‘Why I Ride‘ is a series where Metro employees share their transit routines – read more about the concept here.
Name: Jeff Boberg
Position: Research Manager
How often do you take transit?
At least 5 times a week and usually more.
I commute by transit, but I also take transit after work to Disney Hall, Mark Taper Forum, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl, the Arclight Theater, Amoeba Music or just to dinner.
Also, I usually take rail anytime I go to downtown Los Angeles or Long Beach on the weekend.
I mostly take the Blue Line and the Red/Purple Line from Wardlow Station to Union Station.
You can find me on the 720 about once a month. I’ve also taken the 204 and the 16/316 several times for errands or shopping at the Grove/Farmer’s Market.
During the school year, about 1-2 times a week I try to pick up or drop off my three boys since their schools are near the Anaheim and 1st Street Blue Line Stations.
Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?
I am not, but we are a one-car household. We do a lot of hiking, sports and visiting during the week and a car is necessary for most of those trips.
Do you use any other alternative transportation (bicycle, rideshare, etc)?
My wife and I share a bike locker at the Wardlow Station, but she usually rides and I usually drive there.
I ride my bike to most (non-Costco) destinations within 5 miles of my house, which is 90% of them.
The whole family always rides our bikes to one our favorite restaurants, Hole Mole, which is about a mile from our house.
Do you think being a regular Metro rider is important to your job?
As part of my job, I go out and monitor surveyors on all the bus lines – so I’ve ridden parts of most Metro bus lines.
I get to see and experience the good and the bad of taking transit. I know why customers never forget when a bus operator leaves the bus stop as you are hurrying from the connecting bus with several other passengers. I know, as a choice transit rider, it’s frustrating when there is a breakdown in the rail system and I don’t find out about it until I’m already on the platform (usually by asking someone next to me). I also know what it’s like to watch operators brighten people’s day by greeting every passenger, waiting for disabled riders to board, or making sure someone who is unfamiliar with the system gets to their correct stop.
Why do you love transit?
I love to read, and I miss that when I have to drive. I also find it the perfect transition from a hectic office to an even more hectic household. I think I am a more patient human being when I’m not fighting traffic on the way home. I feel that Americans use an unsustainable amount of non-renewable energy and blaming oil companies isn’t really a viable strategy.
Also, one thing I learned from having children is they tend to speak up if my actions don’t match my words.
Finally, I find that if I take the stairs instead of the escalators, I get a little bit of exercise each day without any extra effort.
Is there anything else you’d like to add (anecdote, advice, etc)?
My suggestion is for everyone to leave their car at home once a week.
For a lot of people in Los Angeles County, it’s hard to take transit every day, but most people can carpool, bicycle or take a bus/train to work once a week. Just doing that would cut the miles driven by 20% which would make a meaningful difference in our traffic congestion and energy consumption.