Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 2

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Poetry on the stairs of Douglas Green Line Station. (Photo via Instagram @escobarbilly)

Poetry on the stairs of Douglas Green Line Station. (Photo via Instagram @escobarbilly)

16 places to watch 4th of July fireworks in Los Angeles (LAist)

If you’re staying in town this holiday weekend, LAist has compiled a fairly comprehensive list of the best firework displays in L.A. County. A good handful of them are easily accessible by Metro Rail (and a few are mentioned in our latest video).

London will try to beat traffic and air pollution with this new electric bus (Grist)

Electric buses are cool. Electric double-decker buses are even cooler. London officials announced earlier this week they will begin test-driving its first electric buses in October. True to London form, these first test electric buses will be a part of the city’s double-decker fleet.

BYD Inc. will be manufacturing the test buses for London and is the same company that delivered five test electric buses to Metro earlier this year. Metro’s test electric buses are currently being evaluated.

Can Lyft pull an Avis? (New York Magazine)

A long read but a good one for those interested in the battle between ride-share companies Uber and Lyft.  The article gives a little bit of background on the companies and how they’ve progressed to where they are now, seemingly mirroring each other’s business models along the way.

However, Lyft, originally marketed as the friendlier of the ride-share services with its recognizable pink mustache logo, is now considered second to Uber in many markets. The article suggests that this is because as the companies have progressed, customers either really don’t see much of a difference between the two or they do, but prefer Uber’s no non-sense “get me to point A to point B without the fist-bump” approach.

The article title refers to the rental car company Avis that saved itself in the 1960s by embracing and leveraging its lesser market position rather than ignoring it. Excerpt:

“When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else,” the company’s advertisements read. Avis’s initial business insight was to locate its cars at airports, not in downtowns, but its most ingenious one was to play up its inferior position. It focused on its newer fleet and better customer service, promising, “We’re always emptying ashtrays,” and “Since we’re not the big fish, you won’t feel like a sardine when you come to our counter.” The strategy worked: The company moved from the red to the black and expanded its market share — even, within a few years, coming close to beating Hertz.

It makes sense: Differentiate in order to compete. Upscale or downscale. Don’t go head to head. And so Lyft is driving away from it again — or, rather, doubling down on what made it different in the first place.

The conversations I’ve had with my Lyft and Uber drivers and also friends who use them are similar to those in the article. According to the drivers I’ve talked to — many who moonlight for both companies — the two companies really aren’t that different anymore. Lyft may treat the drivers better, but Uber seems to be winning over more customers. Perhaps it’s time for Lyft to embrace its good-guy underdog status, though in some ways it already has.

Why autonomous and self-driving cars are not the same (The Economist)

Apparently I’ve been saying it all wrong. This article clarifies the difference between autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars. Essentially, the distinction is that autonomous vehicles are cars that look like those we drive today and self-driving cars are a bit further down the road — so to speak — and may look completely different from the cars we know today. Semantics, I say!

Don’t be a salmon, ride with the flow, not against it (OCTA/YouTube)

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OCTA keeping it (relatively) edgy and entertaining with one of their latest PSAs, this time discouraging “salmoning” — or riding against the flow of traffic — on a bicycle.

As many Source readers know, riding against the flow of traffic is one of the most dangerous things you can do on a bike. Don’t do it…because you might be eaten by a bear?

On behalf of The Source, I’d like to wish you all a safe and fun Fourth of July. I leave with you this video of the Top 10 American National Anthem fails. Just don’t turn your volume up too loud.

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Follow Joe on Twitter @joseph_lem

5 replies

  1. Yep. There’s nothing wrong with combining art with ad; ads are a form of art themselves, except they make money! Why leave art just as art when art can be a form of advertisement? Other transit oriented cities are good at combining art and ads into one medium and what better way to showcase them where the people already are?

    Who says you can’t be creative and have it as an ad on their own? Ads make money, creative artistic ads make life more livelier for the casual commuter. The more Metro is able to make money on their own, the less reliant on taxes they will be.

    This past weekend, LA hosted Anime Expo 2015, one of the largest anime conventions in the US which in this four day of expo, generates over $50 million dollars to LA’s economy. Why didn’t you guys work together with those anime companies and do something like this for the Pico LA Convention Center station?

    • Agreed that Metro gave up a big opportunity this past weekend. If they can support CicLAvia and Metro spends our tax dollars for that event, why not Anime Expo which the mayor himself says it generates over $55 million into the LA economy? I don’t know the economic impact of CicLAvia, but Anime Expo is the larger 4-day event that brings a lot more money to the LA economy. And the people who coordinate the Anime Expo event has recently announced that they signed a 5 year contract with LA Convention Center and they projected a record of over 100,000 attendees for that event and it’s likely to get bigger.

      “Eric Garcetti Mayor of Los Angeles: ‘Los Angeles is excited to welcome Anime Expo back to the L.A. Convention Center for the next five years. L.A. is the creative capital of the world and a perfect home for North America’s largest anime and manga convention. We value our partnership with The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation and the Anime Expo, which generates $55 million for our local economy every year.’ ”

      At 100,000 attendees, that means for that several days, that small little area of DTLA has more people than the entire city of Temecula (pop. 100,097), and $55 million+ in just 4 days of convention. More attendees means the need for more hotel rooms, larger stations, more trains and mass transit options, better cell phone reception and even larger convention space all in a small area. One would have to imagine how much money attendees are pouring into the LA economy with hotel rooms, restaurants, nearby stores, food trucks, not to mention all the sales taxes collected.

      And that’s just at 100,000 attendees. What if attendees go up to 150,000? 200,000? The last thing we need is Anime Expo starting to look elsewhere because LA is incapable of handling the rising number of attendees.

    • Probably some BS reason no one cares about like “it could be a fire hazard” or “some people may not like it” or whatever. You know liberals, they’re open minded but only on the ideas that they agree with.