Distracted? Who?? What???

The photograph above has been slightly modified by su Topo, “By/” was added in order to make it more appropriate.

Mr. Leahy, I am becoming very unhappy with your distracted drivers who carry on non-business related conversations in person or on their cell phone, and as a consequence increase the danger to me as a passenger and to others who share the road with them as well.  And, Mr. Leahy, I am not very pleased with your inaction regarding this matter, either.  So, here is my proposal which I suggest that you implement, well ..., yesterday!

Primero– Publicise the fact that distracted Metro drivers will be rewarded with a loss of their jobs.  I use rewarded in the LACMTA sense –where route cancellations are called “Service enhancements”, with thanks to Mr. George Orwell.

Segundo– Register a single cell phone for each driver.  As part of the process have them acknowledge that they will ONLY use that phone on board the bus in an emergency situation when NORMAL Metro communication links are down.  They should also acknowledge that they should not have in their possession while on duty any cell phones other than the one registered.  The reward for breach of anything specified on the acknowledgment, yes, you're right: loss of their jobs!

Tercero–scroll the drivers ID number inside and outside the bus, on the date-time-stop crawl inside and outside as part of the headsign.

Cuarto – give passengers a chance to be entered into a drawing for some Metro (to me, unsalable anyway) merchandise when they report a distracted driver.

Quinto – Make sure you fire some distracted drivers very soon as the WOM (Word Of Mouth) will help you eliminate the danger to the public and the and financial liability to the LACMTA which is posed by such drivers.

Sexto – Implement a Safety & Quality Observer program because this Mole can't be everywhere and you really need to monitor these drivers.  Ten people observing eight drivers could screen the entire staff in less than eighty days, based upon my experience –and they wouldn't even need to create HTML as I do. :-).

The reason I take my uncompensated time to do the thinking for the LACMTA is that the drivers have no motivation to address this issue and prefer to gamble that “it won't happen to me” and you, Mr. Leahey, and your staff seem unable to come up with an answer by yourselves.

Oh, and ¡you're welcome!

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

I read something(1) about the TSA (Transportation Security Agency) in the Atlantic magazine.  It is about a year old and would be sad if it weren't so funny!  Please read it yourself and see.  I believe that the TSA has made some “fixes” since the article was first published. 

An L.A. Times article(2) explained that the Expo Line was over budget and behind schedule. When reporting actions initiated by the LACMTA, it is really like, umm ... duh.  This way too short piece demonstrates the Times lack of a team of reporters with which to do a “King-Drew” type of exposé   Putting money in the hands of the LACMTA, without adequate and aggressive oversight is akin to taking the money and flushing it down the commode.  I won't quote much from the Times, please read the article which is OK as far as it goes.  These are the only portions which I will quote: “The Expo Line ... is $220 million over its original budget and more than a year behind schedule with officials saying additional delays and costs are possible.” and “Officials are unsure when the Expo Line will reach Culver City or how much the total cost will be upon completion”. [Mole added emphasis]

These statements, standing alone, are enough to indict any and all “officials” involved.  Your Mole has frequently criticised the idea of the Expo Line for a host of reasons –one of the primary reasons was that this line only serves to siphon funds from the Red Line extension to Santa Monica.  The LACMTA has no institutional memory so; lessons learned on one project are not passed on to those who work on the next one.  The LACMTA ensures that there will only be institutional amnesia by the very way in which they structure project administration and management.  They form an ad hoc “build organization”, in this case it is the “Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority” which is charged with building the line and then disbanding or dispersing.  This give the LACMTA total deniability, we didn't do it, it was the X Line Construction Authority. 

Why have we reached this impasse with the Expo Line?  There are lots of reasons.  The LACMTA always fails to run “proof of concept” Rapid Buses over the planned route which would see if there really is the demand that the blue sky dreamers at the LACMTA assert, supported by, su Topo believes, a political agenda that is also deflected from reality. 

The contracting process and “oversight” at the LACMTA is atrocious!  La Taupe often publishes photographs of work undone –rough metal work and incomplete painting at Rosecrans-Douglas Station— or sloppily done –wiring butchered at El Segundo BL Station— and poor drainage at the Lake Street 210 Fwy Overpass and the Taj Mahal itself, —all likely due to poor contracting, disagreements on work to be performed and just plain bad specifications of work to be done.  Also a factor is the skill level of those at the LACMTA involved in contracting. Look at the chunks of concrete which fell off the Gold Line structure and the replacement at public (yours and mine) expense of the Orange Line roadway. 

A rational structure would show these incompetent people the door AND replace them with professionals but, sadly, a rational structure we lack.

The LACMTA will, because they are all or mostly politicians will claim that this (Construction Authority) method saves money because ‘then we don't have to have specialists on staff’.

The LACMTA’s replicated experience, with project after project going over budget and never completing on time, should tell them otherwise.  This is, IF they were educable.  But the LACMTA remain the 21st Century host for 20th Century RTD thinking. 
Also there is the “Follow the Money” aspect to all these projects and the lack of published documents which show LINE BY LINE costs of operation and fare collections, budget performance and on and on which this Mole believes that if available and studied would find somebody before the judge.  Just consider Snoble's million dollar propagandisation with public funds effort on behalf of Proposition R.

Follow the Money” means that some form of judicial review need be established to ensure that the expenditure of public funds does not elicit kickbacks or, heaven forbid, campaign contributions.

With the demonstrated ineptness of the LACMTA in doing what they are expected to do in a professional manner, leads this Mole to think that uncovering any waste, fraud or abuse that may exist will not require a savant.

The agency gets the words plan and build, it just orders them incorrectly, coming up with “Build then Plan” instead of “Plan then Build”.   The short public meetings they hold in order to solicit (they say) public feedback are simply window dressing.  It is impossible to obtain a through understanding of say, a project like the Expo Line which so far has cost $862 million, in a two hour meeting.  Said meeting may only devote 30 minutes to an explanation of the project.

While I want the Los Angeles Times to write an exposé of the LACMTA in order to make all of us aware of its many short comings and to some extent publically embarrass the agency, to the extent that they are able to be embarrassed, as a means of prompting change the http://www.fixexpo.org site goes further: calling for firings, by name, and Congressional hearings on Blue Line fatalities.

These are, without a doubt, things that are needed and overdue.
Unquestionably, hearings will impact current Expo Line and Crenshaw line construction.

Your Mole asks again that ALL CONSTRUCTION be halted until:
(a) proper planning for ALL aspects, safety included, of a given line is properly performed; (b) the construction administration and project management functions of the LACMTA are rationalised and professionalised; (c) ALL projections for ridership are validated by establishing a “proof-of-concept” for any given line by running Rapid (stops limited to the actual stops planned) buses for at least one year over the planned route.  These routes and stops would, necessarily, be modified over the course of the year and the “proof-of-concept” period extended beyond one year as
experience dictates; (d) Every project be made BOTH a MASS TRANSIT project (it will transport many people) and a RAPID TRANSIT (it will not compete for right of way, that is, it will not run at grade unless it has EXCLUSIVE DEDICATED USE of the right of way); and finally (e) the LACMTA be bifurcated, one division devoted to
Mass Rapid Transit and the other to freeways and the like with both in competition for funding.

The Los Angeles Times published a letter(3) regarding the piece above from two women who are identified as “co-chairs of Light Rail for Cheviot”.  Now, I might offer you a dollar for every resident of Cheviot Hills who rides public transportation if you will give me a dollar for each one who uses private transportation. < etc. I wonder if the co-chairs were alluding to  http://www.fixexpo.org/  which site names names, doesn’t pull any punches and su Topo highly recommends.  Please note that the headline to which the the letter writers refer and the one which I cite in (2) above are different. The www.latimes.com title which I cite in (2) is softer than that used in the letter and print edition, i.e., “Expo Line running over budget, behind schedule”.  This is one indications that the Times is NOT a newspaper “of record” in the truest sense of the meaning of that adjective.

Another Times article(4) this one with a sub head which says: “Some want more of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project underground for safety reasons”.  To me one need read no further to understand that once again, politics as usual has trumped logic.

Further, no deep analysis is required to understand that this will beanother failed attempt to connect LAX with somewhere.  I wonder how New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco and Bostonever managed to link their airports to their cities with rapid (does not compete for the right of way with other vehicles) transit.  But then they have probably have formalized transportation planning beyond the “Dartboard Methodology” in use here in Los Angeles.

I smiled as I read about the Green Line service to “Redondo
Beach”.  No, it is not the Redondo Beach that most people think
of when they hear the name, you know, “King Harbor”, the
ocean and so forth. 

Then there is talk of a “people mover” to which you can drag
you luggage and transfer for the final leg of the trek to LAX.  I
believe that all these “planners” ride in limos to the
airport so they can discuss their transportation schemes –I
mean plans, in private.  Think of the joy on the faces of tourists
that can repeat the trek in reverse upon arrival.   It is sort of
like some of those third world airports that this Mole has seen,
although he did not have high expectations of them as people arriving here might have of Los Angeles.

This might make a great movie, we could have vampires attacking the tourists as they dropped their bags and ran for the “people
mover, ©2009”.

Speculation about Solow's future(5) continues, you remember him, the Metrolink CEO who presided over the rail agency for a decade, and still has his job, while it racked up a record passenger death toll. Talk about a slow process at Metrolink, why it makes the LACMTA appear to be moving at warp speed.  Perhaps it will take another crash.  This Mole certainly hopes not!  In spite of that hope another crash has occurred [see (12) below].

The “Go Metro Shopping Guide”(6) is further proof that the
entire brochure producing staff of the LACMTA should be fired.  I
have news for them: “Most people in Los Angeles already know
where the stores are located”.   If your intent is to try to
pull us out of the economic doldrums by having users of public
shop our way out of it, you are in for a very rude shock, just like TransitTV.  I noted that the coincident, sorry I need to pause for a laugh, Red/Purple “lines” offered no shopping tips for McArthur Park, Wilshire/Vermont.  

Nor were tips offered for the Wilshire/Normandy station.  The concept of the Red/Purple “lines” made me wonder about surveys –that is, could positive results be doubled when traveling on the coincident section and then added in again for the individual segments.  LACMTA, this is something to think about in performing surveys which show high satisfaction ratings, wow, it might be possible to get better than 100% happiness.  Of course, we all know how it would be possible to lose those negative “ballots”. 

Then there is the brochure(7) which solicits your help, they already ignore mine, in planning.  I believe that it should be subtitled: “We can't put the blame on you if you won't cooperate”.  Oh, it is already too late.  I just picked this thing up on the bus so it looks like distribution was slow, like two months slow.  Well, maybe we can blame you anyway, just for not showing up.  In any event, the 30 minute overview and 60 minute Q & A seems a little short for any real help.  All is not lost though, this brochure has a nice map that show just how far away from Redondo Beach the Green Line “Redondo Beach Station” really is.  Why, it is closer to El Segundo, Hawthorne, Manhattan Beach and Torrance than it is to King Harbor.

But, yes, based upon the “political” map it is in the
city of Redondo Beach.  And, it shows the “planned route”
of the people mover :-). Aren't “people movers” sort of
like 1980s technology?

AM New York in a “Briefs” column(8) says: “Status
clocks installed at five stations in the Bronx ...

in five Bronx stations on the No. 6 line, officials said Wednesday.

The clocks tell riders when the next train will arrive. The MTA plans to install the clocks in 152 stations on the numbered lines by 2011”.

Su Topo has heard that our own LACMTA has plans to complete their
plans for a study of the issue by 4011 – just joking.

Another LACMTA Brochure, this one details the current “shake-up”(9) which makes my monthly pass provide less and cost more.  My computer's dictionary offers “to increase or improve in value” as a definition for “enhance”.  Instead the brochure is
sprinkled with variants of “discontinue” and other words
which take things away from us. You may notice that the LACMTA does not offer any chance for us to plan bus route changes.  This is a legacy of the RTD and its' predecessor(s), i.e., “we'll make
the changes you do the riding”.  

Yet the 715 remains and even
has been enhanced with an extra stop, the 232 still loops around the Green Line Mariposa Station, wasting everything imaginable and the Line 920 makes many runs between Santa Monica and Westwood Bl at very much less than capacity.  How about enhancing those lines?  Mr. Leahy??  Can you hear me now???

A Times editorial(10) calls on us to support Father Boyle's Homeboy Industries including the Homeboy Bakery and Homegirl Café.
Reader's of su Topo's postings know of his support.  So I salute the Los Angeles Times Editorial Page and add my own, much smaller voice, to theirs and ask that you visit the
site and make a donation.  And please, do as the Mole does, get off at the Gold Line Chinatown Station, and walk the short distance to the Bakery and Café and enjoy some really good food! 

The LAT(11) describes Gov. Schwarzenegger's attempt to use “our
transit” funds for other purposes.  La Taupe is ambivalent,
after all should one allow a drunken sailor [read the LACMTA] to
spend his money in a reckless unplanned manner on whatever seems like a good idea at the moment, or take it away from him and use it for something beneficial?  Please read this article and make up your own mind.

The same page which contained the article above also detailed(12) another crash involving the Metrolink.   The fault, as your Mole reads it, has not yet been assigned.  This Mole was  concerned by three points raised by the piece: (a.) “The maximum train speed in that area is 79 mph, ...” (b.) “The Federal Railroad Administration, which investigates some accidents, will not be
involved.“ and (c.) “... investigators would look at data
from three cameras which were placed on all Metrolink locomotives in October ...”.   

Here are just a few of the items which bothered me: (a') 79 mph seems very fast for a grade level crossing.  This is
rapid transit speed with a shared right-of-way; (b') The Mole would think that the FRA would want to error on the side of caution by inserting itself into any event which involves any railroad which has such a shameful safety record as does Metrolink; and (c') Everyone seems to want to lock on to any Metrolink action as being safety related, with Metrolink likely leading the pack.  In truth, cameras are not even
safety devices, unless their field of view is being scanned
electronically so that braking mechanisms can be activated when
needed.  Cameras as installed on the Metrolink engines are, at best, historians.  We can look at the tape and try to fix blame and make improvements –all after the fact, too late for those injured and killed.  I believe that they should have installed one 360
º camera and put the balance of the $1,000,000 into ATS  (Automatic Train Stop) or some more effective safety device.  ETS may have prevented or reduced injuries in this accident.  Making this triply sad, at Christmas, was that one of the injured was a child described as being younger than two years old!

This accident is even more writing on the wall which should serve as a warning about mixing transportation modes at grade, it is less costly to build this non-rapid transit and that is why we have the Blue and Gold lines in operation, with construction underway for the Expo Line and early plans made for the Crenshaw Line.  You will be reading about more rail related accidents!

Ear to the Rail

The Spanish painter Velázquez (1599-1660) was a great influence on French painters, e.g., Manet and Degas and others, of whom he was an antecedent.   Here is an example of his photographic work, Las
Meninas [The Maids of Honour]


A new theory of Space-Time divorces time and space at high energy
levels.  It also provides a new theory for things that are now
explained by “dark matter”(13).

Here is a great photograph from APOD http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap091227.html  which foretells the future state of our own sun in its declining years.

You may have to locate the bar )(facsimile below) on the second page (use Page Down):

|Archive| Index | Search | Calendar | … Discuss |
then press until you can see the 2009 December 27 photograph of “The Cat's Eye Nebula”.

Were this a photo of our future sun, the outer most red blossom would envelope our solar system inclusive of pluto.

The Mole Rides Again, so that you don't have to wonder what your  bus driver's last words will be when she returns her attention to driving and looks down to see a truck five feet away

2009-12-04 @7:30: Driver #70068 is making a right turn off Airport Bl onto 96th Street.  She is steering with one hand as she uses the other, while looking upward at the display unit above her head, to push a button and causes a loud “beep”.  She is only devoting partial attention to driving.  Distracted?  Certainly, but not so much being distracted by some form of attention to others as self-distracted.

Su Topo believes she was either deleting or acknowledging individual messages from a list. I count half a dozen “beeps”.

She is being too efficient as this is not a priority task and could easily wait until –just 4 minutes later— when she is
safely parked at the LAXCBC.  But then that time would be part of her “break”, wouldn't it?  So, instead she puts us at risk
by performing unnecessary and dangerous actions.  For this reason and in her “honour”, I am adding an additional “Distracted
Driver” category, i.e., (iii) which is self-distracted.   This
code will ALWAYS have an explanation in the text as I have just done.

Vor” is hard at work –if work is really what he is doing.  His trash sweeping is “hit and miss” about 20% miss by this Mole's
estimate.  He is inefficient is other ways, too.  He uses a “grabber” device to transfer trash from the heavy cast concrete plastic bag lined waste receptacles to his wheeled plastic trash can  --obviously searching for recyclables.  Unfortunately, as he transfers the trash, he dribbles trash and often an unknown admixture of liquids onto the area surrounding his work –and leave it there.  Job security no doubt.  After the transfer, he removes the still partially full bags, and the outer liner and re-rigs a new outer liner???  I think he must have been dozing when they explained his duties to him.  He really needs (is screaming for) (a) SUPERVISION and (b) basic training on the job.

A vendor, selling candy and those flat type juice bags, tosses his
empty juice bag over his shoulder and then a minute later does the
same with his still burning cigarette butt. 

I board a CC number 6 bus.  I am soon joined by a young woman who we will call “Snuffles”, constantly sniffing back  errr,
well you know, ... . I offer her some tissues, she accepts and thanks me then shares her MP3 player music with me.  Well, not so much shares as keeping the volume high and allowing it to bleed through her ear buds while she plays a counterpoint with her texting on her cell phone.

2009-12-04 @14:20 Aboard bus #6403, the driver #18789 is wearing and wearing out a Bluetooth earpiece. He is speaking a language unfamiliar to me, I think that it is an African dialect.  Until he mentions “Ethiopia” several times, then I am confident that he is speaking  Ethiopian.

I am waiting for a number 4 bus on Santa Monica Bl in West L.A. One passes me by, he is in the center lane and can't (maybe won't) pull over for me.  His headsign is usual for the Line 4, so I don't think that he was “out of service”. 

While waiting I note the sign pictured above on Santa Monica Bl just east of Sepulveda.  It is counting deaths due to cigarettes.  Fourteen died during my fairly short wait –and 24 X 7, they keep dying.  

Why would one continue to smoke knowing that Cancer, Emphysema,
Stroke and more are just around the corner?  And why too, does the
LACMTA not attempt to make places where people are forced wait for
buses smoke free?  It could do TONS more to protect the health of its passengers and also improve the health of its drivers.  One answer might be: “They just don't care”. 

Above is a coffee shop that has a table space that is about approximately 24 feet wide by 9 feet wide.  NO part of this little al fresco area is more than 20 feet from the door.  This means that they violate the L.A.M.C. as it relates to areas where smoking is not allowed, multiple times per day.

2009-12-09 mid-morning:  I am aboard a 439 line bus, #7596 and, oh no, the long winded woman boards and begin a conversation with the driver.  I have been though this, with ths pair, before.  But this time, because the woman will be seated behind the driver the conversation will take place THROUGH the heavy metal structure behind the driver, close to one metre in depth and OVER the sound of TransitTv.  Which TV is on setting 2, setting 1 is too loud while 2 is way too loud.  Mercifully, the woman leaves at Fairfax and Apple (WLATC) but so does your Mole. 
I board a 780 line bus, she goes somewhere else.  I pickup a schedule for the “Metro Silver Line”.  I think: “Just what
we need another colour scheme”.  Then again, some of the Gold
Line trains aren't Gold so this thing could be any colour.  It will run from El Monte to the Artesia Transit Center.  It replaces some other line, and expropriates the “Silver” from Foothill
Transit.  The line will start operation on December 13
th and is called “Metro Liner” on the schedule, is this Leahy's first attempt to put his “mark” on the organization?   This line links with another ahrg, …enhancement –the elimination of the 444 Line and replacing it on portion of the old route with the 344 Line –more of “less for more”.

I take a 117 line bus on Century BL.  A tourist boards and in, I
believe, an English accent asks the driver if he goes to “Sep-pull-vheyda”.  La Taupe adds this to his repertoire of other foreigner mispronunciations, like La “See-en-eyga”.

A woman boards and drags her wheeled cart down the aisle blithely
running into and over other passengers' body parts.

Rain, rain go away.  Otherwise you will expose more sub-standard
construction work by LACMTA contractors, like that noted at Union
Station.  As I walked to the Gold Line I noticed that the sky light above the tunnel just opposite Track 2 was leaking badly.  The flow of water is being caught in buckets and the area is coned off. This “sky light”is built into the Gold Line platform above.
It is made up of a 9 foot by 18 foot (162 square feet) area into which is set 200 glass bricks, each 6 inches by 6 inches. 

Apparently, after being exposed to diurnal heating and cooling the
caulking, the sealing material interposed between the glass bricks, has degraded and leaked.  Very likely the guarantees for this sort of failure, unless specified for a longer term in the contract, have long since expired.  Fixing this properly will not be inexpensive either.

2009-12-15 approximately 08:00A.M.: A 111 Line bus, number 6402 is driven by driver # 18937.  A blind man gets off at the LAXCBC.  The bus has been very poorly positioned about a metre away from the curb.  The driver, incredibly insensitively, cautions the blind passenger: “Watch your step!”.
2009-12-19 @09:45A.M: I ride a 232 Line bus.  The driver is chatty, too chatty he has the P.A. System on high volume too, as he gives us a running commentary on the trip.  “You are now passing under LAX ...” as we transit the Sepulveda tunnel.  I am getting a headache because his open microphone amplifies the many rattles and other sounds which emanate from these NABI buses.  The 232 is NOT a tourist line so his attempts at being a tour guide go unappreciated by his passengers.  I believe that  First Transit says of its' driver training system, “We have no system”.
2009-12-21:  I ride with driver number 18937 again, who bounces us along braking and acceleration. 
2009-12-21 about 8:00A.M.: I am board a line 117 bus, number 6446 driven by driver #12013(i).  He and a woman with a Caribbean accent are in conversation that goes on and on and on.  She, a largish woman with an elliptical mole above her left cheekbone, is standing immediately behind the yellow line and she, easily, blocks more than half of the narrow entry way.  Her mole measures 
about 15mm by 9mm, which yields an area of approximately 1.27cm.  

As I (am forced to) listen, I get the idea that this is an every-day conversation that begins today where it ended yesterday.

I am on-board a Line 42 bus, number 6449, being driven by driver number 74129(ii) who loves her cell phone!

2009-12-22: On a 232 Line bus.  Diagonally across from me sits a bearded man in a camouflage jacket.  It is very new and may not yet have been washed, the coloration too, seems wrong, not really camouflage.  The front pocket has the flap sewn on at about a 30º angle.  Above it sewn exactly parallel to the pocket  flap is an I.D. tag which proclaims ”U.S. Marines”, which I thought should have been U.S.M.C. Even more interesting was his decorations, which preserved the angular relationship of the tag and pocket flap: a shiny gold winged eagle, globe and anchor which is the insignia of a Marine aviator, below that hung two bright silver largish medals, one of which seemed to be for marksmanship. 
It was weird.  I have known a number of Marines, none of whom would appear in public, so out of uniform.  My first thought was here was one more guy panhandling as a veteran.  This is an iffy proposition since the law may now treat misrepresentation of veteran's status as “stolen honor” under some circumstances.
Well, more money was lost in delaying the installation of the access control gates at rail and subway stations.  I am greeted at Mariposa station by an extra loud platform announcement.  Several men work on relocating the ticket machines to a place that will be outside the access control gates (ACG).
Across Nash Street, three pickup trucks are barked end to end and three men work around open manholes, in which others work.  The trucks are marked with “VCI” (VCI Telcom, Inc., a communications contractor of Upland, CA) and have fairly large reels of cables in the truck beds.  This may be worse (more expensive) than your Mole thought.  The may have to rewire the entire signaling system due to the extra load created by the ASG.

Or worse yet, if the ticket machines are/were all stand-alone and the wiring is for a network wide signaling system which will be required to pass the TAP card data back to a central –of course, third party— computer system.  Yikes!  It may take ten or more years to recoup this capital investment.

When I lived in Japan, one morning I went to my local train station and found that they had, overnight, installed access control gates (My bet is that the LACMTA is buying their system from Japan, we'll see). In Japan there were posters which explained how the system would work a month or two before installation but I believe all of the many stations were actually converted in 3 or so months.  They did thelarge Tokyo stations first, more bang for the buck, er ... Yen, that way,  then moved out to install the equipment at the provincial stations. 

The way that the LACMTA does things, since they have no engineering division, is to let the PR people be project management -long pause for raucous laughter.  The PR or Marketing or whatever people are at the mercy of the vendors who, probably turn a stream of jargon on them and the PR people just run away, IMHO, anyway.   This paragraph has just partly  explained why all
LACMTA projects
are late, poorly performed and over budget.

On the Blue Line platform a black man, an informal vendor, sells candy. He holds a bar toward me and says “Por su niños”.
I decline, idiomatically. 

A woman drags a large trash bag stuffed with recycling along after her. It is about chest high, she leans it against a pillar and goes through a trash receptacle and comes up with two plastic bottles.  I watch as she finds and opens a brown bag, tosses out the coffee cup, but finds some bits of food and eats it.  The she takes a break and eats something that she brought with her –I decline to look as I don't want to know.
On the way to Long Beach I think of ways to speed up the Blue Line trip.  One way would be to implement traffic signal control, remember, that is what Snoble promised for the 720 Line on Wilshire BL.  I noted that many times the train will be forced to stop for a red light then start up on the Green and immediately stop across the intersection at the station. 
With traffic signal control the situation would be better than  stopping, starting and stopping again the way it seems to work out.  I will see  if I can work out a computer simulation based on the Blue Line's Long Beach city layout and see if my gut feeling is right.

2009-12-23: I join a Line 111 bus at a stop on La Brea around 8:00 A.M., it is number 6428 driven by 16649(ii) who is already in deep conversion on her cell phone.  I ask about an estimated arrival time at some point ahead of us, her answer communicates her displeasure with the interruption to her call.

2009-12-24 LAXCBC:  Buses, Metro, Culver City, Big Blue and others all enter the in ramp at, usually, way too high speed.  I just know that someday a cell phone user will be a bus length away from one that needs two lengths to stop.  Entry speed should be limited to five (5) MPH.  

The signage at the entry drive ways is too small, unclear and badly positioned (practically invisible to motorists entering from the west) to keep private vehicles out.  Yesterday I saw the first
motorist ticketed for entering the CBC and parking while trying to
figure our where he had gone wrong.

Dedicated to the Dulcinea of my dreams

Hearing this, Sancho said to him, "Your worship should bear in mind, Senor Don Quixote, that if the knight has done what was commanded him in going to present himself before my lady Dulcinea
del Toboso, he will have done all that he was bound to do, and does not deserve further punishment unless he commits some new offence."  "Thou hast said well and hit the point," answered Don
Quixote; and so I recall the oath in so far as relates to taking
fresh vengeance on him, but I make and confirm it anew to lead the
life I have said until such time as I take by force from some knight another helmet such as this and as good; and think not, Sancho, that I am raising smoke with straw in doing so, for I have one to imitate in the matter, since the very same thing to a hair happened in the case of Mambrino's helmet, which cost Sacripante so dear.""Senor," replied Sancho, "let your worship send all such oaths to the devil, for they are very pernicious to salvation and prejudicial to the conscience; just tell me now, if for several days to come we fall in with no man armed with a helmet, what are we to do? Is the oath to be observed in spite of all the inconvenience and discomfort it will be to sleep in your clothes, and not to sleep in a house,
and a thousand other mortifications contained in the oath of that old fool the Marquis of Mantua, which your worship is now wanting to revive? Let your worship observe that there are no men in armour travelling on any of these roads, nothing but carriers and carters, who not only do not wear helmets, but perhaps never heard tell of them all their lives.""Thou art wrong there," said Don Quixote, "for we shall not have been above two hours among these cross-roads before we see more men in armour than came to Albraca to win the fair Angelica.""Enough," said Sancho; "so be it then, and God grant us success, and that the time for winning that island which is costing me so dear may soon come, and then let me die.""I have already told thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "not to give thyself any uneasiness on that score; for if an island should fail, there is the kingdom of Denmark, or of Sobradisa, which will fit thee as a ring fits the finger, and all the more that, being on terra firma, thou wilt all the better enjoy thyself.’

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

From your Mole, to all who see this in hopes that you had/will have a:

¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame
I.D.Numbers of buses with Out of Order Fare Boxes: 6454; 5100;

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

I.D.Numbers of Distracted Drivers: 18789(ii); 70068(iii);
Codes: (i) Extended conversation(s) with passenger(s) or (ii) cell phone call(s).  Frequently, details can be found in the text above, (iii) Self-distracted.  This code will ALWAYS be explained in the posting.
I.D. Numbers of Buses Defaced by WhoIs stickers: 6384; 8065; 6380; 6344+UR; 6370; 5178+UR;
~UR or +UR=  (+UR) whois sticker and the ugly residue left after passengers partly remove thesticker. (~UR) = Only the ugly residue left after passengers almost completely remove the sticker. +L = an old (legacy) sticker black letters on a plain white background –these are the original form of defacement.
* Another reason for displaying the operator's ID on the internal
display and the headsign.

I.D. numbers of Buses whose Head and Tail signs disagree: 6575
42/blank; 6410 111/000; 6326 117/212; 7169 439/550;

Format is Bus number followed by Headsign number/Tailsign number, 3 digits each.

La Taupe's Abréviations
ASAS= Automatic Stop Announcement System the GPS (Global Positioning System) driven mechanism for generating audio for the upcoming stops.
N.B. Because of the low power (read weak) processors used in the
on-board stops may be too close to identify stops separately.  This is know as a granularity problem.  Then too, if the driver operates the bus at speed above the speed limit you will find the system “back announcing” stops which you have already passed.  I find that this will NOT keep some drivers from complaining “that you didn’t signal (ring) in time.  They don’t understand
their relationship to the system and how, by driving faster than the GPS computer, they can bias it

BBB = Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus
CC or CCMBL = Culver City (Municipal) Bus (Lines)
CCTC = Culver City Transportation Center this is the place formerly known as FHMTC = the Fox Hills Mall Transportation Center (Sepulveda & Slauson)
LAXCBC = the LAX City Bus Center.
TT = Torrance Transit.
T1 = the normal type of driver/staff.
T2 = is the non-stop talker type of driver/staff, on the phone or to passengers,
T3 = the uncommunicative type of driver/staff, sometimes surly.
WLATC = the West Los Angeles Transportation Center (Fairfax & Apple)
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 isdependent 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 withoutfee 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                  


1.  Goldberg, Jeffrey.“The Things He Carried”. Atlantic.  Nov. 2008:p100.

2.  Bloomerkatz, Ari B. “Expo Line project costs and delays are ballooning”.    Los Angeles Times. 11 Dec. 2009:na.  

3.  N/A. “Letters: An Expo Line explanation”. Los Angeles Times.
    11 Dec. 2009:A44.

4.  Bloomerkatz, Ari B. “Light-rail line through South L.A.
    OKd[sic]”.Los Angeles Times. 11 Dec. 2009:A3.

 5..  Connell, Rich. “Metrolink's CEO could be moved aside”. Los
    Angeles Times. 11 Dec. 2009:A3. 

6.  N/A. “Go Metro Shopping Guide”. LACMTA. Brochure 10-0449BD ©

7.  N/A.“Help us plan the future of the Harbor Subdivision”. LACMTA. Brochure 10-0035CMC © 2009N/A. “Briefs”.

8.  AmNY.com. 24-27 Dec. 2009:P03. ISSUE 250 VOLUME 7. Last
    Accessed: 24 Dec. 2009. 

9.  N/A. “Announcing Metro Service Enhancements”. LACMTA.
    Brochure 10-103OTR © 2009. 

10. Editorial, Writer. “Helping Homeboy”. Los Angeles Times. 24 
    Dec. 2009:A5. 

11. Goldmacher, Shane and Bloomekatz, Ari B. “Plans to re-raid 
    transit funds sparks anger”. Los Angeles Times. 24 Dec.

12. Gottlieb, Jeff and Zavis, Alexandra. “Truck hits car 
    and train: two are critically injured”. Los Angeles Times. 
    24 Dec. 2009:A16.

13. Merali, Zeeya. “Splitting Time from Space”. Scientific
    American. Dec. 2009:p18.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?