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.
Guccione, Jean “Mechanic Arrested in Rampage at MTA Yard” 14 July 2006 Los Angeles Times: Link
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
The Mole reads the papers (and other things) so you don't have to
A Daily News piece(1) is indicative of the fact that the paper has no spell checker (“tripping” had only two ps not 3). However, if true - “Remember: your Metrolink ticket is the only ticket you will need on any bus or metro train in Los Angeles. The Red Line is free for Metrolink ticket holders.”(1) - a Metrolink ticket will allow one to travel all over Los Angeles.
The Times has a brief piece(2) on a proposed Green Line extension to LAX. It appears that “The head of the [City Airports] agency said last week that she opposed the extension.(2) She is unnamed in the article but, based upon my web search,
The papers, which seems to have stopped all serious coverage of the LACMTA, that is, assuming that you considered their prior coverage serious, do not supply me with a whole lot of raw material these days. So I will devote a little of this space to a big shout out to someone, who backlinks my Blog. “Rip Track”, who covers the broader area of transportation with lots of detail, both technical and financial. Give him a read, please.
The Mole Rides Again - so that you will know which bus stops to avoid
The covered bus stop on the north east corner of Arbor Vitae and Aviation is inhabited by a homeless man. The stop, like him, is filthy, the area is littered with his garbage. He often lies down on the bench denying its use to others who wait for the bus. The stop needs a good scrubbing and students who attend the school nearby should not have to share a bus stop with such a person.
The same is true of the stop on Airport Bl just east of 96th Street. There is less litter in that area but the man who lives there, apparently, urinates in bottles and then leaves them standing near the bus stop bench. Although there is space to do so, no sane person would attempt to wait in that covered bus stop.
Global Warming and Air Pollution
At some Layover points, signs direct Metro bus driver to shut off their engines. Not so at the LAX City Bus Center. On the day (Sunday, 9 July 2006 at 10:05AM) of my limited survey, two of the three buses whose drivers were on breaks of fifteen minutes or more, left there buses idling with air conditioners on. The buses were Route 117, Bus Number 6572; Route 232, Bus Number 11031. Only Bus Number 6496 was stopped and since it was it did not display its route number.
Vanity Fair(3) says “4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide each year”. Many of these are tossed by Metro riders who seem to have as the idea that, “The world is my garbage can”, as a philosophy. Now, both of the above actions contribute to both air pollution, global warming and in the case of cigarette butts, ground pollution and likely water pollution.
Any steps which can be taken to reduce these forms of pollution, and most definitely the root cause of cigarette butt litter, smoking, will result in delaying the point at which our earth becomes uninhabitable.
One series of actions which the highly paid head of LACMTA (Snoble) could take is to ensure that idling is kept to an absolute minimum, then, he should undertake a route by route analysis of the bus system to ensure that ridiculous time, money, fuel and tire wasting loops such as the one around the Mariposa Green Line Station, which the Line 232 (Long Beach <-> LAX City Bus Center) bus takes are eliminated.
(1) Sholley, Diana “All aboard for day-trippping [sic] Get a glow going with a stop at the Museum of Neon Art” 26 May 2006 Daily News:
(2) Times Staff and Wire Reports "Councilmen Seek Rail Line Extension to LAX” Los Angeles Times 6 July 2006:
(3) staff, “Fifty Ways to Help Save the Planet” Vanity Fair (booklet) Attached to May 2006 issue and web.