A few notes from today's committee meetings of the Metro Board of Directors:
•A contract that would pay Metro with $110 million in exchange for allowing ads from CBS Outdoor to be placed on Metro properties was moved to the full Board of Directors for their consideration at their Sept. 27 meeting. The item was moved without discussion or a recommendation, as frequently occurs.
•Metro TAP officials told the Board that they are working on allowing day passes to be sold online at the taptogo.net website. Currently, TAP card holders have to wait at ticket machines at rail stations to buy a day pass — readers have complained this negates some of the convenience of having a TAP card.
In addition, Board members and TAP officials discussed some of the other issues that have received a lot of attention, including: the appropriateness of charging tourists and others $1 for a TAP card they may only use once or a few times; confusion at ticket machines when customers initially buy a TAP card and want to buy a round-trip (two single rides), and; the need for more signage and possibly staff at times to help riders use the machines.
The takeaway here: the legitimate issues that many readers and riders have raised with TAP cards have not fallen on deaf ears. Metro staff and the Metro Board is aware of it and they are working to resolve some of the issues.
•The Board received a report on Expo Line safety enhancements that Metro is installing along the Phase 1 route. The improvements come from a committee requested by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to review the Expo Line.
•Sheriff's Department officials told Board members about the increase in cell phone and jewelry thefts on Metro buses and trains; more about that in this recent post. There biggest problem has been on the Blue and Green lines. The LASD has arrested about 50 suspects in connection to cell phone thefts. One of the biggest issues is that it's relatively easy for thieves to “wipe” stolen smartphones of all user data and then re-sell them to unsuspecting buyers.
In addition, the LASD reported there were 14 bike thefts at Expo Line stations between May 1 and Sept. 8. A pair of sting operations helped result in five arrests.
Finally, the LASD introduced a new team of deputies who have been assigned to riding buses and dealing with issues at bus stops. They will be in both uniform and plain clothes and the program is designed to increase the presence of police on the bus system.
•A $1.4-million contract for new destination signs for light rail vehicles used on the Blue and Expo lines was moved to the full Board for their consideration. The old signs — as some of you may have guessed — are increasingly breaking down and there's no longer any support for them from the original manufacturer. The new signs will use LED technology.