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

The Los Angeles Times(1) has a piece on the Orange Line extension. Here we go again! More unsupported ridership statistics from the LACMTA about the Orange Line.

This time we are told that there are 20,000 riders “a day” – yet neither is the “a day” qualified with the word week[day] nor is an explanation given as to exactly how the LACMTA developed the ridership count. Most standard buses require that the driver tally his passengers by type of fare, e.g., boarded with bus pass and etc.

However, the Orange Line has free boarding through several doors and does not require the driver to attempt, what is likely an impossible job, to count the ridership. In fact, the tally devices are not even installed on the standard Orange Line buses. I have written about the lack of accuracy in counting passengers here and asked many times, without success, that the Los Angeles Times explain in detail the LACMTA's ridership estimation methodology.

Rather, the Times obediently parrots whatever they are told by the LACMTA. To my knowledge, no strict analysis of our local public transportation system has ever been undertaken – at least not one without a strong political component.

I challenge these counts by the LACMTA as self serving and an attempt to present as a resounding success what in reality a modest accomplishment, caused partly by the forced shifting of passengers due to reduction in other bus line operations. That is, many of the same people, who in the past took other bus lines, are now coerced into riding the Orange Line. Here we see the politicians, notably Mr. Yaroslavsky, rushing to prove the adage that “success has a thousand fathers”.

The piece points out the LACMTA's eagerness to spend monies, in this case State funds, but anyone's money will do, mostly without a rational plan. Again, I ask: “Los Angeles Times, please cover the LACMTA with more than superficial depth.” Understanding public transportation along with the ability to present critical analysis must be prerequisites for reporters, NOT access to politicians and the skill to extract quotes from the public.

A Washington Times reporter's book A Washington Times reporter's book “ENEMIES: HOW AMERICA'S FOES STEAL OUR SECRETS, AND HOW WE LET IT HAPPEN” ,
which details the sources and methods of Chinese spies, will likely be added to my reading list.

A Google search using Chinese spy as the argument turned up 18,600,000 entries. So, it is not too strange that, even if ultimately unproven, When Ho Lee was a suspect in the Los Alamos incident. I suggest failure to find someone guilty of a crime is not the same as finding them innocent.

With the typical American weakness for things Chinese, e.g., consider the nonsensical Feng Shui as a prime example, it is no wonder that they are able to penetrate our governmental agencies and twist most Yanks around their fingers. I adopted my military jump master's philosophy, “Millions of starving people need food before they can fight you!”. The Bush administration is so intent on dividing the electorate using issues such as gay marriage, stem cell research and etc., that they ignore completely their responsibility to preserve and protect out constitution. It is predicted that China will be the leading superpower in fifty (50) years! See:
http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_government&Number=294940127&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=21&part= .
Ear to the Rail
There are many excellent classical musical stations available on-line, but my list is headed by www.WCPE.org . Unfortunately, it is only accessible aboard Metro if you have a Palm, Blackberry or Notebook computer with wireless access. N ow, if only Metro would make a free Wi-Fi channel available on the brain dead TransitTV instead of the Martha Stewart wannabes, the Cleaver Bros.

The Mole Rides Again - so that you can profit by other riders' experience

A fellow passenger on board a 333 bus headed downtown told me about the late evening nightmare of attempting to get home from Santa Monica on late Sunday evenings. He said that the frequency of the 33/333 buses are reduced during that time period AND because many people are headed home at about the same time, they are bypassed by buses filled to capacity, which results in long waits.

On a different day, waiting at a bus stop near the corner of Overland and Venice, I
notice that one of the square uprights which support the bus stop signs has been removed. However, they left a stub, as a tripping hazard, for us. Anyone who does trip could easily end up in the street right in the path of a car turning right into Venice from Overland Av.

I board the 33 line on Venice Bl – a young Latina child shrikes with joy as she sees a billboard with the Disney “Little Mermaid” DVD advertisement. This ride has some smiles for those aboard.

As I look outside the bus, I wonder - what is the longest distance one can see without seeing a cigarette butt or piece of litter. It is certainly less than a metre. Early morning on a Culver City bus headed north, I watch an Indian woman pour a packet of M&Ms into her mouth spilling a number of then onto the seat. A man sitting nearby alerts her to the spill – she first denies that the mess is hers, then reluctantly cleans it up. This bus has LOTS of Manderin speaking Chinese, headed for UCLA, aboard. As I note their presence, I wonder how many of them are displacing my country men and women?

I should know better, but ... the sign on the train promised the fastest way downtown. It said to take a 450 bus from the Harbor Freeway connection of the Green Line. So I did. The signage was only so-so, exactly what I have come to expect from the LACMTA. The “bus station”under the freeway was gloomy and since there were no restrooms there was a faint smell of urine in the air. I watched while six or more buses headed southward and I waited and waited. Finally a bus pulled in – it was an Orange County Transit bus. One for which I had no pass and didn't want to spend money in order to make it the fastest and more costly way downtown. Not if you count transfer time and waiting. The sign in the “station” said “North Bound”and “South Bound”. One would think that someone with half a brain would have added “To Los Angeles” and “From Los Angeles” but what do you expect from an agency where the staff and management commute by car not by bus! The station had lots of litter, and not even a half hearted attempt to reduce the traffic noise. It would heave benefited too, from a device which would have produced a positive air flow to mitigate the smell and maybe a light pipe to channel some of the bright sunlight down to us via optical fibers or even a tube with a mirrored inner surface. Finally after a wait of more than twenty (20) minutes the bus arrived. The TransitTV was way too loud so I couldn't read. Fastest way downtown? I will stay with the Green to Blue line or 439 bus.

I returned home via a 720. No AVA (Automatic Voice Announcement of stops) the driver did say something periodically but I could not determine much since she did not use the microphone and I was seated far back in the articulated (double) vehicle. It was (SURPRIZE) crowded too.

(1) Guccione, Jean “MTA Will Run Orange Line Out to Chatsworth” 29 Sept. 2006:B1

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