Twitter Tuesday: the good, the bad and the musings

You know the drill: To get our attention, tweet us at @MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.

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Participate in Metrolink’s online Strategic Plan survey

Metrolink is inviting rail commuters to take part in a web-based survey and provide input on the future of Metrolink and regional rail service.

The survey is short and only takes a few minutes. Your feedback will help as Metrolink works to develop a Strategic Plan that will be implemented over the next ten years. As an added bonus, participants of the survey who provide email contact information will be entered into a drawing for a monthly Metrolink pass!

Twitter Tuesday: riders praise, vent and take some pretty good pics

You know the drill: To get our attention, tweet us at @MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.

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@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday

You know the drill: To get our attention, tweet us at @MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.


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(sorry folks — can’t get it to embed as usual — hit the above link to read!)

A look at what some riders and readers are saying about Metro’s fare change proposal

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.

Option2

As I dearly hope that you’ve heard by now, Metro is proposing a fare increase and changes in order to keep pace with rising costs. A public hearing will be held this Saturday, March 29, at 9:30 a.m. in the Board room at Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station.

The two options proposed by Metro staff are above for those who have not yet seen them. The Metro Board is scheduled to vote on the fare changes at its meeting on May 22; the Metro Board may ask for changes to the fare proposals before voting on them. There is also more information about the changes on metro.net.

The following are comments from riders gleamed from various websites, including this blog. I think this is a good chance to see what people are saying while highlighting the agency’s response, as well as my own thoughts. Here goes:

ON OPTION 2 — OFF-PEAK VERSUS PEAK HOUR FARES

Sheriff Bart at Curbed LA: “Charging more for “rush hour” commuting is one way to help keep people in their cars….what a stupid idea. Eliminating transfer fees within a 90-min window is an idea way past due.”

The idea behind the second option was too look at a fare system that would encourage customers with more flexible schedules to ride outside of the rush hour, when seats are in the most demand and often completely filled on many buses and trains.

I’m certainly aware the second option has been criticized by others who also say the increases are too steep. Again, please keep in mind that the Metro Board of Directors has the discretion to choose either option and to make changes to those options before voting to approve one of the two options.

Continue reading

Metro looking for riders, non-riders and other stakeholders to take online surveys

Have an opinion about Metro service? Here is a chance to be heard! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Have an opinion about Metro service? Here is a chance to be heard! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

I know that many readers of this blog have strong opinions about Metro and the agency’s transit service and highway programs. That’s great. It’s your taxes and fares that keep Metro rolling.

With that in mind, I wanted to give everybody a heads up that Metro’s Research department is in the midst of creating a group of riders, stakeholders and non-riders who would be willing to take occasional online surveys about specific issues facing the agency (fare changes, route changes, TAP, projects in the works, etc).

If you’re interested, please click here. The survey is also available in Spanish. And, if at any time, you want to leave Metro’s survey panel, simply send an email to research@metro.net with “Remove from Survey Panel” in the email’s subject line.

I think this is a very good opportunity to have your voices heard. Leaving comments here is great, too — and I regularly pass along comments to Metro staff. But the blog comment board is hardly scientific and the new online surveys also hold the promise of being easier to conduct than expensive, time-consuming surveys done over the phone.

Please check it out if you’re interested. As far as I’m concerned, the more public participation the better.

Take our poll: What do you want/need from Metro’s service alerts?

Why the poll?

As government enters — at times slowly — the 21st Century and its rich mix of social media, government is also learning new ways to talk to the taxpaying public. It’s no longer a one-way conversation, people.

Many of our riders already know that our service alerts tend to focus on service impacts rather than the cause of the impacts. To some degree, that’s going to change. We’re presently trying to develop some basic descriptions to better explain what’s happening on our system and the accompanying impacts to riders.

As we do this, we want to know what’s important for riders. Thus, the above poll. We want to know what you think before we make any changes.

Admittedly, speaking in plain English has been a struggle at times. Here are a couple of recent examples from Metro’s primary Twitter feed:

What these tweets don’t say is that a blind man had fallen on the tracks. He was lucky not to be hit by the train and was being extricated by emergency personnel, thus the understandable delays to subway service. He was called a trespasser because that’s Metro’s existing protocol: anyone on the tracks who shouldn’t be there is considered by the agency to be trespassing.

I am well aware that riders have chafed at times at Metro’s service alerts and the information included and, equally important, not included. Especially now that other government agencies — i.e. the LAFD, LASD and LAPD — and media and riders are often posting info on social media in real time about incidents involving Metro.

Why do agencies withhold some information and have trouble, at times, speaking in plain English? It’s a good question.

I don’t think there is a precise answer, nor do I think Metro is the only agency to struggle with what to say — and what not to say. Rather, I think there has been a mix of issues that boils down to two things: a reluctance to broadcast information that is incomplete, can’t be 100 percent verified, unfairly places blame for an incident or is insensitive to serious, perhaps deadly incidents. And, to be honest, I think there is a natural reluctance at many agencies, including this one, to say anything that might make an agency look bad.

Sometimes, too, there are other more complicated reasons. An agency may not want to give a troubled soul a bad idea — thus the reason we are extremely reluctant to discuss suicide-by-train on Metro’s blog or social media even when media is reporting it. The same goes with security issues: when it comes to rider safety, policing and system security, we often follow the ‘do no harm’ rule and say only what is absolutely necessary.

Thank you for taking the poll and for providing any feedback via comments or social media. I think you’ll be seeing some changes soon that will hopefully be for the better.

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, March 11 edition

You know the drill: To get our attention, tweet us at @MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.


March Service Council meetings feature fare forums

Metro is considering restructuring fares and is providing information and an opportunity to comment on the proposal at “Fare Forums” at each of the Metro Service Council meetings in March.

Public comments gathered at the Fare Forums will be transcribed and submitted to the Metro Board of Directors as part of the record of public comment on the proposal.  The Forums are being held at the request of the Metro Board to provide the public with opportunities in different regions of LA County to receive information and comment on the proposed fare restructuring.  In addition to these Forums, the public may provide verbal input on the fare proposal at a formal public hearing that the Metro Board of Directors will hold on March 29, starting at 9:30 am, at the Metro Headquarters building in downtown Los Angeles.  For more information about the proposed fare restructuring, including other ways to submit comments on the proposal, click here.

The first of our five Service Council / Fare Forum meetings will be in Van Nuys on Wednesday, March 5, at 6:30 p.m., during the San Fernando Valley Service Council meeting. The other four Service Council / Fare Forum meetings will be: San Gabriel Valley (El Monte) on Monday, March 10, at 5 p.m.; Westside/Central (Beverly Hills) on Wednesday, March 12, at 5 p.m.; Gateway Cities (Huntington Park) on Thursday, March 13 at 2 p.m., and; South Bay (Inglewood) on Friday, March 14 at 9:30 a.m. For Service Council / Fare Forum locations, click here.

Additionally, all Service Council meetings will include the monthly report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer providing previous month’s statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service. Other meeting topics currently scheduled for the March Service Council meetings include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 3/5) - Vote on proposed service changes for June 2014 or later.

San Gabriel Valley (5 pm, Monday, 3/10) – Vote on proposed service changes for June 2014 or later; presentation on Goals for Division 9 Improvement.

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 3/12) – Vote on proposed service changes for June 2014 or later.

Gateway Cities (2 pm, Thursday, 3/13) – Vote on proposed service changes for June 2014 or later; presentation on Metro’s Blue Line Improvement Project.

South Bay (9:30 am, Friday, 3/14) – Update on LAX Green Line Buses Transfer Policy (note – since no major June ’14 service changes were proposed in the South Bay region, they did not hold a public hearing and thus will not be voting on any proposed changes).

As always, the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with the Service Councils on improving bus service throughout LA County. If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them to service councils@metro.net. If your comments are for a specific Council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing in your e-mail.

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, February 25 edition

You know the drill: To get our attention, tweet us at @MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.

I’m trying something a little different this week — putting most of the tweets in chronological order (going backward) instead of categorizing them. It’s kind of interesting to juxtapose the musings, compliments and complaints. And here goes…