Transportation headlines, Wednesday, February 5

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London buses to go cashless (Transit Wire) 

Transport for London says all passengers will have to pay with an Oyster Card, which is similar to a TAP card. This will speed up boarding, officials predict, and reduce delays. And what happens if someone tries to board the bus without enough money on their card to cover the fare? As long as it’s a positive balance, they will be allowed to board.

Repeal of Orange Line rail ban clears Assembly (Building Los Angeles) 

The bill, AB 577, had no problem clearing the Assembly recently and next will be considered by the state Senate. It would repeal SB 211, enacted in 1991, to prohibit light rail from being built along the Orange Line corridor. There is no money to convert the Orange Line to rail at this time, nor is the project even in Metro’s long-range plan. The advantages of rail over bus would be more capacity and perhaps some gated crossings, which hypothetically could make a train faster than a bus that stops or slows for both red and green lights controlled by the city of Los Angeles.

Commuting by bike is an L.A. adventure (L.A. Times)

Columnist Steve Lopez likes the idea of commuting by bike, if not necessarily the reality at times — which he likens to willingly swimming in a shark tank. Excerpt:

As I see it, 5% [of commuters traveling by bike] isn’t a big enough target, and the bicycle plan isn’t grand enough in a city with mostly bikeable terrain, great year-round weather and a health-conscious population.

That’s not Mowery’s fault. She’s dealing with infrastructure limitations and all the usual political realities. Too many motorists, merchants and homeowners stand in the way of a bold transformation in a city that desperately needs one, and no public official past or present has been brave enough to stand up to them for the greater good. But do they really think we can just go on adding cars to already clogged roads?

If the goal is to get more people to consider commuting by bike, we need more than painted white lines on the road and the rare buffer like the one in the tunnel. We need fully protected bikeways, so people of all ages can go for a ride without fear of getting hit by a bus.

We have dozens of major east-west and north-south thoroughfares in the San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles, so why can’t one or two become bikeways at fixed hours?


It’s hard to judge a bike network until it’s more complete — and cyclists truly have options to travel to far more places. I certainly see more people biking in the past few years in L.A. and elsewhere, but I also see bike lanes that are getting infrequent use. One issue: some of the bike lanes are hardly inviting with no buffer between heavy traffic and on streets in badly need of repair. Check out the lanes on Huntington Drive and Mission — not exactly ideal.

Pictures from the Super Bowl transit nightmare (Gawker)

Good pics, bad commute — especially for fans who paid a king’s ransom to travel to New York and then watch a terrible game.

A couple of thoughts:

•Super Bowl 50 in 2016 will be played at the 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara near a VTA light rail stop — and the light rail connects to both CalTrain and ACE commuter trains. So we’ll see how that works.

•If the Broncos qualify for the Super Bowl in the future, find something else to do that day — like harvest belly button lint, wash your car with a toothbrush or go to Bed, Bath & Beyond with the wife. To wit:

Super Bowl 12: Dallas 27, Denver 10

Super Bowl 21: New York 39, Denver 20

Super Bowl 22: Washington 42, Denver 10

Super Bowl 24: San Francisco 55, Denver 10

Super Bowl 32: Denver 31, Green Bay 24

Super Bowl 33: Denver 34, Atlanta 19

Super Bowl 48: Seattle 43, Denver 8

Of the seven games, the only one that was actually entertaining and close was the game against Green Bay, which went down to the wire. Otherwise, the games involving the Broncos have been total duds. As for next year, I don’t think they’ll be back in the Super Bowl — teams will figure out how to better pressure Peyton Manning, who had all day this year to throw. And I’m not sold on the Seahawks either. The reason I think the Steelers and 49ers will meet in Super Bowl 49 in Arizona next year.

5 replies

  1. It was Robbins who stopped light rail along Chandler and it was Waxman who blocked the subway along Wilshire Bl. Both are democrats. Why is it that the democrats the ones blocking mass transit in Los Angeles and other places?

    Concerning Tap Cards verses cash fares. With the introduction of electronic fare boxes the speed of passengers boarding was slowed down. When Tap Cards were introduced it again slowed boarding’s. As a former bus operator for the RTD I have personal experience with the subject. Yes, bus operators had to know how to count the fares rapidly but I guess that’s why there were rather simple questions on the pre-employment test that had to be solved with the applicants shoes on. And yes, some applicants failed the test.

  2. One corrupt senator does not equal “SFV Voters”, just like the people suing to stop the purple line and expo does not equal “Basin Voters”. But thanks for playing how to stereotype two million people and the fleecing of Valley tax payers.

  3. Vinny,

    No, there was not a bill. It was LAW. And it currently is still LAW that the Orange Line can’t be rail.

    SB 211 was passed in 1991. If a bill was passed by both houses of our State Legislature, then it becomes part of our state law.

    You can Google all about it by using the search term “Robbins Bill” “1991” “SB 211” and read all the BS reasons why the SFV voters at the time did not want a light rail system.

    Stupid laws that were passed back then continue to haunt our progress that LA needs to build an efficient transit network. Then there’s all the stupid meetings and studies we have to do that end up wasting everyone’s time and money before a shovel is put to ground. And then there’s the unions who whine and complain all the time.

    So many things are wrong with California and Los Angeles that we really need a reset button.

  4. So there was a bill preventing the Orange Line from being more efficient by being rail instead of bus?

  5. The biggest difference between London and Los Angeles is this part:

    “Cash fares make up only 1% of bus trips; ten years ago about one in four bus riders paid with cash. The change will not affect the other 99% of bus passengers who already pay for their travel using Oyster cards, prepaid tickets, contactless payment cards, or concessionary tickets.”

    LA Metro needs to create incentives to move Metro bus riders to use TAP over cash. People have been saying for a long time that Metro should reduce the bus fares for TAP users than those who pay cash as an incentive to move more people to TAP cards. They do this in many places like Boston and Hong Kong too. Yet as always, Metro has not listened, just like the daily cap idea that London has been doing for years.

    What will it take for Metro to start listening to the people?