Metro responds to today’s protests

The Bus Riders Union and other groups held a protest march Thursday in Los Angeles and made several statements about Metro to the media and others. In the spirit of setting the record straight, here are a few facts about Metro:

•1,222 affordable housing units are either planned, being built or have been completed in transit oriented developments in which Metro is a partner. That number includes the 172 affordable units that just opened this past spring in a development over the Red/Purple Line subway station in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, adjacent to MacArthur Park.

•Metro has never partnered with Walmart in any kind of development.

•Housing units lost to construction of the Eastside Gold Line Extension and for a planned subway station never built in Boyle Heights have since been replaced and there will be 52 affordable units in transit oriented development at First and Lorena streets. That project is expected to commence construction in a year.

•Metro has no plans to kill its rail program. Los Angeles County voters in 1980, 1990 and 2008 approved half-penny sales tax increases to help pay for the expansion of transit, including rail projects. In 2008, nearly 68 percent of voters approved Measure R, which will help pay for bus and rail projects, bus operations, highway projects, as well as return 15 percent of the taxes collected to cities in Los Angeles County for smaller transportation improvements.

12 replies

  1. The BRU doesn’t like rail because rail can move more passengers with fewer employees, and having lots of well-paying jobs for drivers is a high priority for the BRU. I’ll never forget whose side the BRU was on during the 2003 strike, because it certainly wasn’t on the riders’ side.

  2. Steven P ..Have dumb can one person be…. Operators deserve every cent they get they have to put up with so many different attitudes everyday i doubt you would survive a min. try riding a bus once in a while and see the abuse drivers face daily

  3. Alika,

    For the same $10,000-$20,000 it takes to add in art at each station, they can get some plywood from Home Depot and build a newspaper stand on the platform like every other city in the world. That would then in turn, would create a constant revenue stream to make stations make money than doing nothing but being a place just to wait for the train. THEN, you put in art.

    That’s the common sense thing to do. Make money first, then buy art later, not the other way around.

    People don’t go out and become a patron to a poor art student when they haven’t made money themselves yet.

  4. Melinda K makes a very good point. If you travel the subway in places like Seoul or Shanghai, it’s very very common to see commercial buildings integrated directly into the subway station.

  5. ^ Public art uses a measly 1% of a station’s construction budget (which then gets fed back into the local economy to employ the artists and artisans). Let’s try scapegoating someone else.

  6. I wouldn’t even care if Metro decided to partner with big box stores. In fact, I’d rather encourage Metro to do so.

    We need more private partnerships when it comes to building transit. If BestBuy or Wal-Mart is able to put in half of the cost to build a rail station, that saves us a lot of taxpayer dollars. And finding ways to lower the cost of taxpayers is vital in a sour economy.

    In fact, I think that private partnerships like these would be a great way to build some of our subway stations too. As it stands now the subway stations are vast empty space that are greatly under utilized. If Metro can partner up with CVS Pharmacy or 7-Eleven so that part of the cost of building a subway station is partially funded by corporations, and in exchange build some retail space for a CVS Pharmacy or a 7-Eleven inside the subway station, I wouldn’t mind. It would make transit all that better for transit riders to have a pharmacy or a convenience store directly within the station.

  7. The BRU pays taxes into the system as much as everyone else, they have a right to voice their opinions. And while many say otherwise, they do have valid points.

    Metro could’ve looked at pay cutting their over-paid employees or cut back on pension benefits to save a bus line or so. They could’ve streamlined their labor costs by restructuring some of their departments to reduce the number of six figure income earning managers and supervisors.

    Metro could’ve look into becoming more for-profit oriented than keep coming back crying to taxpayers for more money. For the amount they’ve wasted on artwork, they could’ve built newspaper stands, vending machines, or convert more free parking lots to paid lots, something that actually brings in revenue stream into the system.

    They could’ve streamlined TAP more to better fit the needs of consumers instead of the half-baked solution that it exists today. They could’ve moved to a distance based system like everybody else in the world is doing to help boost up revenues than being stuck in the stone age with the rest of the failing transit agencies in the US.

    They could’ve done all this while expanding rail service, so as to save some bus services, but they chose not to.

    Hence, this is why people still look at Metro as bloated government bureaucracy that is still stuck in the “higher taxes, higher fares, service cuts” mindset.

  8. We need BOTH bus and rail. How low class are these bus riders to believe that rail systems are for the “rich?!” We are all without cars, trying to get to work and school. Anyway, thanks for making me 2 hours late getting home tonight for your moment of protest drama/attention seeking this afternoon. I’m sure you accomplished a lot. Wait, haven’t seen you on the news tonight. Guess you didn’t get what you wanted, after all.

  9. The notorious Bus Riders Union cannot get their act straight. They’ve been brainwashed by their leader (who drives a BMW) and are actually discriminating our transit system under false pretenses: that “buses are for poor, rail is for rich”. Only complete ignorant lunatics would want to stand against a Rail system! The BRU’s hypocrisy is obvious: they pretend to be against rail, but they’ve been spotted many times riding the subway!
    Whatever BRU does, or claims, should not be taken seriously. Frankly, members of BRU need some serious education about how transit system works.

  10. I think a lot of the bus routes would’ve been saved if Metro employees weren’t so greedy with giving themselves generous raises and benefits.