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

Two stories within days of each other in the Times, should do much for auto sales in the area. First(1) a mechanic goes nuts when suspended. Which leaves one to wonder how well he did his work when employed and whether we are now riding on one of the buses which he fixed.

The second story(2), which is extraordinarily brief considering what happened, will, in the long run, tell us how much we have been lied to about bus on-board security. We always hear about how great the bus cameras are, etc., etc. ... Yet, no pictures of the perpetrators were included in the article.

So if I were I betting man, I would wager that either, there were no cameras, there was no film in the camera or that the camera malfunctioned. This is an ideal time for the LACMTA to step forward to assure that they have film or video tape and broadcast it as a means of identifying the shooter(s), yet the LACMTA remained silent. Duh ...

The Mole Rides Again - so that he, not you, will be confused about routes & schedules

Unfortunately, the LACMTA is acting too much like a profit making business on one hand while concurrently acting too little like a profit making business on the other. Two west side routes were modified on the date of the summer “shake-up”, 26 June 2006. The changes to Line 439 (Note: files suffixed by pdf require the Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available free.)

Now, in the first instance of their emulation of a profit making business the agency stopped serving Redondo Beach, terminating the line at the Green Line Aviation Station although the route is remains titles “Redondo Beach”. In the second instance, other than stating in the 439 schedule that from the Aviation Station “Service to El Segundo and the Beach Cities Now provided by Beach Cities Transit Line 109”. serving A visit to the Beach Cities Transit web site yields no information about line 109.

Now, rumor has it (there are no official announcements), that the 439 will continue on to Redondo Beach because, as noted above, the Beach Cities Transit line 109 is not yet ready.

I submit that the LACMTA could not plan its way out of a wet paper bag!

A 439 bus arrived with a head sign showing "Palos Verdes ..." I asked the operator if he was going to Redondo Beach he replied “yes". I pointed out that his head sign was incorrect. He said "Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes same thing".

I told him that people expected head signs to match bus stop signs and showed him that "Redondo Beach" was printed on the Metro sign. A concept which seemed to have little meaning to him.

Service on the 439 has been iffy lately, late buses, no show buses, confusion about exactly how to get to "Redondo Beach", reprints of the 439 schedule .., but this was one of the few times I have met a driver that couldn't admit that he screwed up the head sign. As indicated on the 439 schedule linked above, on weekdays, there is neither bus service to Redondo Beach nor the Green Line Aviation Station between 08:47 and 16:37. Some bus drivers say otherwise while other talk about a “shuttle” which is NOW in operation. But my own sense is that, as usual, communication between bus scheduling and bus operations is non-existent.

What this means is that, with the dismantling of the 439 mid-day link to, at least, the Green Line Aviation Station our transportation “system” becomes less like a system and more closely resembles a series of disjoint pieces.

The same critique of the 439 line, applies to what the LACMTA has done to Line 220. They abandoned the route, indicating that a new Culver City Bus Line, Number 7, would “cover” a portion of it, yet left Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey through the LAX City Bus Center, including World Way West without coverage. It would seem to me that rather than eliminating coverage, in a time of increasing gas prices, they would be well advised to promote the route and increase ridership.

The LACMTA is acting too much like a profit making business: cutting service without really offering an alternative. The LACMTA is acting too little like a profit making business: Offering NO or absolute minimum communication to affected riders, under their “they'll work it out” attitude. No doubt the LACMTA will respond that they held community meeting at which they solicited feedback. Meetings held at times and places convenient to the LACMTA and unquestionably impossible to attend for the average public transportation user.

The new schedule for Culver City's Line 7, the replacement for the 220 line, has such a big route map AND so little information. Especially since there is some much "white space" available in the schedule "Route Map". It would be helpful to print bus stop and transfer points and line information so that one could go directly to the bus stop without wandering around looking for the green Culver City Bus signs which indicate a stop.

I hope that Culver City will institute Line 7 Sunday service as well, soon. As it is it only takes over a smallish fraction of the old line 220 coverage, and then only six days a week instead of seven.

Speaking of wandering around, when, rarely, something happens to a bus stop marker, the Metro is s..l...o....w to swing into action. For example, the sign indicating a 232 stop, located, say, fifty feet east of the intersection of Sepulveda and Mariposa, on the south side of Mariposa is dangling by a single strap greatly reducing its' visibility.

In Marin del Rey, on the South side of Mindanao, just east of Lincoln, the sign is just plain gone – pole and all!

True to the motto which I ascribe to the LACMTA “Mediocre is us”, they left several bus stop signs for the discontinued section of line 220 in place. Likely leaving a number of people think that they are waiting for Godot.

Today I decided that I would stop riding public transportation on the day that they announce that H5N1 has mutated to allow for human to human contagion. This happened as I watched the man opposite me chew on his fingernails and the Oriental woman diagonally across from me gum some kind of fruit, then remove a bottle of water from one of her multiple can collection bags and pour it over her hands in a post eating hand rinse. At the same time she gave the bus seat a liberal spraying.

The Transit Center at Fox Hills Mall, although admittedly much smaller, is cleaner than the LAX City Bus Center by a factor of 10. Much, much less discarded gum. There are the usual, what's a nice way to say nut-cases?, and pan handlers. One woman, perpetually needs, “just a quarter” to make up her bus fare and she needs it all day long.

Someone else, oblivious to the inadvisability of bringing flocks of birds into juxtaposition with human beings in the age of H5N1, dumps what appears to be multiple loaves of cubed bread as bird food.

Bird Flu, Global Warming, people wedded to their vehicles and a president who is looking forward to and seems to be contributing to the hastening of a move toward a silly - and perhaps, self fulfilling prophesy - concept as the “end times”. The aforementioned all conspire to convince me that humanity has perhaps 300 years, if that, left before Earth is uninhabitable.

  1. Guccione, Jean “Mechanic Arrested in Rampage at MTA Yard” 14 July 2006 Los Angeles Times: Link


  1. Staff, “Passenger Is Shot in Altercation on MTA Bus”

16 July 2006 Los Angeles Times: Link http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-briefs16jul16,1,544997.story

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