Review of today’s Metro Board meeting

•The Board approved a motion by Board Chair and Supervisor Mike Antonovich that Metro take a position of support for a federal loan application for Desert Xpress project, which proposes to connect Las Vegas, Victorville and Palmdale by high-speed rail. The motion does not involve any financial support for the project from Metro. California’s high-speed rail project is also planned to have a station in Palmdale, which could allow for transfers between the two rail systems. At this point, federal officials are still reviewing the loan application from Desert Xpress.

•The Board also approved a motion by Antonovich that calls for Metro to develop a plan to improve transfers and schedule coordination with other transit agencies — for example, between Metrolink and local bus service. Another motion by Antonovich, also approved by the Board, requires Metro to develop a regional airport connectivity plan to connect Metrolink and Metro to LAX, Bob Hope Airport, Ontario Airport and Palmdale and Long Beach airports

•The Board approved a plan to proceed with the construction methods on Flower Street for the Regional Connector that was approved as part of the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report. That would involve using a tunnel machine north of 4th Street and cut-and-cover method to dig the tunnel for the train between 4th and south of 6th.

The general manager for the Westin Bonaventure hotel, which has filed a lawsuit challenging the project’s environmental studies, said that his client would drop its suit if tunneling extends past 5th Street on Flower. Otherwise, the attorney said that the hotel could lose over half of its business and half the staff could lose its jobs.


However, an attorney for Thomas Properties told the Board that her client did not support ending tunneling at 5th Street due to disruptions it could cause. She said that her client was planning on filing a federal lawsuit in addition to the state lawsuit it has already filed challenging the project’s environmental studies.

Both parties also committed to keep discussing any potential compromises with Metro staff. As a result, the Board committed to discussing the issue further at their Aug. 6 meeting.

•Metro Board Member and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky submitted the following motion to be considered at the Aug. 6 meeting:

The Metro Blue Line opened in July of 1990. For the first 12 years of its operation, the line averaged 50.9 accidents per year. The rate dropped significantly over the past 10 years, to 27.9 accidents per year. Moreover, the last four years, 2008 through 2011, account for 4 of the 5 lowest accident totals in the line’s history.

However, things have changed this past year. Tragically, the Blue Line is on place to have more fatalities in 2012 than in any other year. If numbers generated in the first half of the year are any indication, by year’s end there could be more fatalaities and twice as many suicides than any other year in the history of the rail line. Suicides alone account for a major portion of the increase in overall accidents.

To ensure public safety and prevent further loss of life, MTA should examine possible causes for the spike in accidents and fatalities on the Blue Line and propose preventative and corrective actions to ensure this increase in incidents does not become a long term trend.

I, THEREFORE, MOVE that the Board directors the CEO to convene a Metro Blue Line Task Force with staff and safety/rail experts to investigate and report back on:

1) Causes for accidents along the Blue Line, including but not limited to adequacy of current safety procedures, operational concerns, structural concerns, signage, and traffic conditions;

2) Potential suicide prevention strategies.

3) Solutions to the issues that are identified as well as plans for implementing those solutions;

I FURTHER MOVE that the Blue Line Task Force report back to the Systems Safety and Operations Committee and the MTA Board in November 2012.

Between January 1 of this year and July 25, there have been 20 accidents involving the Blue Line, ranging from the very minor to fatal. Thus far in 2012, there have been six fatalities. Of those, three have been ruled suicides by the coroner and another is under investigation and is believed to be a suicide by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies.

The Blue Line has thus far traveled more than one million miles this year with 10 million-plus boardings.


14 replies

  1. Metro should just spin off and sell TAP to Google or whatever. They’ll take care of everything that’s wrong with it in a month while it takes Metro years and millions in tax dollars wasted just to figure out how to fix the most simplest of things.

  2. I’m not often a fan of Antonovich as he seems to suffer from the same regional myopia that too many politicians seem to have (as in “hooray for my district/ city/ region/ area, screw you guys”).

    However, the motions mentioned here seem to make sense. Nothing wrong with supporting the HSR to Vegas (costs nothing, adds to Cal HSR).
    Connecting rail to airports makes perfect sense (several of the airports mentioned are in Antonovich territory, while LAX rail is a well, duh.)

    I do agree that Metro needs to be able to count passengers better before it can link systems together.

    But…. forget about the “TAP in, TAP out” argument; how are we going to get those rider transfer statistics if Santa Monica, Long Beach, Torrance, Metrolink aren’t TAP compatible? Get that taken care of first…

  3. Orange Line to Bob Hope Airport would be great! I love to fly out of there, since it’s so much closer than LAX and less crowded, but I still choose LAX more often because of the convenience of taking the Red Line to FlyAway, rather than driving. But I do agree that it seems inconvenient to have to decide between extending the Orange Line to the airport or downtown Burbank, and it really doesn’t look like it would work for the line to go to both in succession. Maybe the line could fork at the end? You’d only get 20 minute frequencies to those two destinations, instead of 10 minutes to everywhere else on the Orange Line, but that might still be enough.

  4. Mospaeda,

    That would be the case if existing TAP cards have such functionality to begin with. Most contactless cards around the world using tap-in/tap-out has a “history of your past trips.”

    In sharp contrast TAP doesn’t, all it does is just deduct money. It neither encodes or saves your trip history, bus number, bus stop where you got on, or where you got off, which agency you ridden on, etc.

    This is easily found by logging onto and checking “My Trip History” tab. It shows absolutely nothing. Metro or any of the agencies using TAP isn’t even using this functionality.

    Without such info, the IT personnel at Culver City has no idea that TAP cardholder 123456 has gotten on Metro Bus Y before he got on Culver City Bus Z, let alone Metro has no idea TAP cardholder 123456 is making connections within their own agency.

  5. @ IT GUY

    You ca and simply drop out the TAP-out information and you would still be able to draw the same conclusions

    TAP cardholder 123456 tapped-in onboard Metro Bus Y at 10:00AM bus stop A
    Bus Y is scheduled to take 15 mins to go from bus stop A to B
    TAP cardholder 123456 and -in onboard the Culver City Bus Z at 10:30AM bus stop B.

  6. The flaw with APC is that it’s an optical technology. It doesn’t record statistical data such as “10 passengers got off Metro Bus Y and from that 10 passengers, 5 of them transferred to Culver City Bus Z.” With APC, there is no way to tell whether the 5 passengers that got on Culver City Bus Z were new passengers who were originally waiting for the Culver City bus or that they were those that were making a connection from Metro Bus Y. From the view of Metro 10 passengers got off. Likewise, the view of the Culver City Bus, 5 passengers got on (new or transferees? Anyone’s guess). There is a disconnect of info between the two. And good luck having both Metro and Culver City Bus hire someone to keep checking the photos and videos recorded by APC on both Metro and Culver City Bus all day and jot down “the blue shirted middle aged man with balding hair, he transfers to another agency.”

    Tap-in/tap-out on the other hand, allows more accurate and precise data collection techniques that links the two more seamlessly. “TAP cardholder 123456 tapped-in onboard Metro Bus Y at 10:00AM bus stop A and tapped out at 10:15AM bus stop B along with ten others”

    Fifteen minutes later, “TAP cardholder 123456 and four others tapped-in onboard the Culver City Bus Z at 10:30AM bus stop B.”

    Metro and Culver City can use the tap-in/tap-out data to see that TAP cardholder 123456 and four other passengers makes this transfer everyday and that the average wait time is 15 minutes, rather than making a guess. By doing so, they can then coordinate their bus schedules more efficiently to reduce the wait time to 5 or 10 minutes since they know that there are people that make transfers from one agency to another there.

    There’s are reasons why tap-in/tap-out systems are more successful across the world. The ability to share precise on how transfers are made between one and another is a gold mine of info to maximize the efficiency of public transit.

  7. @ S Pretz

    Buses are already tracked by GPS. Also the the doors on Buses count passenger boardings and disembarkings so the agency knows where customers, as an agregate, are going.

    But the issue of coordinating transfer’s, at least with Agencies like Metrolink, is to make sure that buses schedules are coordinated with the trains schedules. So when a bus stops near a train station ideally there would be enough time for a passenger to get off the bus and walk to the train platform without rushing it or missing the train. It is essentially to make effective usage of our current resources without spending more money on increasing the frequency of services.

  8. How will Metro be fully able to cooperate with other transit agencies, let alone with themselves if there is no information being shared where people get off and make transfers?

    We don’t have a tap-out system that collects data where people get off so without this it’s almost impossible to coordinate. Or is there some kind of magical NASA technology that can do this without tap-out?

  9. I’m not sure what the Bonaventure is so upset about… their main entrance is on Figueroa anyway, isn’t it?

  10. Rather than extend the orange line to Bob Hope Airport which seems pointless extend it to downtown burbank instead because waiting for the 183 is a pain when it only runs like every Hour

  11. “mid-block between 6th and 7th”… you mean Wilshire?

    I’m not sure what the Bonaventure is so upset about… their main entrance is on Figueroa anyway, isn’t it?

    And it’s never possible to completely prevent people killing themselves if they’re really determined to do it, unfortunately.