Vinyl vs cloth seats, bike share, Purple trains: HWR, July 11

Art of Transit: 

Pasadena to pull out of Metro Bike Share one year after launch (Pasadena Star News)

Metro officials say they are disappointed and point to coming improvements in the Metro Bike Share system — such as the new $1.75 walk-up fare that begins Thursday. Pasadena officials say ridership is too low and they can no longer afford their share of the costs but they’ll explore dockless bike share systems going forward.

The elephant in the room — and not really discussed in this article — is that getting around on a bike in Pasadena is not easy. The city has some bike lanes and bike routes, but few on the major corridors and many destinations require riding on busy streets in vehicle traffic. On Sunday mornings, Pas can be a great place to ride. At other times, not so much.

From Twitter:

Goodbye, upholstery. Hello, vinyl: L.A. Metro is phasing out some of its infamous fabric seats (LAT)

Attentive Source readers know this has always been a hot topic among riders. In addition to some alarming anecdotes, the LAT throws in some history about seats and transit interiors.

As for the cloth seats, vinyl — with a “drainage hole” — will be tried on the Red/Purple Line while cloth seats will remain on buses and Metro’s four light rail lines. If I was a Young Person, “drainage hole” would make a pretty good band name.

Please free to assert your view in the comments section.

I will say this as Your Friendly Neighborhood Government Public Relations Person: the vast majority of transit trips are eventless for the seated and unseated. That said, there’s no doubt our system is used by a wide variety of people, including some who are experiencing very hard times and who probably wish they had access to the kind of facilities many of us take for granted. You can read more about Metro’s efforts to help the homeless here.

All of Metro’s Ideas for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, Graded (LA Magazine)

Neal Broverman mulls the initial concepts released in June for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor rail line between the Orange Line in the Valley and the Expo Line on the Westside.

He likes some more than others. Spoiler: on Neal’s report card the monorail concept is closer to an “F” than “A+.”

Warner Bros. wants to build a $100-million aerial tramway to the Hollywood sign (LAT)

Partially in response to the Age of Instagram, the proposed tram would run from the studio’s Burbank lot to near the top of Mt. Lee, where a new visitor center and selfie vantage point would be built. Warner Bros. says it would share some of the tram’s fares with the city of L.A.

Metro is evaluating a different privately-funded proposal to build an aerial tram from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

The Unintentional Comedy of “Stop the Purple Threat” Is Actually Kind of Sad (Streetsblog LA)

FWIW. If I was a gambler, I’d bet the two future Purple Line stations in Beverly Hills — at Wilshire/La Cienega and Wilshire/Rodeo — will be very busy and used frequently by residents, those who work in Beverly Hills and the tourists who flock there.

Nearly 6 Months on the Job, the Subway Chief Finally Meets the Mayor (NYT)

That’s the way things roll in Gotham, where the New York Governor has more control over the New York City subway than the mayor.

That’s definitely not how things roll in LaLaLand, where City Hall and the Metro Mothership may as well be connected via the BatPhone.

Dept. of Humpday: 

My smartypants phone delivered up this Elvis Costello gem this morning — a pretty good alternative to those Gold Line announcements. Elvis is playing the Purple Line-adjacent Wiltern in November, btw.





10 replies

  1. Tim W, perhaps you don’t remember the plastic seats on RTD/MTA buses at one time. Nothing bust hard plastic and many complaints. I believe the answer is banning the homeless and unkept from our buses and rail lines. Can’t say the fed’s won’t allow it. Was on a Amtrak train a couple of days ago and a man was ejected for engaging in a shouting match which he did not start while the other man was not even questioned. The ejected man was blind, I observed him having difficulty using his cell phone and had a Service Dog for emotional support. The on duty conductor claimed he was not blind and his dog was not a Service Dog. This man had but one short segment to travel into Portland before transferring to the Coast Starlight but instead was left stranded. My point being if Amtrak can refuse service why can’t the MTA?

  2. “No one walks in LA” should also be renamed “No one bikes in LA”. Biking is unsafe with cars and difficult with the hilly terrain. This makes biking a chore and not really suitable for daily commuting. Pasadena is especially hilly with narrow roads with past due maintenance issues.

    I never had an issue with the cloth seats, but vinyl is preferred since easier to clean. I never understood why they went with cloth. It’s another unnecessary maintenance issue. They seem to always make bad decisions at Metro that later needs to be reworked.

  3. Over here in Santa Monica, Big Blue Bus has been phasing in vinyl seats over the last year. There’s padding, and no drainage holes, and it seems to work just fine. The one thing I miss is the nifty cloth patterns, which have been replaced by plain solid colors.

  4. From a sheer sanitary standpoint; thank you. I will continue to change my clothing when I arrive home from a ride, but the simple fact is, Metro absorbs a lot of homeless and mentally ill who cannot bathe as often as everyone else unfortunately. I have witnessed a man who was soaked in his own yoohoo leave a train at 7th and Metro and then saw a woman dressed for what looked like a nice dinner sit in the exact same seat when she got on at the next station.

    The seat obviously was not wet and did not soil her outfit, but lets say she sets her skirt before she sits down, and then reaches for an appetizer at dinner? Yea, lets fix that part.

  5. I can’t believe that Pasadena couldn’t plan the funding for more than a year. Considering their foolish choice for real-time bus arrival info, I don’t have a lot of hope that they’ll be able to come up with something better. On the other hand, I’ve been waiting since Metro’s bike share started to be able to use my stored value on TAP and I still have no idea when that’s going to happen. So, I guess my annoyance is tempered by the fact that bike share isn’t really usable for me right now.

  6. I sat on the new vinyl. It’s just vinyl wrapped around hardboard; no padding at all. They could have just stuck a vinyl sticker with an image of the seat pattern to the seat if they were going this extreme.

  7. Replacing those nice looking cloth seats which can hide all kinds of surprises is a welcome change to the transit system even though implementation will seemingly take forever. One small but important step toward making transit a bit more pleasant. While I do agree the majority of transit trips are eventless, they can be quite uncomfortable and this drives down ridership. One helpful change is the noticeable presence of police on light rail but tempering that improvement is their lack of ability to check tap cards, a useful tool to improve compliance and get people off the system who do not belong. Bring back tap card readers to law enforcement.

    • Another reason metro should add fare gates to all LRT stations. People will often take the risk knowing that officers will probably not be checking for fares, but hopping the faregates is a less common occurrence even though it does happen. Also, newcomers are often very confused by the lack of faregates at some stations and end up just boarding without validating the fare. Frustration and confusion ensues. The LRT platforms here are more like street level subway platforms anyway rather than a more conventional tramway one might see in Europe or the low platforms on other LRT systems like on MAX, so people naturally expect fare gates are would keep it consistent with the rest of the system.