New York subway attack, fascinating new study on ridership in SoCal: HWR, Dec. 11

Pipe bomb explodes in New York subway walkway (NYT)

A man detonated a pipe bomb strapped to himself inside a walkway connecting two Manhattan subway stations at 7:20 .m. Monday, according to authorities. Four people suffered minor injuries. The suspect, too, was injured and is in police custody.

Officials are calling it an act of terrorism. The 27-year-old suspect acted alone, according to the NYPD, who said the suspect was an immigrant from Bangladesh living in Brooklyn. Surveillance cameras captured the explosion, showing the man in very close proximity to other commuters.

Significant delays across parts of the New York subway system ensued. By Monday afternoon, most service had been restored.

Finally, I’ll repeat what we’ve said in the past. If you see something suspicious while on our system — or anywhere — say something. Call 911 or the transit hotline at 888.950.SAFE (7233). Putting that number in your phone’s contact list is a smart move.

Transit Ridership Trends in the SCAG Region (UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies/SCAG)

Click the link above for the pdf version.

The gist of it: the transit ridership losses across Southern California began in 2007 and accelerated in 2014. As best as the researchers at UCLA can determine, ride sharing and gas prices are factors but the main culprit is a huge growth in car ownership.

Or, to put it another way, when it comes to getting around our region, the car remains queen/king.

Here’s the slide that says it best: 

Wow. Well, the first bullet point on that last slide seems out of our control.

But the second bullet point: to get 25 percent of those who don’t take transit to take transit once every two weeks. Doesn’t sound like a heavy lift, but if it was easy it would have happened by now.

My two takeaways:

•Disliking traffic is not the same as disliking owning a car.

•Firms hoping to get people to subscribe to car services (i.e. self-driving Ubers and Lyfts) better keep those monthly rates cheap if they want to lure car owners.

On Twitter, someone brought up a very good point — maybe it’s just our region is a less affordable place to live. Thus, we’re shedding low income residents who traditionally use transit in higher numbers.

Perusing the Census numbers, average household income in L.A. County was $47,493 in 2000 and $57,952 in 2016 — meaning that household income has not kept pace with inflation. The 2000 Census shows 14.2 percent of individuals in our county lived in poverty; the number today is about 16.3 percent according to the latest American Community Survey numbers from the Census Bureau.

I’m not sure what that means exactly. Affordability is certainly an issue here and we have plenty of low income residents.

Your thoughts?

Good pic that sums it all up:

Embed from Getty Images

Dept of CicLAvia:

Just a few IG pics from the final CicLAvia of 2017 yesterday. Looks like another good one. If I hadn’t been coughing out a lung — thanks cold + fires! — I would have definitively been there.

Scroll down on this page for a list of 2018 Open Streets events funded by Metro as a way to promote walking, biking, transit and other ways to get around that don’t involve driving.

9 replies

  1. One of the unpleasant features of bus travel is the sideways movement of the bus from the traffic lane to the curb and back, and the often jerky acceleration & deceleration. These dont happen with rail.

  2. Count me in as one of these 25% that rides once a week or two. For me, using transit to get to work is unfeasible (I really need that Sepulveda Line to open someday!!), but on weekends I often take it to do errands or to entertainment centers such as Hollywood or DTLA. I think when more rail lines come in and complete the system grid, you’ll gradually get more people like me to ride. If one can take transit to popular places like the Grove, West Hollywood, Ventura Blvd, Venice, etc. you’ll start to see people opt for that, rather than pay the $10-$20 for parking and deal with the aggravation of traffic congestion.

    Buses, unfortunately, are psychologically unpleasant to ride. (I think it is the wait at the bus stop that really ruins the experience, sitting a few feet away from rushing cars and exhaust is never pleasant.) Consequently, many casual riders that have cars rather take their car than take a bus. A train, in contrast, feels more cosmopolitan and more people are willing to ditch their cars for riding. I can’t prove this one way or another, but from my perspective, this is the biggest obstacle for buses and overall transit ridership: Getting people to ditch their prejudice against taking the bus. Trains do not have this problem; in fact, I think ridership is up in the same time period as bus ridership is down.

  3. It should be noted that New York rail services (both subway and commuter) are experiencing passenger growth. Same with Caltrain commuter rail in the Bay Area.

    It is only buses that are losing patrons in New York, DESPITE installing BRT, aka Select Bus, on several routes,

    I wonder how long it will take the transit “experts” to realize that buses do not attract patrons who have cars. Make rail transit convenient and FREQUENT and you should see growth.

  4. If the smoke is bad where you live, consider buying one of those air purifier filter thingamajigs. This last week I found myself wondering why I didn’t already own one.

  5. Union Station to have metal detectors. Let’s prevent terrorism. We don’t want to end up like the east coast.

    • Do you realise what it would take to man them? How many people pass through US and how quickly? BTW, there are a lot of things that can harm many people that could pass through metal detectors.

    • Probably a factor but I feel like there’s more to it than that — really it’s more about the enduring appeal of cars as way to get around, I think.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source