Name: Steve Jaffe
Position: Finance Manager, Office of Management and Budget
How often do you take transit?
Five days a week to and from work.
Most days I walk from home toward the closest bus stop for Route 156. If I get to the stop more than 5 minutes before the bus is due, I continue walking to the intersection near the Orange Line Valley College Station, where I board whichever of the 156, 902 or Orange Line buses arrive first, then ride to North Hollywood Station. Then it’s the Red Line to Union Station and work.
Most days the trip home is the reverse order. However I frequently exit the red Line at Universal City Station and ride a Metro rapid westbound on Ventura to meet my wife for dinner.
Are you car-free? If so, why? If not, why not?
I am not car free yet because there are places I like to go that are less convenient by bus. For example, I am an avid golfer. My equipment is heavy and bulky, and lots of golf courses not easily accessible by transit. I am also a weekend chauffeur and errand runner. If I had to, I could find businesses on transit routes, and make more and smaller shopping trips, but those things are easier with a car.
What is your job at Metro?
My job involves spending days at a time looking at spreadsheets and data about Metro.
Do you think being a regular Metro rider is important to your job?
Personal experience as a transit rider is not essential to my work in the Office of Management and Budget, although I think using the product informs my decision making. I have a regular group of friends from my morning commute, who are more than happy to share their experiences and opinions about our service. Riding with and hearing from them is a constant reminder that our job is about public service.
Why do you love transit?
As a child I was fascinated by anything with wheels. My parents have pictures of my brother and I as young kids. In one picture of my brother in our back yard, he is surrounded with every kind of ball and sports equipment. In a similar picture of me, I am surrounded by every kind of toy car, truck, bus or plane.
As a teenager, I would ride RTD buses from my home in Monterey Park, and transfer in Downtown LA to 424 or 425 bus to spend weekends with friends who lived in Tarzan and Woodland Hills. I loved the independence. I loved people watching. I loved the adventure.
As an adult, I have chosen a career in transit. Frankly I can bore the heck out of any of my friends who make the mistake of asking me about transit. I ride to save money, hassles from traffic, and maybe (overly dramatic) the planet.
Is there anything else you’d like to add (anecdote, advice, etc)?
Introducing friends and family to transit can be tricky. In my experience, it works best when you make it fun and social.