Rideshare safety, transit views, ExpressLanes: Metro News Now, Dec. 11

From the Twitterverse:



Concur. Cleveland? Haven’t ridden that one but as a native of southwestern Ohio, count me as a skeptic of all things northeastern Ohio, generally speaking.

The Annenberg House is a 1.7-mile walk, bike ride or scoot from the Expo Line’s Downtown Santa Monica Station, FWIW.


And in the news…

•In an op-ed in the Daily News, three writers opine that Metro would be foolish to take on more debt in order to build four mega-rail projects in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, per the Metro Board’s 28 (projects) x 2028 plan. They argue the money would be better spent upgrading bus service.

Worth noting: no decisions have been made to accelerate anything and most of the projects in the 28 plan are Measure R and/or M projects already scheduled to be done by ’28.

•In perhaps the most interesting transpo article in recent weeks, Uber released statistics on serious crimes in its vehicles. Excerpt from the NYT:

Uber said on Thursday that it had reports of 3,045 sexual assaults during its rides in the United States in 2018, with nine people murdered and 58 killed in crashes, in its first study detailing unsafe incidents on the ride-hailing platform.

The number of incidents represented a fraction — just 0.0002 percent — of Uber’s 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year, the company said.

There are few comparable figures to judge Uber’s safety record against. The New York Police Department, which keeps a register of sex crimes and rapes that occur on transit systems, counted 533 in 2018.

The New York MTA had 3.374 billion boardings in 2018 on its buses and subway trains.

Although not an apples to apples comparison, LA Metro had about 376.5 million boardings in fiscal year 2018-19 (July ’18 through June ’19) and one homicide and 10 rapes during that span (crime stats for the fiscal year are here). More broadly, there were 1,619 crimes against people during this time — a range of offenses that includes homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, battery and other sex offenses. Those incidents represent .0000043 of boardings during the 18-19 fiscal year.

What does all this mean? In my view, all types of getting around — whether by car, transit, walking, biking and flying — are very safe in our country and the chance of something bad happening is extremely small. That said, it is fair to say there are certainly more incidents, especially deadly incidents, involving cars and trucks, Uber included.

I’ve had mostly good experiences using Uber, which I do occasionally (and mostly for getting to and from the airport in Cincinnati). But it’s fair to wonder how much time Uber and other rideshare services have really spent scrutinizing and meeting their drivers or giving their drivers the tools to deal with unsafe passengers.

•The letters editor for the LAT writes that he’s yet to receive one letter from a reader that supports putting ExpressLanes on the 405 between the 10 and 101, as Metro is proposing to do. The common thread in the latest batch of letters published is the concern that toll lanes won’t help overall traffic on the 405.

Metro already has ExpressLanes on portions of the 10 and 110 — and they’re popular — and Metro is also planning for ExpressLanes on the 105 between the 405 and 605. The first step for the 405 project is a study to determine how ExpressLanes might work in that corridor.

•The new “Cityringen” train is open in Copenhagen and — not a shocker — the 9.3-mile line with 17 stations is a beaut, reports CNN. It took eight years to build, btw. Doesn’t appear the Danes like to include costs in their press releases, however. Most recent numbers I could find online (if reliable) put the cost at about $3.7 billion.


Things to read whilst transiting: the Washington Post’s “Afghanistan Papers” series is a must read and the kind of exceptional journalism that, I think, is healthy for any democracy. It took the Post three years and two lawsuits against the federal government to get the report released on lessons learned from the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

Things to watch whilst transiting: By coincidence, I’m finally making my way through the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Vietnam War” documentary, which is excellent and streaming on Netflix and other platforms.

I was born in ’66 and can remember seeing some of the coverage of the last days of the war on TV as a kid. Funny thing is as a high school student from ’80 to ’84, Vietnam got very short shrift in history class compared to America’s earlier conflicts. Thus far, I’m finding the Burns doc to be educational, fair, critical, thorough and completely heartbreaking.








3 replies

  1. “Most recent numbers I could find online (if reliable) put the cost at about $3.7 billion.” Wow, so they can build over 9 miles of tunnels and 17 stations with roughly that amount. Meanwhile on this side of the Atlantic it costs nearly that much just to build a third of that length and with only a few stations (i.e purple line phase 3). Unbelievable. We don’t need comparisons to Chinese infrastructure, as many make. They’re a communist country after all. European comparisons seem to prove the point just fine.

  2. Re: Copenhagen, has Metro ever looked at driverless train cars? Seems like a great way to be able to increase service by reducing costs. Frequency every 100 seconds is pretty admirable as Metro struggles to provide 6 minute headways.

  3. Please STOP spending our taxpayer money on the 405! Take that money and improve public transportation in this area. How many more times are we going to waste our money on the 405?