•The Wall Street Journal looks at declining bus ridership in our region — boardings are down 24 percent on the Metro bus system since 2013 — and what might be done to fix it. The answers, at least in the confines of this article: more dedicated bus lanes and congestion pricing that would make driving more difficult and take some cars off the road.
Not mentioned — what the what? — is Metro’s ongoing effort to restructure its bus system to make it faster and more frequent.
The article is behind the WSJ’s King Kong-sized paywall so it will be difficult to read for those without a subscription. Yes, a pain but it’s nice to see someone in the media showing some self respect and not giving it away for free. Pro tip: lots of opining in the comments.
One key excerpt:
Bus ridership in America’s second-largest city is plummeting as more commuters, fed up with journeys that can be painfully slow due to frequent stops and indirect routes, use growing incomes from the healthy economy to buy a car. The switch saves them time but worsens the overall traffic that buses are caught in, making buses even less appealing to the remaining riders.
That’s a well-written description of the vicious cycle that is impacting Metro and large transit agencies in other cities. My three cents: I don’t believe it’s an irreversible situation. But clearly transit agencies need to find a way to speed up service.
In that vein, two L.A. City Council Members — Mike Bonin and Paul Krekorian, who also serve on the Metro Board — recently introduced a motion asking for the city’s transpo department to think of some ways to add some mph to Metro buses. Motion is below.
•On the subject of bus ridership, this from Curbed LA:
Of the approximately 7,900 bus stops in the city of Los Angeles, fewer than 1,900, according to the street services bureau, are equipped with shaded structures where passengers can sit and wait comfortably for their ride.
There is a combined effort underway from members of the L.A. City Council, nonprofits and an advertising firm to put more shelters in place. Attentive readers know that while Metro provides the transit service, it’s the cities that usually maintain the bus stops.
•Click on the tweet below for annual boardings over the last four years at Metro Rail stations, courtesy of Scott Frazier. No huge surprises but you can really see the impact of the New Blue closures this year:
— Scott Frazier (@safrazie) August 25, 2019
It’s interesting to see a few Eastside Gold Line stations toward the bottom of the list. This is where I think the Regional Connector comes into play — once that project opens (scheduled for 2022), trains from the Eastside will run directly to DTLA instead of the time-munching detour trains now take to Union Station for a transfer to the subway.
•Some in Congress want to ban federal funds from being used to purchase rail cars from CRRC, a Chinese-owned business, reports NPR. The worry is the cars will be used to spy on Americans. Metro has a contract to purchase new subway cars from CRRC.
If someone wants to spy on me, I’m glad to hand over my frequently visited websites and apps. Among them: the NYT Crossword app, where I’ve been crushing the mini puzzle lately — including solving one in less than 30 seconds.
•Cool pics at Streetsblog LA of the new pedestrian/bike bridge under construction over the L.A. River in the Glendale Narrows. Very modern.
From the Dept. of Sports and Metro:
Beat the traffic this Sunday with @metrolosangeles.
— LAFC (@LAFC) August 22, 2019
— LAFC (@LAFC) August 26, 2019
LAFC and the Galaxy could meet in the playoffs this fall. That would be fun. If so, the game would most likely be in Expo Line-adjacent Banc of California stadium.
Categories: Transportation Headlines