Field of Dreams, MicroTransit, guess the future; HWR, Oct. 25

Dept. of World Series: 

Attentive Source readers know that for months I have correctly stated that it was an inevitability that the Dodgers would reach the World Series. While being right all the time is a burden and tiresome, I’ll take it. And it has been a lot of fun watching my L.A.-area native friends get so excited about something.

If you haven’t heard about the freebie Dodger Stadium Express bus from Union Station and Harbor Gateway to the ballpark, all you need to know is here.

Editorial: Can L.A. mimic the success of Uber and Lyft by building an on-demand minibus system? (LAT)

L.A. looks to the future for the future of public transit (Wired)

Think Small: Uber, Lyft, Ford’s Chariot get chance at big role in L.A. ‘MicroTransit’ (Forbes)

The LAT editorial board says Metro’s MicroTransit project is a “worthy experiment.” The editorial also says the agency must be like Silicon Valley and innovate or die, although I don’t think the agency is anywhere near The Doorstep of Death.

The Forbes article is good and Wired, too, considers the pros and cons of MicroTransit:

Or it could be the latest shiny object (oh hey, hyperloop) distracting from the time- and work-intensive solutions needed to fix city travel ills, such as better payment systems, upgraded trains and vehicles, more frequent service, and road pricing schemes.

LA thinks it’s worth a shot. “We can’t sit idly by and see new technologies come and go without trying to figure out how they fit into the public transit landscape,” says Joshua Schank, the chief innovation officer at LA Metro’s extraordinarily named Office of Extraordinary Innovation.

That’s a good quote by my colleague, the key phrase being “fit in.” Neither this agency or others would be building new rail lines if it thought all of transit was going the Uber or Lyft route. It’s not. The idea is to see if there are parts of the region where a dynamically-routed mini-bus can be more effective than the traditional bus trolling for riders up and down the same route.

Op-Ed: Corporate America’s latest trick: The reverse Public Records Act (LAT)

Writer David Dayen — who contributes to the Nation, the Intercept and the New Republic — believes bus manufacturer New Flyer should release information about whether it is complying with a Metro contract and creating new jobs. Dayen also says Metro should do more to ensure that type of info is released and not leave it to interest groups to root out the info.

Burbank moves forward with its bikeway project (Burbank Leader)

The .79-mile project will extend to the Burbank Metrolink Station and connect to an existing bike path at Alameda Avenue. The $4.4-million project is funded by Metro through a grant.

L.A. Mayor Says Infrastructure Needs to Be Funded for Life (CityLab)

Speaking of innovation and doing things differently…In a panel at CityLab Paris this week, Eric Garcetti — who is also the chair of the Metro Board — said:

“[We don’t want] to lock in modes, when everything is changing between autonomous vehicles, vertical take-offs, tunneling technology, even Hyperloop,” he said. Second, he’d want to fund the full lifetime of transportation projects—not just their construction. “Everyone likes to build, but no one likes to maintain,” he said, drawing claps from the audience, comprised mostly of city leaders.

Garcetti is in Paris for a meeting of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Hard to argue with the group’s mission, but they clearly did not look at the American baseball schedule when planning their meeting 🙂

Related: on a more serious note, in this op-ed in the LAT, a safer streets activist says Garcetti should do more to keep the city’s focus on reducing and eliminating driving-related deaths in the city. I’m not sure every road diet and bike lane proposed, implemented or eliminated necessarily increases road safety. Tough issue.

New York to replace MetroCard with modern way to pay transit fares (NYT)

Swiping a card will be no more in Metropolis/Gotham that instead will use a system that will accept credit cards or a smart phone — presumably like airplane boarding passes.

That means no more waiting in line at MetroCard machines or having to refill the cards on a regular basis.


2 replies

  1. New York uses Cubic. Cubic’s hardware can allow turnstiles/faregates to read NFC signals from phones (Apple Pay/Android Pay). This is has been the case at Cubic customer London since mid-2015.

    “presumably like airplane boarding passes.”

    According to this from SCRRA-“Metrolink”, the LACMTA-“Metro” turnstiles will also soon be able to read bar codes:

  2. Great, it’s about time. So simple to implement. How do you get from /to your house to the train or bus stop and how do you get from the train/bus stop to your work say a mile from the stop? But should this service be contracted by a privet operator or by the MTA? This first/last mile kept me from using the train causing me to drive about 30 miles one way each way each day. The sooner the better. The mini buses could be stationed at busy train stations when on call.