Metro Board committees tackle TAP issues, Expo safety and phone theft

A few notes from today's committee meetings of the Metro Board of Directors:

A contract that would pay Metro with $110 million in exchange for allowing ads from CBS Outdoor to be placed on Metro properties was moved to the full Board of Directors for their consideration at their Sept. 27 meeting. The item was moved without discussion or a recommendation, as frequently occurs.

•Metro TAP officials told the Board that they are working on allowing day passes to be sold online at the website. Currently, TAP card holders have to wait at ticket machines at rail stations to buy a day pass — readers have complained this negates some of the convenience of having a TAP card.

In addition, Board members and TAP officials discussed some of the other issues that have received a lot of attention, including: the appropriateness of charging tourists and others $1 for a TAP card they may only use once or a few times; confusion at ticket machines when customers initially buy a TAP card and want to buy a round-trip (two single rides), and; the need for more signage and possibly staff at times to help riders use the machines.

The takeaway here: the legitimate issues that many readers and riders have raised with TAP cards have not fallen on deaf ears. Metro staff and the Metro Board is aware of it and they are working to resolve some of the issues.

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Metro August ridership numbers

Here are the latest ridership numbers across the Metro system.

The average weekday ridership for the Blue Line (92,006 boardings) and the new Expo Line (19,776) were the highest ever. The Orange Line had its second-best average to date (27,513) and the Green Line its third-best month ever (45,536).

Below are the July numbers, which on the rail side are tabulated over the prior several months and then crunched to come up with the monthly numbers:

Bus – Directly Operated

Aug. 2012 Aug. 2011 Aug. 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 1,074,951 1,048,258 1,050,267
Average Saturday Boardings 723,663 728,213 725,903
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 552,120 547,722 538,147
Total Calendar Month Boardings 29,827,005 29,213,674 28,700,221

Directly operated bus ridership includes Orange and Silver Line ridership.

Bus – Contract

Aug. 2012 Aug. 2011 Aug. 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 45,836 41,327 42,870
Average Saturday Boardings 26,702 24,266 24,838
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 20,881 18,727 18,660
Total Calendar Month Boardings 1,244,551 1,122,490 1,135,790

Bus – Systemwide

Aug. 2012 Aug. 2011 Aug. 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 1,120,787 1,089,585 1,093,137
Average Saturday Boardings 750,365 752,479 750,741
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 573,001 566,449 556,807
Total Calendar Month Boardings 31,071,556 30,336,164 29,836,011

Directly operated bus ridership includes Orange and Silver Line ridership.

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High school students study Metro

Taylor Shaw with Bruce Shelburne, Metro's Deputy Executive Officer of Operations, and community outreach specialist Jody Litvak. Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

With students heading back to school, it seemed like a good time to let you know about some great high school students I met this last year who focused on Metro. Four of them did so for school projects and one is just really interested in transit. I thought they and their projects were interesting enough to share.

Taylor Shaw – Designing a subway station

Taylor just graduated from Beverly Hills High School where she participated in a very interesting architecture class they offer. As a continuing student in that class, her project for the year was to design a public facility and she chose to tackle the subway station being planned for heart of Beverly Hills.

She reached out to my colleague Bruce Shelburne, our Deputy Executive Officer of Operations, and he reached out to me. One afternoon last fall, we met Taylor and a classmate of hers at the Wilshire/Vermont Station for a behind the scenes tour. We showed them the inner workings of the station including many areas that are not open to the public. Those are where we house equipment for power, communications, ventilation and the like. She was already quite knowledgeable and asked really good questions about the various technical specifications that are required for stations.

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Artists of the Metro Orange Line exhibition opens October 11 at Los Angeles Valley College

Detail of Liquid Light: Flowing into the Future by Sam Erenberg, at Roscoe Station. Photo: Sam Erenberg.


Metro is organizing an exciting new exhibition in collaboration with Los Angeles Valley College. Opening on October 11, Translations: Artists of the Metro Orange Line features the works of twenty artists commissioned for the Metro Orange Line and demonstrates how artists enliven the public space of transit.

Artworks that reflect the artists' studio practice in relation to their Metro commissions will be on view, providing insight into the many ways artists translate their practices and material selections to create works of art for public transportation sites.

Featured artists: Lisa Adams, Sandow Birk, Caryl Davis, John Divola, Roy Dowell, Sam Erenberg, Jud Fine, Ken Gonzales-Day, Phung Huynh, Anne Marie Karlsen, Margaret Lazzari, Laura London, Daniel Marlos, Michele Martinez, John O'Brien, Renée Petropoulos, Roxene Rockwell, John Roloff, Pat Warner and Jody Zellen.

•Opening Reception & Artists Panel Discussion: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6–9pm

•Panel with artists Lisa Adams, Ken Gonzales-Day and Anne Marie Karlsen at 7pm

•Moderated by Jorge Pardo, Director, Metro Art & Design, and Phung Huynh, Assistant Professor, Valley College Art Department.

Valley College Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 11am-2pm and 6-9pm (5800 Fulton Ave. Valley Glen, CA 91401). (Closed for the Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving holidays)

The gallery is located in the Art Building on the northwest corner of campus. Map. The exhibition ends December 13, 2012. Read the exhibition press release here.

View images of all artists’ Orange Line artwork here.


Monumental sculpture installation in progress at new El Monte Station!

Artist Donald Lipski stands in front of Time Piece, the sculpture he designed for the El Monte Station, as it’s being installed. When complete the sculpture will include three double sided clocks, which will be suspended by a network of cables from this sweeping 30 foot tall stainless steel arch.

An iconic, large-scale sculpture by Donald Lipski is being installed this week at Metro’s new El Monte Station, which is slated to open in late summer 2012. Here are a few photos showing the progress of installation.

Click here and here for prior Source posts on this artwork, and here for more information on Donald Lipski’s work.

The artist with John Grant, the artist’s project manager, standing with part of the sculpture before it’s hoisted skyward. JunoWorks fabricated the arch and cabling system for the clocks.

Detail of Time Piece before it’s installed. Each clock weighs a hefty 350 lbs. and is manufactured by the Verdin Company, the nearly 170-year old maker of clocks and bells, which has been operated by six generations of the Verdin family since 1842.


Monumental sculpture, Time Piece, to be installed at new El Monte Station

Rendering of Donald Lipski’s Time Piece. The 30-foot tall clock tower will be installed in the entry plaza of the El Monte Transit Center. Rendering by RNL Architects.

An iconic, large-scale sculpture by Donald Lipski will be installed next week at Metro’s new El Monte Station, which is nearing completion.

Lipski, a renowed sculptor in the field of public art, created a monumental clock tower–with a twist. Entitled Time Piece, the artwork includes three double sided clocks suspended from a sweeping 30 foot tall stainless steel arch, using a web of thin stainless steel cables.

The functional sculpture echoes the grand clock towers historically found in transit systems, but is updated to contemporary times and the specific context of the new facility.

Built in the 1970s, the original transit center was the busiest bus-only station west of the Mississippi. The station was demolished to make way for a new two-level station, doubling its previous size and accommodating up to 40,000 daily riders. Completion and station opening is slated for late summer 2012.

Click here for a prior Source post on this artwork, and here for more information on Donald Lipski’s work.

Signage improvements at stations serving Expo and Blue lines

New signage at the Pico Station serving the Blue Line and Expo Line.

The Expo Line opened in late April and since then we’ve received a steady trickle of comments from Metro customers saying that it’s difficult to differentiate Expo Line and Blue Line trains at the two stations they share — 7th/Metro Center and Pico.

A few passengers have even complained of getting on the wrong train and realizing the mistake too late.

A new sign in the 7th/Metro Center station.

As some of you have likely noticed, Metro is working to improve the situation. Among the improvements being:

•Improved announcements on both trains and stations.

•Signs on trains that are more easily visible — Long Beach means it’s a Blue Line train, Culver City signifies an Expo train.

•Better signage at 7th/Metro Center showing patrons where to board Blue Line and Expo Line trains. Both trains use platform 2 on the upper level. The lower level is for Red and Purple Line subway trains.

•Maps and information are being added adjacent to platforms and an alphanumeric system — the ‘E’ — is being introduced to help distinguish the two lines.

Have you noticed any of the improvements? Are they helping? Comment please.


Voice your opinion on Metro bus service at service council meetings

Want to have a say in Metro’s bus service? One of the best ways to do thatis to attend and participate in Metro monthly Service Council meetings.

Nearly10 years ago, the Metro Board created five regional service councils. Theywere formed to bring service planning closer to the people we serve and to make it more convenient for the public to be involved with service planning decisions for Metro bus service in their area. The five regions served by Metro service councils are:

Gateway cities (Southeast L.A. County)

San Fernando Valley

San Gabriel Valley

South Bay



Starting in August, we’ll post a story here on The Source every month highlighting some of the more interesting agenda items planned for each Council’s agenda. Each council meets on a monthly basis to receive various reports on Metro service issues, and to hear public input on service within each service council’s area.

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Metro Rail ridership surges in June


The ridership numbers for Metro buses and trains for June 2012 have been released. The gist of it: bus ridership is flat (but with increases on the Silver Line and Orange Line), rail ridership is way up and overall the system didn’t reach the number of boardings in June 2010 or June 2011.

On the rail side, the new Expo Line helps explain some of the increases with weekday boardings increasing to an average of 16,569 in June even though the Farmdale and Culver City stations did not open until June 20. There was about an average of 11,000 weekday boardings in May.

There were also significant gains on Metro’s other four rail lines. Here are the charts and here is the web page with all the stats.

Rail Systemwide Ridership Estimates

June 2012 June 2011 June 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 362,904 321,626 326,663
Average Saturday Boardings 209,858 196,284 197,972
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 163,934 155,082 169,990
Total Calendar Month Boardings 9,326,015 8,481,237 8,658,429

Bus – Systemwide

June 2012 June 2011 June 2010
1,123,977 1,156,643 1,156,866
Average Saturday Boardings 771,183 764,436 785,518
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 572,376 557,394 583,356
Total Calendar Month Boardings 29,748,939 30,733,462 30,926,539

Systemwide Ridership Estimates

June 2012 June 2011 June 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 1,486,882 1,478,269 1,483,528
Average Saturday Boardings 981,041 960,719 983,490
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 736,309 712,476 753,346
Total Calendar Month Boardings 39,074,954 39,214,699 39,584,968



Roscoe Station artwork installed!

20 foot-long art panel installed at Roscoe Station. There are three art panels at this station.

The Orange Line Extension opened last month. Here are a few photos of the 27-foot-long ellipses and 20-foot-long art panels designed by Sam Erenberg for Roscoe Station that we didn’t get posted before the opening. More information about the artwork is available here.

See images from the installations at Sherman Way, Canoga, Nordhoff and Chatsworth Stations.

Art panel being installed

Art panel being installed

Thousands of tiny pieces of hand-cut mosaics are installed at one of the new platforms at Roscoe Station

Detail of twenty-seven foot long mosaic artwork being installed at Roscoe Station