It started with a full page advertisement in Hoy(1). The page was titled “Las verdades sobre Expo” [The truth about Expo]. The page went on to list six “Reclamo falso” [false claim], but su Topo could argue that it should have been “Reclamos falsos” –however, you can read about the so-called “false claims” in both English and Spanish and make your own linguistic judgments by visiting http://www.buildexpo.org/. The web site makes no statement about exactly who, if anyone, is responsible for making the claims. So this could be some kind of ploy to get out the story which is most favourable to the Expo Line, which line your Mole has opposed since its’ inception.
Visiting the BuildExpo site, one can see the heading “PHASE 1 REAL FACTS” on the right side of the page, inputting a left mouse click to the “click here” hot spot produces an on-screen pdf which shows, essentially, the contents of the Hoy ad with English added. It also includes a pre-paid mailer that can be printed out and by using it, you can send a letter of support to the project. It does not include a provision to vote against the project, but I suppose that you could write that in, if you do write, su Topo asks that you not send them any naughty words.
The mailer is pre-addressed to an Overland Avenue address, not exactly in Expo Line country and definitely NOT an LACMTA address. The Mole dug deeper and found that the web site is hosted in Orlando, FL!
Host the web site on Metro computers, of which they have many and many of which are likely operating at less than full capacity? A Datamation article says that “… servers can average between 10 percent and 25 percent of capacity.” See: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/erp/article.php/3417611 . There is no reason to believe that the LACMTA servers are administered more efficiently than those use in a typical business organization. In fact, the opposite is likely true.
Answer these real or imaginary questions with hard statistics about how the ridership counts were developed and exactly, why, we need this money-pit, er, I mean line.
The "planned" route for the Expo Line causes needless initial costs as well. The line is "planned" to parallel the Blue Line from Metro Centre at 7th and Figureoua, Pico Station and Grand Station. A rational approach would be to eliminate the costly infrastructure that may be required in the parallel tracking and launch the line from Grand Station. This means that riders would have to ride the Blue Line for a few stations and transfer at Grand to the Expo Line. This would speed construction and man that the build out could occur faster and stations, if proper planning is done could be placed in operation one at a time. The sooner this thing is done the more quickly everyone will see what a tremendous waste of resources this is.
La Taupe believes firmly in the following quote and its’ special applicability to the LACMTA, “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity”.
Your Mole has taken his time, computer and the Gnu Gimp2 software to show the LACMTA’s “Stops and Signs Group” how to consolidate signage and reduce signage footprints and not put up things for people to run into. You can see how they actually did it by checking out my posting of 2008-07-29. Regarding my re-design, “That was Easy”! Of, course there are other ways to accomplish the same thing but I will leave the actual fixes to the fertile brains of the group.
On 2006-04-29, I provided a detailed description of the money wasting loopy 232 route around Mariposa, Nash, Grand and Sepulveda streets in El Segundo. The very same 232 line no longer has Nash as,a one-way street, barrier to removing the loop in the route as it adds to wear and tear on vehicles, tires, driver time. This one-way street “barrier ”was removed in late June 2008 –that’s right Stops and Routes guys, two months ago! :-( ). Now just about two months later, nothing has been done to rationalize the route. What should be done?
The North bound 232 should make a right turn at Grand and stop, possibly in the Oracle building white curb area, then proceed East with a stop across the street from the one made on Grand by the South bound 232, that stop, by the way, already exists. Then the route would continue East to Nash, make a left turn onto Nash from Grand and stop across the street from the Mariposa Green Line Station, likely the stop would be on Mariposa, after turning left (West) onto Mariposa. The 232 would make another stop on Continental across the street from the stop made by the Southbound 233. The route continues West and makes a right turn onto Sepulveda and continues on the old Northbound route.
It is also a good idea to add ASA (Automatic Stop Announcements) on the route and adding the transfer point announcements where appropriate, you know, just as one would expect an agency that continues to call itself “America's Best” almost a year after the “award” expired.
Now all together Stops and Routes guys: “That was easy!”. Oh, and thank you Mr. Mole, and WOW are we tired!
We can't leave our brief discussion of ASA without commenting on how the system is being patched with various amateur's voices rather than having the fixes done by professionals.
I finally had an opportunity to ride the new Rapid 715 Line. The driver was less than exact about stopping properly at the curb. He stopped mid-street at the LAXCBC (LAX City Bus Center) and at my destination he was at close to two (2) metres away from the curb. The bus had only two passengers aboard, you can see one of them in the front on the right hand side, in the photo above and La Taupe was behind the camera. The lack of meaningful financial and operation data means that I will have to delay a discussion of the economics of the 715 route, per mile cost, and etc.
A transportation report(2) says: “In to growing traffic congestion and passenger demands for more reliable service, many [emphasis added] transit operators are seeking to improve bus operations by investing in automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology. In addition, automatic passenger counters (APCs), which can collect passenger-activity data compatible with AVL operating data, are beginning to reach the mainstream.”(3)
Although the report was originally produced in 2003 and updated in 2006, the many cited above does not apparently apply to the LACMTA, since even though they may have ASA and by extension AVL, but NOT APC, leaving that bit of data gathering to the softest of software, the drivers.
Whether the software product, “HASTUS 5” can aid in establishing a better scheduling or not or is even a product which is/can be supported by the LACMTA, they paid for some Hastus product with the following: (i) Check number: 12399 Date: 04/30/04 Check Amount: 33,453.00 002123 Payee: GIRO, INC. Code: 1197 HASTUS ROSTER MODULE $31,370.00 Code: 1198 ANNUAL FEE ADJUSTMNT $2,083.00
AND awarded a firm fixed, price contract, Contract No. PS9240-1667 to Giro, Inc. for the implementation of the HASTUS (Horaires et Assignations pour Systeme de transport Urbain et Semi-urbain) [ Schedules and Assignments for Transport system[s] Urban and Suburban, translation provided by La Taupe, making him wonder if the LACMTA really knows what it bought?] system, Version 2005, in the amount of $352,190 (ii) effective June 1, 2005. That, my friends, amounts to 281,752 full fares at $1.25 each).
Su Topo also wonders if the software has the functionality to analyze and call a halt to wasteful lines like the 715? If the software does incorporate such a capability, can the inept LACMTA actually use it?
Both (i) and (ii) above were sourced from various LACMTA Operations Committee Meeting agendda.
On board a 232 bus number 11021, the driver, a First Transit employee number 71926, admonishes a passenger “... next time signal in advance of the stop ... !”. This, in spite of the fact that there is no ASA (Automatic Stop Announcement) on board, nor did the operator announce ANY stops while I was aboard. Caveat meator!
Perhaps the First Transit contract lines were not considered part of the award although they do display the “America's Best” decal however false and parachronistic its' advertizing might be. This gives plausible deniability to the LACMTA due to the contractual relationship with First Transit.
The continuing saga of the Plaza El Segundo bus stop: Regarding the long history of the Hughes Way bus stop at Sepulveda, I have included some high points in the history of the area (points 1 and 2 below, are sourced from the internet):
Site Rezoning and the proposed Plaza El Segundo Development (“Original Project”) were approved and the EIR was certified by the City of El Segundo on February 15, 2005 ...
Initial requests for the stops, originated in late 2007.
Yet to date, in spite of the relative mechanical simplicity of installing a bus stop, signalized "Ped Heads" (pedestrian controlled crossing lights), painted cross walks and etc., there is NO APPARENT ACTIVITY on the part of the LACMTA.
What a stone wall one faces when dealing with the LACMTA!
Some have found that they could not reproduce the Mole's problems with the Metro.net "tripped out planner". Please try this. From: Hollywood Bowl, To: Hollywood BL/Highland AV Day: Tuesday Time 10:30 pm. Click on "Plan My Trip". Click Continue on the screen which verifies the origin and destination. The system will then just hang! I believe that since other are supporting BuildExpo.org, that the highly paid IT staff at the LACMTA should be able to patch up this error, variations of which I have been reporting for years!
The Mole reads the papers (and other things) so you don't have to
A program is never debugged. This IT mantra was sufficiently proved true by a New York Times article(2). The NYC MTA apparently performed insufficient system testing on its’ ticket vending machines, I wonder what the LACMTA did in the way of testing their equipment?
The Daily Breeze discusses the  November ballot measures(4). “Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors is trying to place a half-percent sales-tax increase requested by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on the ballot”. The total taxable sales for Los Angeles County is estimated(5), based upon 2006 levels, to be ($136.16 billion) which would return $ 680,800,000 ($680.8 million) as a result of the .005 (half of one percent tax increase). Of course, today’s economy is not that great, so the amount will probably be less. The Mole suggests (Vide Supra) a vote AGAINST providing these additional to the profligate agency. Let the LACNTA cut costs and become more efficient and effective. N.B. Efficient is doing the thing right and effective means doing the right thing.
Our profligate LACMTA also received $16.1 million(8), or almost 93% of a total funding package of $17.4 million allocated by the Governor's Office of Homeland Security for distribution to transit agencies in Los Angeles County. I can hardly wait to find out how Metro wastes this "ingreso no derivado del trabajo" (unearned income). Perhaps more stupid brochures like ”How to identify a suspicious Package”, will be designed and printed by the agency which confuses printing things with actually doing something (See: posting of 2008-07-29). The Big Blue Bus got just slightly more than 2.5% of the funding package.
Better health for all of us, IF the FDA regulates cigarettes.
Steve Hawking discusses space warping, time travel and alternative histories in an understandable manner along with some nice illustrations at http://www.hawking.org.uk/pdf/warp.pdf
Tourists at the LAXCBC (LAX City Bus Center) that try to find a route by using the list of buses posted on the south side of the east most kiosk--which is all that is available from Mr. Snoble's organisition , are in about the same position as one who tries to tell time using the bill of materials for a watch.
I was able to take some pictures in San Francisco which document a real transportation system.
The picture above shows a smooth riding and environmentally friendly bus powered by overhead electricity.
San Francisco also uses articulated buses as we do in Los Angeles.
Above, this view down Market Street toward the Ferry Building shows both types of buses in a single picture.
Ever attentive to detail, su Topo shows how things are removed in San Francisco, cut off flush with the sidewalk and filled in. Los Angeles Street Maintenance take note, it might be well for the City of El Segundo to pay attention to this photo too.
Above is a view of the old-style tracked street car. Updated, this is what is planned for the “Expo Line” in Los Angeles. It works in San Francisco because of the city’s long history in sharing the streets with “trolleys” AND because these things go where people want to go. In Los Angeles, the “Expo Line” is not supported by a needs study or much of anything else –other than it is somebody’s pet project (Vide Supra).
Always fun, albeit sparsely loaded some evenings, the higher fares for these cable cars are willingly paid by tourists.
The Bart signage tells you how long one must wait for the next train. The car count lets you know where to wait on the platform. In Los Angeles, the old signage showed only date and a few elevator outage notices while the new signage is devoted to asking us to keep the system clean and/or other “information” most passengers don’t need and keeps info we do need secret!
Another Bart sign showing accurate arrival information AND the stations are not dark and gloomy like the ones on the Red and Purple Lines.
Oh, they do show us the time as well .
When one pays the fare from "A" to, say “X”, and travels beyond “X”, these machines allow the addition of fare so that you will be able to exit the station. Your ticket must have recorded the correct fare from you point of origin to your destination in order to exit.
Transfer discount tickets are self-issued by passengers for use on “Muni” buses and trains (sorry, not on cable cars). They provide for transferring to the "Muni" at a reduced rate which is paid as you board the Muni conveyance.
Passengers insert their Bart tickets into a slot in the gate in order to exit. The machines read magnetically encoded origin data and compare the fare amount encoded for this destination, if it is correct the small gates open and allow one to exit otherwise a fare adjustment must be made. Note the lighted green arrows which shows that the gate is in operation.
System entry is also controlled, here the “bar” symbol shows that the gate is not in operation for entry, the green arrow shows entry gates. The gates allow for dual use, so one might find green arrows on the opposite side of the “bars” so that people can exit from Bart or enter Bart using the same set of gates. Flow control, usually has more entry gates in operation evenings and more exit gates in operation mornings, as people go to work or return home. This was a morning picture so that more people were likely exiting the station than entering it.
I can just see the "planners" at the LACMTA shaking their heads and exclaiming: “This is impossible!, It's giving me a headache”. The technology to do this is quite old, it was in use in Japan over twenty years ago. I just know that the LACMTA will come up with something that, like the bus fare boxes, only works “sometimes”. You read it first here. Like the Bart signage, which the LACMTA could have copied, but no, they went with basically a date/time scroll and changed to something that shows more stuff, none of it very useful. And at some installations, the Lake Street Gold Line Station comes to mind, with the new displays (See: 2007-09-15 posting) during daylight hours, the useless information is practically invisible.
This is another reason for audits and head rolling at the agency. Audits to determine who makes them and WHY such consistently BAD decisions are made, all when excellent examples with a very good track record are found just 400 miles north of us. When the culprits are identified, let the heads roll. Perhaps this would be the opportune time to say “Bye-Bye” to Roger. For a copy Speaker Fabian Nuñez letter calling for Mr. Snoble’s resignation see http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/newsline/releases/20080410ad46pr01.htm
Our arrival in Hollywood was coincident with a security problem at 7th and Metro which stopped, then single tracked trains ensuring that I would arrive home late and exhausted. Next trip? Maybe via JetBlue or Southwest, but NOT Greyhound.
Fare Box Score Box
The number of Rides will no longer be reported.
2003 updated 2006 Web: http://www.trb.org/
(4) Anderson, Troy “Voters face measures costing billions” Daily Breeze 17 Aug. 2008:A7
(7) N/A ,"Transit News" American Public Transportation Association 11 Oct. 2006 Web:
(8) N/A, "Big Blue Bus Receives Homeland Security Funds" Santa Monica Mirror 24 July 2008:7
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