Bus vs auto speeds, cloth seats, transit electioneering: HWR, June 19

Dept. of Bus Restructuring: 

Here’s the pdf. This report is going to the Metro Board of Directors this month. Scroll down for some interestingness about bus speeds versus car trip speeds. In one set of data looking at 2,500 trips from DTLA or Northeast L.A., transit was faster than auto travel two percent of the time. Thus, the reason that Metro is looking at more bus lanes and other things to speed up trips.

For newbies here, Metro is in the midst of its NextGen Study to restructure and reimagine its bus system — i.e. looking at bus frequencies, routes, transfers, demand (where and where not) and what can be done to make the system more usable to existing and new riders. Here’s the NextGen home page.

Dept. of Seats: The slide below comes from this presentation to the Board’s Customer Satisfaction Committee on different ways to boost ridership. Point of emphasis: the removal of cloth seats is a pilot program. But…as you can see from the tweet below, this is an issue that resonates with riders.


Art of Transit: 


Dept. of Good Threads: follow this for more about the companies vying for the five scooter permits that the city of San Francisco is going to issue. Lyft and Uber want to be in the game.

Metro says it wants light rail along Van Nuys Boulevard by 2028 (Daily News)

We posted about the proposed light rail line between Van Nuys and Sylmar/San Fernando  last week.

As we noted, there was very heavy opposition against Metro’s first choice for a rail yard and, instead, the agency is proposing to build the yard between Raymer and Keswick streets. As the Daily News notes, Metro received few comments opposing that site — but there are still concerns.

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country (NYT)

I don’t like the headline. At all. Ultimately it’s individual voters who pull their own levers on Election Day — not people advocating for or against transit-related ballot issues.

That said, this is a smart story that looks at efforts by Americans for Prosperity — a group funded by the Kochs — to oppose transit-related measures around the country, often with success. Key graphs:

Supporters of transit investments point to research that shows that they reduce traffic, spur economic development and fight global warming by reducing emissions. Americans for Prosperity counters that public transit plans waste taxpayer money on unpopular, outdated technology like trains and buses just as the world is moving toward cleaner, driverless vehicles.

Most American cities do not have the population density to support mass transit, the group says. It also asserts that transit brings unwanted gentrification to some areas, while failing to reach others altogether.

Public transit, Americans for Prosperity says, goes against the liberties that Americans hold dear. “If someone has the freedom to go where they want, do what they want,” Ms. Venable said, “they’re not going to choose public transit.”

The Kochs’ opposition to transit spending stems from their longstanding free-market, libertarian philosophy. It also dovetails with their financial interests, which benefit from automobiles and highways.

A representative with Americans for Prosperity says that the groups’ stance in some states is based on what’s best for Americans — not what’s best for the Koch’s financial interests in the gasoline and asphalt industries, among others.

Another issue is very well explained in the article: highway funding has historically been baked into state and federal budgets whereas getting any kind of new funding for transit usually means going to local voters. States and the federal government have been reluctant to put more dollars into transit, even though providing an alternative to driving often dovetails with state/federal goals (such as reducing tailpipe emissions and trying to prevent traffic from getting worse).

New L.A. Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong writes a note to readers (LAT)

He says all the right things. The LAT — even with its staff greatly reduced in recent times — remains the largest media outlet in our region. It’s also the media outlet that provides content for smaller media who borrow (to say it kindly) a lot of LAT content for their own news reports.

As we’ve mentioned over the years, government should never be your only source of news about government. So we’ll be eager to see what the soon-to-be El Segundo-based LAT (Green Line adjacent!) has in store for the region. Quasi-related, LAT staffers may want to check out our post yesterday on the proposed operating plan for the Crenshaw/LAX and Green Lines.

5 replies

  1. I see graffiti scratched into the plastic surfaces of the train all the time, but there’s hardly any, ever, in the cloth. Can’t wait ’til the seats look like public toilet seats with somebody’s tag scratched in it.

  2. Bus trips will almost always be slower than car trips. They necessarily make frequent stops to load and unload passengers, and drivers actually follow the speed limits (when they can get up that far).

    The real problem with slowdowns, as I see it, comes from long-distance routes: the above factors combine with several unexpected occurrences of heavy traffic, and create significant delays. Any app predicting real time arrivals is useless, though Google Maps sometimes comes close with the delays.

  3. Announcing getting rid of cloth seats AND finally rolling out all door boarding on a bus route. It’s almost like Metro realized it’s the 21st century.

    Perhaps next they could fix their real time arrivals app.