Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 17

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.

Study: $2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure (Washington Post)

The results of a new study from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) echo the warnings we’ve been hearing for years now: infrastructure in the United States is in a sad state. We’ve fallen behind China, Brazil and India. According to ULI the price tag for fixing the U.S.’s crumbling roads and bridges is a massive $2 trillion. While competing nations push billions into infrastructure investment our government has been struggling for years to get a long-term infrastructure funding plan in place.

The FlyAway to LAX $4.6M deficit (Daily News)

According to officials the FlyAway bus system to LAX has taken 1.16 million vehicles off the road in the past year at the cost of $4.6 million.  The Van Nuys to LAX route continues to be the most popular while the Westwood to LAX route has proven to be a bit of dud – it averages only seven passengers per bus. Despite the deficit, FlyAway continues with plans to expand – with routes planned for Santa Monica, Culver City and Valencia. My opinion: the FlyAway is a fantastic but flawed service that needs way more marketing and a more sensible fare payment system.

The Freeway That Ate Summer (KCRW)

As we reported yesterday, Metro is already preparing Angelenos for the closure of the 405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass on the weekend of July 15. KCRW’s and L.A. Observed’s Kevin Roderick views the closure as a sort of traumatic event – the kind you see in summer disaster blockbusters – that will push Angelenos to their limits and “test our ability to adapt.” Maybe it’s just because I’ve grown used to Blue Line closures every weekend, but I don’t think closing a road for one weekend (no matter how well traveled) is enough to ruin summer.

9 replies

  1. The poor performance of the Westwood-LAX route isn’t surprising to me. During my time attending UCLA, I saw that most students and employees didn’t use transit and didn’t know much about it. I wonder how many of them even know the Flyaway from Westwood exists?

    If Flyaway is considering locations as far away as Valencia, I hope they will also consider points east of downtown LA. El Monte Station and its thousands of daily passengers might be a good location. Many people already take the Greyhound and other intercity buses from there, and getting to LAX from SGV via transit feels as if one is riding the Greyhound long-distance considering how many hours it takes. A Flyaway route there would fill a niche.

  2. Los Angeles undeniably does need, and eventually will get, rail to the airport.

    The Crenshaw Line will make that possible, even if the Green Line doesn’t get extended a few miles to the north. Both lines are in MTA’s plans.

    Until that happens, the FlyAway Bus is about as good as public transit to the airport will get.

    Plenty of people will take the subway or light rail to get to the pick-up point. Even if they drive to the pick-up, that’s still less driving than driving all the way to the airport.

    If pick-ups are a problem, L.A. might want to consider what they do in Tokyo. Not only is there a public JR train, AND a private passenger railway to the airport, but the Airport Limousine (very similar to the FlyAway, but privately-owned) does quite well by having pick up and drop off spots at major HOTELS as well as at the downtown bus terminal.

  3. @I Want to Drive, what you’re saying is that motorists become completely helpless without a steering wheel in front of them. Yet these pitiable creatures are deemed by the state to be trustworthy enough to operate heavy machinery at high speeds.

    In the case of Union Station, people are already taking luggage there. There is train service, after all.

    Also, as the Dude says, this is a service operated by the airport and not Metro. Moreover, LAWA is compelled by a legal agreement to operate the buses regardless of whether they are being used.

    The original Van Nuys Airport segment does very well. Union Station is so-so, but Westwood is a loser.

  4. But, you still have to get to Van Nuys or Union Station to board the FlyAway bus anyway. If you’re going to drive there, why waste time waiting for the bus when you can just go on and continuing driving to LAX? Or just ask your significant other/friend to drive you/pick you up at LAX’s curbside so no parking is involved?

    Unless you don’t have anyone to take you to LAX, the FlyAway is useless. You still have to get to Van Nuys or Union Station somehow anyway.

    Besides, even if the FlyAway was running 24 hours, it still doesn’t have the frequency nor the boarding capactity that a rail can handle. Even if FlyAway somehow magically was successful, then all you’ll have is “oops, this bus is full, take the next one an hour later.”

    FlyAway can’t and will never be able to fulfill the needs of SIXTY MILLION passengers flying in and out of LAX every year.

  5. @I want to drive

    The Flyaway bus is operated by Los Angeles World Airports which is a department of the city and has nothing to do with Metro Los Angeles.

  6. If you drive yourself, don’t you still have to pay a lot to park your car?? And if you are by yourself, you can’t use the HOV lane but the Van Nuys bus can… Isn’t that an advantage??

  7. People still have to struggle to get to Union Stations and other pick up point. Even if you don’t have luggage, it is still pain to take buses to Union stations or Van Nuys. How about driving to those destinations? People have to pay the parking, and people have to drive on congest freeway to get to Union Station. If people can already succumb to get to Unions, they may as well get all the way to lAX. The problem is always local connection. Y Fukuzawa, rail does not solve the problem. The problem is how to get to pick up point. BTW, MTA is building rail to LAX, so you can take rails from Union stations to LAX. MTA kept looking for short term solution. MTA keeps wasting the money. Car driver or bus riders will have difficulty getting to pickup points.

    If all the bus agencies making the local bus connections good, the flyaway makes sense. Wait, MTA is willing to waste the money to make 24/7 30 minute frequency flyaway bus, but it does not want to improve the local bus connection. Stop doing stop things. People stop MTA from doing stupid things.

    BTW, LAX2Shuttle offers door to airport service at $20 for people live in most parts of LA (not including Santa Clarita or further)

    I would prefer LAX2Shuttle service. I have to get out couple early before to catch buses to get to union station, and then flyaway.

    Maybe flyaway program should be canceled and use that money to improve other service

  8. FlyAway is a great gap service until the city gets some rail to the airport. I have used it many times from both Van Nuys and Union Station and have to disagree that it does not offer anything spectacular over driving. 20 – 30 min head ways is pretty good for this service and it runs 24 hrs. Parking in lot c at LAX is $12.00 per day in addition you need to still take a shuttle from the parking to the terminal. It is certainly a bargain at $7.00 each way and a great service.

  9. The FlyAway losing money doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s not like it offers anything spectacular over driving yourself there; the buses still gets stuck on the freeway traffic jams, it doesn’t have the frequencies, so the cost of the fare just doesn’t justify it taking the bus. It’s like paying $7 for the privilege of still getting stuck in traffic so it doesn’t offer any better alternative than driving your own car there.

    Give me a true rail option to LAX that doesn’t get stuck on the freeway jams and I’ll more than be glad to pay $10, even $15 oneway.