Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Sept. 16

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Metro riders take fare hikes mostly in stride (L.A. Times)

The bright side: most passengers seemed aware that fares were going up. The down side: not as many knew about the new two-hour free transfer policy. There was also this:

Perhaps the largest hiccup happened at the 7th Street / Metro Center rail station, where some ticket scanning machines didn’t honor the new free-transfer policy and charged passengers twice. The software glitch was fixed and those customers will receive automatic refunds within 48 hours, Sotero said.


I spent much of the day camped on Metro’s Twitter account and it seemed to me that reaction to the fare hikes was mixed. Some positive, some negative and a lot of questions. Several riders were pleased that Metro was finally offering free transfers, as many other large transit agencies already do.

For those who haven’t seen it before, here is the link to transportation planner Jarrett Walker’s 2009 post on why transferring is good for you and your city.

California’s 3-foot buffer for cyclists takes effect today (L.A. Times)

The Golden State becomes the 24th state to enact a three-foot passing law. Motorists who don’t obey the law can be fined $35 or $220 if they collide with a cyclist. Over at StreetsblogLA, there are some suggestions about how to improve the law. All in all, I thikn the law is a good thing — but it really depends on how vigilant local police are about enforcing it. Police can sit at an intersection and, for example, enforce red light laws — but interactions between cyclists and motorists happen everywhere and often not in any kind of concentration that makes it easy for police to witness. The best hope is that when they see a bad interaction, the motorist (or cyclist if they violate a traffic law) gets pulled over.

Almost every way of getting to work is better than driving (Fast Company)

Is there a link between the overall well-being of a person and the way they commute? British researchers think so. I think there are undoubtedly some great benefits to walking, biking or taking transit to work but studies (or the accompanying media coverage) like these always leave me suspicious of their sweeping generalizations. A few years back, there were a lot of studies linking living in the ‘burbs to obesity. The thinking on that has started to change, with some people saying bad diets and lack of exercise can be found in a lot of different neighborhoods.

A field guide to the future former birds of L.A. (LAObserved) 

Good follow to the recent Audubon study that found that half the birds in the U.S. could be squeezed out of their habitat by climate change. Among the species seen in the L.A. metro area that could be in trouble are Allen hummingbirds, mountain bluebirds, golden eagles, eared grebes, western gulls, red-breasted sapsucker and purple finch. If global warming concerns you, taking transit is one way to reduce your carbon footprint — transit is generally more efficient than driving alone.

9 replies

  1. I’d imagine driving to work is especially stressful when the commute includes freeway driving, or more than, perhaps, 20 minutes on surface streets. Living close to one’s job is important, and is actually quite feasible to those who rent property – the market in LA is big enough that it’s not difficult to find a location convenient to work. If a commuter absolutely must drive, minimizing time on the road not only reduces stress, but also the potential for car accidents.

    • You would think it is easy to move, but there are a lot of reasons why people don’t live near where they work. Maybe they want more space, they have a spouse, significant other, or children who they don’t want to uproot/go to school or work nearby, or any host of other reasons. We need to have a balanced transportation system, which is why I support things like Express Lanes which raise revenue from drivers who want to go faster.

      • “Maybe they want more space”

        Uh, yeah…Perhaps they didn’t get the news that we’re living in a whole new Los Angeles today, the most populous and densely populated county in the nation at 10 million residents all within 4700 square miles of land. Wanting “more space” is a luxury here. If space is what they want, they’re living in the wrong place.

        We live in a different era than the 1950s where there were less people, fewer traffic, and gas prices were cheap. Today’s way of living in LA is that you either live farther away and pay the price of higher cost of commuting costs, or live closer to your work (or find a job closer to where you live today) and pay lower in commuting costs.

        Can’t have “I want to live farther away where there is more open space and breathing room and better school, but I’d like my commuting costs to be cheap too.”

        Be realistic. You have to give up something.

  2. But for bus drivers to “spot” customers the difference would discriminate against rail customers, who either have the full fare, or don’t get their TAP cards validated.

  3. I am all for fare enforcement and an assertive tap card data collection policy. But I cannot tolerate any software hiccups because Metro has more than six months to update and to test its system. If a rider paid the fare on Monday morning at 7 am and made four additional Metro local bus or rail transfers within two hours window. The rider could be charged four additional times due to software update issues. I wonder did (or will) Metro refund the riders in a correct manner? Will Metro short changed us due to the software update issue?

  4. Metro should have a one week grace period. Lot’s of people haven’t payed attention to the new fare changes…and many are very poor. Yesterday the southbound 258 line at Whittier & Arizona at 6:42 am, the driver wasn’t going to let a young man on who paid $1.50. My brother ended up paying the extra quarter for him. My brother looked at the driver and the driver gave him a mean stare. I’ve seen drivers whom let people ride for free as a courtesy many times who didn’t have anything to pay. I find this totally unacceptable to not let this young man on. Who knows if drivers are rejecting seniors and the disabled from boarding as well.

    • Hey Anthony —

      Thank you for letting us know about your experience on the 258. I’ll send your comment along to Customer Relations. We haven’t received complaints about being people prevented from boarding, but it is a big system and not everything gets back to us, of course.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • “I’ve seen drivers whom let people ride for free as a courtesy many times who didn’t have anything to pay.”

      Why should my hard earned tax dollars deducted from my minimum wage have to pay for that person’s ride because that person failed to pay attention to all the fare hike service announcements that Metro has been doing? I’m poor, I pay, why should another poor person given a free ride and not me?

      Nothing is free in this world. Sheesh! You ride, you pay, simple as that.

    • “Lot’s of people haven’t payed attention to the new fare changes”

      If someone is stupid enough not to notice all the signs everywhere saying fare increases are happening, they get no sympathy from me. And Metro did a good job in letting people know about that in multiple languages across many forms of media, so there’s no excuse for laziness in being low information.

      It’s like saying I got run over by a car because I didn’t know red signal meant do not walk, where’s the sympathy? You don’t pay attention, that’s your problem.

      This is why everything is so wrong today in CA.