New episode of Metro Motion: L.A. Mayor Garcetti shares his vision for better mobility

In the newest edition of Metro Motion, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti explains why he thinks a regional approach to traffic management and business is the best way to lead us into a more mobile and prosperous future.

In another segment, we explore a neighborhood rich in culture and history along the Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line, which is now under construction. Leimert Park was designed as a model community and a center of African American art, music and culture. The artistic center has held and residents still celebrate what has made the neighborhood community strong and distinct.

Also join us for a taste of the Taste of Soul, the family food and entertainment festival (this year, Saturday, Oct. 18) in the neighborhood surrounding Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, where the food is delicious and the welcome warm. Hear what inspired entrepreneur Danny Bakewell Sr. to begin the Taste of Soul, sample some of the best food L.A. has to offer and go away inspired to dine along the line. What do you do on the way to work?

Find out what three creative Angelenos do with the free time they earn away from the drivers’ seat. And then consider making a pledge to give up four wheels in a segment celebrating Rideshare Week, Oct. 6-10.

And finally, Metro Motion’s favorite two wheeler takes us on a tour of the beautiful Long Beach coastline. Find out what to do, where to go and how to pedal the LB coast, even if you don’t have a bike. For these stories and more go to Metro Motion is co-produced with Santa Monica City TV. It runs quaterly on cable stations throughout L.A. County.


17 replies

  1. mike dunn,

    More the reason why fares for shorter distance should be cheaper, huh? Because unlike a car, you can’t fit many groceries into the trunk of the car. You can only take what you can carry.

    But for those who don’t have a car, whether by choice or by poverty, when they have to go buy groceries, they have to limit their number of grocery shopping. They may end up going there every one or two days too. Because it’s a simple fact that if you don’t eat, you die of starvation.

    So tell me again why those who don’t have cars, who need to survive to buy groceries, multiple times, have to be forced to choose between $3.50 roundtrip or $100 a month, just to go buy a limited number of groceries that they can carry onboard the bus?

  2. I think Metro should do an article about UTA’s beta-test. Obviously there’s a lot of interest in this subject here in LA due to the recent fare increase. And now since we have an US based transit agency beta-testing distance based fares onboard buses right here on our shores, there’s no need to fly abroad to see it in action. Flying to Salt Lake City is much cheaper than flying to Singapore. I’m sure there’s some Angelenos that are currently studying at Brigham Young University that Metro can interview as well.

    According, the person in charge of this is UTA’s regional general manager, Mr. Hugh Johnson. Can The Source conduct an interview of with this person?

    “Johnson said the reception for the newly launched fare program as been mostly enthusiastic. ‘The students have been pretty excited about it so far,’ he said.”

    The beta-test seems like it’s a minimum of three month to a year test, and if proven popular might expand to other areas.

    I’m sure the results and what UTA learned from this beta-test will be a topic that many US transit agencies are looking at closely, at might very well become a huge topic at APTA conferences.

    • I’ll put an article about it in the daily headlines, which I think is sufficient given that there is no indication Metro is going to distance base fares anytime soon, nor is it something I feel the need to advocate for.

      While I totally understand the appeal and it’s certainly an interesting proposition — particularly to those who want to go short distances — I’m not entirely sure why distance base fares are often seen on this comment board as a panacea for all that ills transit in our region.

      I would suggest that transit’s biggest challenge here is not the lack of distance based fares. Rather, it’s the lack of fast, frequent service in congested corridors that are home to jobs, homes and destinations — i.e. the Wilshire Corridor, the Sepulveda Pass between SFV and Westside, etc.

      This comment board has seen more than its share of distance based fare posts and I’m guessing we’re about to see another wave of them. That’s fine, but it’s also ground covered here before.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • “Rather, it’s the lack of fast, frequent service in congested corridors that are home to jobs, homes and destinations — i.e. the Wilshire Corridor, the Sepulveda Pass between SFV and Westside, etc.”

        That’s a chicken-and-egg issue. You can’t get faster, frequent bus services unless LA cuts down on car traffic as buses are reliant on street traffic conditions. So long as the streets are congested, you’ll never get fast and frequent bus service.

        But you can’t cut down on car traffic when people don’t see a benefit of going Metro over short distances, which is what many car drivers do today.

      • To elaborate, take a look at the Ralphs right behind the Wiltern Theater. Anyone who uses the Purple Line knows where I’m talking about. That place has a parking lot that’s full of cars that contributes to the traffic jams on Wilshire/Western.

        Has Metro ever conducted a study on where the car drivers that frequent that Ralphs live? They should; that’s one of the places where they sell TAP cards. What you’ll notice is that the Ralphs shoppers there do not live far away, Steve. The Ralphs shoppers there live closeby. They don’t use Metro to go shopping there.

        If everyone were to use Metro to go shop at that Ralphs, there would be less congestion on Wilshire/Western. But they don’t. Why is that? Because no in their right mind is going to pay $3.50 to go buy groceries at a supermarket that’s close by. Nor are they going to spend $100 a month either. Especially when they already own a car. And if they don’t own a car, they still won’t use Metro to shop there, they’ll go there on a bicycle.

        So what you get is the chicken-and-egg issue. You can’t get frequent, fast bus service because the traffic is bad on Wilshire/Western. And you get that because people don’t see a benefit of riding Metro over short distances, like the ones who uses that Ralphs. Or even when they go to the Korean restaurants and retailers in that area. They all have parking lots, full of cars. And people don’t take Metro there, they continue to drive. And they all live nearby. They drive there over short distances. And that causes congestion.

      • I’ll add my two cents.

        Koreatown is one of the densely populated districts in the City of Los Angeles. There are over 120,000 residents in that area, all living within 2.7 square miles.,_Los_Angeles

        That Ralphs behind the Wiltern, the Vons on 3rd and Vermont, and the Ralphs right across the street are the three main supermarkets everyone residing in the Koreatown district shops at. There used to be a Korean supermarket on 5th and Western, but now it has been demolished and a new complex is being built. So you only have three supermarkets serving 120,000 residents in a 2.7 square mile area.

        And a vast majority of the residents in that area do not use Metro to go grocery shopping at these three supermarkets. They usually drive to get there or for those who don’t own a car, they push the shopping carts back home. What they don’t do is use Metro to go grocery shopping.

        So think about that Steve. If 120,000 Koreatown residents in that small 2.7 square mile district, all goes shopping to the Ralphs and Vons that are relatively close by, not by Metro, but by cars, what is likely happen to the surface streets?

        • Not sure how much you buy when going to the market but most would find it impossible to carry the many bags on to a bus or subway. If your answer is a shopping cart, that is not allowed when folded out since said carts block the aisle and are a safety hazard.

  3. Take a good look at the test on only three lines. In order for system like this to work certain buses must be specially equipped so as to transmit the passengers information as to where they board and where they alight. I don’t believe the system being tested capable of monitoring all the agency lines or they would not limit it to three lines. As transit agencies upgrade their communication systems more and more information becomes available unless the entire system crashes or the individual buses communication systems become faulty.

    Not only can the MTA monitor the exact location of a bus but also if it’s on time, running late or ahead of schedule and it’s passenger load. But with these new systems both communication and mechanical computer monitoring has it’s draw backs. Computers shut down buses that sometimes require them to be towed in because re-booting cannot solve the problems. Problems that could be corrected easily on the road before computers.

    With this being took into consideration, the need to add both new software and hardware, and accuracy in recording where boarded and alighted could cause more problems. A passenger not tapping their card properly/registered properly might create a whole new problem. Currently we see complaints about the workings of the current system, why complicate it? Having witnessed the dawn of the TAP Card and the problems that were not anticipated by those implementing the system I question whether a distance based system would work here. Just look how long it took to figure out a way to transfer which is unfair to cash paying customers. Why should a passenger buy a TAP Card if they only use the MTA a couple of times a month or year? And yet as I understand it, paper transfers are still being issued for inter-agency.

    • Well it surely knocks down the “no one in the US uses it” and how it’s not technologically feasible arguments now doesn’t it?

      First you guys said no one uses distance based fares onboard buses.
      Except when confronted with proof that Singapore and that many Asian countries does, you backtrack and say no one in the US uses it.

      And that argument may have worked. Until this month because we now have an US transit agency beta-testing it. And it’s everything what many here have been saying: fully automated distance based fares with an autocap system

      I wonder what your next excuse will be?
      Oh that’s only one agency that’s smaller than LA Metro? That it’s all a Cubic stockowner ploy?

      Yep sounds about right. Always denying and denying it, even when confronted with facts, until 20 years have passed and we play catch up. The same way it took 20 years to realize that the honor system was a stupid idea?

    • Oh-ho-ho, a boomerang right here!

      Wasn’t that your argument that LA should stick with the honor system because Berlin, Oslo, and San Diego does it too, regardless how they are vastly different from LA?

    • Size has nothing to do with it. Seoul is as large and spread out as Los Angeles is and they also run distance based fare buses.

  4. It’s also on the Salt Lake City Tribune as well

    In the article it states “UTA is considering many options for future distance-based fares beyond the current test model — so eventual, future systems may look much different. UTA has begun a study looking at all its fares and passes and how they may be changed.”

    It sounds like UTA is planning on replacing passes with fare caps. It’s so sad that despite the billions of tax dollars spent on Metro each year, a smaller agency like UTA can be so proactive with new ways of thinking. This is a perfect example of a bigger government does not equate to better efficiency.

  5. Distance-based fares, huh? How about no fares at all? This can be very easily done by requiring that the automotive industry and the energy companies subsidize transit as a punishment for destroying the efficient networks of yestercentury by automobiliating our great cities to death.
    It must be remembered that Los Angeles once had enviable rail-based transit networks; the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric, and the Yellow Cars of the Los Angeles Railway, which both served their clients far better than the bus network which we’re now forced to contend with. Because of the actions of these two organizations, Los Angeles has been reduced from a true city to becoming an extermination camp with traffic signals.
    I will suggest a book: Moving Millions by Stanley I. Fischler, and, if possible, a short animated film entitled: Mr. Walker & Mr. Wheeler (creater unknown at the present time). Mr. Fischler’s book is very highly detailed in its analysis of public transit in the nation, past and present, and the film, although aimed at pre-teens, explains the inevitable result of the extreme automobiliation suffered by so many people today.

    By the way the word “automobiliation”, is the contraction of the words “automobile” and “alienation”, since the excessive use of the automobile alienates us all, whether or not we may own, or even drive, a car.

    • “Distance-based fares, huh? How about no fares at all?”

      There are those on the far-left who are suggesting what you are saying, but support for that idea is low. No one in the US let alone the world, even communist countries runs “no fare mass transit.” Even Pyongyang, North Korea, a communist utopia for some people, charges approximately $0.01 to ride around on the Pyongyang Metro.

      “This can be very easily done by requiring that the automotive industry and the energy companies subsidize transit as a punishment for destroying the efficient networks of yestercentury by automobiliating our great cities to death.”

      They already have had their punishment. They were fined a whopping $1.

      Sorry to say, but the judgment is final. I hate it too, but you cannot force another punishment based on emotions when the judgment has been handed down by our justice system, regardless whether you or I think that was right or not.

      While I too hate what they did to the old streetcars, I’m not going as far to say that mass transit should become free by letting automakers pay for it.

      The Great American Streetcar scandal was done primarily by General Motors. If the motive for your suggestion is revenge, it only applies to GM so you can’t force the same rules toward Ford, Mercedes Benz, Toyota or Kia must pay which played no part in the GAS. And if you do force it upon them, you’ll likely just end up killing jobs here in America because Toyota and Kia both have manufacturing plants in the US.

  6. If Mayor Eric Garcetti wants better mobility, maybe he can issue a directive to do something like this!

    Utah Transit Authority announces new distance-based fare
    Live close to BYU and need a ride? Try UTA’s new distance-pbased fare.

    UTA is beta-testing a new distance-based fare (DBF) pass exclusively for BYU students, faculty and staff. The DBF pass lets you ride UTA bus routes 830, 832 and 835 everywhere they go, for just $0.50 a mile. Just tap the pass when you board and exit the bus, and it will do the rest. The pass is electronic and calculates the geographic distance you travel and deducts the right amount from your account.* You can reload funds and manage your account online at

    If you are interested in participating in the beta test, purchase a UTA DBF pass at the Information Desk in the Wilkinson Student Center (WSC) or at One Stop in the Administration Building (ASB). If you have questions or comments about the DBF beta test, send an email to or visit

    *Tapping your DBF pass when you exit the bus is necessary to be accurately charged for distance traveled. Total one-way charges are capped at $2.50. Failure to tap off when exiting will result in a $2.50 one-way charge.

    • “The DBF pass lets you ride UTA bus routes 830, 832 and 835 everywhere they go, for just $0.50 a mile.”

      “You can reload funds and manage your account online at”

      “Total one-way charges are capped at $2.50”

      Huh, well what do you know. Now we do have an US transit agency that is using distance based fares onboard buses, albeit in beta-test form. And look, they managed to figure out how to do online fare card reloadings and managed to incorporate a fare cap system too! Gee, everything what many here have been saying for a while now!

      Too bad Metro couldn’t beat UTA to it. Now UTA has the bragging rights to being the first in the nation to start using distance based fares onboard buses, complete with a fare system that works with a logical fare cap system.

      This idea would’ve worked well in beta-test form near college campuses here in LA too, like UCLA, USC, CSULA, SMC, Pierce College, many of which college students that go there choose to live close to their campuses.

      What will it take for Metro to enter the 21st century like UTA? In the year 2100?