A. Times last month reported as one of the most dangerous in L.A. County.

The intersection is located near tourist attractions including the TCL Chinese Theater, the Hollywood and Highland Center and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and is one of the most heavily traveled intersections for pedestrians in the city. Scramble crosswalks give pedestrians on all corners of the street a walk signal simultaneously and allows for diagonal crossing. These types of crosswalks are already in use in L.A. in Venice, Westwood and Woodland Hills, and in Pasadena.

Incidentally, the intersection is the location of my first (and only) jaywalking ticket, so I welcome the change to make the rules easier to follow and the intersection safer for both pedestrians and drivers alike.

First bike share program in L.A. has launched in Santa Monica (Curbed LA)

Map of hubs in pilot phase. (Map via Santa Monica Next)

Map of hubs in pilot phase. (Map via Santa Monica Next)

The first pilot phase of bike share has arrived in Santa Monica. Beginning last week, registered riders were able to test out the system consisting of 31 bikes at seven hubs throughout Santa Monica. The initial test phase will conclude in September.

The company operating Santa Monica’s bike share program, Cyclehop, is accepting rider registration for the initial phase until the end of the month.  The full rollout of the system, which will feature 500 bikes at 80 hubs, is anticipated in November.

The article highlights a major difference between Santa Monica’s bike share and the one being implemented in L.A. — and many other major cities for that matter — is that these bikes do not need to be returned to a hub or docking station (though riders will incur a $2 fee for the service). The bikes will be picked up throughout the city by an all-electric collection vehicle.

Metro is exploring ways to make transferring between the systems easier as it rolls out L.A.’s first bike share program in 2016.


Los Angeles seeks regulation of Uber, Lyft in exchange for LAX picks ups (L.A. Daily News)

As of this afternoon, it appears Uber has already updated its LAX geofence to allow pickups.

Welcome message for Uber users at LAX.

It looks like Uber has jumped on the Los Angeles City Council’s committee vote yesterday that affirmed 3 to 2 the Board of Airport Commission’s decision that will allow ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber to legally pick up and drop off passengers at LAX.

The issue still needs to be voted on by the full City Council, but according to the screen grab on the right, it doesn’t really matter I guess?

Now, I may be confusing apps since they all seem to be following different rules, but prior to yesterday, the Uber app would inform users that pick ups were not allowed at LAX when they moved their pickup location pin near the airport on an in-app map. Today, a “Welcome to Los Angeles” message appears and users can set their pickup location at the terminals.

Lyft, on the other hand, still shows a “pickups prohibited at LAX” message and disables the “Request Lyft” icon.

Update: Uber’s upgraded services like UberPlus, Black and LUX are allowed to operate at LAX with permission. This explains the welcome message to the right.

After closing the message, users that try to call a UberPool or UberX are informed that no vehicles are available when they set their pickup location within LAX boundaries. Just a suggestion: adding that caveat to the welcome message would probably help clear up some confusion.

Wi-Fi remains hit or miss on Bay Area transit (S.F. Chronicle)

The first thing that stands out in this article isn’t the WiFi, but rather the fact that San Francisco Muni is closing down its subway every night at 9:30 p.m. until January.

Sure, single-tracking and trains running every 20 minutes for maintenance isn’t the most convenient — looking at you Metro Red and Purple Lines! — but imagine the entire subway being closed. Every night. For six months. Wow. This came as a shock to me a few weeks ago when visiting San Francisco. For those keeping score at home, I took a Lyft after the bus never showed.

Anyway, back to Wi-Fi on Muni: passengers were hoping that the communications system upgrade work responsible for the subway closure would include the addition of Wi-Fi when the work was complete. Muni says free passenger Wi-Fi is one of the most requested amenities in rider surveys and it’s a technology that’s showing up in more transit systems — particularly commuter rail — across the country. Excerpt:

In 2014, 10.7 percent of commuter rail cars were outfitted, up from just 1 percent in 2008. Fewer intracity bus lines have Wi-Fi, but that number is also increasing — from less than 1 percent in 2008 to more than 5 percent last year. Figures for subway trains were not available.

However, Muni currently has no specific plans yet to bring Wi-Fi or cellular service to its system citing the cost and complexities of installing the technology, as well as the need to prioritize other projects vital for day-to-day operation of the transit network.

The article notes that San Francisco’s commuter rail service, BART, installed wireless technology in 2009, but cancelled its contract in 2014 because of consistently unreliable service and a shaky relationship with its contractor. BART is now exploring the costs and new technology to reimplement the service in the future.

As regular readers of The Source will know, Metro is currently in the early stages of rolling out its WiFi and cellular service. As Steve mentioned in yesterday’s headlines, the initial schedule has slipped some as Metro and its contractor, InSite Wireless, negotiate with wireless carriers.

Joe can be found on Twitter tweeting tweets @joseph_lem.


13 replies

  1. It truly amazes me how some people can not be without their cell phone and a connection for more than a couple of minutes. It has become all to common to see people walking down the street with their cell phone in hand watching it continuously for fear they may miss a call or text.

    Get a life people. There’s a world out there passing you by while your entire world seems to be focused on that tiny piece of communication that really doesn’t need your undivided attention.

    • said the man spending his time writing angry screeds on the internet while the world passed him by

    • “It has become all to common to see people walking down the street with their cell phone in hand watching it continuously for fear they may miss a call or text.”

      Granted it’s not the best of things, but they’re not staring at their “cell” phones for fear of missing a call or text. The more likelihood is that they’re using smartphone apps. You know, stuff like Google Maps to see where they are going, reading reviews on Yelp!, reading some random stuff on Wikipedia, playing mobile games, watching a Youtube video, checking their bank account, etc. etc. etc….all sorts of things that are doable today on a smartphone.

    • “There’s a world out there passing you by while your entire world seems to be focused on that tiny piece of communication…”

      That “tiny piece of communication” allows me to make hotel and airline reservations, deposit checks, check out currency exchange rates, check my credit card balances, see my bank accounts, hail rideshare services, make tapable payments, take photos and record videos, share them instantly with my friends and co-workers through Instagram and Pinterest, chat messaging with my relatives spread out all over the world, make video calls to my elderly parents half a world away, read up on current world events, read and watch news from all over the world in multiple languages that I understand.

      I wouldn’t say the world is passing me by, I’d say I have the world at my of my hand and fingertips and everything is a simple tap and swipe away.

  2. Long Beach has the same bikeshare vendor as Santa Monica. Which is also being considered in other major cities throughout the region.

      • Based on what I heard from bike advocates during my CicLAvia ride, I believe that West Hollywood and Beverley Hills are also planning to use the “Smart Bike” technology so that they can be compatible with Santa Monica. And the Santa Monica system will include five stations in Venice, with possible plans to expand to Playa Vista.

  3. RE: Uber/Lyft at LAX

    The LA City Councilmembers need to remind themselves that they’re actions are up against Millennials who embraces Uber and Lyft options over the traditional taxi cabs. They can’t have both the labor union vote and the Millennial vote in this matter, they need to pick which side they’re on.

    If politicians want to know what the public really thinks about this, all they have to do is read the comments pages on KTLA 5’s Facebook page and SCPR regarding this:

  4. I’ve always wished Hollywood and Highland station had more than 1 exit portal. The new crosswalk is great, however a later gator may still bolt across to get a bus or train. Getting/keeping people out of the street is a solution, as opposed to making cars wait longer, resulting in ruder less patient motorist; in my opinion. Definitely a step in the right direction.

  5. If Millennials aren’t the ones pushing for more regulation for Uber and Lyft, who then do you supposed are the ones lobbying the politicians to do so?

    Well, who gets hurt the most for having Uber and Lyft operate from LAX? Yeah, uh-huh. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  6. “Abraham Lincoln eating a slice of ham”? “Cycle Jackson”? What am I missing????

    I definitely agree that Hollywood/Highland could benefit from having more than one entry/egress point (cf most of the Market Street subway stations in San Francisco, and most of the Red and Blue Line stations in Chicago, where two entry/egress points are the norm, and three or even four are not uncommon) Hell, late at night, I see people exiting our own Blue Line’s surface stations via the “emergency exit” gates all the time.

    As to Uber and Lyft: “medallion” taxi services aren’t just unionized (where they are); they’re heavily regulated, not just to limit supply so that cab companies and drivers can turn a buck, but so that riders have some recourse if cabbies act in an unethical manner. The same is often true for other traditional “town car” services, that aren’t allowed to cruise for fares, but otherwise have all the rights, and all the burdens, of taxi services. Do Uber and Lyft have any such mechanism?

    • “As to Uber and Lyft: “medallion” taxi services aren’t just unionized (where they are); they’re heavily regulated, not just to limit supply so that cab companies and drivers can turn a buck…”

      A different perspective is that government only regulates them only if the public wants them to. If the vast majority of people today, especially the Millennials, do not want such regulations and would rather embrace the free market system which Uber and Lyft is operating on with much success and appeal to the Millennial generation, then why is the government butting their noses into regulating these things? A vast majority of Uber and Lyft riders has not pushed heavily for regulating these services, the only ones who want regulations are those who have vested special interests in them not to see them succeed and compete against traditional services.

      The government does not act on their own in this country. Our core foundation is that our system of government is that it’s a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” We tell them what they should be doing, not the other way around.

      If we’re to look at it from a different angle, it’s not that we need more regulation or have Uber and Lyft operate on the same level field as taxi cabs and limo companies, why not deregulate the entire market altogether so that cab companies and limo companies operate similarly to Uber and Lyft.

      “but so that riders have some recourse if cabbies act in an unethical manner.”

      And one can make the argument that this is more akin to nanny statism that is too often heard today in the name of “public safety” which increasingly is becoming a tiresome argument that most Millennials see as BS.

      There will always be bad cab drivers, there will always be bad Uber and Lyft drivers, just as there are always bad bus drivers and bad driver in general. But for the most part they are in a very small minority of people and you shouldn’t be regulating away something as an entire lot for the sake of few bad apples.

      Otherwise, what you end up is stupid things like kids’ lemonade stands being shut down by government for the lack of permits and what not just because they aren’t playing on the same level of playing field as Starbucks. There’s a limit to these things and too often, government just goes completely off the mark on over-regulating every aspect of our lives.