Transportation headlines, Friday, Nov. 2

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Transit tax measure fuels debate over price of fares (L.A. Times)

If Measure J is approved and accelerates transit projects, will fare hikes need to be accelerated to pay for increased operating costs? Critics of J and Metro have contrasting views.

Measure J aims to start public transit's engines (KPCC AirTalk)

Host Larry Mantle moderates a conversation about J with Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky and the Bus Rider Union lead organizer Sunyoung Yang.

The New York Subway's recovery map -- what's operating and what isn't.

A scarcity of gas, but some transit gains (New York Times)


Four days after Hurricane Sandy, the effort to secure enough gas for the region moved to the forefront of recovery work. The problems affected even New York City, where the Taxi Commission warned that the suddenly indispensable fleet of yellow cabs would thin significantly Friday because of the fuel shortage. City officials said they reached an agreement with a major supplier Thursday night that would ensure that emergency operations — fire, police, sanitation and work by the parks department to clean up downed trees — would continue uninterrupted.In Union, N.J., the problem was starkly highlighted on Thursday when lines of cars waiting for gas at a Sunoco ran in three directions: a mile-long line up the Garden State Parkway, a half-mile line along Vauxhall Road, and another, including a fleet of mail trucks that needed to refuel before resuming their rounds, snaking through a back entrance. The scene was being replayed across the state as drivers waited in lines that ran hundreds of vehicles deep, requiring state troopers and local police officers to protect against exploding tempers.“I’ve been pumping gas for 36 hours; I pumped 17,000 gallons,” said Abhishek Soni, the owner of an Exxon in Montclair, where disputes in the line Wednesday night had become so heated that Mr. Soni called the police and turned off the pumps for 45 minutes to restore calm. “My nose, my mouth is bleeding from the fumes. The fighting just makes it worse.”

As the map above shows, limited transit service is returning to New York but it's still a shadow of its usual self. All three commuter railroads that serve the area — the Long Island Railroad, Metro North and New Jersey Transit — are far from normal service levels.

Commutes complicated by storm (New York Times)

Click above to see this terrific and sobering photo gallery. The image of the cars pointed every which way at the gas station is priceless. Also, the images are a good reminder of the central role of transit and mobility in the lives of many city dwellers — something I think too many of our national elected officials forget to talk about.

At Strathmore and Westwood, it's UCLA bike box (Streetsblog Los Angeles)

Check out the photo with the article. The box is designed to help reduce right-turn conflicts between vehicles and bikes by putting the bikes out front at intersections.

A real Google Wallet card? (The Verge)

This is just rumor based on a supposed leak and could be flat out wrong, but Google may be working on a version of Google Wallet that allows you to program one credit card to serve as all your cards. One of the cards shown is something familiar to some of you.


7 replies

  1. Angie M.

    Metro at one time thought it was better to move to get rid of transfers and make riders pay $1.50 per ride in order to persuade selling monthly passes which were more profitable. They expected people to buy monthly passes as they figured it would be a cheaper option in the long run.

    The idea worked 50%, but also failed 50%. Metro did see an increase in monthly pass sales but only for those who traveled farther; i.e. those who used the Orange Line and transferred to the Red Line, or those who traveled on the Blue Line and transferred to the Green Line and such.

    What Metro failed to see was that for those who only need to ride Metro for shorter distances, they were not going to spend $75 a month or $900 a year just to commute 1-10 miles each way. Metro grossly underestimated the market size of how many Angelenos actually fell into this category. No matter how much of a “deal” unlimited ride passes may sound to be, paying $900 a year on unlimited ride passes is not a “deal” in the eyes of those who have shorter commutes.

    If your workplace was less than five miles away (i.e. say Inglewood residents working at LAX, Culver City residents working in West LA, or Compton residents working at Vernon), would you pay $900 a year in an unlimited ride pass, or would you walk, ride a bicycle, or continue to drive there instead?

  2. Highly agree that the a major revamp of the fare system has to done before any fare hikes.

    Say if they raise fares to $2.00 per ride without changing the existing structure, you’ll now end up with a person traveling two buses for a total distance of five miles paying $4.00 one way while another who can take one train for 15 miles paying only $2.00.

    The only way to make fares fair for everybody is to ditch the flat rate “screw one market and make it a deal for another market” concept. We need to distance based fares. Pay less for shorter rides, pay more for longer rides. No transfers, just simple distance rate between A and B depending on distance.

    The concept works fine all over the world. There is no need to rely on the “pay per ride” concept in this day and age where we have contactless transit cards. Tap-in and tap-out, simple as that.

  3. Technology is great, but in my opinion, cash will remain to be king for a long time. For example, in Starbucks, I still feel it is faster & easier to pay by cash or Starbucks Card or credit card than using a phone app. In the extreme case, by the time someone turns on the phone, connects it to wifi, opens the app, has the cashier to get it ready, scan the phone, finish the transaction, I am already drinking my coffee if I pay by cash or card in the next cashier.

    Many people seem to think/dream too far ahead about a cashless society, to a point that some of them think it is lame to use cash. I am not saying that we should not think ahead and advance, but it is really not necessary to make fun of people who use paper & pencil and read an actual printed book.

  4. This is an add on to Eduardo’s comment. Why are there no transfers between buses? Also between train lines? It really doesn’t make any sense. That would certainly help someone riding a short distance on two buses have an equal fare.

    • Hi Just a Person;

      Because Google Wallet may offer new/novel way to pay transit fares. Read the post! 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. Fixing the fare system has to be done first before making any fare hikes. No one is going to ride Metro if they raise the fares for everybody without making serious changes to the system.

    It’s totally unfair as it is today that a person traveling a short distance on two buses pay double the amount a person who travels longer on one bus. There is absolutely no rationale for this and if fares are raised across the board under the same policy as it is today, it’ll only discourage more people who travel shorter and use multiple lines to use public transit.