I’m well aware that audio of government meetings holds limited appeal to Normal People. That said, I think most of us would agree that it’s welcome news that the Metro Board’s new Customer Experience Committee held its first meeting on Thursday.
“We have to start thinking customers first. We have extraordinary staff and great people who have been focused on customers for a long time,” said L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti in introducing the committee. “Frankly, those of us who lead the Board have not explicitly looked at that as an area for us to delve deep into.”
Garcetti, too, said that he hoped that the Committee would help find ways to continue making the Metro experience safer, more predictable and more enjoyable. “I think we can make Los Angeles the best place in the country to ride public transportation,” he said. “I know that’s not the reputation we have right now.”
“I want to acknowledge the timing of doing this and having a committee like this trying to re-shift the focus more deliberately and more specifically on improving the customer experience is probably something that should have been done a very, very long time ago,” said Los Angeles Council Member Mike Bonin, who is also a Metro Board Member and who will chair the committee. “But it’s a particularly appropriate time to be doing it now that voters have just approved Measure M and we have a huge opportunity to invest in expanding the system – -and this committee can help us do that thoughtfully.”
The committee is also unique in another way: five of its seven members are not elected officials — rather, they are members of the public who have dealt with transportation and other related issues.
All this is a long way of saying this is certainly a committee I’ll be watching closely as The Source — along with Metro’s Twitter and Facebook streams — are a place where many riders post about their experiences with the system.
As for the first meeting, you can listen to it above. Below is the agenda, with links to Metro staff reports.
I think that the presentation on bus system speeds and on-time performance is probably of the most interest to readers/riders here — and the committee voted to ask Metro staff to perform a study on new ways to speed up buses.
The charts tell the story: traffic congestion in our region is on the increase, which correlates with a decrease in bus speeds. Some of the reasons why are discussed. There’s also a somewhat spirited conversation about the city of Los Angeles’ Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths and the impacts/nonimpacts of traffic calming on bus speeds.
Mike Bonin made his views clear: “If you have a greater chance than you would in other places of getting severely injured or killed on the way to the bus, that has a fundamental impact on whether or not you are willing to use the service in the first place,” he said.
Click on the dot at far right in the audio above (item 41) to hear the discussion.