RTD’s“Street Fleet” motorcoaches that carried beach-goers to Santa Monica in 1974 were painted to look like submarines.
June got off to a splashy start in 1974 when Metro’s predecessor agency Southern California Rapid Transit District launched its “Street Fleet” bus service to carry people to the Santa Monica beaches.
Summer beach riders were reminded that they were allowed to bring their surfboards directly onto the buses, writes Metro’s digital resources librarian Kenn Bicknell in the Primary Resources blog.
Even more revolutionary, a 1976 ballot initiative included bicycle and surfboard storage on board a limited number of rail cars of a proposed rapid transit system that would serve 43 cities in Los Angeles County.
A prototype of the new Nextrip plaque signs.
Included in last week’s official Nextrip launch was an informational video that included a sneak peak at some eye catching new bus stop signage
This new signage – the first part of a larger initiative to update all bus stop signs – brings Nextrip information to each and every bus stop in the system. It’s a project that shows Metro’s commitment to the real time arrival system by making sure that all riders are aware of the service and have access to the neccessary information.
The Nextrip signs come in a few flavors: cubes with braille stop ID’s, plaques with braille stop ID’s and plain old plaques. All the signs differentiate themselves from the standard stop signage with a dark purple paint job that makes the informational text and iconography (painted in white) unmissable.
Perhaps the most noticeable element on the signage is the large QR code (quick response code) embedded within the information hierarchy. For those who aren’t familiar with QR codes, they allow riders equipped with camera enabled smartphones to quickly scan the barcode symbol which will instantly link them to a web page. In this case, the QR codes will eventually link to a stop specific webpage on Metro.net with Nextrip information, information about the lines served, a map of the area and even nearby Destination Discount offers. For the time being, the codes will send users to the Nextrip page of Metro.net
As you can imagine, as a whole this is a massive project. Metro has 15,500 bus stops which means 15,500 unique signs (and web pages) have to be fabricated and installed. This takes coordination with a number of departments which means the roll out will happen incrementally and line by line. The good news is that it starts soon – the first signs (2,000 of them, covering 11 lines) will be installed in June to coincide with the service shake-up.
Click through the jump for more pictures of the new signage and let us know what you think about the designs in the comments. Continue reading
California Governor Pat Brown praises the work of the MTA Board at a civic luncheon in 1961, where, from left, Gov. Brown, U.S. Senator Clair Engle (D-CA) and MTA Chairman A.J. Eyraud proudly show off L.A.'s imminent state-of-the-art rapid transit rail car for the proposed rapid transit system to Century City. Photo originally published in November 1961 edition of The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) employee newsletter Emblem.
50 Years Ago This Week: Planning The El Monte – Century City Backbone Route (Complete With Nuclear Fallout Shelters, Large-Capacity Helicopters And A Beverly Hills Subway)
The title says it all but Metro’s digital resources librarian Kenn Bicknell spells out exactly what happened 50 years ago this week in the library’s Primary Resource blog. That is when Metro’s predecessor agency, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, unveiled its plans for the Backbone Route, the 22.7-mile-long first leg of a rapid transit system that was to run from El Monte in the east to the yet-to-be-built Century City in the west.
And here we are in 2011 and the Westside Subway Extension is now being planned to connect downtown L.A. with…Century City.
Except for the fallout shelters, a diverse array of transit service can be found today along the actual routes proposed 50 years ago, says Bicknell. Check it out at the Metro Library’s Primary Resources blog.
Two motions regarding fare media were unanimously approved today by the Executive Management & Audit Committee.
This first motion converts Metro calendar-based passes into “rolling” passes.
Current calendar-based passes are good for the specific week or month they are purchased (i.e. a monthly pass bought in May is only good during that month). The rolling pass system takes the calendar out of the equation and makes it so that duration of a pass begins upon first use (i.e. a 30-day pass bought and used on May 19th would be good through June 17th).
Rolling passes take advantage of the TAP card’s ability to track and intelligently expire fares and gives Metro riders more flexibility when it comes to pass purchases. Regular and reduced fare monthly and weekly passes would be converted to 30-day and 7-day passes, respectively. EZ transit passes are excluded due to regional fare issues. Here’s the staff report.
The second motion (here’s the staff report) reduces the price of day pass from $6 to $5 on a test basis with the goal of enticing new riders looking for transportation alternatives in light of high gas prices and a sour economy. Staff hopes that the dollar discount will make trips that involve transfers more agreeable for riders. A single ride fare on Metro is $1.50; the day pass allows for an unlimited number of rides in a day, so the fourth trip of the day would be discounted for riders.
Board members on the Executive Management & Audit Committee said these are the sort of measures that should be taken to benefit riders and visitors and to encourage more ridership. Staff was also instructed by directors to ensure that riders can purchase day passes on buses even if they don’t currently have a TAP card.
The day pass was created in 2004 with a price of $3. It was raised to $5 in 2008 and $6 in 2010.
Pending approval of the full Board at their regular meeting next week, rolling passes would go into effect on July 1 and $5 day passes would come later in the summer.
Two very different looks — I like them both. Collectors take note: You can pick up a free first edition poster at the Metro Library at the HQ in downtown Los Angeles while supplies last. Sorry, only one poster per person. Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A good overview of the Metro Art program is here and the new posters and news release from Metro follows:
Two new posters celebrating Chatsworth and Compton, two of the many destinations customers can travel to via Metro, are currently on display in Metro buses and are soon to be installed on rail cars throughout the Metro system. Commissioned by Metro Creative Services, the Chatsworth poster is by local artist Danny Heller and the Compton poster is by Elliot Pinkney.
The first truck arrives at the Expo Line construction yard.
At about noon a few days ago, a 53-foot flatbed semi-trailer filled with art panels pulled up to the Expo Line construction yard. The delivery marked the end of the fabrication phase for 80 of the 176 panels that will be displayed above the entrances and seating areas at 10 Expo Line stations.
The Expo Line had been designed to have standardized station layouts and a canopy that spanned much of the platform. Space for artwork was limited. Metro art program staff therefore developed a tailored approach to fit the specific needs of the project and identified eight to 24 locations for art panels at each station. Visible from the Expo Line platforms as well as sidewalks, streets and bike lanes, the art panels will add a continuous visual narrative describing the rail line as it moves through various neighborhoods. Durable materials ensure the artwork is resistant to graffiti and color fading.
A woman inspects a model of helicopter with passenger-carrying pod in photo published April 4, 1965, in the Los Angeles Times. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library.
Get your read on for “Future Stations of the Past,” the latest in intriguing news from the past in the Metro Library’s “Primary Resources” blog.
The series is illustrated with renderings of future Metro Rail stations that were envisioned but never built.
Take the Wilshire / La Brea station, for example, still on paper in 1987 when planners were mapping out a vertical alternative for an option to build transit overhead. (First in the series)
But the aerial structure couldn’t hold the future any better than the flying buses (or passenger helicopters) proposed in 1968 to whisk passengers to LAX from a proposed downtown Metroport. (Second in the series)
Check it out in Primary Resources at the Metro Library online.
Today’s launch of El Pasajero is big news, but another Metro blog recently got an update worth mentioning. Primary Resources, the official blog of the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive (or the Metro Library for those who prefer brevity), now has a shiny new URL and look.
Primary Resources can now be found at: http://metroprimaryresources.info/
Launched almost a year ago, Primary Resources reports on the library’s latest acquisitions and their role in the current state of transportation. The blog also looks back through the library’s vast historical archives and uses history as a lens to focus on modern transportation issues. It’s all very interesting stuff, especially for the hardcore transit geek and/or L.A. history buff, and now thanks to the redesign it’s also really nice to look at.
You may be wondering: what’s with all the blogs, isn’t Metro a transportation agency? Good question. Metro has realized that online publishing provides an effective and inexpensive way to reach and engage a large audience. We hope that as Metro patrons and Los Angeles County taxpayers you appreciate the efforts for improved outreach and communications that blogs like these provide.
Metro’s new Spanish-language blog, El Pasajero, went live this morning. It’s the first Spanish-language blog by a transit agency in the United States. As I wrote the other day when posting the news release about the new blog, The Source and El Pasajero will be sharing some content and I think this is a great addition to Metro’s public outreach efforts.
For those who want to read El Pasajero’s first post in Spanish, here’s the link. A translation is below:
We are always moving, from home to work, to school, shopping and sightseeing. We are all passengers. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you use Metro and that one way or another have contact with our agency.
Today we are launching El Pasajero. It is for those who are a passenger on the bus, train or car cruising along the highways of our region.
First let me introduce myself: I’m Jazmin Ortega and for over a decade I have observed and reported on issues affecting the Latino community in Southern California, including transportation, education and politics for the newspaper La Opinión. As press secretary to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, I saw firsthand how decisions are made that affect the mobility of every resident of this great region.
I’m joined in this project by Maria Luisa Arredondo, a journalist born and educated in Mexico City, with more than two decades of experience covering the Los Angeles area, also for La Opinión.