It’s time for more reader email!

It’s time for another edition of reader email to The Source. If you would like to comment on a post or have something transit-related you need to get off your chest, please email us at

Michael Setty took issue with the state budget proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would divert money from mass transit and in a complicated maneuver also lower the sales tax that consumers pay on gasoline in the state. He writes:

I have a better idea, governator: leave the current sales tax alone, raise the sales tax on gasoline to what it is on everything else, and divert THAT new revenue temporarily to the general fund until the “budget emergency” is resolved.

Daniel Jansenson disagreed with an assertion by Expo Line Construction Authority officials that rising construction costs were a reason the cost of building the line went up in 2007. He writes:

Indeed construction costs escalated dramatically during that period, across the board throughout the entire construction industry.

But now with the recession, we’ve seen dramatic decreases in construction and material costs. I’m seeing it myself in construction projects in which I’ve been involved, in some instances as large as 30%. Will the Construction Authority claw back some of those now-decreased costs, or will it allow the original, inflated costs from 2007 to stand?

Not surprisingly, many Source readers have smart phones and would like to use them more to help plan and execute their commutes. Reader Ed Greenberg pointed out how technology could help him figure out which bus is best to transfer to in Westwood as part of his daily commute. He writes:

I commute from Balboa/Saticoy in Van Nuys, to Sunset/Doheny Rd in West Hollywood, every day. I buy an EZ-Pass with the credit I get from my employer for not buying me a parking space. I leave my car at home, removing one more solo driver from 405 each rush hour. In short, I’m everything that transportation planners want to see in an office worker.

So why don’t we have “NextBus” in Los Angeles?

Take a look at the number of agencies that offer NextBus.

There doesn’t appear to be any imminent partnership with NextBus. My Source colleague Fred Camino pointed out that real-time bus information is available for Metro’s rapid buses at He also wrote that LADOT Downtown DASH actually has some really cool NextBus-like technology at which gives real time next bus info and you can view the actual locations of the bus on a Google Map. Pretty awesome.

Both Fred and I have written in the past that this is an area where Metro clear has some catching up to do. As much as I’d like to see real-time scheduling info, I think an important first step would be for the agency to consistently provide real-time major service disruption info that is easily obtainable on cell phones. It’s something that is being worked on, but so far hasn’t happened.

Reader I.C. responded to a letter in last week’s email about which colors — if any — should be used to identify future Metro rail and bus lines. He writes:

I think I have the perfect solution. Metro should leave the color as is on the map but only as a secondary visual device and starting calling each “service” by its logical name (i.e. naming the trains by where it goes). Note that I say each “service” as opposed to each train. When the Downtown regional connector is completed, Metro will run several trains on the same track with different destinations. If we are still calling the trains by color by that point, it will be complete chaos….

Here is my suggestion (taken from my LA transit guide for newbies blog post):

* Red line: Downtown LA to North Hollywood – connect to Orange line bus to the Valley [should really be called the “Valley line” instead of Red line]
* Purple line: Downtown LA to Koreatown (Wilshire/Western) – connect to 720 or 920 Rapid bus to the Westside (extension to Westwood under study right now) [should really be called the “Wilshire line” instead of Purple line]
* Gold line Foothill: Downtown LA to Sierra Madre [should really be called the “Pasadena/Foothill line” instead of Gold line]
* Gold line Eastside: Downtown LA to East LA/Montebello (extension to Whittier under consideration) [should really be called the “Eastside line” (and should switch color to be the same as Expo) instead of Gold line in anticipation of future alighment]
* Expo line: Downtown LA to Culver City [should really be called “Culver/Santa Monica line” – although Expo line is acceptable as it runs parallel to Exposition Blvd through Mid City]
* Blue line: Downtown LA to Long Beach [should really be called “Long Beach line” instead of Blue line]
* Green line: Norwalk to Redondo Beach (free bus connection to LAX at Aviation station) [should really be called “Norwalk line” instead of Green line]

This logical naming approach with secondary color visual aid is the best method and is used by a number of big cities with great metro system like Tokyo and London. Not to mention it dovetails nicely with the informal but easy to remember “Crenshaw line”… and someday the “Sepulveda/LAX line.”

These are all very good points and I will forward your ideas to the relevant parties!

Categories: Feedback, Technology