Stop me if you can!

Monk isn’t on the case, but your Mole is! The photo (above) shows that the defacer of Metro vehicles is also at work defacing, in the opinion of this Mole, buildings, too.Your Mole has redacted the sign because although the LACMTA gives this guy free advertising space, this Mole won't!

Now this guy, who incessantly defaces METRO vehicles by the score, has either defaced a building or has paid for the space. Yet our fearless LACMTA, led by Mr. Leahy is unable to stop him. Weird, huh??

Now, so far the LACMTA has been unable to put a stop to this wholesale despoiler of buses. One need only check my listings of buses with “Whois” bumper stickers, which I publish each month to see just I portion of the damage – there are many defaced buses in areas other than that where su Topo normally is a passenger –, these illegal bills usurp space and create an extremely difficult clean-up job as well.

Although your Mole has sent location information for the perpetrator to the CEO of the LACMTA months ago, they have as yet, been unable to track him down. Without being unintentionally rude, if the dunce cap fits, then wear it. Even a dunce wanna-be should be able to locate the perpetrator given the details I have supplied above.

I find that the LACMTA lacks the WILL to act. Sheriff’s Deputies with weapons drawn will apprehend a “tagger” but no one at the LACMTA has the foresight to pick up a telephone and make a police report in order to bring an end to this serial defacer’s actions. It seems very much like selective enforcement to this Mole. Further, I submit that the LACMTA CEO has a fiduciary relationship to the public, which relationship requires that he maintain the Metro vehicles in a safe and clean manner.

Drivers which are chattering away on their cell phones endanger the ridership. Vehicles whose interiors are plastered with bumper stickers by an individual or individuals who are motivated by profit and who have NO relationship to the LACMTA, present an unclean image. In case anyone needs more – take a look at last month's photographs of birds who died trapped by the LACMTA's poorly conceived and 'badly executed attempt to keep birds from fouling the LAXCBC (LAX City Bus Center). Which bus center is visited by thousands of foreigners who are, unlike the LACMTA, observant of their surroundings and even take photos of the dead birds to show the folks at home.

Soon after taking the lead photo, I rode a 715 bus, #9567, sure enough; it had a whois bumper sticker. This one was inserted into the plastic “bulletin holder” immediately behind the driver. The holder had the top two Phillips screws (yes, easily removed Phillips screws) removed so that the plastic could be bent back and whois the bumper sticker firmly glued in place.

I believe that Mr. “whois” should be fined and sentenced to remove each and every one of his bumper sticker from wherever they are found. After removing twenty-five of them he will curse the day he first decided to use them. After removing fifty of them he will curse the day he was born – they will be that hard to remove!

So enamored with its’ idée fixe vis-à-vis “Rapid” bus service that it is calcified, inactive, immobilized by paralysis.

Let’s take a brief look at some possible scheduling techniques which, if applied, would lead to improvements in ALL service. Monies are spent supporting the practically useless 920 line and lines like the 715 which look good on the street and on paper but not so hot to a person on the ground or with a sharp pencil.

Look, at least briefly, at the documents linked to below.



As you can see by the technical detail of the above documents, this is most likely a topic that is beyond comprehension of a staff who looks at each bus line as being unrelated to any other line and even if one could find a person on staff who grasped the concept of a transportation system, that person would undoubtedly lack the skill set and computational tools* required to implement such a scheme OR given those items, they would not have the required political support.

Firstly, it is necessary to understand the sources and destinations of the ridership. Such data are now available because with the TAP cards we can track groups of individuals through the system from the point of their departure to their place of work, to the nearest transportation stop, anyway. Your Mole doubts that those data are even required, because a reliable passenger counting system coupled with the GPS (Global Positioning System) data, i.e., latitude and longitude, could also provide the data economically. The GPS data are available as a byproduct of the on-board Automatic Stop Announcement system. Passenger counting and on-board count could be simplified by, as is presently being attempted, forcing “Exit through the rear doors”.

Of course, we don't know costs. And we may never know unless a group, I suggest that the Bus Riders Union take the point on this one and force FOI (Freedom of Information) or some other form of disclosure. They would be advised to change their name to the Public Transportation Users Union and educating themselves regarding transportation systems.

I have almost never had a minimum wait schedule. Frequently I am forced to wait or pay an additional fare by means of a Muni Transfer purchase of direct payment of an additional fare to another bus company – this in addition to my monthly pass.

*I do know that the LACMTA does have a contractual relationship with the suppler of scheduling software, “HASTUS” , but your Mole doesn't know if they have actually purchased the scheduling module. See http://lametromole.blogspot.com/search?q=+HASTUS

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

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it. Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French, the author of Democracy in America (1835). One may read it online at: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/toc_indx.html

The Times(1) has a piece on the much delayed Gold Line Extension. Su Topo thinks about the kind of contract which the LACMTA has written yet again. One, apparently without performance penalties. The LACMTA at one time was thinking the line would open in June –now they are quoted as: “hoping for a November opening” and that they will have enough time to test and collect Federal funding -this Mole is betting against them OR, if they complete in time to collect from the Feds. they will have gotten further over budget by using tons of overtime and wasting money in other ways.

The article also quotes the project manager as saying: “We’re 99% done with construction”. Unfortunately, that last 1% of effort often requires multiple 10% groups of time where the LACMTA is involved. Read the article and learn how “improper paint” caused at least some of the most recent delay.

Another article in the Los Angeles Times(2) says that “…[Metrolink] is still far from completing three major recommendations from a panel of experts, officials reported Friday to the commuter rail’s governing board.” Your Mole is hoping that this will be mark the end of Solow’s watch.

“Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one, and even those that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent.” H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

He was an American editor and critic. A founder and editor (1924-1933) of the American Mercury, he wrote essays of vitriolic social criticism, often directed toward the complacent middle class.

Want more Mencken quotes? See: http://www.mindpleasures.com/Quotes/PoetDreamer/Mencken/Mencken.shtml

The New York Times(3), in a business piece, discusses Six Sigma
and “design thinking”

as methodologies intended to improve production, but which can be adapted to other human endeavours –such as providing a transportation system. Of course, your Mole questions whether the LACMTA has any methodologies at all. Basically, a methodology is a proven way of doing things that allow one to repeat and build upon successes. I don’t think it works where most of the history of an organization involves failures.

On Sunday morning I thought I had time traveled back to the days when we had a newspaper in Los Angeles. The front page, above the fold has an excellent story(4) about Metrorail's lack a enthusiasm for safety related issues. Bravo to Doug Smith, Nathan Olivares-Giles, Maloy Moore and Sandra Poindexter for an excellent job. Let’s not forget the graphics by Matt Moody and Thomas Suh Lauder and work by other staffers as well. Please read it.

Although the Times staff did show their ignorance of the Metro system by calling the Gold Line Mission Station the “South Pasadena station”.

With this article the Times accomplished what industrial engineers working for Metrolink or the LACMTA, for that matter, could have accomplished had the penny-pinching organization(s) hired any.

I will only quote briefly from the story which I hope will this will provide enough detail to bring about Solow's removal – it extremely sad that it took 244 headstones (not all the deaths occurred while Solow was in office (1999-01~currently or two-thirds of the time period during which the 244 deaths occurred), but he has done little or nothing to prevent those deaths which did occur during his watch) to accomplish it. The quote: “Critics say Metrolink leaders have not paid enough attention to safety and done little to upgrade dangerous intersections where streets cross the tracks.” A further indictment against Metrolink processes, or rather lack of them appears in the article: '... Metrolink's “shoe box” record keeping is inadequate to analyze accident trends.'

In Dubai they have opened an extensive mass transit system. Have fun, using the links below, to see how a world-class transportation system is designed and built


It opened on 2009-09-09 “…it is the longest automated metro system in the world, complete with luxury compartments, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. But will Dubai succeed in luring sheiks out of their cars in an emirate where gasoline only costs 25 cents a liter [about 95 cents a gallon ~ Mole]”


Take a look at some of the building pictured with this article (See: “Cityscape Dubai” on the left of the page near the top.) they look like Frank Gehery’s work, if he took LSD. The system appears to be RAPID TRANSIT in that is seems to be mostly elevated with some segments running underground.


See “Related: In Pictures “Inside Dubai Metro” and the video, “Dubai Metro Promo”.

Also notable, 50 Thing you need to know about Dubai Metro at : http://www.arabianbusiness.com/567234-50-things-you-need-to-know-about-dubai-metro

Here is architecture which la Taupe likes. Jean Nouvel’s Museé du Quai Branly.

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/09/d3/69/paris.jpg note the Tour Eiffel in the background.

Here is a Wide view: http://www.quid.fr/zoom/images/nouvel_jean/quai_branly.png

Ear to the Rail

Do you like Freddy Fender’s (Baldemar Huerta’s) version of Viya con Dios? Which song, and many, many more of all genres, are available to you at www.GrooveShark.com (http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/song/Vaya_Con_Dios_May_God_Be_With_You_/2750692)

Or how about: http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/song/Tierra_Mexicana/22726611

Or search their achieves and select whatever you like see: http://www.grooveshark.com/


Here we are, still in the Orion Spur of the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way.  Our home galaxy, it has been determined, is now 120,000 Light Years (LY) in diameter vs the older estimate of 100,000 LY. You can see all of the arms of the Milky Way in the October 2009 issue of Astronomy (p28~33). Or try http://www.astronomy.com/ Or you might take a look at:

The Sun is in the Orion spiral arm, and rotates around the center of the Milky Way once every 240 million years. But we have only about 12 more trips to make in this configuration according to this site: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000417171734.htm

Which, in part, says ... "Within three billion years, the Milky Way will be swallowed up and merged with the Andromeda galaxy." So, make your plans accordingly.

The Mole Rides Again, so that you are spared having to look at trash on board Metro vehicles

The above was taken at the Long Beach Transit Mall aboard a Blue Line train. It raises the question: "Are all public transit users ...?"

I saw two workers in Metro vests are repairing some art, they are replacing a portion of the art work at El Segundo Station on the Green Line. Pictured above is the item in its “broken” state. Examine the photo above and see if you can determine what is “broken”, then decide why it was “broken”. (Hint: you may have to click on the photo in order to see an enlarged version of it.)

2009-09-03: El Segundo Station – An announcement: “Passengers headed east, a test train will not pickup passengers”. Better logic would dictate that the say “Passengers on the Norwalk side of the platform …”, but, after all we are dealing with the LACMTA which is, in my opinion, a communication Lilliputian.

On a bus: Near the front a woman talks to her son, who is holding a skate board. She has a large mole (no pun intended) over her left eye. It is about the size of a half dollar, although I haven’t seen one of those for a long time, and appears to be about a quarter inch high at the highest point. Now this Mole is against most optional elective cosmetic surgeries, but in this and similar cases a very small procedure could positively alter her appearance and give her face normal symmetry. That said, she seems happy and seems to be having a nice chat with her son. So, I wish her and them the very best!

A younger woman wearing a T-shirt with a picture of something scary which can invade out bodies. Her shirt advertises testing.

2009-09-08 11:30 AM: Aboard Bus #6336 being driven by operator # 18770. He is not wearing a seat belt and drives like he was trained by First Transit, i.e., rough and jerky.

2009-09-08 Noon: Aboard Bus #6395 Operator #20521 LOVES the bus’ horn and is jabbering away on his cell phone. I keep thinking of the line which tells us that talking on the telephone, in effect, removes the mind from the body. Sooner or later there will be a tragic accident and the LACMTA will have excuses by the ream.

2009-09-11: Bus number 6444, Operator #17443 at 8:20 AM the driver talks non-stop on cell phone!

At 9AM I transfer to a 42 Line bus, #6407, operator # 16553 is another non-stop talker on a cell phone!

When the first really serious accident happens, you can note that I have documented that cell phone use by bus drivers is a serious problem, yet, the LACMTA doesn’t seem willing to take any action.

2009-09-16 333 line 12:40: A man has a plastic bag from Sears twisted around his wrist and can’t seem to extricate himself from it. He take out a survival type knife, like one often sees in the sporting goods store advertisments, and cuts the bag–then takes about 20 seconds before he is able to free himself.

The miserable TransitTV is back louder than ever. TV as the screens become larger, the programming degenerates.

2009-09-21: The woman who is driving this 111 bus is no “Smooth Operator*”. She must have been trained by First Transit –rough, jerky driving is their signature –and graduated near the bottom of her class. Accelerate, coast, brake and repeat, that is her style.

I saw another self-aggrandizing from Metro this morning. This time bragging that their train operators have won the “APTA International Rail Rodeo” Here is the press release: http://www.metro.net/news_info/press/Metro_091.htm

I wonder how many round trip fares it cost to sent this “team” to the event. Given that the LACMTA's financial affairs are, this Mole believes purposely, kept as clear as a 55 gallon drum of mud, we will never know. Of course, the system maintenance is NOT graded or the LACMTA would be hanging their collective heads in shame. See last month's photos of how the Green Line cabling is maintained and the myriad other issues that I have detailed in this blog. And as you look at the photos, please remember, that there is a public safety aspect to ignoring or performing sloppy maintenance. Also please, consider that this is the situation at only one station –there is no reason to believe that other venues and vehicles are any better maintained!

The driver of this 117 bus is in one of the three major modes, (c) is regular, which I have identified, i.e., (a) hostile and uncommunicative OR (b) can't stop talking. He is the (b) type and is presently lecturing a woman on the history, usage and features of transfers. It is incredible to me that she, at her apparent age, seems not to understand the difference between the NO TRANSFER between Metro entities and the Muni (inter-agency transfer). The Marketing department has lots of work to do before a majority of riders will understand the policy.

I am passing the time by “free reading” I can see the “La Opinión” headline of the paper being held by a woman across the aisle. It says “Multituda cubana aclaima al paz”. It's a nice word isn't it, “paz”, “peace”!

2009-09-24: I am a passenger on a 439 line bus, number 7147, being driven by Operator #28538. She is a rough, jerky driver, I am beginning to wonder – Are there any other kind? She accelerates up to a relatively high speed, then has to brake hard in order to make stops. Sometimes, when facing a red light, she accelerates to within a bus length of the “stop line”. Also she has left a dangerously large 18 inches of slack in her seat belt. As we approach the West Los Angeles Transportation Center, she opts to skip the marked 439 stop on Fairfax, the one that makes for easy transfer to other buses which stop there, and instead turns right on Apple and stops at the point where other drivers check for Freeway Fare Tickets, before heading east on the 10.

At the WLATC, I transfer to a 780 bus #8065 about 9:50 AM. The driver gives me yet another jerky ride.

Dedicated to the Dulcinea of my dreams

"Senor Don Rodrigo de Narvaez, your worship must know that this fair Xarifa I have mentioned is now the lovely Dulcinea del Toboso, for whom I have done, am doing, and will do the most famous deeds of chivalry that in this world have been seen, are to be seen, or ever shall be seen."

To this the peasant answered, "Senor- sinner that I am!- cannot your worship see that I am not Don Rodrigo de Narvaez nor the Marquis of Mantua, but Pedro Alonso your neighbour, and that your worship is neither Baldwin nor Abindarraez, but the worthy gentleman Senor Quixada?"

"I know who I am," replied Don Quixote, "and I know that I may be not only those I have named, but all the Twelve Peers of France and even all the Nine Worthies, since my achievements surpass all that they have done all together and each of them on his own account."

Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616), Don Quixote (1605), Chapter V

See: http://www.online-literature.com/cervantes/don_quixote/

Fare Box Score Box

I.D. Numbers of buses with Out of Order Fare Boxes: 7595;

Note: No or few entries above do not necessarily mean all fare boxes are in operation.

I.D. Numbers of Buses Defaced by WhoIs stickers: 5117; 6370; 9349; 5102+UR; 5210; 7755; 6369; 5182; 6358UR; 9464; 9281 whois crossed out with marking pen; 9281 New whois; 6331UR; 6357; 9567; 6339UR;

+UR = whois sticker and the ugly residue left after passengers partly remove the sticker. ~UR = Only the ugly residue left after passengers almost completely remove the sticker.

I.D Numbers of Buses whose Head and Tail signs disagree: 6481 117/211; 5182 115/blank; 6572 117/550; 6580 111/445;

La Taupe's Abréviations

LAXCBC = the LAX City Bus Center

TT = Torrance Transit

WLATC = West Los Angeles Tranportation Center


(1) Becerra, Hector. “Closing in on an opening”. Los Angeles Times. 12 Sep. 2009:A8.

(2) Smith, Doug. “Metro still behind on some safety measures”. Los Angeles Times. 12 Sep. 2009:A14.

(3) Beckman, Sarah. “Welcoming The New, Improving The Old”. New York Times. 6 Sep. 2009. Sunday Business: 3.

(4) Smith, Doug. “Death on the rails in L.A.”. Los Angeles Times. 27 Sep. 2009:A1.

Su Topo’s Disclaimer and apologia

Your Mole always attempts to write an easy-on-the-eyes page using text input. Blogger.com however, has other ideas and will often not stay with a single font type or point size, produces extraneous spacing and etc. I wish I had time to debug the HTML which they produce, it is NOT the straight text which I pasted into the form, but I don’t. Therefore, I apologize on behalf of Blogger.com for the changes which they make, of which I do not approve. Sometimes, what I see, thankfully you don’t, is 24 point type –it is giant and other times they swallow my text, although it still seems to be there. In fairness to them, things seem better, although this is partly because I do understand which of their “features” do the most damage to me and consequently do not use them. Communicating these problems to them, for me, is something like having teeth extracted without the benefit of anesthetic, actually it is less fun than that. By their design, there is no simple e-mailing them with "Please look at my say, posting of 2009-06-28, it is weird!” I am hoping that one of their developers will some day read this, copy my code and improve their text to HTML engine. Until then, lo siento.

Mole’s Copyright Statement

All photographs and original written materials are copyrighted © 2007~2009 by LAmetroMole. Clicking a photo will often* present you with an enlargement. *This feature is dependant upon the Internet browser which you use and possibly other factors.


This site contains or provides links to copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, sustainable development, environmental, community and worker health, public disclosure, corporate accountability, and etc. We have often included relatively brief quotes from articles and etc., sometimes in addition to a simple link, because we have found that links frequently go "bad" or change over time. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without fee or payment of any kind to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes and to those who access the site via any and all other channels. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Music or other recorded material on this site, or referred to by this site are copyrighted by their respective artists and are made available here for evaluation purposes only. Please support the artists you like by buying their commercial CDs, MP3s and downloads

Your Mole’s Conflict of Interest Statement

This is to certify that I, the blogger who is known as the LAmetroMole, with respect to this blog, except as described below, am not now nor at any time during the past year have been, nor it my current intention to ever be:
1) A participant, directly or indirectly, in any arrangement, agreement, investment, or other activity with any vendor, supplier, or other party doing business with any of the entities about which I have written, which has resulted or could result in personal benefit to me.

2) A recipient, directly or indirectly, of any salary payments or loans or gifts of any kind or any free service or discounts or other fees from or on behalf of any person or organization engaged in any transaction with any of the entities about which I have written.

Any exceptions to 1 or 2 above are stated below with a full description of the transactions and of the interest, whether direct or indirect, which I have (or have had during the past year) in the persons or organizations having transactions with any of the entities about which I have written.

There are no exceptions.

Date: 2009-06-24 S/ LAmetroMole


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