Reader email

One of our New Year’s Resolutions for the Source is to publish reader email on a more frequent basis — ideally we would like to get enough interesting comments to publish them once each week. Send comments to

Here is this week’s edition:

Riders and transit advocates have been grumbling about the extra $1.20 riders must pay to ride the Metro Silver Line. The Source’s Fred Camino recently observed that the agency’s fare structure can occasionally be confusing and some readers agreed. T.M. writes:

I TOTALLY agree, the fare structure or lack of is confusing.  I take the 44x bus from Union Station to 37th street, the drivers get confused and want to charge for a zone.  On the Metro fare structure it specifically notes to 37th is the base fare.

Metro will be building several rail and bus projects this decade, leaving one reader to wonder if there are enough colors out there to name the lines. D.W. of Glendale writes:

This may seem to be a trivial question, but I will ask anyway.  Once Metro designates a color to a BRT line, i.e. the new Silver Line, does that disqualify the color from being used in the future? Let’s say a rail project was built along the same corridor, could it usurp the color Silver from the BRT line?  If Metro plans on creating an extensive rail network, which it should, my concern is that it may run out of colors.  Metro Rail will later need the color Silver, and possibly Orange.

We talked to officials in Metro’s Creative Services Department. They point out there are still many colors from which to choose, but that many colors are disqualified because they do not work well in multimedia applications such as maps, signage and on the website. Creative Services chief Maya Emsden points out that other colors may visually work, but have clunky names that don’t. For example, is the world ready for the Burnt Sierra line? Maya also notes that some agencies get around the color issue by naming their lines with numbers or letters. In any case, a decision on future colors has yet to be made.

Here’s one from a a reader looking to protect Metro revenues. Adam Smith writes:

I have been reading your blog, and find it to be great! Keep up the good work. As a transit fan, I really enjoy it.

This is an exciting time for transit in LA, and we really need to keep the ball rolling. I am almost 50, and it would be nice to see some of these projects finished before I am dead!

One thing I notice is that a lot of the fare boxes on the buses are out of order, preventing cash paying riders from paying. This has to be putting a meaningful dent in revenue that could be used to bring some of these projects to fruition.

I realize that the new boxes for the TAP card may need to get some of the bugs worked out, but they seem very susceptible to problems with the coin intake. Surely this is mature technology?

Is there any awareness at LACMTA of the problem? Any plans to deal with it? By my informal count, riding the system, It seems like almost one in four are on the blink at any given time.

Again, keep up the good work. The blog is most professional.

We certainly appreciate the kind words — thank you! We also ran this by Metro financial officials who said they have not heard of any problem with the fare boxes on the magnitude described above. But they are going to look into it.

Source reader M.C. just returned from Chicago and has this to say:

Would you mind explaining once again: A). Why there is no direct rapid transit link to LAX and B.) Why none of the recent proposals included such a link?

We were stunned on a recent trip to Chicago to get on the subway right outside our hotel and take it directly TO THE TERMINAL at O’Hare. You go up the escalator and there you are at the ticket counter.

It’s a perfectly legit question, given the number of mass transit lines that link cities to airports around the world. The Green Line light rail connection to LAX was never completed for a number of reasons — namely opposition from some parking interests, delays due to the planning process at the airport and lack of funds. The Crenshaw Line light rail, which is expected to open in 2018, will have a stop near LAX at the corner of Aviation and Century.

At this point, a people mover built by the airport would take people to the terminals. The Measure R sales tax approved in 2008 by L.A. County voters includes an extension of the Green Line to LAX — although it appears the Crenshaw Line (also a Measure R project) would take care of that. Some members of the Los Angeles City Council want to see trains actually travel into the terminal horseshoe and there remains the possibility that Measure R money could be used for that. But nothing has yet to be decided. Here’s a link to a recent post about the Crenshaw Line and how it may connect with the Green Line and the airport.

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