Take our poll: how do you feel about fellow transit riders wearing Google Glass?

Google Glass. Photo by Antonio Zugaldia, via Flickr creative commons.

In recent months, I’ve been reading with increasing curiosity about Google Glass, the glasses developed by Google which allow users to view the internet and take photos and videos. They are not on the market yet, but Google has been providing them to some members of the public for test runs.

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

If Google Glass becomes popular, I’m curious about how transit riders view the devices. Are they just another cool gadget building on the advances of smartphones? Or do you think they’re overly obtrusive and a violation of whatever privacy you have left when riding public transport?

Take the poll and feel free to comment please; one comment per customer please.

Service Councils go dark in August

There will be no Service Council meeting in August. All five Metro Service Councils voted to go dark during the month of August at their meetings the previous month. The decision was primarily based on the fact that all August Metro Board committee meetings, and the regular monthly full meeting of the Board, have been cancelled.

All of the Councils will resume their normal meeting schedules in September. To learn more about the five Metro Service Councils, including information about the locations, times and days they typically meet, visit Metro’s Service Council web pages by clicking here.

 


Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – riding down the Imperial Highway

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Breeanna Taylor bikes 12 miles down the Imperial Highway to get to work.

Name: Breeanna Taylor
Start: Downey
End: La Habra
Distance: 12 miles (one way)
Time: 90 minutes (one way)

Breeanna with her mountain bike, helmet, and sunglasses getting ready to bike to work. Photo courtesy of Breeanna Taylor.

Breeanna with her mountain bike, helmet, and sunglasses, ready to bike to work. Photo courtesy of Breeanna Taylor.

She gives us her tips on bicycling to work and tells us about handling “steep hills and scary car situations” in an interview after the jump. Continue reading

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – NASA “bike train engineer” conducts “bike train” to JPL

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Our next Golden Pedal Award goes to Charles Dandino, unofficial “bike train engineer” at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Charles was nominated by colleague Tushar Thrivikraman for spearheading their weekly “bike train” – a group ride to work that stops to pick up fellow JPL employees on the way. With Charles at the helm of the train, they’ve hit their time points nearly every week for the last nine months, rain or shine. (Hey Charles, have you ever thought about working for a transit agency?)

Name: Charles Dandino
Start: Silver Lake
End: Pasadena
Distance: 15 miles
Time: 75 minutes

Charles on his bicycle. Photo courtesy of Charles Dandino.

Charles, resident “bike train engineer” for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Photo courtesy of Charles Dandino.

Continue reading

Gateway Cities Service Council to receive public comment on proposed Blue Line station renaming


If you want to have your say in the renaming of the Blue Line Transit Mall Station to the Downtown Long Beach Station, attend the service council meeting this Thursday or write in to servicecouncils@metro.net.

Here’s the press release from Metro with more information:

The Metro Gateway Cities Service Council will receive a presentation, and accept public comment, on the potential renaming of the Blue Line ‘Transit Mall’ Station to the ‘Downtown Long Beach Station.’ The Service Council meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 11 at Salt Lake Park Community Center, located at 3401 East Florence Avenue in Huntington Park.

The City of Long Beach has requested the new station name following a community survey they conducted. Metro’s station naming policy includes a procedure for seeking community input on station names, and requires that any changes to an existing station name be authorized by a two-thirds vote of Metro’s Board of Directors. Metro’s Board will be presented with this request for information purposes only later this month.  They could act on the request as soon as their September meeting.

Jon Hillmer, Director of Metro’s Regional Service Councils, is hopeful that the public will attend and participate in this meeting. “We are always appreciative of the public’s comments on Metro service and programs. The Service Councils present an excellent opportunity for the public to share their thoughts and ideas about Metro, and we welcome the public’s involvement and thoughts about the proposed new station name. If anyone cannot attend this meeting, but would like to comment on the proposed station name, they are welcome to submit comments in writing by e-mailing to servicecouncils@metro.net.”

The Metro Gateway Cities Service Council is one of five Metro Service Councils representing different regions of Los Angeles County. The other four Service Councils represent the regions of: San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, and Westside/Central.

Metro Service Councils review and take action on staff recommendations for service modifications, receive public input on Metro bus and rail service, conduct public hearings, evaluate Metro bus programs, and make policy recommendations to the Metro Board about service in the area they represent. For more information about Metro’s Service Councils, visit their website http://www.metro.net/about/local-service-councils/.

Metro Service Council July meetings preview

With the beginning of a new fiscal year, some Metro Service Councils will be seating new members and rotating chairs and vice chairs. New Service Council members are listed below in the Service Council’s agenda items.

A milestone will also be celebrated this month as the Gateway Cities Service Council reaches their 10-year anniversary mark.

All councils are scheduled to receive a presentation on Metro’s Title VI Public Participation Plan and a report on Metro’s response to growing ADA ridership. In addition, all councils will vote on potentially going dark in the month of August.

Some of the presentations are tentative at the time of this posting. All Service Council meetings include a report from Metro Service Council Director Hillmer providing previous month’s statistics on ridership and other performance metrics. Meeting topics for July Service Council meetings include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 p.m., Wednesday,  7/3) – Swearing in of new council members Antonio Lopez (Mayor, City of San Fernando) and Dennis Washburn (Las Virgenes – Malibu COG Appointee); Report on transit safety and security; Update on Orange Line bikes on buses. Michael Cano will replace Kymberleigh Richards as 2013-2014 Chair, and Donald Weisman will replace Representative Jesus Ochoa as Vice-Chair.

San Gabriel Valley (5 p.m., Monday,  7/8) –  Presentation on El Monte Station improvements and Division 9 bus maintenance; approval of a potential Line 485 regional meeting date and location; short tour of El Monte Station. Harry Baldwin will replace Steve Ly as 2013-2014 Chair, and John Harabedian will replace new Chair Baldwin as Vice-Chair.

Westside/Central (5 p.m., Wednesday,  7 /10)  –  Swearing in of new council member Randal Henry (City of Los Angeles Appointee); Update on I-405 Freeway Construction.

Gateway Cities (2 p.m., Thursday,  7/11) –  Swearing in of new council members Gene Daniels (Mayor, City of Paramount) and Ana Maria Quintana (Vice-Mayor, City of Bell). Report on City of Long Beach Station Renaming Request; Update on the City of Long Beach motion on Metro Blue Line improvements; Report on Artesia Station construction completion and I-5 construction activities impacting Line 460 detour; Recognition of 10-year anniversary of the Gateway Cities Service Council.  Marisa Perez will replace Lillie Dobson as 2013-2014 Chair, and Richard Burnett will replace Josue Barrios as Vice-Chair.

South Bay (9:30 a.m., Friday, 7/12) –  Swearing in of new council members Jack Gabig (Gardena Bus Lines) and Patricia Lin Hachiya (transit user). Update on Crenshaw Corridor Customer Survey.

For a detailed listing of all council meeting dates, times and locations, click here. As always, the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with the Service Councils on improving bus service throughout L.A. 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 servicecouncils@metro.net. If your comments are for a specific council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing in your message .

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – riding fearlessly through Commerce

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week.

Vincent Baltierra, Sr., leaves his house at 5:15 every morning, pedaling his bicycle down Washington Boulevard alongside the hundreds of trucks hauling containers between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Union Pacific and BNSF rail yards. He clocks in before 6 a.m. at City of Commerce City Hall, where he works as a street maintenance helper. He’s biked to work this way for 10 years.

“Although Mr. Baltierra is 72 years old,” wrote Rebecca-Lee Longoria, City of Commerce employee transportation coordinator, “cold, rainy, [or] hot weather, not to mention dangerous traffic conditions, do not prevent him from riding his bicycle to work.”

Name: Vincent Baltierra, Sr.
Start: City of Commerce
End: City of Commerce
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 30 to 40 min

Mr. Baltierra and his bicycle at a City of Commerce rideshare event

Mr. Baltierra and his bicycle at a City of Commerce rideshare event. Photo courtesy of Rebecca-Lee Longoria.

Continue reading

Gates to be latched full-time at Union Station subway entrances beginning today; here is the Source’s Q&A about the turnstiles and TAP

Patrons at the Union Station Red/Purple Line station last week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Patrons at the Union Station Red/Purple Line station last week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

On Wednesday, the gates will be latched at all times at the two entrances of the Red/Purple Line subway at Union Station.

Gates at the 15 other Red/Purple Line subway stations will then be latched over the course of the summer. If Metro is satisfied with operations and results on the subway, gates at some Gold, Green and Blue line stations will be latched as early as this fall.

I know there is considerable interest in gate-latching and TAP among Source readers. My sense is that many readers of The Source believe it’s about time the gates are latched while others remain skeptical the program will benefit riders or the agency’s bottom line.

Click to see larger.

Click to see larger.

One thing that’s hard to argue: Metro Rail ridership has greatly increased in recent years and that hasn’t made the current way of checking fares any easier — especially at peak hours when there are a lot of people aboard trains and exiting and entering stations.

The following Q&A is intended to answer questions that many of you have about the program, as well as help new riders navigate the changes. As always, please feel free to comment and ask questions. We’ll do our best to get answers to the most salient questions.

Why does Metro say ‘latched’ instead of ‘locked?’

Locked implies that customers may be locked out, whereas latched implies customers will be able to pass through the gates. In other words, Metro feels like “latched” is a more accurate way of saying it.

What’s the goal of the gate-latching program?

Metro hopes to create a safer customer experience by reducing fare evasion. The agency also estimates that there will be an annual increase in revenue from the subway alone of $6 million to $9 million because more people riding the system will be paying fares. More on fare evasion below.

Can I ride Metro Rail without a TAP card?

No. You must have a TAP card from Metro or a TAP-enabled paper ticket from another agency.

Do I need to TAP the gates when exiting a station?

No.

That could change in the future if Metro adopts time-based ordistance-based fares.

Where do I get a TAP card? 

They can be purchased for $1 at ticket vending machines at Metro Rail stations. TAP cards can be purchased with a day pass when boarding buses for $6 — $5 for the day pass, $1 for the card.

Monthly (30 days), weekly (7 days), day passes and the regional monthly EZ Pass can be stored on TAP cards. You can also put different amounts of cash on the card (stored value) and use that money to purchase single fares or passes. The stored value is a great way for occasional riders to avoid having to deal with ticket machines every day they ride.

TAP cards are also available at 500 stores across Los Angeles County and can be ordered online at taptogo.net.

Is Metro doing anything about the taptogo.net website, which can be difficult to use?

Yes, it is being revamped and a newly designed website is expected to debut later this year. Booyah!

Continue reading

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, June 18 edition

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, our roundup of the latest Metro related tweets. To get our attention, add the #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.

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – mayor of South Pasadena, biking to work since 1977

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Dr. Richard Schneider is an overachiever in many ways. He’s a pathologist at two hospitals — one in Hollywood, the other in Lynwood. He’s the mayor of South Pasadena. And he’s biked to work nearly every day since 1977.

Name: Dr. Richard Schneider
Start: South Pasadena
End: Hollywood and Lynwood
Distance: 10 miles (Hollywood), 17 miles (Lynwood)
Time: 35-55 minutes (Hollywood), 70-85 minutes (Lynwood)

Dr. Richard Schneider and his bicycle (plus high-visibility jacket, helmet, and lights)

Dr. Richard Schneider, mayor of South Pasadena, and his bicycle (plus high-visibility jacket, helmet, and lights)

Continue reading