Transportation headlines, Tuesday, February 17

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

ART OF TRANSIT: The Metro Local 181 passes by the fountain at Pasadena City College on Saturday morning. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: The Metro Local 181 passes by the fountain at Pasadena City College on Saturday morning. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Today’s Zocalo Public Square profile of a Metro rider: Little Treasures on Little Random Streets, PCH to Westwood Boulevard

Twitter users hate public transportation (LA Weekly) 

A USC study recently published in a prominent planning journal ranked more than 64,000 tweets and found that several transit agencies (Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C) ranked below the IRS in terms of negative tweets generated. Excerpt:

The good news is the L.A. Metro was one of the least hated among the hated public transportation operators.

The systems of L.A., New York and San Francisco received “slightly less negative commentary on Twitter … and [ranked] just ahead of the Internal Revenue Service … ,” the school says in a statement.

Public transportation in Vancouver, Portland and Toronto was rated the best, respectively, according to the study.

Interesting way of looking at things. I think the study’s recommendation that it’s good to interact with customers is kind of obvious — and Metro certainly tries to answer questions and complaints on its general Twitter feed; we also have a feed that provides only service alerts and another only for elevator outages. It may also be worth pointing out that one of the prime uses of our Twitter account is to provide service alerts to riders and, thus, it can’t be entirely surprising when riders don’t respond with unbridled enthusiasm over a delayed train or bus.

A short conversation on Twitter about the study:

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Speed dating on L.A.’s public transit (RYOT)

Nice two-minute video that sums up Friday’s second annual speed dating event. Speaking of that holiday that is now 362 days distant (thankfully), some reader response:

How Valentine’s Day was celebrated on transit in Los Angeles.

How Valentine’s Day was celebrated on transit in Los Angeles.

High-rises don’t cause traffic; parking lots do (Streetsblog LA)

New residents continue to flock to Austin, Texas, and some blame a spate of new high-rise developments. Others point to the fact that the city still isn’t as dense as it was in decades past.

L.A. Council District 14 debate (L.A. Times)

A headline from last week about the race for the city of Los Angeles’ 14th Council district, which includes a big slice of downtown Los Angeles. Transportation and development are among the issues discussed by two of the candidates, incumbent Jose Huizar and challenger Gloria Molina. Both are former members of the Metro Board, btw.

Rising gas prices might make us safer (Transportationist)

A new study suggests that higher gas prices also results in a drop in accidents. One reason: higher gas prices discourages teens from driving. Interesting.

Op-Ed: as high-speed rail gains momentum, U.S. can look at Europe’s example (L.A. Times) 

To boil it down to a sentence, a planning academic argues that bullet train stations needs to connect to the neighborhoods around them.



13 replies

  1. The LA Times Op-Ed shows that many academic ‘planners’ are clueless. Bullet trains do not have the same mission as commuter or light rail systems – they are replacements for Air Travel! Ideally, their stations should be multimodal hubs that have superior connectivity with local buses, rail and parking – expensive to do in a built up downtown area. Very problematic for travelers with luggage who need secure, long term parking usually not available near bus or light rail. Every haul your luggage on Metro buses? – I do and it sucks! Also not very compatible with commuter rail that (by definition) doesn’t operate with 18 hour x 7 day frequency.

    • See, here’s a good example of where Metro can learn from Asia.

      In Japan, people don’t even have to bring aboard luggage on mass transit. All they have to do is drop off their luggage at their neighborhood convenience store like a 7-Eleven or have it picked up at your home, and through a partnership with couriers and the airlines, they will deliver the luggage all the way to the airport you’re departing from. So you can go to the airport luggage free and your luggage will be waiting for you to check in at the airport counter.

      Why don’t we have that here? That would be a great thing to have for mass transit riders going to LAX.

  2. “Op-Ed: as high-speed rail gains momentum, U.S. can look at Europe’s example”

    I have to wonder why articles always look to Europe as an inspiration but never much to Asia for mass transit. Asia’s mass transit is just as good, if not better than Europe and there are certainly aspects of how mass transit is run in Asia that can be applied here just as we can incorporate ideas from Europe.

    No one can dispute Japan’s expertise as they were the first one to build it and they proven to the world that it its safety features can even withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. How many countries in the world can boast that? Surely that’s something we can learn here in California as earthquake country ourselves.

    So why not incorporate the best of both worlds? The old military saying “Two is one, one is none” is applied here to mass transit in the US as well. Learning from two (Europe and Asia) and incorporating them into one is a lot better than learning from one (Europe) and getting none (which is where we are today).

    • I think a lot of the mainstream media travels to Europe more than the Asia. I also think that will change in time as more people travel to Asia for pleasure in addition to those traveling for business or family reasons.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • I doubt mainstream media only travels to Europe. It’s not like major network news companies, Reuters or Associated Press doesn’t have offices and correspondences in Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore. How do American expats as reporters there live and get around?

        • I didn’t say they only travel to Europe. I said MSM likely travels more to Europe and I’m guessing the travel is for both work and fun (probably more fun these days).

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • MSM tends to lean liberal, supportive of bigger government, and that more taxes are the solution to solve all problems. Mass transit in Asia are for-profit private enterprises. Now why would they want to write articles about private enterprise working better than government?

      Privatized mass transit brings in competition, lowers fares for short distance riders, stabilizes prices, and less or even no taxes are used to run and maintain or construct the system. That’s bad.

      Public mass transit stays as a monopoly, fares keep going up, services get cut, and more taxes are needed to keep the system on life support and more taxes are needed to construct the system. But that’s ok.

      Don’t make sense, but that’s MSM for you.

      • Or, an alternative and less sinister view: a lot of mainstream media was based on the east coast for many years and closer to Europe, where there were many touristy places to visit. Also, travel to China and some other Asian countries (such as Vietnam) are relatively new to American markets when compared to traveling to Europe.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

      • I too agree LA Metro and the LA Times should also expand their views towards Asia as well, not just confine themselves with Europe only. We do have the largest Asian-American population in the US, and every Asian-American living in SoCal would tell you that the mass transit system we have here sucks compared to the great transit systems they have back in their home countries. I’m sure many of the Asian-Americans working at Metro would agree with my statement too. And there are places that LA can learn more about how to run mass transit more profitably with less reliance on taxes as Asia can do.

        The US has always been a country where they incorporate the best ideas from around the world. We all know Europe and Asia has better mass transit than the US; it’s simple as Googling, reading Wikipedia articles and watching mass transit videos on Youtube. So what’s not to like about running an excellent mass transit system that incorporates the best ideas from the Old World and the Orient?

  3. Portland, Vancouver and Toronto all have Frequent Service Networks. No wonder they get less negative tweets. The service is simple and understandable. You can even use it at night. L.A. has the worst night service frequency on major bus lines of any major city.