Above are the results from Metro’s semi-annual customer survey. Those who have followed this blog in the past will recognize many of the questions — and will also probably notice a few new ones.
A few things worth noting:
•In the previous survey from 2014, 22 percent of both bus and rail riders said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment “including, but not limited to, touching, exposure or inappropriate comments.” That generated a lot of publicity (as would be expected) and, as a result, the Metro and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department — which patrols our buses and trains — began a campaign this spring to try to reduce harassment. It’s probably too early to tell if that’s working, but the numbers on the new survey are slightly lower than in 2014 with 18 percent of bus riders and 21 percent of rail riders saying they have experienced some form of harassment in the past six months.
The new survey also focuses on the different types of harassment and one number that will likely get attention is that seven percent of bus riders and 10 percent of rail riders reporting that they had experienced “indecent exposure.” That number strikes me as high but it should also be understood that various riders may have various criteria for what they consider “indecent exposure.” In other words, that’s a number that includes those who may be underdressed. The LASD told our media department that they receive few reports about indencent exposure and/or flashing.
•This is the first time that the survey has differentiated between skateboards and bikes on the question about how riders got to the bus or train. It’s certainly interesting to see that two percent of bus riders and three percent of rail riders used a skateboard to reach the bus or train. That one doesn’t surprise me: unlike bikes, skateboards are very portable and easy to bring aboard a bus or train. And, like it or not, skateboarders don’t need bike lanes, as they can generally use the sidewalk.
•Twenty-nine percent of bus riders say they have used bike racks and 29 percent of rail riders say they have brought bikes aboard. To clarify, those numbers include those who regularly use bikes and transit together and those who may only use bikes occasionally or rarely to get to/from our buses and trains. Either way, still an impressively large number, IMO.
•In the July 2014 survey, 42 percent of rail riders and 30 percent of bus riders said they had a car available to them. In this survey, those numbers decreased significantly with 35 percent of rail riders and 18 percent of bus riders saying they had a car available. At the same time, the number of riders whose household income is below the poverty line has decreased slightly.
It’s probably worth noting that the numbers from July 2014 about car availability were higher than we’ve seen in the past — the numbers from the new survey are more in line with numbers from 2012 and 2013 (it was 20 percent for bus and 37 percent for rail in 2013 and 18 percent for bus and 37 percent for rail in spring 2012). The new numbers may very well suggest that fewer people see the need to have a car or they could suggest that among the mix of current Metro riders, transit dependency has risen — keep in mind that Metro ridership has dipped since early 2014.
What do you think of the survey? Questions? Leave a brief comment please and we’ll try to answer promptly.