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

A Los Angeles Daily News piece (1) discusses the current Orange Line “ridership” “… which now approaches the 21,000 mark,[daily? Weekdays?] not projected until 2020.” Where do these numbers come from? Neither the LACMTA nor the various newspapers will publish the estimating technique(s) that are used by the LACMTA. As I have repeatedly pointed out here, the Orange Line drivers do not maintain an exact count as do drivers on all other lines. To me Orange Line success would be signaled by an increase in fare collections system wide with a corresponding increase in fare collection for the Valley sector. I maintain that a certain percentage of Orange Line riders are those who rode the Ventura Bl Rapid Line, number 750, or other Valley lines which suffered cutbacks and now use the Orange Line.

There is the obligatory comment from Zev claiming at least partial fatherhood of the Orange Line. This time, however, Zev’s inspiration came from Brazil, not the Miami Busway as was reported in the Los Angeles Times months ago. Perhaps the Brazilian system was not plagued with early accidents as was the Miami system and our own Orange Line. Then again, he may be trying to rationalize his junket, er, I mean, fact finding trip to Brazil. Was it around Carnival time, I wonder?? This article is balanced by citing complaints, like a quote from a former RTD executive, Tom Rubin. He says, “This is not a good investment of public funds. “Rapid Buses would be faster, would have cost a small fraction – and for the same expenditure … could have been put all over the Valley.” Bravo, Mr. Rubin! There were also complaints from residents about noise.

I is hearting, but not too heartening, to hear that daily near-misses on the Orange Line are down from 200 during the first month of operation to only around two per day last month.

The Mole Rides Again - so that you won't have to listen to variations of pronunciation on the ASA

I am trying a new route home from LAX, so I am on the 111 from the LAX City Bus Center. The well graffitied LAX City Bus Center is a place that has not been cleaned since construction and has blobs of hardened gum all over. Also, you can be approached there by people in various stages of reality-contractedness asking for money or ranting.

The ASA (Automatic Stop Announcements) were created by someone, perhaps from Kansas, who is unfamiliar with local street names. He pronounces “Arbor Vatae” in at least three different ways and says Ahveeation for Aviation.
On this ride, a woman seated diagonally across from me bites her fingernails, seemingly without regard for what she has touched since she last washed her hands.

(1) Bartholomew, Dana, “Coach travel lures drivers” Daily News 27 Apr. 2006:1



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

A Los Angeles Daily News piece(1) details the $150,000,000 annual budget shortfall for the current LACMTA fiscal year. Since Mr. Snoble can do little, other than whine that there is no hope, I have prepared the following four (4) step plan for consideration by the LACMTA board.

Step 1, for the LACMTA, should be to immediately cancel the unnecessary "Expo Line". With its own bus system and access to that of the Metro and the Big Blue Bus, Culver City has lots of bus transportation available.

Step 2 should be to replace the over paid and under performing Snoble and replace him with an executive who knows how to stretch a budget and pinch pennies.

Step 3, for the new executive, should be to establish bus "feeder lines"which will bring passengers to the Gold Line and make it the success that it should be.

Step 4 should implement a plan to open Gold Line expansion stations, one by one, as they are completed ensuring that the revenue will flow for the first possible minute.

Snoble will be more comfortable in a job with an endless supply of cash for him to spend, without the bothersome detail of actually producing a return on investment.

The Mole Rides Again - so that you won't be “dusted” by your seat mate who is filing her fingernails

Passengers will be passengers. Even the Big Blue Bus has the type that will make the average person consider a car purchase. In my case, my seat mate entertained me 40 minutes with her cell phone conversation (lots of “What?s And Huh?s) all the while busily filing her nails, cleaning them and using other implements on them. She merrily blew the dust off her hands into the environment – after that action, I moved.

It is Good Friday afternoon and I am riding on bus number 11035, driven by a First Transit operator, number 70927. He makes a mime appear talkative. He ignores my “good morning” and apparently, most of what anyone else says to him. I have identified three basic types of drivers: Those who consider their job an opportunity to preach their religious views: Those who are just regular people who will converse with passengers beyond that which is required and Those like 70927 above who seem to think that a speaking part should require and additional $300 per day. Fortunately, most are the "regular"type!

I rode a line 220 to MDR (Marina Del Rey) via PDR (Playa Del Rey). It is an interesting route, basically from LAX to West Hollywood. Part of the MDR segment loops though Fisherman's Village. It appears that in June Culver City will begin operation of a new line (Line 7) which will take over that portion. This will mean that the 220 Line has a better structure, but for the few passengers who need to get to Fisherman's Village, an extra fare will be required.

Speaking about route structures (¡WARNING! Use your Thomas Guide in tracing the routes below OR one of the Internet mapping services), the aforementioned Line 232 has an interesting quirk. The South bound 232 makes a left turn from Sepulveda Bl onto Mariposa Street, heads East to service the Green Line Mariposa Station, heads South on Nash St to El Segundo Bl then West to El Segundo Bl to Sepulveda, where it makes a left turn (South) to continue on its way to Long Beach. The total distance for this lop is about a mile and a half (1.5 Mi).

The North bound bus does essentially the same thing! Passing El Segundo Bl and upon reaching Mariposa St makes a RIGHT turn and follows the route detailed above. When it reaches El Segundo and Sepulveda (déjà vu) it travels again on the same path along Sepulveda between El Segundo and Mariposa that it did minutes before. This time it passes Mariposa and continues on to the LAX Bus Center.

This lack of route planning by the LACMTA has gone on, unnoticed since the establishment of the Green Line. It add 0.6 miles (twice the distance between El Segundo Bl and Mariposa St) of travel, wear and tear on bus and tires, and minutes to the 232 route for each Northbound bus. There are fifty-five (55) daily buses, thirty (30) on Saturday and thirty (30) on Sunday.

This makes for one hundred fifteen (115) Northbound trips each week with 5980 annual trips. These trips waste 3,588 annual miles and conservatively, 200 hours of unnecessary travel time. Is it any wonder that with oversight such as this that the LACMTA is a budget buster?

I walked through Union Station proper the other day and was disappointed that whoever (LACMTA?) is responsible for maintenance is shirking their responsibilities. The original 1939 vintage leather on the art deco seats in the main waiting area are torn and if patched at all, are patched with MASKING TAPE!

(1) Mascaro, Lisa “MTA warns of hikes” Daily News 10 Apr. 2006:1



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

Either not much was happening or I missed the local articles while working in Northern California. The Times seems to have cut way back on LACMTA coverage??

The Mole Rides Again - so that you don't have lose any sleep

One thing I especially like about San Francisco's Muni is their transfer policy. Transfers are multiple-use within the time limits indicated. They are much better than the LACMTA's “Day Pass” and allow one to get lots done on a single fare payment. Admittedly, the geography of “the city” has much to do with that.

I made a quick trip back to SoCA and rode a few buses and trains.

On board a 267. Two young ladies, Pasadena Cordon Bleu students, sit side by side, one dozing with her head on the other's shoulder. While sleeping her knife case drops to the floor. S it lies there, I consider the number of germs, and the germs disgusting source, that are likely infiltrating the bag. That same knife case will, no doubt, be place on a food preparation surface at Cordon Bleu. I have removed the Cordon Bleu student restaurant as a future lunch spot. I have eaten there in the past and found it good, but ...

I am taking the Green Line-> Blue Line-> Red Line -> Gold Line route to Pasadena. It is early Saturday morning. One woman applies Gold nail polish and another is applying something to her eye area. Another woman looks sleepy and allows here once white apron strings to trail on the train floor – she is on one indeterminate side of her job – coming?, going??

On board a 111. One thing noticeable about the Westchester area, especially around Manchester and Sepulveda is how dirty it is! There is litter everywhere! It drops from overflowing trash cans, blows in the wind or just lies in the streets. One wonders what kind of cleaning plan exist, if one does indeed exist, for the area. The City Bus Terminal near LAX is dirty too, with LOTS of graffiti!

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