Researchers identify eight things that drives customers from taking mass transit

In the latest news from the Ivory Tower, researchers at UC Berkeley have published a list of the eight things that are most likely to tick off transit riders to the point where they’ll give up on transit. The study was done by talking to riders and ex-riders on San Francisco’s Muni system.

The research paper is titled “Passengers perception of and behavioral adaption to unreliability in public transportation.” Forbes has published an article about it, too, emphasizing that customers can cope with extenuating circumstances. What drives customers bonkers are problems they believe are within control of a transit agency.

I’m not sure that any of the following is an earth-shaking revelation. That said, I do think it’s a nice reminder to transit agencies how their service is experienced by customers. Here are the top eight things that really tick off customers:

1. Delayed on board due to transit vehicles backed up or problems on the transit route downstream.

2. Experienced long wait at a transfer stop.

3. Missed departure due to wrong real-time information. 

4. Unable to board or denied boarding due to crowding.

5. Delayed on board due to emergency or mechanical failure.

6. Experienced long wait at origin stop.

7. Ran to stop but the bus or train pulled away.

8. Delayed on board due to traffic.

The Forbes article has more, including recommendations for transit agencies to keep their customers, well, their customers. Is this list missing anything, Source readers and transit riders? Go ahead–get it out of your system…

73 replies

  1. 1)busses and trains that don’t come often enough (i.e. every 5-15 minutes)

    2)busses and trains that don’t run late enough at nights and/or on the weekends

    3)busses and trains that are too slow

    4)worries about safety

    5)worries about cleanliness

  2. you missed…

    9. no access to broad band or internet
    10. no late and after hours service (e.g. I can’t rely on the train)
    11. no late and after hours connection service or cab stands at major hubs (e.g. Wilshire/Vermont, Hollywood/Highland, etc)

    In the end, in LA, it not being able to rely on service and being out of contact with the world that makes PT unattractive.

    Crazy thing is that if you ran an mag lev down the middle of the major freeways (101, 405, 5, 118, 605, etc) and provided good connection service to and from major transportation destinations (schools, hospitals, shopping, entertainment and sports venues, etc) that ran extended and after hours so people could live their lives using PT and not worrying about how to get to and from at what hours, etc more people would do it…

    Buses = 1950s
    Bus through ways = 1970s
    Light rail and subways = getting warmer
    Mag Lev = 21st century sexy

  3. Better signage at stations and on the trains. With more information. How about putting monitors at all train stations with next train arrivals similar to what the the Red/Purple Lines currently have.

  4. #3 Unable to board or denied boarding due to crowding.

    I’ve experienced this so many times that I’m considering giving up bus transit altogether and opt to learning how to ride a motorcycle or something.

    What’s the point of waiting and waiting forever and the bus finally comes, only to be dismayed that the bus just passes by because there’s so many people on board?

    The problem is that no one wants to get off. Everyone wants a cheap ride and they want to make the most of their $1.50 so they end up riding it over longer and longer distances.

    I think we need to look at introducing a tiered pricing structure. They need to introduce a tiered fare structures so that they can discourage longer distance travelers to keep hogging up all the space and never get off and make some more space available for shorter travelers.

    Gaston,

    We’re not going to have a MagLev. First we have no money. Second, we have no experience building them. Third, MagLevs need to be in a straight line.

    Good luck trying to come up with money, finding some company willing to take upon that challenge, and asking people to kindly move out because their homes and businesses are in the way.

    • re: #3 Unable to board or denied boarding due to crowding.

      The way to resolve this is to have more 60 foot busses on busy lines, longer car trains, and busses and trains that run more often. We also need dedicated bus lanes on busy streets, such as Wilshire. If we do all that then the busses will be stuck in traffic less often and there will be more room for riders with more and longer busses and trains.

  5. All of the above, and 24 hour service(not just on weekends) is a must. Even if it were 20 minute head ways. 20 minute head ways were the norm before the ten minute service, which to me seems like a great success. If most people drive to work, they’d love to take metro for leisure, however no one wants to be stranded, or wait at a non secure bus stop after 2am, theyd rather drive drunk or take a taxi. When it seems that Metro isnt just catering to the working class(something they’re getting better at), more people will feel it is an option for a night out.

    Ever see the 101/110 Interchange at 11pm? Thats their ridership right there. Drinks are stopped at 2, not parties/clubs. So if one leaves at 3am, what are the options? Get on the bus, which is a lot less appealing to the weekend warriors, cab it, DD, or drive drunk.

    By the time the airport connector is finished, this will be a must. Today, If I have a 6am flight, and live in North Hollywood. I’d not make my check in at 5am. Thats a huge turn off.

  6. We missed:
    1) Buses not showing up (happens quite often, esp. in the Valley it seems)

    2) Stations in dangerous / decrepit / barren areas, e.g. the entire Expo, Blue, Green lines

  7. We need real change and Gaston::

    Who needs a MagLev when we’re getting the West Hollywood, frictionless air-tube?

  8. I agree with the list. As a semi-frequent transit rider, I can honestly say that I’ve experienced most of those and they make me think twice before taking public transit. Also, this list about what drives people away from public transit parallels, to some extent, why a lot of people avoid public transit in the first place: a) it doesn’t go where “I” need to go; b) or, if it does, it is too slow and inconvenient; and c) poor customer service.

    The biggest reason I avoid public transit at times is because it can be excruciatingly Slow. Why take public transit if I can get someplace much faster in a car?
    Many, many variables slow down a trip, but every situation that seems avoidable will push people away. For example, what always irks me are long waits at transfer points.

    I ride the 76 bus from time-to-time from Alhambra to Union Station and back (usually to connect to one of the rail lines).

    As an aside, most people I know, including a Metro planner, look at me as if I’m nuts for taking that bus because the actual bus stop is not at Union Station. Instead, it is a long block away, across the street from the Post Office building, and behind the Chevron station. It can be an unfriendly walk at night with the screaming, (presumably) mentally ill, homeless people.
    After 8 pm, the 76 runs once an hour. Several times, I’ve flown into Burbank airport during the evening. Because the Metrolink stops running early, I have taken the (free) super shuttle to the NoHo red line station and take the red line to Union Station. Inevitably, the 76 leaves as the red line arrives, so I’m stuck waiting an hour or taking the Gold Line to South Pas or East LA and catching different bus into Alhambra.
    It all adds up to one very slow trip. I gave up and either park at the airport or get someone to pick me up. That same trip during the day when Metrolink runs takes me about an hour and 15. But the 45 minute (or more) wait for the 76 makes it over two hours.

    Similarly irritating are traffic signals timed for cars — not pedestrians — that make me (a passenger) transferring between buses to wait such a long time the other bus leaves before the signal changes.

    I think the trophy for sloth-like public transit goes to the Santa Clara Valley transit agency (Bay Area). It has a light rail line that takes more than an hour to go 11 miles or so from downtown San Jose to Mountain View. It winds, it snakes, it takes little jogs to the left and back to the right, and it stops for signals frequently. Good thing it has Wi-Fi.

    Mostly missing from the top 8 are poor customer service experiences. The problem is not unique to Metro or other transit agencies and is a plague upon any consumer-facing business. The experience with the a-hole driver who pulls away as a potential passenger runs up to the door to catch that bus/train will stick with that person much longer than the vast majority of times where the driver waits a few moments (or for the traffic signals to cycle through) for them to board. Its the similar case with the curt driver or other customer service rep who gives one word answers without a smile or the no-nothing, its-not-my job staffer who won’t bother saying whose job it is or giving some form of direction on how to find help. And, as with other bad customer service experiences, that bad experience is more likely to be relayed than the positive.

  9. I can understand what is stated above. The part about customer service is a double edged sword though. I too would get a bit frustrated when drivers seemed to know nothing about their connections, and general locations of venues and other things. But I recently used RTA (Riverside Transit), and they do a little too much customer service, which really kills their efficiency. I also have little sympathy for someone who is not at the bus stop on time and may have to run to catch or even miss a bus. That simply slows the system down, and when they wait for one person, they end up waiting for ten people, which could possibly make one of the buses or train you or I may catch, late. Customer service and efficiency do not always compliment each other well in transit. The best service is getting me/us to the destination on time.

    Public transit takes a bit more critical thinking and planning, and it seems much easier for many to just put the keys in the ignition and go where they want, when they want (laziness). Do I hold the subway doors for people? No. Why? They need to learn to be on time, and I do not want to be the guy that makes someone miss their Metrolink by two minutes. That is critical, since Metrolink runs on a set schedule and not head ways.

  10. As a long time user of LA transit over the decades, I have had the opportunity to use it (and still do) for just about every possible scenario. However for this subject, one best illustrates a problem that Metro has never truly addresed:
    I would use Metrolink and Purple to get to my destination that always worked very well. Then by mid-afternoon we would board Line 16 west from Windsor Square to The Grove. That ride was always pleasant and with good head ways. However, the short ride back at the rush hour was always a NIGHTMARE because Line 16 and even 316 buses heading east were all OVERCROWDED by the time they reached Fairfax. There was either no room, or when we did manage to board, it was so packed we were all stepping on each others’ shoes. We had to maneuver from the front to the back door the entire trip back because if we didn’t, there was no way for us to make way through the human crush load fast enough when we came upon our stop.
    After experiencing that too many times, we had decided to just DRIVE to The Grove and back. That’s why so many choose to drive rather than use PT, and I’m a transit advocate, yet I would recommend those who could to DRIVE using our route.
    Easily, biggest reasons I choose to drive instead of PT are the following:
    A. buses too crowded
    B. buses slow slogging though traffic slower that cars and frequent stopping to board and alight.
    C. not enough Limited service on that line with Limited being just as OVER-crowded.
    D.waiting for buses for extended times because buses are stuck in traffic and 3 buses all arrive at the same time that should have been at even head-ways, but still too crowded to board or close to it that results in missing connections.
    E. waiting too long for connections.
    F. concerns for personal safety.
    Finally, while I may not have a problem standing on a train like the Gold Line compared to a bus, there are many who would find the Gold Line unacceptable because it is SRO during the rush. If Metro would add a 3rd car not only would many be able to sit, but those who avoid using the line because they can never get a seat would use the Gold Line, as one example.
    Metro needs to provide adequate seating or at least low SRO numbers, be on-time, be more aggressive in finding ways to reduce trip times for buses, and provide a safe experience. Then, after they can get that core mission done, may they move on to providing the kid clubbers wee-hour service.

  11. They forgot the LENGTH OF TIME IT TAKES FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT TO TRAVEL ON SURFACE STREETS! I live in Rosemead, and take the Line 266 6 days a week to Downey. It takes 90 minutes from where I first board the FIRST of 3 buses, to get to my destination in Downey, including over 1/3 of that time (35 minutes on Line 266!)! Does the MTA care? NO! Will the MTA improve service? NO!

  12. If Metro wants to solve the problem of overcrowding within the constraints of finite number of buses along a particular set route, distance based fares is a good idea to introduce a form of “congestion pricing.”

    One you introduce a variable rate based on distance traveled on the Line 16 or Line 316, you’ll see a lot of long distance users drop because now they have to pay more to travel farther and make room for more short distance riders instead. You either have a crowded bus where majority of the passengers take longer distances under a flat rate system or a high hop-on/hop-off attrition rate where passenger take short distances under a variable rate system. You can’t have both.

    Another idea is to get rid of the second seats in each row and increase standing room aisle space.

    2 seats – narrow standing room aisle – 2 seats configuration

    vs

    1 seat – larger standing room aisle – 1 seat configuration

    This allows for increased capacity per bus with very little investment. All Metro needs to do is chop down 1 seat per row to make room for more aisle space.

    • Distance based fares won’t work on busses since riders will have to TAP on and off when they board and exit and that would take too much time. It would work with locked turnstiles on MetroRail though, similar to BART.

      The riders who would have to stand with only one seat rows wouldn’t be too happy. But it could work with subway and/or light rail trains, such as the NY subway where all seats face the left and right side walls and there is plenty of aisle room.

      Maybe busses should have all seats face the left, right, and back of the bus, leaving the middle open for standees? Has anyone seen that anywhere?

  13. 9) Poor connections between transit systems e.g. Metrolink and Metro Rail
    10) Poor cleanliness/maintenance esp. at Metro stations
    11) Not enough late night service on Metrolink
    12) Long travel time on buses and not frequent enough e.g. it takes 40 mins. to travel about 40 miles on Metrolink (Corona to Norwalk); 30 mins. to connect from Metrolink to Metro Rail via bus; 26 mins for about 18 miles via Metro rail; 50-55 mins for about 7 miles via bus (MTA/local city Bus service).

    • In response to Jaafar:
      9) Metrolink connects to Metro Rail Red, Purple and Gold Lines at Union Station. With the new Regional Connector it should connect to most or if not all of the lines.

      12)40 minutes to travel 40 miles is 60 miles per hour. That’s pretty good, when compared to LA freeway traffic. 26 minutes for 18 minutes of Metrorail is still better than being stuck in traffic.

      But I agree that local busses take too long.

  14. J P,

    Distance based fares on buses seem to work fine in Singapore.

    UTA in Salt Lake City is also switching over to them too.
    http://busride.com/2012/10/distance-based-fares-change-the-game/

    If they don’t work why is Singapore using them? Why is UTA moving towards them?

    Conservative ideas and sticking to the old ways do not create change. Change comes with new ideas. Sticking to old ideas aren’t working, if we are to look at change, we need new ideas.

    • Distance based fares could work, but the MTA needs to install TAP readers at the back door of every bus since people won’t be able to get to the front of the bus to tag off on packed busses. And people will need to remember to tag off.

  15. I think the most congested of bus routes do need to consider moving towards a distance based scheme. We have congestion pricing applied to our most crowded freeways, who says the same concept can’t be applied to our most crowded buses too? Make the people who travel farther pay a bit more. That will reduce the crowds and creates room for the rest of us who are tired of being skipped by. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Tapping takes less than a second to do anyway. Any fears of “takes too much time” and can’t be applied to buses is unwarranted unless there’s solid proof that says it creates too much human traffic jam.

    • Re: distance based fares and tagging on and off

      What if you are at the back of a crowded bus and have to tag/tap off when you exit the bus and can’t get to the front of the bus because it’s too crowded? MTA will have to install TAP readers at the back of every bus so people can tag off. When I was in Seattle, I had to exit the back door since it was too crowded, then get on the front door to tag off, then exit again. That takes time if everyone on the bus is doing that (50-100 people). In fact, Seattle has gotten rid of the pay when you exit when leaving downtown. Now everyone pays when they board the bus no matter where they board.

  16. That list is pretty comprehensive. But I think that most of them can be grouped under one common theme: bus systems shouldn’t conspire to make me feel like a loser in the game of life. When I stand at a bus stop, especially one on a busy street like Wilshire or La Brea, watching thousands of people driving by in cars actually getting where the need to go while I stand for 30 minutes waiting for a bus that may never come, I feel demoralized. When I can’t get on bus because of crowding, or when it doesn’t even stop at my stop, or when I get on and I can barely find a place to stand, I feel like a loser.

    I have not problem waiting a few minutes for a bus or a transfer, and sitting on a bus, even when it isn’t moving very fast, is never a problem. I think that the actual “moving” part of the bus experience is fine. It is just the endless, endless waiting for busses to arrive that makes me want to stab myself in the eye.

  17. Mike,

    That is exactly how I feel. Wasting 30 minutes of my life for the bus to come, get all excited I can finally get going, only to be dismayed that the bus is full and it skips me by.

    All the while everyone else is zipping by in their cars. The biggest winners are the motorcycles and scooters because they get to snake through the traffic jams.

    I already signed up for a motorcycle safety course. My goal is to buy a Buddy scoot and be bus free by June. Metro can keep their $75 a month bus pass. It’s not even worth it for short rides anyway.

  18. Getting rid of seats is a good idea. The more aisle space there is, there’s more standing room space.

    The foward portion of the bus has those seats facing each other across the aisle. That place has the biggest aisle space. Why not make all the seats in the bus like that?

    I’m also for trying out new ideas. If distance fares on buses were to be implemented as a form congestion pricing for the most congested buses, I’d welcome it. If you make the longer distance travelers pay more, that means less people taking overcrowded buses from end to end and instead, more people able to get on for shorter hop on and hop off trips.

  19. The youtube video posted by We need real change is interesting.

    I think it’s worth a shot. Long distance riders need to pay more, shorter distance riders need to pay less. If the long distance riders don’t like it, that’s their problem for living so far away from work. If they don’t like it, move closer to where they work like everyone else in the city. Hopefully that’ll also reduce the long distance crowd to make more room for the rest of the people like us instead of being skipped by making us feel like losers.

    Why should people who can afford $500k+ condos in Santa Monica and people who can afford homes in the all they way in the valley able to get to their six figure income white collar office jobs in Downtown LA for $1.50 anyway while those who live in apartments in LA who have the need to get across two buses over to minimum wage earning jobs nearby have to pay $3.00. It should be the other way around.

    • I agree that distance based pricing on busses is more fair for short distance riders. Riders with TAP cards would tap when they get on and off. But what about riders who pay with cash? They would have to tell the driver how far they are going. Can we trust that they are telling the driver they are going from Downtown LA all the way to Santa Monica or will they tell the driver they are going a shorter distance?

      • I don’t see how distance pricing will resolve the issue of overcrowding in the mid-City along Wilshire. There are a lot of people there and a huge demand for that service. That won’t go away with distance based fares and may even make it prohibitively more expensive for less wealthy people who rely on public transit (the wealthier folks can afford to pay more).
        More than anything the overcrowding demonstrates the need for Metro to have more frequent service. Moreover, it further demonstrates the need to build the subway to serve the corridor and the bus rapid transit (BRT) in the interim. Subway cars can hold many more people than buses and are more flexible in that additional cars can be added during peak hours or when demand increases. Metro can’t be that flexible with adding additional buses to serve the route.

        • For parts of streets that are the most heavily traveled, such as on Wilshire in mid-city, how about running short runs that only travel the busiest sections. That would add capacity where it’s needed the most. That’s a short term fix before the subway starts running. Adding bus only lanes with strict enforcement would also help.

  20. Does the lack of restrooms at MetroRail stations have anything to do with it? If it’s too complicated for MTA to run directly, couldn’t they contract out restroom services?

  21. Cars packed to capacity — crammed in someone’s armpit or forced to listen to someone yakking on a phone. And then …. a delay. A delay with no one on the train, annoyance. Delay with your face in an armpit, hell.

  22. J P,

    Simple. Jack up the rate to $3.00 per ride for cash payers. If they don’t like it, get a TAP card where charges will be done more fairer by the distance.

    It’s like those fees that cell phone companies tack on if you still stick to getting them by regular mail. If you don’t want those extra charges, get it via e-mail instead.

    People should be moving to using reloadable TAP cards anyway. Cash is so 20th century.

    • I don’t think $3 cash fares would fly with the public. It’s never going to get passed by any politician or transit board member. That would be political suicide. Yes, everybody should get a TAP card, but we will never have 100% TAP card usage.

      Golden Gate Transit has 6 fare zones in SF, Marin and Sonoma Counties. If you have a Clipper card, you tag on and off when you board and exit. If you forget to tag off you are charged for riding 6 fare zones. But those paying with cash tell the driver how far they are going and then pay cash. It’s an honor system. The driver has no way of keeping track of how far 40 people or more are going.

      http://goldengatetransit.org/fareprograms/

  23. In Japan, they’ve been running distance based fares on buses long before the age of GPS devices and contactless cards. They figured this out in the 1960s because they too were having problems with overcrowded buses under a flat rate system.

    Here’s how the Kagoshima City Bus runs their bus services under the distance based system with cash, without the need of GPS devices or contactless cards:
    http://www.city.kagoshima.lg.jp/gaikokugo/english/traffic/bus.html

    1. Get on from the BACK of the bus.
    2. Take a ticket. It is stamped with the bus stop number that you got onboard on. The ticket machine is essentially a ticket dispenser that is hooked up to the odometer of the bus (Bus driver zeroes out the odometer. The automated ticket machine is preset by the bus agency where the first bus stop as 2 km from bus depot. Second bus stop is 5 km from the bus depot, etc. etc. Bus stops rarely change anyway so distance from bus depot to each bus stop can be preset).
    3. At the front of the bus, there’s a big electric display panel showing how each ticket holder will have to pay if they get off at the next bus stop. Children, elderly, disabled, and qualified low income pay half the price that is shown on the display panel.
    4. When you get off, you get off from the FRONT of the bus. You put the ticket and cash into the farebox. The farebox gives change.

    At each bus stop, there’s also a distance based fare chart showing how much it’ll cost depending on where you get on and where you get off as well, something like this:
    http://www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/bus/fare/pdf/ume70.pdf

    By having these at each bus stop, it also helps prepare how much money or change the traveler should have before even getting on (get change at a nearby store while waiting for the bus, etc.).

    The major difference is that Japanese buses board from the back, exit from the front and pay at destination based on travel distance. It’s essentially a post-pay system. Because shorter distance travelers pay less, it encourages shorter trips with high hop on and hop off rates rather than longer distances.

    Ours is board from the front, pay a fixed price, exit out the back. We run it as a pre-pay system. Since ours is flat rate no matter how far we go, it encourages longer trips with low hop on and hop off rates and encourages over-crowding, leading to things like bus too full and skipping over people waiting for the bus.

    You can also read other English language how-to-ride-a-bus-in-Japan:
    http://kennyscafe.net/modules/ads/index.php?content_id=5
    http://www.sonic.net/~anomaly/japan/rfbuses.htm
    http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/transport.html
    http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/transport/how-to-ride-local-bus.html

    Many American tourists, expats, and military service members living in Japan adapt to this system very quickly. Many of my US military friends who served duty in US bases in Japan all say this makes a lot more sense than how American public transit runs. If they can adapt to it, it won’t be hard for Angelenos to grasp this concept as well.

  24. dan b.,

    I disagree.

    The reason why there are a lot of people there and a huge demand for the service on Wilshire is because everyone wants a cheap long distance ride from Santa Monica all the way to Downtown LA and no one wants to get off until the end. What it ends up doing is over-crowding a limited supply (buses) and missing out on gaining a market (short distance travelers).

    And often used “oh the poor will be hurt” theory is getting questionable too. The less wealthy tend to have jobs close by. They are the ones living in apartments in the inner city and working at McDonald’s and Walgreens nearby. They are the ones living in Inglewood working as baggage handlers at LAX. They are the ones living in South LA and working in factories at Vernon. Low income wage earners don’t live in suburban homes and travel 20 miles into the city to go work at Dominos and Papa Johns.

    The wealthier people are the ones living in condos in Santa Monica and suburban homes in the San Fernando Valley heading to white collar office jobs in Downtown LA. Why should they get a $1.50 ride to Downtown LA? They can afford nice condos and homes and earning upper middle income wages, they clearly can afford higher fares.

    Unless there is an evidence showing otherwise (income-to-commuting-distance ratio), the issue of “oh distance based fares will hurt the poor” is a factless statement.

    As it stands today, the poor isn’t really getting a good deal in public transit. $75 a month to get around 5 miles within the inner city from apartment to low income jobs versus $75 a month to get from condos and suburban homes in Santa Monica or San Fernando Valley to white collar jobs in Downtown LA.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who is getting the short end of the stick.

  25. I would take transit to work, and have rarely, but there is no direct route between home and work. What takes me 20-25 minutes by car one-way takes more than an hour by bus (including the hassle of a connection). More express buses would do wonders.

  26. @LAX Frequent Flyer

    I disagree, strongly.

    You state “The reason why there are a lot of people there and a huge demand for the service on Wilshire is because everyone wants a cheap long distance ride from Santa Monica all the way to Downtown LA and no one wants to get off until the end. What it ends up doing is over-crowding a limited supply (buses) and missing out on gaining a market (short distance travelers). ”

    LOL, Really? That is very unlikely, even not logical. Essentially your claiming that upper middle class people who own cars are choosing to ride on overcrowded transit for a cheap ride. You MUST be joking.

    And another quote “The wealthier people are the ones living in condos in Santa Monica and suburban homes in the San Fernando Valley heading to white collar office jobs in Downtown LA. Why should they get a $1.50 ride to Downtown LA? They can afford nice condos and homes and earning upper middle income wages, they clearly can afford higher fares. ”

    Thanks for lumping EVERYONE in the valley under your umbrella. I am guessing the people of Pacoima, San Fernando, Arleta, Panorama City, parts of Van Nuys, Northridge, North Hollywood etc., and even parts of the West Vally are all “upper middle class”. Your unwavering pursuit of distance based fares is clearly a pursuit in fairness.

    This failure in logic is compounded by the vast majority who blindly suggest that distance based fares are the way to go. At least @Paul Hirohashi makes a much better argument but considering how slow buses are already (among many other reasons) I think trying to implement the system would provoke a very nasty backlash.

  27. The reality is that our fare system is a complete joke, it doesn’t fit in with the times, and we have the technology to fix it. And I can’t believe Japan was able to figure out how to do this before the age of computers, GPS navigation and contactless cards. What the heck was Metro doing all these years? They really need to admit they fail at everything they do and they should just start bringing over the Japanese to teach us how to run transit.

    J P
    Nope, the honor system is stupid. Metro finally realized that it was a stupid idea to begin with, why should we go back to it?

    I say it’s better to just jack up fares to $3 (as a compromise, include transfers which isn’t the case today) or give an alternate choice to get a TAP card that’s done per distance.

    It’s called giving incentives. People aren’t switching to TAP today because there’s no incentive over paying cash. Give them an incentive like “start paying $3 (transfers included) or pay only what you need by the distance with TAP” and you’ll see a lot of people make the switch. If it were between paying $3 versus getting a TAP that’s done on distance, wouldn’t you make the switch?

    in the valley,

    Perhaps you should live closer to where you work. You are part of the problem that is causing the crowded buses and trains. You are the problem why a lot of folks have to wait 30 minutes for the bus and made to be felt like a loser in life because the bus passes us by because it’s way too crowded to add more people.

    Stop expecting people to pay subsidies for living so far away. No one stuck a gun to your head that you have to live so far away, you made that poor decision on your own.

    Poor decisions means poor results; too bad, start paying your fair share of the ride. If you don’t like it, go back to the car. Mass transit is supposed to get people going efficiently equally and fairly, not benefit one demographic over another.

  28. Why not a compromise solution to this matter?

    The reason why the anti-distance based fare camp dislikes the idea is because they now have to pay more for longer rides. The main concern is I believe, is the fear of discontinuing unlimited ride monthly passes.

    The reason why the pro-distance based fare camp want it is because they want to pay only what they use for shorter distances or they only use it seldomly not needing any unlimited ride passes.

    Why not offer both then? Keep the monthly unlimited ride passes. There’s no need to discontinue unlimited ride passes. But at the same time, ditch the flat rate system and use distance based fares for shorter distance travelers. The only change that would be needed is that both unlimited ride pass holders and distance based users will have to TAP out (record trip distance) when they exit the bus or the train station.

    Think of it like a cell phone plan. You have the option of paying a flat unlimited nationwide calling plan at a fixed rate per month for those that make tons of calls or have the option of reloading a prepaid cell phone and it only deducts only as you use it for the cell phone ownerr who only makes short calls or use it for emergencies.

    Guess what, the Japanese again, in their almight knowledge of getting transit right, does exactly this. They offer both unlimited ride passes for the long distance frequent commuter and distance based fares for the short distance rider. They have unlimited ride passes called the unlimited ride commuter pass or called “teiki-ken.” (Though one difference is that their unlimited ride passes is also prorated depending on commuting distance, similar to Metrolink passes).
    http://www.thejapanguy.com/tx-commuter-pass-tekiken/

    See Japan figures it out again. Offer both unlimited ride passes and distance based fares. You don’t have to ditch one for the other. Keep the unlimited ride monthly pass, it doesn’t have to be discontinued. This would satisfy the anti-distance based fare camp. But at the same time, ditch the flat rate and move to distance fares. This would satisfy the pro-distance based fare camp. Simple as that.

    I think this would be best compromise solution that bridges between the antis and the pros in regards to fixing our existing fare system.

    • Yes, a system with both unlimited daily, weekly and monthly passes (maybe start yearly passes like some other agencies) would be great, in addition to pay per ride based on distance fares. It would make sense to make cash fares more expensive than with TAP cards. But all rai faregates would have to be locked and all busses would need TAP readers at all 2 or 3 doors, since not every rider in the back can make it to the front and vice versa on packed busses to tap off. And there will still be packed busses since distance based pricing will not make sure that everybody will only ride short distances. Some people cannot move closer to their jobs if they don’t have the money, change jobs often (maybe every few years or less) or have bought a house, or it’s too expensive to live close to where they work (i.e. the Westside), so there will always be people who live far from work and commute long distances on busses and trains, even in densely packed cities such as New York. The answer is not to demonize people because of where they live and/or work, but to make the fares more equitable. There are many people who are low income who commute from East, South and Central LA to the Westside because they cannot afford to live in Santa Monica, etc. They will also have to pay the higher distance fares unless they buy the unlimited passes. And will there be several different unlimited pass amounts or will they all be the same amount, i.e. $75/month.

  29. That’s a compromise I can settle for. If shorter travelers can get to pay less under a fairer distance fare plan that’s fine by me. That would at least make up for the long waits and being passed by knowing that at least I get to go places cheaply than paying $1.50.

    And if the long distance people still want to buy the monthly unlimited ride passes for commuting from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown LA they are more than welcome to do so too.

  30. Yes, that’s what I call we’re finally getting somewhere.

    The underlying reason a number of people having been saying we need to look into distance based fares is because of the fare inequality issue where short distance riders have to pay $1.50, if not another $1.50 when transferring to another bus or train, within a short travel distance. It also doesn’t warrant paying $75 a month to buy an unlimited ride pass when the commute is going back and forth between short distances and dealing with the hassle of taking public transit over short distances. The only one really benefitting is the long distance commuter.

    If the long distance commuters get to keep their $75 unlimited 30-day passes but at the same time, Metro would change their fare collection scheme from $1.50 per ride to one that would be TAP on/TAP off based on travel distance for the short distance commuter, I think this would satisfy both worlds.

    I would be well in favor of this. My commute is short, I don’t see the benefit of a $75 monthly plan like the long distance commuters who live in the valley and commute into Downtown LA.

    But I’m more than willing to load up $100 and do TAP in and TAP out and have it deduct value based on distance traveled. And on the rare occasion that I have to go far distances, Metro can deduct that distance value as well. It will still end up being cheaper than paying $1.50 per ride everytime I make a transfer or paying $75 a month. My $100 TAP load would last me months, if not a year.

  31. Paul compromise solution is a great idea. Metro should look into it.

    He makes an excellent point about comparing it to cell phone plans. The current system Metro does is a choice between unlimited rides and pay per ride. People say this is stupid because It’s like a cell phone company giving a choice between unlimited calling versus prepaid per call. A ride can differ from person to person short or far just as much as a call can. How would you like it if the only option T-Mobile or AT&T gave was $75 a month unlimited calling or $1.50 per call with no distinction between a minute call to check voice mail or an hour call to grandma in Cleveland?

    Instead it should be the choice of unlimited rides or pay per distance, just like cell phones offer unlimited calls or pay by the minute.

    Metro should look into prepaid plans that cell phone companies offer. T-Mobile’s rates is $0.10 a minute. They don’t do $1.50 per call. Metro should do the same, like $0.10 a mile, instead of $1.50 per ride. But keep the unlimited monthly plan for long distance commuters, just like T-Mobile does for unlimited calling.

  32. The more we learn about how transit works elsewhere in the world, the more we realize that the US really lags behind in public transit. It’s not just that they have way better transit systems, it’s that they figured out better fare methods and making them run more like a business.

    Metro really needs to get its act together. Thanks to the internet and more knowledgeable people who have used transit elsewhere in the world, we now realize how poor of a job you guys have been doing and how much tax dollars you have been wasting.

    I think we really need to kick everyone working at Metro out and replace them with transit workers from abroad like Japan. They know a lot more than us, they have a lot to teach us.

    The icing on the cake is how Paul explained how the Japanese were able to figure out how to do distance based fares on buses since the 1960s without relying on computers or expensive gizmo. That alone just shown how Metro’s so called “transit experts” are complete novices compared to the Japanese.

  33. Hmmm im pretty sure pauls idea was mentioned on these comments 2 years ago. i guess its not going anywhere again since no person or group is going to make the effort convince the metro board (that non directly elected politicians who govern the agency) that this is a good idea.

  34. Yes I would support keeping unlimited ride passes and moving to distance based fares. This solves all the problems. It will still retain the unlimited ride passes for those who have longer commutes, but it will also make fares more equitable for those who have shorter commutes. Metro can also create a Metro commuter planner to see which one people are better off with, whether they are better off buy an unlimited ride pass or go with the distance rate plan.

    Yes I would support an increase in fares to cash payers to help promote more people to switch to TAP. Cash slows everybody down. People fiddling with wrinkly old bills and coins only makes matters worse. We need to be looking for ways to promote TAP usage which is a lot faster. If that means punishing those who still pay by cash with higher fares, it has to be looked at. There is no financial incentive for the end user to use TAP today. If there is a financial incentive like fares becoming cheaper for TAP cardholders than paying over cash, people will make the switch to them a lot faster.

    Yes I would support Metro looking into getting rid of some seats or rearranging the seat configurations on the buses and trains to increase standing room space. An increased aisle space also help traffic flow of people getting on and off instead of the constant yelling of people to “move back!” and “back door!” and people getting squished between people and the narrow aisle spaces.

    All of these are great ideas. We need new ideas and these are all good. Metro should listen to them very closely.

  35. Mospaeda,

    What’s the point? No matter if we agree to this plan, no matter how much we write to the board, we all know it’s going to take forever to get it done.

    Look how long its taking Metro to lock the gates. It was requested by Zev Yaroslavsky, a Metro Board member himself, back in 2011. We’re already in March 2013 now and only today Metro is starting to lock them up, but only at a few stations.

    Or look at adding cash value to TAP. That was one of the most top requested features since it was launched in 2007. Many people wrote to Metro Board to get this done. It still took Metro over four years to add that feature in. Metro officials even made comments on LA Curbed that it was a feature that was already doable when it wasn’t. And when it was finally capable of doing so, it’s tucked away in the most obscure place on taptogo.net that it’s no where easy to find. Four years to add that feature into taptogo.net and they pull off a Mickey Mouse job at it.

    Had these things occurred in the private sector, the people in charge would be fired for lackluster performance.

    The whole Metro bureaucracy has to change from the inside. It’s not the people. It’s not the Metro Board. It’s the people working inside unable to getting their act together. And they don’t care because they have stable government jobs, paid courtesy of our tax dollars, where no one gets fired for doing a job that’s never on time.

  36. @We need real change

    Your quotes:
    “Perhaps you should live closer to where you work.”
    and
    “Stop expecting people to pay subsidies for living so far away. No one stuck a gun to your head that you have to live so far away, you made that poor decision on your own. ”

    Are you angry much? How dare you tell me or anyone else where to live. This is the United States not your version of a socialist republic.

    It’s too bad that the same trolls hijack many threads of the Source to spew their rhetoric about “distance based fares” with untrue or thoughtless comments.

  37. in the valley,

    Well you’re not doing a good job in gaining support. Everyone else is providing good arguments and examples on how distance based fares work. All you do is complain without giving any back up information or any source of data showing why it’s a bad idea. Instead, it seems to be about you getting upset because you’ll now have to end up paying more.

    Everyone, rich, middle class, or poor has a place to go. But everyone, rich, middle class, or poor’s travel patterns are different as well. While you may have a long commute, there are also people who have shorter commutes. In the end, all it seems is you’re saying “I don’t like it because it doesn’t benefit me.” Public transit is not about you. It’s about the general public. The general public does not conform to your transit patterns. The general public has erratic transit patterns.

    Yes we are a free country. Free country means people have to be responsible for their own actions and decisions.

    If you thought living far away and commuting long distances would remain cheap forever on Metro, you are no better than the people who live way out in Riverside or San Bernardino who commute into LA with their big gas guzzling SUVs thinking they can make ends meet and such a life can last forever. High gas prices eating their budget and being frustrated in bumper to bumper traffic is their problem, not mine. They can either sell their car for a more fuel efficient vehicle, move closer to LA to where they work, or find a job near where they live. Same with yours. That’s your problem, not mine. If you don’t like the idea, fine with me go back to driving, more room for the bus for shorter distance travelers like me. Move closer to work. Find a job closer to where you live. Be responsible for your actions instead of tax payers keep trying to foot the bill in subsidizing your long commute.

    And no, this isn’t a socialist idea. This is a free market concept. Get your political ideologies straight.

    Besides, everyone seems to be in agreement that unlimited ride passes should stay. Why should you be upset about it? If you have a long commute from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown LA, you already should be buying unlimited ride monthly passes. If unlimited ride monthly passes still remains, why should you care?

  38. in the valley,

    In the past, your arguments flip flopped from “distance based fares will hurt the poor who have to travel far to work.”

    And yet arguments like “what about the people living in Inglewood and working at LAX or the Compton residents working in factories at Vernon” or “how about the unfairness where people who have to pay the same $75 a month just to commute from their apartments in L.A. to a minimum wage earning job nearby” or “what about the fare inequality that a person has to pay $3.00 over two buses if it’s only a short distance away,” you started to say “public transit isn’t about making fares fair it’s about getting from point A to point B.”

    And when pressed further again, you go back to saying “thanks for lumping EVERYONE in the valley under your umbrella. I am guessing the people of Pacoima, San Fernando, Arleta, Panorama City, parts of Van Nuys, Northridge, North Hollywood etc., and even parts of the West Vally are all upper middle class.”

    Please be honest. It’s not about the East LA housekeepers having long commutes to Beverly Hills is it? It’s not about the people of Pacoima, San Fernando, Arleta, Panorama City, parts of Van Nuys, Northridge, North Hollywood. It never was.

    It’s about you. It’s about you in fear that you have to pay more for your commute from SFV to Downtown LA. It was the fear that monthly passes might disappear if we move to distance based fares.

    This isn’t about childish name calling of others as being socialist or conservative or whatever. It never was. It was from the start, “me, me, and me.” And you used examples that contradicts your own statements just to get your point across and you flip flopped your arguments as it suits you so as to defend what you really want, which from the start was simply, “I live in the SFV and I work in Downtown LA, I want a cheap ride there and moving to distance based fares means I have to pay more.”

    Should you have honestly said that from the start, we could’ve just agreed to “well in that case, let’s keep the unlimited ride passes, but change the pay per ride part to pay per distance.”

  39. I don’t know why this person is upset.

    The distance from North Hollywood Station to 7th/Metro Station is about 13 miles when I pull up Google Maps.

    If we went to a distance based plan of say $0.10 a mile, this person’s distance fare would actually be LOWER than what he’s paying today coming to only $1.30 one-way.

    Multiply that by two times for round trip, five days a week, four weeks a month it comes to $52 a month, much cheaper than paying $75 a month for a 30 day pass.

    The person will actually be BENEFITING by moving to a distance based system, not hurting him. So why is this he so angry about the idea?

    If you do the math, if we introduce a distance fare which is at a rate of $0.10/mi, one would have to have at least a monthly commute of at least 18.75 mi one way to break even with a $75 monthly unlimited ride pass. Everyone who has a commuter under 18.75 mi would be better off under a distance plan.

    • Charging 10 cents a mile would be too low. If someone only travels 1 or 2 miles, then they would only pay 10 or 20 cents. Imagine all the money that Metro would be losing out on. And if you think the busses and trains are crowded now, a lot more people will ride with these dirt cheap fares, and it will be even more crowded. It costs 45-50 cents to own and operate a vehicle, so the cost per mile on Metro should be closer to that, but cheaper.

  40. If you look around, ask your friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers, there’s a quite a number of them who live fairly close by but yet drives to work.

    Public transit is just not appealing to many. It’s not really that cheap when you factor in the distance traveled when it’s short, it’s slow, it makes you wait, and its crowded. It doesn’t save you money and it’s a waste time.

    Take for example, a solo driver in a car that gets 30 MPG/city. Say the average cost of gas was at $4.50/gal and the solo driver travels 10 miles to work.

    (10 mi / 30 MPG) x $4.50/gal = $1.50

    For the same price of an one-way on Metro, the person can travel 10 miles in a car anytime the person wants to (no waiting) and has spacious room listening to their favorite FM/AM radio, drinking a cup of coffee and an Egg McMuffin from a McDonald’s drive thru without being fined, and without being squeezed into a crowded bus full of other people and smelly armpits.

    Add to that, anything under 10 miles, the car comes out even cheaper than the bus at flat rate $1.50 pay per ride. And this is factoring in an average car that gets 30 MPG/city, not even a Toyota Prius hybrid or a Chevy Volt, and this is at $4.50/gal gas.

    Public transit will never win. Cars are going to get better fuel economy. People’s transit needs differ from one another, some people live closer to work than others (which is the smart way of living to save money). And even then there’s the electric car or even more fuel efficient modes of transport like the motorcycle.

    Instead of trying failing methods, we can try out a rated system that is paid by the distance at a reasonable rate per mile. Ideally, it should be at a rate that’s cheaper than solo driving in a car. More people who live and work close by might start considering taking public transit again.

    • Re: (10 mi / 30 MPG) x $4.50/gal = $1.50

      You are just taking into account the cost of gas. You forget to mention the cost of maintenance, parking, insurance, etc. It cost about 45-50 cents to own and operate a vehicle. When you factor in that, then a $1.50 ride or a $75 monthly pass is cheaper when you are traveling a few miles each way to get to work. You save even more money if you have to pay a high amount to park, such as Downtown LA or Downtown Santa Monica. Also, if you have an unlimited 30 day pass, you can ride all you want everyday of the month without having to worry how much gas costs. It encourages people to ride more because they are already paying for it. People need to move closer to work if possible and to live near a bus or train line that runs often, 7 days a week. Then they won’t complain that the bus or train doesn’t come often enough.

  41. in the valley,

    So in your view, you are completely fine the way it is now? Sorry, I don’t buy that.

    I live in an apartment near the area you said. I work at a mall nearby within the same area. By car it’s less than 8 miles. If I had to take a bus, it will involve a transfer. I have to pay $75 a month just to travel 8 miles or pay $1.50 + another $1.50 for the transfer.

    Care to guess what I’m doing? Driving.

    You statement “Thanks for lumping EVERYONE in the valley under your umbrella. I am guessing the people of Pacoima, San Fernando, Arleta, Panorama City, parts of Van Nuys, Northridge, North Hollywood etc., and even parts of the West Vally are all “upper middle class”. Your unwavering pursuit of distance based fares is clearly a pursuit in fairness.”

    Well guess what. You do not represent EVERYONE of us either. I live in Northridge, I work in Northridge. I have no need to go to Downtown LA. Did that thought ever occur to you that people live and also jobs within the areas you described?

  42. J P,

    Remember, we’re talking about short distance travel here. If you consider living and working nearby, parking is usually free. When was the last time anyone working or even customers for Ralphs or Walgreens paid for parking? We’re not talking about people living in Santa Monica and working in Downtown LA here, we’re talking about “I live in an apartment complex, I work at the Papa Johns in the strip mall nearby” or “I am a high school student who has an after school job at the nearby McDonalds.” Parking fees don’t apply.

    Maintenance is also low if all their main use is short distance travel. An oil change is needed every 10,000 miles and it costs about $20. Say if all one does is travel 10 miles every work day, that means a short distance car driver only needs an oil change every 3.8 years (10,000 mi / 10 mi/day = 1,000 days / 5 days/wk = 200 weeks / 52 weeks/yr = 3.8 yrs). $20 oil change spread over 3.8 years is less than a penny per day.

    Same with brake jobs, battery changes, etc. They all have recommended changes every XX,000 miles depending on your vehicle, just check your manual. If all one does is short travel, it’s going to be years until the next maintenance is needed. And most stuff, you can do them on your own. Changing an air filter or car battery, you can look up how to do it on youtube and buy parts at AutoZone or O’Reillys and do it yourself. The only think major is brake jobs, changing the spark plugs and timing belt adjustment, but again, the cost of those is spread out throughout the years if all you do is short commuting.

    Same with insurance. When was the last time you went to talk with your auto insurance agent? Nowadays they ask you where you live and where you work. The closer where you work and live, they give you substantial discounts off of insurance rates, a person who racks up 20,000 miles per year pays more than someone who racks up only 5,000 miles a year. And they give you additional discounts by verifying the mileage of the odometer of your cars too.

    http://ww1.calif.aaa.com/en-ca/get-insurance/Pages/auto-policy-review.aspx

    When you consider short distance travel, there’s a lot of factors involved. What’s the fuel economy of the vehicle? Parking is usually zero. Maintenance, if it’s short distance travel, it gets spread out more through the years.

    When you consider that, 10 cents a mile is comparable to solo driving short distances. That’s about how much fares have to go down to for if they are really serious about getting rid of cars off of our roads. Because as it stands today, people aren’t doing so because no one is going to pay $1.50 just to go from their apartment to work at their nearby jobs. It’s still way too cheaper to drive.

  43. And you also factor in the wait time for the bus to come. If it’s going to take 30 minutes to wait for the bus to arrive and another 30 minutes just to travel within the same area, people see it much better to drive, just like the article mentioned.

    Wait times matter. Travel time matters. Travel distance matters. Price matters. Price over distance matters.

    Public transit has a lot more work to do if they are serious about getting rid of all the cars on the road.

    If public transit is supposed to be competing with cars, they’re not doing a good job at it in the short distance market. And there are a lot of needs in the short distance market. No one uses the bus to go to Ralphs or BestBuy. Ever wondered why that’s so? Because it’s not worth it to pay $3.00 roundtrip (or more if it involves a transfer), lug around bags of groceries, and wait 30 minutes for the bus to come, when the nearest Ralphs and BestBuy is in your same neighborhood. It’s faster and cheaper and more convenient to drive. Same with people who work at Ralphs and BestBuy too; they all live nearby and they drive to work, they don’t take public transit.

    Metro would be better off charging 10 cents a mile to try and tap in (pun intended) to these short distance travel need market. As it stands today, they’re missing out on a lot of opportunity from this market and is losing out to cars instead.

    • People who are complaining that they have to wait 30 minutes for the bus or train to show up need to move (if they can) near a bus stop or train station that comes every 5-15 minutes, then they wouldn’t be complaining. People who complain about traffic, high gas prices, long commutes, etc. should move closer to work. And there are many neighborhoods in LA that are pedestrian friendly where you can actually walk to shops, restaurants, services, etc. You can find how they rank on walkscore.com.

  44. I share a two bedroom apartment with my friend in West LA. My work is also in West LA. Everything is nearby so I find it more convenient to just ride my bike.

    My roommate owns a car and a scooter and she commutes with the scooter because she works a bit farther away in Culver City.

    My roommate’s car is used only when we go stock up on groceries at the Costco on Lincoln and Washington. When we have to fill up the car which is like once every four months we split the cost gas. Insurance is dirt cheap because we put so little miles on it. DMV registration is like $100 a year, so split between both of us it’s only 13 cents a day. And it’s not like we have to pay for parking at Costco or at our apartment either. Maintenance? It’ll be years before we’ll need a tire change or new brake pads on it. LOL

    She says the same thing, why waste money on the bus when her scooter is able to get from our apartment to Culver City in less than 15 minutes and all she needs is a fill up of $4.00 every week? She bought her scooter used on craigslist for $900. That’s less than a year worth of bus passes.

    If the bus were cheap and fast I’d use it. But for our lifestyle, it’s way cheaper and faster for me to bike and for my roommate to ride her scooter. Public transit just doesn’t fit our lifestyle or our needs. Why should we wait forever for the bus to come and pay $2.00 every day on the Santa Monica Big Bus or the Culver City Bus or plunk down $75 a month for Metro when I can do it for free and get good exercise by riding my bike? And it’s not like we can bring aboard huge amounts of groceries from Costco onto the bus either. We’d rather save the money and buy nice things instead.

    The bus is just too slow, it takes forever to come, and it’s not even worth the money for the way we live.

  45. J R

    My commute is 7 miles from home to work. My annual insurance on my car is $350. I get it this low because I have my odometer reading verified every year by AAA that I put so few miles on it and I also have additional discounts by having home owner’s insurance with them. It includes liability insurance of $60,000 per occurrence, $25,000 in property damages, comprehensive, collision and uninsured motorist so it’s not just basic low end insurance. $350 a year is nothing, it’s less than a buck per day.

    The last time I went in for major maintenance was last year and it cost me $1400 for new set of tires and brake pads. But that was the first major one in ten years. Divided over 10 years, it’s less than 40 cents a day. Other common maintenance stuff I can do it on my own by reading the car owner’s manual. No need to be paying some auto mechanic named Bubba at a labor rate of $75/hr just to change out the batteries or put in a new air filter. I’d rather be my own Mike Diamond.

    My DMV registration that I paid last year was $81. That comes down to 22 cents a day.

    So far that’s $1.00 + $0.40 + $0.22 for insurance, maintenance and registration, or a total of $1.62 a day and I can take as many trips as I want per day whenever I want to and get going with my life instead of waiting in long lines. There are no waits, no hassle, and no stress dealing with other passengers either.

    The cost of driving has to become SUBSTANTIALLY more expensive if they want me to take a bus. If it’s the choice between paying $75 a month for the bus or paying the price at the pump + insurance + maintenance + registration, I’ll still take the car for the convenience and less stress, especially for the short commute I have.

    And if gas prices continue to rise, I also have the option of selling my car and get a hybrid instead. Give it a few years and we’ll have more electric cars on the market which uses no gas at all where I don’t even have to worry about the price at the pump. Then it’ll just be the price of insurance, maintenance and registration where it costs less than $2.00 a day.

    • South Bay Commuter,
      I take it that you don’t have to pay to park where you work. If you worked in Downtown LA or a similar location, you might have to pay $100 to $200 a month to park. There’s your savings right there. And DTLA has busses and trains that go to virtually any place in the whole region and you could easily park in a train lot and ride the train downtown. But I take it that you work in a suburban location, so it sounds as if you are not spending as much money as other car commuters. And it is not convenient for everyone to ride transit, but for those who it is they should consider it as a real option.

  46. @L Spencer

    Your quote “Well guess what. You do not represent EVERYONE of us either. I live in Northridge, I work in Northridge. I have no need to go to Downtown LA.”

    You have certainly not read my comment clearly (or correctly) as it was a response to someone who DID lump everyone together, I did not. Please quote where I did so.

    The tone of your comment is that disagree with me because you pay to much. Sorry, but you have to pay something and if it goes down for you, someone else will pay more and will that be fair to them if they are making as much or less than you.

    As for your comment about living approximately 8 miles from work and needing a transfer, that strikes me as being pedantic and self serving. You WANT a lower fare so that you don’t have to pay so much. But you have to transfer and it costs more. Many people have to transfer. Any Transit line will get you to certain parts of the city and if your in luck it is steps away from your job. But how many people really have that luck? Thus people still have to transfer, it is the way it is. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter because you can substitute any miscellaneous person and station (whether bus or rail) plus their various locations for the employment and you have a myriad of different routes and some will be in your position and others are “luckier”.

    Of course their must be someone who is making your salary or even less who must travel further than you. Did you think of that???

  47. I think Metro’s failure to understand and connect with the half of the people in L.A. is that they over assume where people live, where they work, and how people commute. Their business model is based solely on “everyone lives in the suburbs and they all commute to Downtown LA.”

    While there’s a truth to that, the other reality is, not everyone works in Downtown L.A. either. It may be the densest place in L.A., but we also have tons of businesses big and small spread out throughout the Southland. And these places don’t run by themselves on their own, people work at these places too. And people who work and shop at these places usually live close by. At the same time, L.A. also has a lot of residences houses, homes, condos, townhouses, and apartments.

    What you get is the reality that for every person that commutes from the suburbs to Donwtown, there’s an equally and perhaps larger amount of people who live and work close by.

    People DON’T live in Van Nuys to go work as a Starbucks barista in West L.A.; if they live in Van Nuys, they’ll work at a local Starbucks in Van Nuys or within the surrounding regions instead. People DON’T live in Long Beach to go buy office and school supplies at Staples in Downtown L.A. either; if there’s a Staples in Long Beach, they’re just going to pull up Google Maps to find a choice of the closest Staples within the Long Beach area.

    That’s the entire market Metro is failing to connect with.

    A choice of $75 a month or a $1.50 per ride only fits half the L.A. lifestyle. Building the Expo Line and the Subway to the Sea to link West L.A. to Downtown and making it cheap is only half the solution.

    The other half of the solution is making transit cheap for those who travel and commute within the same region. They’re not buying the fork over $75 a month and you get to go anywhere idea. They’re not buying the $1.50 per ride idea either. These ideas fail to connect with those who live, work, and shop close by within their regions. Instead, they’re buying cars, motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles.

    Metro needs to broaden their studies more to find out how the other half of Angelenos really travel this city. Look and study how solo car drivers are actually using their cars to get around this city.

    If they did, they’ll find that many in L.A. solo drive short distances. And they need to figure why they’re not convincing these people to go Metro. They need to figure why they’re not buying the choice between the $75 a month plan or $1.50 per ride plan. And if they want to get rid of cars from this city, they’ll need to figure out a better business plan than those two choices.

  48. @We need real change @LAX Frequent Flyer

    It is always the same thing thing with you two whining that you pay too much in these threads, even when the thread have nothing to do with fares, and others must pay more. And my view that distance based fares will the poor who travel long distances hasn’t wavered despite your sloppily written and inaccurate comment above.

    The following quotes from both you are representative of both of your views,
    “Stop expecting people to pay subsidies for living so far away. No one stuck a gun to your head that you have to live so far away, you made that poor decision on your own. ”

    “The wealthier people are the ones living in condos in Santa Monica and suburban homes in the San Fernando Valley heading to white collar office jobs in Downtown LA. Why should they get a $1.50 ride to Downtown LA? They can afford nice condos and homes and earning upper middle income wages, they clearly can afford higher fares. ”

    Wow, those are both great lines and could have been written by the same person.

    And you accuse me of name calling? You have both stated inaccurate and factually false information and will not (can not?) admit to being wrong. Telling someone where to live because it is closer to their jobs and because you can afford it is a redistribution of people and wealth in a society and is a form of socialism. Get your facts right.

    If your ideas were free market driven, then Metro would be sold to the highest bidder and they would determine the highest price that the market would allow and discontinue service on unprofitable bus routes. Get your facts right.

    Not everyone in the valley is “upper middle class”. Get your facts right.

    The two of you constantly hijack thread after thread with your rants about distance based fares.

    I could continue “Get the facts right” but I hope I got the point across.

    p.s.

    One last “Get your facts right” today, I did offer some praise to someone in this thread.