Happy New Year!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

The Mole reads the papers (and other things) so you don't have to

Two out of three ain't bad(1)! Although I support both the extension of the Gold Line and the Red Line, with the caveat that the LACMTA is an unfit project manager for either project. Look at the route problems which the agency is encountering concerning a Gold Line extension station, a location which impinges upon a school grounds. This well after the initial planning stage of the project. I am running out of synonyms for “inept” to apply to the LACMTA

I consider the Expo Line purely a waste of money. As I have often said, it would be a simple matter to ascertain whether a sufficient ridership exists along the planned route by simply constituting a Rapid bus line with stops at the planned stations. This would support the, usually plucked from the air LACMTA ridership projections, as well as allowing to fine tune final station locations. If the ridership does not materialize, not much if anything is lost – the Rapid line could be moved up to Venice Bl and continue in operation. N.B. Today, after several months of operation the LACMTA is unable to tell us how many of the daily Orange Line boardings represent new patrons of the “system”.

Too, supporters of the Expo Line had better take a ride on the existing Gold Line segment and see first hand how light rail slows at each and every grade crossing. Perhaps, then they would be less overjoyed at what to me is the LACMTA latest money wasting project. I can only hope that USC's opposition to the present route will cause this folly to be canceled.

All preventable loss of life is tragic. In this case(2), how quickly a young, promising, talented life is taken. And how few words, just 9, are required to communicate the sad news. This is a tremendous loss to the young lady's family and friends, especially at the time of year during which we are usually in a celebratory frame of mind.

My sincere condolences the the young lady's family and friends.

The article(3) would have been more creditable had the LACMTA provided us with data regarding the actual number of new passengers using the Orange Line. These data are readily derived from the tallies taken aboard each bus by the driver and available at the end of the working day. Each passenger is categorized by type of fare payment at the time of boarding: pass, cash, other agency transfer and etc. A line by line comparison can be made and as a result a better idea as to whether the Orange Line is attraction new passengers or simply being used instead of other LACMTA in the valley.

Inexplicably, rather than telling us like it is, we are given the usual platitudinous remarks of Zev Yaroslavsky, unsupported by hard facts. This in the face of, “But the LACMTA has acknowledged that many Orange Line users had already been taking buses to get around, ...”.

Further, accidents are a fact of life on the 101, to factor them out of the statistics, as was the case in the Berkley study, distorts and favorably biases the overall performance of the 101. It may well be that the Orange Line is acting to improve conditions on the 101 but, I remain unconvinced. Perhaps, if a control study was done, one that simply looked at the 101 for equivalent periods in the recent past to determine if periodicity was extant, I would have a higher level of confidence in the report. As my statistics professor used to say: “Correlation is not causation!”. Also, 101 freeway usage statistics should be available from the DOT (Department of Transportation) under FOI (Freedom Of Information).

I wonder why it was necessary to hire Berkley PHDs to perform the study and what about UCLA/USC PHDs??? Lots of questions ...

I was in fully holiday mode, so I may have missed some Orange Line accidents. As far as I know, the Times didn't report any. Step 2 would be, Step 1 is burying the stories, not printing them at all. If a car crashes into an Orange Line bus and it is not reported, does it happen? It is a if a tree falls in the forest kind of thing ...

The articulated, three door Orange Line buses do not count passengers as do all other buses as described above. Nor, apparently, do they even have fare boxes aboard. Which makes one wonder from where does the LACMTA pull these highly touted 16,000+ daily boarding figures. My analysis? Wish fulfillment values! Further, Orange Line fare payment is on the honor system. You know what that means – a certain percentage of free riders. What a beautiful excuse: “I wanted to pay on board, but there was no fare box – so I thought it was free”. And what would be the LACMTA's response to that assertion? “Duh ...”.

Interesting piece(4)! However, since only the LACMTA spinmeister, Littman,is quoted, I found the topic of "Transit TV" to be one sided and therefore, unbalanced.

A more critical viewpoint is available here (read earlier posts), which covers complaints about interruptions to passenger reading, failure to deliver on the promise of route maps on the Transit TV screens and etc. Drivers too, seem less than enamored with the TVs, and have complaints about them, yet another source of noise pollution . It is well known to Industrial Engineers that constant noise can produce fatigue and that accidents result from fatigue.

(1)“Liu, Caitlin 3 L.A.County Rail Projects Move Ahead” Los Angeles Times 16 Dec 2005:B3”
(2)Writer, Staff “Woman at Bus Stop Is Fatally Struck by Car” Los Angeles Times 22 Dec. 2005:B4
(3)Caitlin, Liu “Orange Line Eases A.M. Rush on 101” Los Angeles Times 30 Dec. 2005:B1
(4)Hymos, Steve "District Has No Clothes, and Other Visions" Los Angeles Times 6 Jan. 2006:B2

The Mole Rides Again - so that you can vicariously enjoy his travels

It's a fact: In spite of the recent decision requiring bus drivers to use seat belts, in practice, seat belts are optional for bus drivers.

The young woman across the aisle, traveling with a young child and the child's grandmother, bites her nails and spits the pieces out. The child crawls on the bus floor, but not too long, before grandma takes over. But then, even a short time on a LACMTA bus floor is not a good thing.

All the while, another young woman tries to negotiate a place to say on a push-to-talk cell phone. We all can hear both side of this fairly loud conversation. We learn that she has been “kicked out and has nowhere to go”, but not the reason. She gets off the bus after we hear that the man to whom she has been speaking may be able to arrange a place for her to stay.

I arrive at Westfield Shoppingtown and expect to wait only 10 minutes for a 268 bus. As I glance toward Baldwin, I see that the 268 has decided to skip this transfer center this morning. I call out an unheard cheery greeting to driver, not forgetting his familial group and prepare to be one hour late! Communication is not LACMTA's thing. When the semi-annual schedule change took place on 18 December it seemed like it would be a good thing.

The way it used to be: several years ago there was a mini transportation center inside the mall. At that time buses would transit the mall from about 9AM to 9PM. During earlier and later hours all buses would all stop at the front of the mall at a regular bus stop on the street. This worked just fine.

Since the LACMTA is incapable of having an institutional memory, on 18 December they scheduled some buses (Lines 264 and 268) to transit the mall on all runs while the 79 follows the historical 9AM to 9PM schedule for mall entry. These routes are documented in the printed schedules. Concurrently the LACMTA has completely removed the old bus stop. Further, the LACMTA is unable to communicate (or schedule either, if you followed the above comment) some drivers feel that it is OK to bypass the mall before 9AM and after 9PM. The result: stranded unhappy passengers. The joke used to be: (Q) What happens to the children when cousins marry? (A) They go to work for the office. The (A) should be localized to: (A) They go to work for the office if they can pass the pre-employment test, those that fail go to work for the LACMTA and those who fail badly go to work for the LACMTA routes and schedules department.

I arrive at the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station to find, as usual, elevator problems. Two elevators are out of service, likely sabotaged by the same people who have deeply etched graffiti into the panels and windows (the windows are plastic) inside the elevators. The platform is reached by riding four (4) floors up in the parking structure and then crossing a bridge and finally walk or ride two levels down. For some reason, the LACMTA has decided that an iron bench is required on the right side of the bridge half way across.

Today the Wilshire and Vermont station is littered with newspapers. This litter might be caused by those who scavenge for beverage containers in the trash cans. A coffee container is abandoned mid platform. There are no security or other LACMTA employees in sight. In fact, I have seen very few deputies or fare inspectors during recent weeks. Perhaps, they read the Mole and discovered that it is not cost effective to spend $500,000 yearly to attempt to collect $12,000 yearly, of which 60% is likely uncollectable. During the ten minutes which I waited for my Red Line Train, two people couldn't find the right platform – not unusual in this two level signage challenged station.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?