Metro & the Digital Future event Nov. 7 to focus on improving rider experience

Tech

Click above to visit a web page with more information on the event.

One topic that is frequently raised at Metro Board meetings: technology, the rider experience and which tech tools Metro should be pursuing. And, as regular readers of The Source know, this is a topic discussed and debated (and debated some more!) on our comment board.

In that spirit, Metro is convening a one-day technology roundtable “Metro and the Digital Future” on Friday, Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Metro headquarters. The event will feature industry leaders who will discuss how technology can improve the customer experience on Metro.

Qualified entrepreneurs and firms can also make a pitch to Metro with their ideas. Click here for the pitch form.

Metro and the Digital Future is a unique pitch-style event that tackles some of Metro’s toughest customer experience challenges by eliciting insight from top-tier solution providers and combining it with constructive critique by a variety of subject matter experts from throughout North America,” says Dave Edwards, Metro’s Chief Information Officer.

Among the topics to be discussed:

•Trip planning

•Next-generation fare payments

•Wi-fi on transit

•Virtual agents/kiosks

•Car sharing

•Bike sharing

•driverless vehicles

•Concierge services

•Gamification/loyalty programs

Participants will include those from firms specializing in these topics as well as transit chief information officers, academics, private sector representatives and Metro staff. The event will also be open to the general public, but space is limited and registration is required.

For more information, please click here.

TAP-TO-GO mobile pilot program introduces 7-Day Pass

TAP-TO-GO Card

This is something that even more riders may find convenient. In addition to the 30-Day pass, 7-Day passes are now available for reload via text message in the TAP-TO-GO pilot program. More riders can take advantage of the benefits: it’s fast, convenient and passes are loaded immediately onto your card without any delays.

TAP-TO-GO is a six-month trial program that began in June and will run through Dec. 1. It’s free to participate, however be sure to register for the pilot program first so you can get your special TAP card to use.

Metro Weekly and Monthly passes are also available:

•at TAP vending machines all Metro Rail and Orange Line Stations

•online at taptogo.net

•by calling 866.TAPTOGO

•at nearly one of 400 vendor locations (click here for locations)

How to sign up

1) Text TAPSIGNUP to 28950 or visit taptogo.net to sign up online.

2) If texting, mobileAxept (Metro’s contractor) will reply with a link to sign up.

3) Enter your name, mailing address and email address. Participants will be directed to the BlueFin-hosted secure payment site to submit credit/debit card information. Credit/debit cards will not be charged until you receive your card in the mail and load your first pass.

4) Once your information has been validated, mobileAxept will send a text confirming participant has successfully joined the TAP-TO-GO pilot program.

5) Participants receive a special TAP card in the mail within seven to 10 business days, with instructions on how load your first Metro 7-Day or 30-DayPass. Again, you need to use this new card — it’s not possible to sign up using an existing TAP card.

How to reload

•Text TAP7DAY to 28950 to reload your Metro 7-Day Pass. You will receive a reply text message confirming your payment has been received and your card is loaded.

•Text TAP30DAY to 28950 to reload your Metro 30-Day Pass. You will receive a reply text message confirming your payment has been received and your card is loaded.

When it’s time to reload either pass, you’ll get a reminder text so you can avoid paying single trips

For frequently asked questions, click here.

Metro becomes first transit agency in U.S. to apply flywheel technology for rail energy savings

Metro officials met with representatives from the Federal Transit Administration and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory last week to review promising results of the agency’s first-of-a-kind use of flywheel technology to recycle power generated from rail cars.

Officials met at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Red/Purple Line Station to see firsthand how the Wayside Energy Storage Substation works. The pilot project started in August and is now saving Metro up to 18 percent of the energy normally used to power subway trains entering and leaving the station. That, in turn, helps lower Metro’s electricity bills.

The project is managed by Metro’s Project Engineering Department and uses a state-of-the-art flywheel system built by Vycon of Cerritos. The brain of the system, which assures the precise control of the flow of power, was developed by Turner Engineering of Venice. Metro performed its installation in-house, without external contractors.

The system was therefore entirely developed and implemented with resources local to the Los Angeles County. It is estimated that Metro will eventually save approximately $100,000 per year in electricity costs because of the project.

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View of every Metro bus stop on a map

bus_system_metro

Ever wondered how extensive and large Metro’s bus system is? Here’s a cool interactive we built that shows you all of Metro’s bus stops plotted on a map. It’s amazing to see just how massive the bus system is and how much it covers Los Angeles County and beyond. You can zoom and pan about the map, and click on stops to gain more information.

If you’re interested in the data presented in this interactive, you can visit our Developer’s page where you can find and download tons of data available for free to the public from the agency.

Some additional information about our bus system:

Metro Buses

Bus Stops 15,967
Square Miles in Service Area 1,433
Number of Bus Routes 170
Total Metro Bus Fleet 2,228
Buses leased to contractors to provide service on Metro routes (Included in total) 173

Tour Metro electric bus at AltCar Expo, September 19-20

One of five new electric buses ordered by Metro and build by BYD will be on display at Altcar Expo. Photo Credit: BYD

One of the five new electric buses ordered by Metro and manufactured by BYD will be on display at the AltCar Expo. Photo Credit: BYD

The 9th Annual AltCar Expo will be taking place Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Admission is free and the expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The expo features presentations and demonstrations of the latest advancements in alternative technology vehicles, transportation, and energy efficiency. Don’t miss out on a tour of the all-new electric bus on display presented by Metro!

As an added bonus for Metro riders, those who show their valid TAP cards at the AltCar info booth will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a free Nissan LEAF rental! The winner will be announced after the event, and you must be present at the time of the raffle to claim the prize.

To get to the auditorium, take Metro Bus 534 to Olympic/5th and walk south on 4th Street. Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus is another option; for more routes and connections use the Trip Planner. Free bike valet will also be offered at the event.

Top 10 popular bikeshare station suggestions

top_10_bikeshare

A few weeks ago we asked for your input on our list of proposed bikeshare stations and suggestions on locations that might make a great bikeshare spot. Thanks to everyone’s valuable feedback, we now have a growing total of 515 suggested locations and over 3,000 interactions within the suggested locations that include ‘liking’ a proposed location and commenting on them.

Here is a list of the top ten most popular bikeshare station locations based on the number of likes:

1) Los Angeles Union Station

Los Angeles Union Station

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End of an era: Metro to retire its last high-floor buses on August 30

This type of high-floor bus, used by the transit industry for more than 100 years, required bus patrons to negotiate several steps before boarding.

This type of high-floor bus, used by the transit industry for more than 100 years, required bus patrons to negotiate steps before boarding.

Today’s Metro buses feature low-floor designs for faster, easier boardings and alightings.

Today’s Metro buses feature low-floor designs for faster, easier boardings and alightings.

Adios bus stairs, here comes the “Low Rider.”

Bus riders in Los Angeles County will no longer have to climb stairs to board a Metro Bus on any of Metro’s 170 bus lines beginning August 30. That’s the date when Metro will be officially retiring its very last high-floor transit buses and replacing them with “low-floor” buses.

That’s a notable milestone in the history of local transit. High-floor buses were employed by transit operators since the inception of motorized transit buses and Metro, as well as its predecessor agencies, have operated high-floor buses for decades. Climbing steps to board a bus has been the common experience of multiple generations of bus riders.

“Los Angeles, as well as most of the world, has had high floor buses for well over 100 years,” said Richard Famighetti, maintenance operations manager for Metro Divisions 6 and 7. “We are marking the end of a significant era that helped characterize public transportation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Retiring these buses is a truly a historic change for Metro.”

(Video after the jump!)

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