Please spread the word. Smog has been a wicked public health issue in our region for a century — and a big driver of that (pun intended) has been the high volume of people driving alone in gas-powered cars.
Many transit agencies around the state are offering free rides today. Why?
Buses and trains help cut down on pollution because they produce less emissions per person riding. And the more people that take transit, the cleaner it gets.
Metro buses and trains have made great strides in both areas. All buses on our G (Orange) Line in the San Fernando Valley are now electric with zero emissions. We’re presently working to convert the J (Silver) Line to electric buses next and, although it’s an ambitious goal, the entire Metro bus system by 2030, a decade ahead of the state deadline. Our trains run on electricity — and the source of electricity in our region increasingly consists of renewable sources.
When it comes to smog in our region, the stats don’t lie. Although we’ve made a lot of progress reducing air pollution in Southern California, the status quo isn’t exactly awesome. Check out the numbers below. For a region as beautiful as ours, clear skies are often in short supply — and unhealthy skies remain too common.
The pic at the top of this post shows the ideal. Here’s what unhealthy looks like — it’s a pic I took in 2018 from Debs Park, northeast of downtown L.A. during one of the big wildfires. Gross, eh?
Which leads to a related subject: cutting down on smog also means emitting fewer greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Generally speaking, there is a consensus that climate change coupled with other factors is resulting in more frequent and severe fires across the world, California included.
Which brings us to the chart below from 2009 by the Federal Transit Administration. While things have changed since ’09 — there are more electric vehicles on the road now and many cars have improved fuel efficiency. But the gist of this still holds up:
Much of Metro’s work involves trying to give more people more and better options to get around. That’s why we’re expanding our system and why we have many programs to promote riding — such as discounted passes, LIFE fares and our GoPass that provides free transit for K-12 and community college students in LA County at participating schools and districts.
For those who want to take a deeper dive on air pollution, climate change and other environmental-related info, our Moving Beyond Sustainability plan lays out our strategy for the next decade. The plan calls for:
•Nearly tripling Metro’s on-site renewable energy generation by 2030.
•Reducing the agency’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 79 percent from the 2017 baseline.
•Reducing nitrogen oxide emissions — a main smog ingredient — by 54 percent from the 2018 baseline.
Again, please help us spread the news that rides on Metro are free on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Even better, rides will also be free on the entire Metro Bus, Rail and Bike system from noon, Friday, Oct. 7 through the end of service on Sunday, Oct. 9, to celebrate the opening of the K Line and help people reach a myriad of events that weekend, including CicLAvia, the Cowboys-Rams game and the Nashville vs LAFC game in Exposition Park, among others.
Categories: Go Metro