Transportation headlines, Monday, Feb. 25; looking for love on the bus, subway and Walmart

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.

Source: Psychology Today.

Source: Psychology Today.

Missed connections: looking for love on the bus, train and Walmart (Psychology Today) 

The above graphic is one big slice of awesomeness. Psychology Today looked at the last 100 “missed connection” posts in Craigslist in each state to find the place where boy/girl didn’t quite connect with boy/girl. Transit got the top nod in five states in addition to the District of Columbia. That’s no match for Walmart, which lead 13 states — because, you know, love never looked better than under fluorescent lights. It’s also interesting that LA Fitness is apparently more of a meat market in Arizona than it is in California, where 24 Hour Fitness serves as the local candy shop.

And some special mentions….

Georgia: Wow, your traffic must really be pathetic if you have that much time to sit and ogle girl/boy from a vehicle.

Utah: very old school — meeting girl/boy at college!

Nevada: I wonder how many of those casino connections last more than a week?

Indiana: The state must lead the nation in shy people if you meet someone “at home” and still need to place a “missed connections” ad.

Maryland: Meeting someone in a park sounds nice.

Hat tip for this post: Human Transit, transportation planner Jarrett Walker’s most excellent blog.

Westside traffic: C’mon, council candidates, let’s fix it (L.A. Times) 

Editorial writer, Brentwood resident and car commuter Carla Hall recently attended a Streetsblog forum for 11th Council District candidates and didn’t come away impressed. She wanted to hear more about fixing car traffic in the congested Westside and doesn’t think transit or cycling offer much hope. Nor is she a fan of left-turn signals.

Of course, fixing traffic in many cities is notoriously difficult and the Westside is no exception. It’s also difficult when so many proposals — including one mentioned by Hall that would have turned Olympic and Pico boulevards into one-way streets — are shot down by Westside residents!

As for Brentwood, I think there are three Metro projects that would have been worth mentioning or debating their merits: the Wilshire/405 flyover ramps under construction, the new and wider Sunset Boulevard bridge and Metro’s decision to end the third phase of the Westside Subway Extension at the VA Hospital, meaning it doesn’t quite reach Brentwood. 

After M.T.A. setbacks, no-swipe fare cards are still stuck in the future (New York Times) 

The paper cards that are swiped to get patrons through turnstiles on the New York subway have been around since 1993 and are likely here to stay for some time. The agency’s efforts to adopt no contact smart cards — i.e. such as TAP cards — no longer seem to be a priority, even though many other large transit agencies have gone that route. The MetroCard used in New York costs too much and does too little, complain officials.

The mayoral candidate video series: Wendy Greuel (L.A. Streetsblog)

The fifth and final installment in the series that allowed each of the leading candidates for Los Angeles mayor to talk about their take on local transportation issues.

Letter to Mark Lacter (Examined Spoke)

A thorough take-down/dismemberment of Lacter’s recent post at LAObserved complaining about providing more space for cyclists on L.A. streets. It’s always fun to watch what someone armed with actual facts can accomplish!

11 replies

  1. OCTA is spending lots of money on a “next generation” fare card system, and SEPTA in Philadelphia is also being the guinea pig as well on Philadelphia’s complex transit system that includes everything from commuter rail, to trolleys, to subways and buses that go through areas much more rough and tumble than Los Angeles.

  2. John Ciacci,

    As with everything regarding mass transit, Japan is already light years ahead of us in that regard. Their cell phones are already capable of doing what you say and they have been able to do so for the past decade even before iPhones or Androids.

    Even their current Android phone lineups which never make it to the stateside have built in NFC capability so that they can just download the Mobile Suica app from Google Play:

    The smartphone itself becomes the Suica contactless card. The phone itself can also become a standalone NFC reader/writer to charge a contactless card if one wants to use an actual contactless card instead of their own phone.

    It makes life that much easier to do things on your own at your own. Being able to charge your own TAP card in the comfort of your own home or even while fiddling with your smartphone while riding Metro or even while waiting for the bus is alot more convenient than going over to Ralphs or doing it at via a ticket vending machine where there could be long lines.

    If a less than $30 a piece hardware attached to your own computer via an USB cable or a smartphone does the same exact job, why spend thousands of dollars trying to install vending machines? Hopefully Metro takes upon this idea. It’s something that they should’ve looked from the beginning as a measure to reduce spending.

  3. With the yen being at 90 JPY per 1 USD now, it’s now more like $27 per contactless card reader. And LAX is right, Japan sells these everywhere at most major electronic stores.

    The even sell the Sony RC-S380 on Amazon Japan:

    Japan uses contactless cards for a lot of things like paying taxes, updating health care records, accessing personal information stored by the government, and of course loading transit money and even looking at past trips. Their laptops already include Felica readers embedded into their laptops to begin with.

    With so many people living in Japan and the cost of installing TVMs and maintaining them being a PIB, and people don’t like waiting in lines just to charge their cards, a lot of people just find it more convenient to do buy a contactless card reader, hook it up to their home computer, and do Suica charge ups at home instead.

    Just as LAX said, it’s not space age technology. It’s something that can be done under thirty bucks. There’s no reason why such a device can’t be bought by individuals so that they can just charge their TAP cards (or even other contactless cards from other cities) and view historical trips right in the comfort of their own home.

    LA Metro should look into striking a bulk deal with Sony and sell these contactless card readers on a mass scale. I agree, letting consumers buy their own card readers and having them do it at home is a far more practical and inexpensive solution than budgeting for TVMs which take forever to get installed.

  4. Metro should look into LAX’s suggestion of selling personal contactless card readers/writers to TAP cardholders.

    In big events, there’s a long line of people trying to buy tickets at the vending machine. This would alleviate the situation if people just had a contactless card reader they can buy so that they can just charge their TAP cards at home beforehand without ever going to those machines. This idea is far more cheaper for taxpayers and a lot more practical than trying to incorporate a budget to install TVMs everywhere. Just let everyone who has a TAP card buy their own a contactless card reader.

    Can Metro look into this? It’s a great idea.

  5. What a great idea let’s get started at once! I have been using the NFC device at Ralph’s Supermarkets since we are not near a Metro Station. It’s easy pay 20$ at the register, go to the managers desk, them your receipt and they add it. It would be great to just add it at home ini the likelihood that I don’t have enough fare on my TAP to get to Raphs! Perhaps the next iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s will have NFC and Tap2go can just launch an App for iOS and Android, that would be cheaper than spending 50$ on the reader.

  6. The Westside Opinion piece is a great example of how complex traffic/transit is to approach. On the one hand, adjacent parking lots to rail stations does make transit more attractive to those who really do need a car after work. However, we have those who rabidly against parking at rail stations because they have a vision of LA as Copenhagen, but that vision makes transit utterly UNattractive to a good many people who otherwise would use rail transit. And there are those who will NEVER connect by bus either because it is inefficient, or they just refuse to take a bus. Riding a bike for the elderly, mobility impaired or those with medical conditions just isn’t an option and is in no way fun.
    Of course, the weakest part of the opinion piece is something that is the weakest whenever anyone tics off a list of things they think will “solve” such problems: a complete lack of either understanding nor thought about HOW these often silly solutions can be enforced. While not opposed to more support for bikes for those who can, or for parking at rail stations for those who must, the real answer here is that we need more rail wherever we can get it. It is the most attractive alternative to LA residents in a city and region where bus trips can take beyond an hour and a half.


    Thirty bucks!? You’ve gotta be kidding me. What the heck has Metro been doing spending $60,000 per TVM when they could just bought these by the bulk from Sony! For the price of one TVM, they could’ve just as easily bought and sell 2,000 of these contactless card readers to Metro riders instead!

    Talk about taxpayer waste!

  8. Also, please look into making a deal with Sony to sell these NFC card reader/writers so that people can just buy these at any BestBuy or at, hook this up to their home computer and directly charge their TAP cards in the comfort of their own homes.

    Contactless card technology isn’t really space age stuff; these card reader/writers are sold in Asia for about $30. Having everyone buy these and doing their top ups at home is far cheaper than installing TVMs.

    It’s already FCC approved, it’s NFC so it can handle TAP which is on the MIFARE system, all one needs is a programming on to recognize this USB device via Java or HTML5.

    Place TAP card onto reader, fire up, charge up money, ding, your TAP card is now charged up. No need to go to a TVM machine only at the stations trying to decipher the menus. The laptop + USB contactless card reader + does the same job.

  9. The NYCMTA Metrocards are not paper, they are plastic. (Single ride tickets are issued on papaer.

    And for the record, LA Metro DID NOT skip over the magnetic card, it just never implemented it on its own system, instead leaving outfits like SMBBB and Norwalk Transit to be the Guinea Pigs

  10. Those NYMTA MetroCards can get demagnetized and broken very easily if one is not careful with it. So that’s one advantage LA Metro has over NYMTA is skipping over those magnetic cards and going over to contactless cards directly.

    And as the rest of the world that uses them has shown, contactless cards can do so much more. In HK, the OctopusCard can be used to buy drinks from the vending machine and it can be used to buy goods at convenience stores.

    In Japan, the Suica Card goes beyond that it can be used extensively beyond the Tokyo Metropolitan Area as the card is compatible with systems in other Japanese cities’ transit systems. Wouldn’t it be awesome if our TAP card could do that; being fully compatible with the Compass Card in San Diego MTS and the ClipperCard in San Francisco?

    Now if only LA Metro and other agencies get along together so that TAP can be used to its fullest potential we can get that TAP going before NY!

    Has there been an update to fixing the crappiness of

    • The TAP staff are working on getting the TAP website upgraded — but my understanding is that it’s going to take some time because of contracting issues. I’ve certainly tried my best to let staff know how Source readers feel about the TAP website. For what it’s worth, I try to avoid using the website and instead do my TAP business at the ticket machines, which is easy because I live and work near the Gold Line and Union Station, respectively. I’m lucky in that respect.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source