Blue Line closures, Uber/Lyft vs transit, service changes: HWR, May 31

Let’s start with a friendly reminder: rail service on the northern section of the Blue Line from Compton Station to 7th/Metro will be suspended and replaced by bus shuttle service beginning tomorrow (Saturday, June 1) through September. Also tomorrow, Blue Line rail service resumes between Compton Station and Downtown Long Beach. More info here.

Something that needs stressing: many of the bus shuttle stops on the northern section line are a block or two from the Blue Line rail stations. See the above map. Metro has signage in place to help riders find the buses and there will be Metro staff out to help. Still — please, please, please take a look at the map above — especially you weekday commuters.

We’re trying to minimize the number of people who show up Monday morning and wondering WTH (what-the-heck) is happening. In one sentence: we’re rebuilding the Blue Line to reduce the number of breakdowns in the future and minimize delays when they occur.

From the Twitterverse: 

Cars that make right turns through crosswalks with people still in them — something not enforced nearly enough, IMHO.

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•At Streetsblog LA, Joe Linton takes a deeper dive on the $7.2-billion Metro budget for the coming fiscal year — which includes service changes on the rail side with slightly less frequent service (but more three-car trains) during peak hours. Excerpt:

It is perhaps not news that elected leadership want to see plenty of shiny new infrastructure projects with opportunities for ribbon-cuttings. The push for project acceleration for the 2028 Olympics exacerbates this imbalance.

One wildcard is Metro’s NextGen Bus Study, which is scheduled to conclude in late 2019 – with recommendations that might take effect in mid-2020. Operations staff were quick to point to transit service improvements coming soon as a result of this study. Perhaps allowing transit service to degrade slightly now will make the reorganization improvements appear better in comparison. In the meantime, riders will endure longer wait times and Metro ridership is likely to further decline.

Metro staff told the agency’s Board during budget deliberations that they’ll keep an eye on ridership and crowding — and add trains if necessary. The service changes are scheduled to begin June 23.

As for project acceleration, the agency is certainly looking at ways to fast-forward a few projects that have opening dates beyond 2028. But nothing is even close to being a done deal at this time and there are many, many rivers to cross before anything gets accelerated.

•A pair of New York Times articles — a news story and opinion piece — use Uber for batting practice.

In the news, Uber continues to lose a lot of money ($1 billion in the first quarter of this year) while trying to build more market share.

In the opinion piece, headlined “How Uber hopes to profit from public transportation,” writer E. Tammy Kim argues that Uber and Lyft are both trying to privatize a service that has been publicly-run. Excerpt:

Americans badly need more convenient public transport, but the risks of privatization are grave. Last year, Uber logged some five billion trips and $1.8 billion in losses; Lyft provided 619 million rides and reported more than $900 million in losses. These apps are popular because they’re artificially cheap: Uber and Lyft subsidize rides to increase their number of monthly users, a key metric for investors, while allocating relatively little per trip to drivers.

But by reducing the cost of individual rides, Uber and Lyft also draw a privileged subset of passengers away from public transit systems. That, in turn, undermines support for public transportation.

Another way of looking at it is that Uber and Lyft are offering a convenient service people want and willing to pay for. That’s my view, but with this caveat: Uber and Lyft fares likely won’t stay cheap forever — even if robot cars come to pass — and an increasing number of investors, residents and local governments are going to tire of subsidizing firms that, according to many, are making traffic worse.

The Planning Report interviews UCLA professor Ananya Roy on housing issues facing our region and the state. Wonky but interesting — and she has doubts that simply increasingly housing supply in California will result in more housing people can actually afford.

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A little train music for those of you waiting at a station — the new Springsteen song that dropped yesterday. It’s a good one.

8 replies

    • Hi Chris;

      A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in Dec. 2017 and some prep work has been ongoing to shift the existing freight tracks within the right-of-way to clear way for an additional two light rail tracks. There is also ongoing work on selecting a firm to build the project and determining whether the first section’s funding will get the project top La Verne or Pomona (which will depend on revised bids). The most recent newsletter from the Construction Authority has more details: https://foothillgoldline.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/FGL-newsletter-2019-web.pdf

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  1. One reason that I can think why Lyft & Uber are popular is because they will pick you up and take you to almost any destination. There are many areas that are hilly or have narrow streets where buses do not or can not go and there is not a bus line everywhere. At least with Lyft & Uber it gives people an option to having to call for a taxi cab or an airport shuttle.

    I do have to admit that if Metro is going to run Metrorail less frequently especially during week day rush hour; you are probably going to continue to lose passengers.

  2. the blue line closure maps do not include a English only selection give me a button to hit English only I’ve had a stroke I don’t my Spanish was spotty at best before that and now I’ve got English is working but Spanish does not really I’m trying to learn it it it’s not fat going very well
    Hopefully it will get better soon but until then it’s like Greek

  3. Where are the timetables for the southern portion of the blue line!??
    I noticed that even leaving 7MC before 2AM on Saturday night that the 864 didn’t meet up with a train that went all the way back to downtown long beach – under normal service the last train from DTLA to Long Beach would be at 210AM – right now the last train back to long beach from compton is at 158PM- This is way earlier than the time that the last train to Long Beach would normally pass thru Compton station. Shouldn’t the shuttle buses and train work to offer the same level of service? I understand that there will be some inconveniences with the 4 month northern closure but the riders that need late service should not be left out in the cold because of it. Metro should still offer the same level of service when it comes to timing even with the closure. Maybe the last couple of late runs of the 864 should go all the way to Downtown long beach to help remedy this issue.

  4. Speaking of no right turns on reds, where can I direct my complaint with the traffic on Figueroa in DTLA at 7th St. and Wilshire? The area for pedestrian traffic has long exceeded criteria for putting in diagonal crosswalks (and dedicated pedestrian crossing signals). After the bus lane was put in, there was conflict between buses proceeding straight through intersections and cars needing to make a right on 7th. So LADOT’s bright idea for this was to put in a no right turn sign which just propagated the problem to Figueroa/Wilshire, then LADOT puts in a brand new no right turn sign on Wilshire which now everyone ignores. These intersections have become doubly dangerous for pedestrians who need to access the 7th/Metro hub. The couple of intersections there are long overdue for dedicated pedestrian signaling. Who can fix this?

    • Hi —

      LADOT would be your best bet — or the Council office that represents that part of downtown.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. There is no law against turning through a crosswalk when there are people a sufficient distance away from the car. And any right turn passes through two crosswalks, and at a standard intersection, exactly one of those will have a walk sign while the other will have a stop. Turning right on red means passing through a crosswalk right in front of the car where pedestrians are allowed to walk, while turning right on green means passing through a crosswalk while completing a turn where pedestrians are allowed to walk. There is no pedestrian reason to prefer one over another.