The pilot program to test all-door boarding on the 720 Rapid Bus that began in May continues at two key stops along Wilshire Boulevard: at westbound Wilshire/Vermont during weekday mornings and eastbound Wilshire/Westwood during weekday afternoons. The tests will run through early July.
The idea is to see if all-door boarding can significantly speed up the boarding process. In the above video, the single door video was shot in April — before the pilot program began — and the all-door boarding video was recorded shortly after testing began.
Here’s a flyer describing the all-door boarding test:
Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects
San Francisco (where I used to live) got it right by putting the validators at all doors of the buses. But they got it wrong by putting them on the left. The rear doors are wide enough so that people can both get on and off at the same time, but most people are used to walking on the right, so when someone is boarding, the validator is in the path of the person getting off the bus and creates unnecessary collisions and congestion. Let’s hope that if Metro puts them on all the buses, they don’t make the same mistake.
Or, if the unit cost of these contactless card readers is cheap as $20 per unit if they buy in bulk, they can just add the readers to both left and right side of all the doors. That way both lefties and righties can use them and it also future-proofs Metro to go to distance based fares (tap-in on boarding, tap-out upon alighting).
The best solution is to offer a discount for using a TAP card, put validators at every bus door, on the bus, and only allow cash at the front door. That way the bus does not need to line up with sidewalk validators, and multiple buses can utilize the stop…Also more reliable since validators are not outside and exposed to weather and theft.
Many things should be done with TAP, but Metro doesn’t put much effort in it to promote the uses of TAP. They are completely clueless when it comes to using technology to make transit better.
Providing discounts to encourage people to TAP more is something that many places do, people have been saying for years with no effect. Metro fails to see the light and thinks they’re smarter than places like Boston, Taipei and Seoul who do exactly that with great success to convert people’s minds over to TAP instead of cash payments.
The TAP website is still grossly outdated and nothing is still being done about it. TAP was rolled out in 2007, the year when the 1st gen iPhone came out and it’s already been 8 years since and it’s still full of bugs and flaws. And where are we at with iPhone today? iPhone 6, soon to be 6S, and the Apple Watch. The iPhone can go through 6 generations already in 8 years changing how the world communicates with each other all over the world, yet TAP is still stuck in 1st gen mode in LA.
They can’t even do things like adding in a cap system to replace daily/weekly/monthly passes, properly deducting the correct transfer amount when going from Metro-to-Muni or Muni-to-Metro, let alone setup TAP right to everything online instead of calling customer service.
Because Metro faces no competition in the mass transit sector. Therefore, they see no reason to listen to the people’s ideas, what the people want, nor face any backlash for not doing it. People who are reliant on Metro will always be reliant on Metro, and have no other choice but to use Metro only to get around. They can take as much time as they want in not doing these things and continuously ask taxpayers to pay them outrageous salaries for it.
If you don’t like Metro, you can go seek out other ways to get around, like the car or the motorcycle. It’s simple as that.
Now, if there was a private mass transit competitor running services against Metro who focuses more uses on technology and provided better service, then Metro would have to keep up with the competition.
If you want change in mass transit for the better, the option you should be seeking is not keep throwing more tax dollars at a government monopoly, but freeing up the market to open competition with the private sector.
Leap is suspended, but I doubt that’s going to last long. Many people were in support of Leap, so it’s bound to come back just like Uber and Lyft did once they cleared all the regulatory hurdles. They have the venture capital money so it’s only a matter of time that public vs. private mass transit competition will begin. And if it starts in San Francisco, Los Angeles will be next.
Whether you choose to ride Leap or not, of course, is up to you. You have the freedom of choice to take Leap, or take Metro. But at least there will be competition begun in a formerly government monopolized sector.
Another possible suggestion for Metro:
Rear entry (tap-in), front exit (tap-out)
Ensures fares are properly paid at the destination in plain view of the bus driver. This is how most Japanese buses are run.
Did it today for the first time. Loved it. Would like to see the validators on the actual bus so that when the inconsiderate Metro contractor truck is parked in the bus lane, the doors and the validators are already lined up.
So how much did Metro have to spend out of taxpayers’ money to dig out the sidewalk concrete to install these TAP validators on the sidewalk when the more cheaper solution was to buy contactless card readers like these in bulk and add them into all the buses at all entrances/exits?
$200-$500 per set, each set comes in packs of 10. Cost $20-$50 per reader.
The validators were not embedded into the sidewalk so money was not spent digging up the sidewalk. It’s a test program as the post clearly says.
Editor, The Source
OTOH, those standalone validators from Cubic must’ve been costly and I’m sure they each cost more than the $20-$50 unit costs of Chinese bus validators.
As I recall, you haven’t been able to board an MTA bus in New York and pay with cash in a decade. Eliminating cash fares would speed up the whole boarding process (or at the least, install an additional TAP card reader somewhere it can be accessed without waiting for someone paying cash to get out of the way.
Agreed. Cash is long dead, just like check writing, like those old people who take forever at the supermarket pissing everyone off behind them. Many people of my age just use debit cards or points earning credit cards for almost everything. Why use cash when you earn stuff like cash back, rewards points, and frequent flyer miles using plastic?
They really need to get into the game of going TAP only or open up payments to wireless payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, and get on with it. My backpacking trips to Asia was very easy because I never needed to count out coins or cash to get around, everything was done in plastic contactless cards and they were also used as contactless debit cards to buy stuff at convenience stores too. Man, America is so far behidn!
Not only is cash the norm on NJ Transit, we still ring up fares on a register, collect money by hand and give change on many lines. Now that’s old school!
Not that high tech machines like they have installed in Japanese buses can do the same thing in handling change and fare payments by cash either.
Funny you should mention this because in other places like Boston, they actually provide incentives to riders like cheaper fares so that more people are encouraged to pay using contactless cards over paying and fumbling with cash. People are rewarded with cheaper fares so that eventually, they get gradually get rid of cash payments and make people move toward contactless payments.
It has tremendous benefits:
1. Cash takes too much time
2. Cash is dirty
3. Cash needs to be counted
4. Electronic media is way better
Why Metro doesn’t do this is anyone’s guess. Many people have been asking Metro to look into this for years, but as usual, has fallen on deaf ears. They always prioritize stuff in the wrong places. Then again, it’s Metro, they don’t run on logic.
I think Metro needs to plan out things better than just jumping the gun on testing out these new ideas. I see pros and cons on this.
Faster boarding, quicker leave times, increased ridership
Risk of more fare evasion, more loss of revenue
Increasing ridership shouldn’t sacrifice loss of revenue. It’s more important to increase revenue first than chasing ridership numbers.
I mean, many people will buy Ferraris if they were cheap like Kia and Ferrari might have record sales figures, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Ferrari will be making money when it costs $150,000 to build one Ferrari and they’re selling it for $15,000.
I was on the 720 a few times entering where the subway line stops (Vermont or Western). Anyway, there were so many people entering through the rear door the Driver couldn’t do anything about it. The MTA needs to have an employee or the police at the rear and middle doors to make sure people are paying their fairs.
“The MTA needs to have an employee or the police at the rear and middle doors to make sure people are paying their fairs [sic].”
Problem with most people’s knee-jerk reaction that problems like fare evasion can be solved just by adding more officers is that they fail to assess labor costs which has to come from somewhere (taxpayers). People don’t work for free, they require vacations, they require lunch time, they require workman comp and other benefits.
On the other hand, machines don’t complain, they don’t need benefits, they don’t go on strikes, and they don’t need lunch or vacation days. They can work 24/7 365 days a year without complaint. ROIs on machines are better. The same job can be handled with installing contactless card readers inside the bus at all doors, and moving to a TAP in/TAP out distance based fare system, and if they fail to TAP out, they’re charged full fare.
That’s how other countries run their transit system and they run perfectly fine that way.
The rail lines have faced a knee jerk reaction that it was too easy to avoid the fare on those lines and many people were complaining about it. Now it appears that all door boarding will easily allow fare evasion but it criticizing all door boarding is somehow crossing the line because we shouldn’t be trying to stop fare evaders.
You are assuming Metro will recover more revenue by making sure people tap at the rear doors. But if people have weekly or monthly passes, there is no net revenue recovery but you’ve just added lots of cost for having 2 extra Metro employees stand by the TAP pylon. Kind of pointless…
Other ideas Metro has not tried out that the rest of the world does and have figured out years ago. Here’s how to ride a bus in Singapore:
1. Remove unnecessary seats. Cross seating alignment does not increase passenger capacity.
2. Change seat orientation to face the aisle.
3. Increase aisle space. More standing passengers = more passenger capacity
4. Pay by the distance (TAP in/TAP out). It’s another form of supply/demand based pricing. The farther one decides to travel, the more they contribute to less supply (crowding), the shorter one decides to travel, the more they contribute to increase supply (faster boarding/alighting turnover rates).
Lots of potential to save time if all door boarding is allowed at all the rapid stops. San Francisco pulled it off and I hope LA can.