How We Roll, Jan. 6: fare enforcement, new Metro Board Member, Seattle buses

Sheriff’s Department no longer providing fare enforcement on Metro trains, buses (SGV Tribune)

While the LASD is still patrolling buses and trains under a two month contract extension, the fare enforcement is now being done by Metro security staff. If you have been riding this week you may have noticed: the Metro security guards wear black uniforms as opposed to the LASD’s beige and green outfits.

Metro officials said there are about 27 agency fare inspectors today and there will be 189 by April. That will be double what the LASD provided.

In the meantime, the Metro Board of Directors is scheduled in February to take up the issue of a long-term policing contract. The LASD is the sole provider of that currently but agency staff have proposed splitting the work between the LASD, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Long Beach Police Department. A vote on that contract was scheduled for last month’s meeting but a majority of the Board voted to delay it as the LASD continued to aggressively lobby to the be sole policing provider.

Long Beach gets a seat at the Metro Board table (LongBeachize)

The Gateway Cities region has elected Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia as its new representative on the Metro Board of Directors, the 13-member body of elected officials and their appointees who serve as the agency’s ultimate deciders on most significant issues. He will replace Diane DuBois, the Lakewood Councilmember who had served on the Metro Board since 2009.

In this interview, Garcia says that he will focus on improving safety and security along the Blue Line and ensuring that Metro double-downs on rail, pedestrian and bike infrastructure.

As LongBeachize points out, DuBois did not support Measure M but that Garcia did. He’s also labeled a New Urbanist in the same vein as two other members of the Metro Board: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the city’s far westside.

L.A. Mayor on Trump, the irony of urban politics and un-American ideas (Governing)

Lots of nuggets in this interview with the aforementioned Garcetti with a lot of talk about finding common ground politically on improving infrastructure in American cities. I thought this quote to conclude the interview was also interesting:

L.A. is becoming one of the three or four great hubs of the world, together with the Londons and the Tokyos and the Dubais and the New Yorks. L.A. is this place that is arguably the northern capital of Latin America, the western capital of the United States and the eastern capital of the Pacific.

That’s a way of looking at things that I hadn’t heard before. There’s no doubt there is a ton of international interest in L.A. these days and a lot of investment happening here, while at the same time L.A. seems a very different animal than the cities mentioned above. Your thoughts?

Seattle: America’s next transit city (Streetfilms)

Seattle is a big city but with a population of about 684,000 is much smaller than the city of L.A., which has about four million residents. So not exactly apples to apples — but as the video shows the Seattle area is doing some interesting things with their bus network even while expanding on the rail side.

For sake of comparison, about 20 percent of commuters in the city of Seattle use transit to reach work compared to about 10.5 percent in the city of L.A., according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which has a margin of error of about two percent.

Along these lines, some tweets between yours truly and an acquaintance of mine who lives in Seattle:

4 replies

  1. Seattle’s city proper population is actually around 700,000 according to the latest estimates (the city is right now in the middle of a huge population increase), but the metro area as a whole has 3 to 4.5 million people. Many of whom commute on the bus to Seattle or other employment centers in the suburbs (Microsoft in Redmond, Boeing in Everett/Renton, Downtown Bellevue, etc.).

  2. I’ve been visiting Seattle every few years for over a decade. Perhaps the lack of “stigma” in connection with buses may have something to do with the fact that that the buses are kept very clean.

    Years and years ago, the Seattle system had, during peak hours, a “ride-free” zone in the downtown area: trips within the zone were free; trips into the zone had an entry fare; trips out of the zone had an exit fare.

    Seattle also seems to have a lot fewer places that are “unreachable by transit” than we do. Maybe not as good as the Bay Area, or New York City, but maybe on a par with Chicago.

    Oh, and did I mention that except for a 5 minute walk between the Amtrak station and the nearest Link Station, Seattle has a single-seat, all-rail ride (Sound Transit’s “Link”) from the train station (or the Pioneer Square Historic District, or several points in downtown, or the University of Washington) to a station in the airport’s main parking structure, a short (and all-indoor) walk from the terminal?

    • James, next time you are in Seattle, take the Weller Street Bridge over to 4th and cross using the signaled crosswalk. You’ll then be just on the other side of old Union Station from the IDS/Chinatown Link station. Seattle has a DOT and Transit Planning mentality that thinks about transit riders’ needs and desires unlike the fossils at Metro and Los Angeles DOT.

  3. People here are probably more hesitant to take buses because of heavier traffic, even on express routes. Awarenesses of them is probably an issue, though, and more promotion of your bus network may help. I’ve noticed that this site focuses more on the rail and BRT lines. Far more destinations might be considered “Metro accessible” when taking local bus routes into consideration.