Transportation headlines, Monday, March 21

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

With electric vehicles for mass transit, LA can step into the forefront (Los Angeles Daily News)

L.A. deputy mayor Austin Beutner thinks the future of L.A. can be found in electric buses. Green advantages aside, Beutner sees potential in capturing the electric bus manufacturing market and bringing the much sought after green manufacturing jobs to Los Angeles. At this Thursday’s Metro board meeting Beutner is proposing a pilot program that would bring 30 electric buses to the system for a trial of the technology and costs involved.

Designing the High-Speed Future (Next American City)

How will transit oriented development (TOD) around America’s high-speed rail system look and function? Next American City thinks it’s going to be taller and denser than traditional TOD and this article looks to foreign examples for inspiration.

LAX Connector Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be (KCET)

KCET blogger Matthew Fleisher takes a look at plans to connect Metro Rail to LAX via the Crenshaw light project but concludes that “it’s just a vanity project.” Fleisher thinks the FlyAway serves LAX just fine and should be expanded to the new locations rather than investing in an airport connection for Crenshaw.

Metro plans to cut bus service as rail system expands (L.A. Times)

The news article looks at the proposed bus service changes that will be voted on Thursday by the Metro Board of Directors. Metro officials say the 1996 Consent Decree to increase service resulted in an inefficient level of service; the Decree was lifted by a judge in 2006. Here’s a short excerpt quoting Metro CEO Art Leahy:

Leahy, who began his career as a bus operator, said the decree forced Metro to add buses “without regard to whether it was better service or properly managed.” Along with the cuts, his plans also call for enhanced service on more than a dozen lines.

“I like buses; I grew up in the bus system,” he added. “But I also grew up in a system that was very efficient, a system where people worked very hard to make sure there was an efficient realization of taxpayer dollars. That’s the point here.”

A few facts omitted from the article but perhaps worth considering:

•Metro Rail is being expanded because 68 percent of L.A. County voters in 2008 voted for the Measure R sales tax increase to fund the program.

•The average number of people per hour on Metro buses overall should still be below that of other major transit agencies. If the changes go into effect, the average number of people on Metro buses will rise from 51 to 53. That number is 55 for many other transit agencies, according to Metro’s estimates.

•Metro CEO Art Leahy has said repeatedly he wants to have more resources to improve bus maintenance and on-time service, which in recent years has risen from 60 percent to 77 percent — a number that could obviously be better.

4 replies

  1. Transit access to LAX is a joke and a pitiful state that puts shame to Los Angeles. Traffic there is horrendous at peak hours and it takes 20 minutes for a bus or shuttle to get through every terminal.

    Redundant shuttle buses to offsite public and private parking lots, hotels, car rentals, terminal connections, just adds to more congestion which adds more time to getting in and out of LAX efficiently.
    Flyaway is a joke in itself because it doesn’t serve the needs of people getting to/from LAX and it doesn’t add any benefit over driving yourself there because it still gets stuck on the same freeway traffic jams.

    Direct rail access to LAX should be a top priority and it always fails to amaze me why this isn’t number one in our 30/10 plan.

    We rank lower than Delhi, India in terms of direct airport access; they have rail we don’t. And we call ourselves one of the best cities in the world?

  2. 1) That Daily News headline is odd, subways and light rail are electric vehicles, too.

    2) That KCET blogger doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The airport is extremely important, and the FlyAway bus, while good, isn’t perfect. Rail would be better.

    3) Also, why does Mr. McCready complain about a maintenance yard? Isn’t it obvious that buses can’t move if there’s no place for them to get maintenance?

  3. I think Union Station is a good long term investment for Metro. It allows them to do what they want with the property (which will likely improve bus and rail connectivity), as well as receive revenue from the new (and potential) retail uses.

    Plus, I’m sure their operations budget is separate from their real estate/capital improvement budget. Just sayin’.

    I’m all for complaining about Metro waste, but I think that Union Station purchase was alright. Can’t comment on the other two, don’t know what they’re worth.

  4. Here’s another suggestion: MATCH THE $150 MILLION that the MTA is putting into things that DO NOT MOVE (e.g. Union Station purchase-$75 MILLION, El Monte Station-$45 MILLION, and a Division 10 Maintenance Yard-$30 MILLION!), into things like BUSES that DO MOVE!). It is beyond obscene that MTA management (or the MTA Board!) can lie about how “budget cuts” necessitate bus line eliminations, and yet have MILLIONS TO INVEST IN THINGS THAT WILL NOT MOVE EVEN ONE MTA RIDER FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER! BUSES DO-BUILDINGS DON’T!