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