Vae Viator22

Su Topo must begin by making an apology to Ms Wendy Greuel.  This lovely and extremely intelligent lady is the current Los Angeles City Controller, whom your Mole has often wrongly called upon to investigate the LACMTA.  It is neither her duty nor her responsibility to do so and for my ignorance and ill-manners I am deeply apologetic.  Ms Greuel, lo siento, please forgive me. The only defense that I could possibly raise is that I remember Ms Greuel as an LACMTA board member

It was only after seeing a presentation by Ms Val Zavala, another brilliant and beautiful lady, on SOCAL Connected which covered HACLA (Housing Authority [of the] City [of] Los Angeles) that I could at last in the words frequently used at the LACMTA say, "duh-oh," and understand Ms Greuel’s role in government and her current relationship to the LACMTA. [Please watch the program here:
and the update here:
http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/content/economy/show-me-the-money-government-gone-wild-update.html ]

After viewing the program about HACLA, with its one billion dollar budget, ask yourself, doesn’t the LACMTA with a three billion dollar budget deserve the same kind of investigation?

Things for which I wish in 2012!♪

From Ms Stephanie Negriff, Director of Transit Services Big Blue Bus:

A trash can on the north-east corner of Lincoln and Maxella Avenue, so that Big Blue Bus passengers would have some place to properly dispose of their trash rather than stuffing it in every available nook and cranny.  Shame on you, Ms Negriff!!

Also a return to free transfers to other Big Blue Buses, instead of forcing coins out of many passengers who can ill afford it.  Or is that how you are paying for the opulent facility on Colorado AV?

For Culver City Municipal Bus Lines:

Like my wish from BBB, a return to free transfers to other CCMBL Buses, instead of asking passengers to pay for their second (or third) ride which they need to get to work or return home from work. 

Hasn’t either of these agencies heard that the medium income has not changed in years and years?  Take a look at the chart shown on the linked to page, and ask yourself, are we being fair to our ridership? http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/16/news/economy/middle_class/index.htm

My list of wishes for Mr. Leahy of the LACMTA is longer:

How about eliminating the unnecessary loopy 232 Line route around Mariposa Station on this contracted to MV Transportation and establish a south bound 232 Line stop at Plaza El Segundo.  Think of it as a rare, “service to your ridership” about which you can brag to the Federal Transit Administration.

While we are on the subject of MV Transportation could you PLEASE have them turn down those blaring dispatch radios on the 232 Lines and perhaps other contracted lines as well, the dispatch radios are louder than the Red Line PA system, you could have those turned down too J.

How about working, really hard, to make the various bus routes improve their on-time performance.  You could publish those on-time statistics as the airlines do.  That is, instead of selling NextBus, er, NexTrip as a band aid or whatever it is other than an operational improvement, with apologies to Johnston & Johnston.
In fact, you could dump the entire NexTrip project and spend the money on things that would make the lives of your ridership much more pleseant, transportation wise.  Such as: public restrooms in all "transit centers"; transfer and TAP Card sales at the same centers; establishing a "best practice" for permissible ambient noise; then reducing noise at freeway rail stations (Gold Line and Green Line), on-board Red Line trains but not limited to them and buses like those contracted to MV Transportation but not limited to those buses, to meet those "best practice" levels, cleaner buses and trains and etc., etc.
You could start scrolling the driver’s I.D. on board buses as the CCMBL does, yes you can learn and adopt best practices from other agencies.

Then too, you could join the rest of us in the thirty-second (32nd) year of the personal computer age and solicit comments and other input about proposed line cancellations (do you ever do anything else?) via the Internet.  This would be in place of the ill-advised, ill-conceived, ill-timed, poorly planned, ill-executed and totally biased in favour of LACMTA management’s proposal; you know, as if a publically traded company held its annual shareholders’ meeting on Christmas Eve in Tahiti.

Rapid service, which is an oxymoron, to those of us bypassed and left standing at the “regular” bus stop when no “regular” service is planned for hours or, facing a half mile walk to a stop serviced by a Rapid Line.   The 704 Line is a good example of POOR service. Initially, the 704 promised service on Santa Monica Blvd, at say, Sepulveda, every fifteen (15) minutes or so.  When su Topo pointed out repeatedly that the LACMTA was not living up to that “promise”, the LACMTA took action; they remove the promise from the information signs at the bus stop.  After that service change, it became progressively worse.  The last time I waited for a 7-4 Line bus I was forced to spend an hour, without benefit of a bus bench, as I watched sever Rapid 704s terminate at Sepulveda Blvd.  So, finally, my wish: (1) that Rapid Service to Santa Monica Blvd. be supplemented (twice hourly) with local service; or (2) that free transfers be given to passengers on all service to Sepulveda and Santa Monica Blvds so that they can continue on board Big Blue Bus; or (3) mutual pass acceptance be negotiated with Big Blue Bus and all other Muni services.

The Federal Transit Administration does NOT know exactly how poor the service provided by Metro is (unless they are reading these postings).  So I am happy to tell them my next wish for you: Make some effort to provide deterministic bus service by planning intersecting lines so they can be used with minimal waits.  Step one would be to send your Marketing Department staff out to ride buses on trips which required a bus change and come back and make a report so that the LACMTA could finally understand the problem.  A side-benefit would be that the Marketing Department would produce fewer resource wasting brochures while they were out standing at bus stops waiting and waiting for the connecting bus.
Most importantly, Art (may I call you Art?) it would be really, really great if you could have your “troops” think in terms of a transportation system, that way the Federal Transit Administration would not come down on you so hard and so often.  More importantly, you would be serving your ridership, NOT forcing the LACMTA’s poorly thought out plans down their throats!

Oh, I didn’t mention that you may cite this Mole as the source for these ideas when you next meet with the Federal Transit Administration and tell them how good it’s going to beJ.

This list could go on and on and will do so in 2012.

This wish is that the County of Los Angeles would use its investigate powers to apply some oversight to the LACMTA.

On January 27, 2009, Wendy L. Watanabe was appointed [emphasis – Mole] Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller so with almost three (3) years on the job and extensive experience she should be able to assemble a task force to audit the LACMTA.

That said, note the fact that hers is an appointed position; she would certainly run into political barriers to a full and detailed investigation, don’t you think? 

This is the juncture where la Taupe asks Ms Watanabe to contact Ms Zavala and determine if SOCAL Connected has another year or so to devote to the LACMTA.  This Mole would be all eyes and ears if and when KCET rolls the tape.

<<En France, on étudie les hommes, en Allemagne, les livres.>>
Madame de STAËL (1766-04-22~1817-07-14) De l'Allemagne, chap. 13

[In France, one studies men; in Germany, books.]

The Mole reads the papers and other things, obviating the necessity of your doing so.

The Los Angeles Times documented (Stevens) the thoughtfulness of two students: Ms Lesly Heredia and Ms Paulina Sanchez who are fourth-graders at Jaime Escalante Elementary school.  They say that students at the school were discarding eatable food and suggested that usable food be distributed to the needy.  What a great idea!

Brava ladies!  This Mole will look for more great things from you in the future.      

In the same paper we find (Weikel) that more of the planning for the high-speed “train to nowhere” (with apologies to the terrific cities of the Central Valley) is suspect.  The “planners” are suggesting that Amtrak could use any facilities left when, if the plan fails.

There seems to be neither resounding agreement nor funding from Amtrak to support the “plan”.  It appears that people involved in public transit LOVE to spend money without regard to its effectiveness. 

 Does this sound like any other agency that you might know? (Hint: think LACMTA).                                                                                 

Another Times article (Bloomekatz) (reinforces your Mole’s thinking that testing should be incremental, i.e., as soon as two stations are completed one can run test trains between them, therefore finding problems whose solutions can be integrated into the nest stations.  But, NO, not when our LACMTA is in charge.  They waited until the complete (well, as much of it as they could build before they exhausted the budget they had) line is built; then they start testing.  Of course now we find the problems that could have been discovered and fixed years ago.     

The following quote pretty much tells the story: “Some officials said the problems occurred because of an initial bewilderment about funding sources and a disjointed process of construction, design and other contracts.”

Then the Times records (Bloomekatz) that “failure is an orphan” when elected officials pile-on to Metro management, after the fact.  They could have seen the many end-arounds of the ridership much earlier.  La Taupe has been critical of the manner in which the LACMTA obtains the “buy off” of the ridership for their schemes, errr, plans?  They do it by holding meeting at times and places that obviate attendance by ordinary people, perhaps I should say the 99 percent.

The busy Mr. Bloomekatz of the Times has another story about how the LACMTA [confuses your Mole’s take] having “… blogs transit news in English and Spanish and provides some language assistance to those who attend meetings of its governing board” [with actually providing good reliable transportation Mole]. 

Su Topo could not parse the following quote: "You put in a new rail line, if at the same time you're taking out some bus routes, people might have to walk further," said Daniel Levy, director of Metro's division of civil rights programs compliance”, as an apology or simply a statement of fact which might be stated as “they’ll figure it out”. 

Please note that your Mole is not aware of ANY bus lines which are planned to connect with Expo Line stations.  Any rational organization would have had such lines up and running in advance of the Expo Line opening in 2015, sorry, just joking.

The Times reported (Bloomekatz) how the LACMTA will respond to the Federal Transit Administration charges of civil rights violations. 

Said response was a link to a purported 47 page document ( http://documents.latimes.com/how-mta-plans-correct-civil-rights-violations/ ) which showed a nice, clean, white, blank page for your Mole.  Perhaps the Times will fix that but after 15 days I have my doubts OR, then again, perhaps the white page is their "do nothing" plan J.

A technical magazine which I read, described (Albright) some of the benefits which accrue to those who leverage their on-board GPS.  After reading what they accomplished I find myself sure that the LACMTA is not making full use of the on-board bus GPS.

The article points out that GPS is an excellent tool with which one can monitor driver behavior and reduce accidents.  As a result insurance cost can be reduces and in the case of the LACMTA perhaps even fares could be lowered.


How about something beautiful from the French pianist Hélène Grimaud?

Thank you for this beautiful music, GrooveShark.com!

The New Yorker has an excellent piece on Ms Grimaud here, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/07/111107fa_fact_max

Ear to the Rail 

Please accept the SOCAL Connected report (vide supra) as the “Ear” and “eye” contribution for this month.


Here is a nice simple discussion of time travel and related ideas.

Also covered is the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the total entropy of the universe increases as time increases. Entropy is, essentially, the amount of confusion — mixing — in the universe.

The London newspaper The Telegraph covers the use of the Large Hadron Collider as a tool with which to find the “Higgs Boson”, the particle which imparts mass to objects. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/large-hadron-collider/8947263/Higgs-boson-scientists-reveal-first-tantalising-glimpses-of-God-Particle.html

Harpers Magazine allows us to think about multiple universes.

Mount Valley Astronomy takes that theme a little further.  It has been estimated that the “string landscape” contains 10500 different possible universes. For all practical purposes, that number is infinite.

In an inset, we are given a nice, simple, easy to understand video, by Professor Michio Kaku of City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and other experts discuss multiverses.  Thank you to the History Channel for this excellent program.

 The Mole Rides Again, so you don’t have to suppress the feeling of wanting to stand up and shout “shut up”, “shut up”, “shut up” at the ear splitting dispatch radios on lines contracted to MV Transportation.
(All times are expressed in the 24 hour system.)

2011-12-19 @ 11:00: A 232 Line driver change is made at Plaza El Segundo but the oncoming driver leaves the dispatch radio set on high volume.

Lots of out-of-town travel and rides with friends this month so, that’s all folks.

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame

I.D. Numbers of buses with Outs of Order Fare Boxes: 8431;

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

I.D.Numbers of Distracted Drivers: xxxxx (iii),;

None included here, but observations of a minor nature may be included in the main posting;

Codes: (i) Extended conversation(s) with passenger(s) or (ii) cell phone call(s).  Frequently, details can be found in the text above, (ii*) cell phone call(s) which are aggravated by some other action, (iii) Self-distracted.  Codes (ii*) and (iii)  will ALWAYS be explained in the posting.

I.D. Numbers of Buses Defaced by WhoIs stickers: 5211, only partly visible yet identifible; this also serves as proof that NO LACMTA project, however small, is ever really completed;

~UR or +UR = (+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. +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.

ID numbers of Buses whose Head and Tailsigns disagree: xxxx      ;

Format is Bus number followed by Headsign number/Tailsign number.

ID numbers of Buses without Braille signs: XXXX;

METRO drivers Basic Technical Skills Report

The format is Driver number F[{Y/-n/+n} C[{Y/N+/-}].  Meaning of F if Y the driver stopped with the Bus stop “flag pole” somewhere between the bus front door frames.  A negative number, e.g., -3 is the approximate distance in metres (think yards dear readers) between the nearest bus door vertical frame member and the flag pole signifying that the bus stopped short of the flag.   A positive number, e.g., +3 (metres) is the approximate distance between the nearest bus door vertical frame member and the flag pole signifying that the bus stopped past the flag.    The value for C[{Y/N}], “Y” tells us that the driver stopped within an easy step from the curb to the bus, “N” means it was NOT an easy step from the curb to the bus.   It is this Mole's belief that an average experienced good driver should be able to control his bus so as to position in near the curb and with the flag pole slightly to the front of the bus.  

23320 F[Y] C[+1.5]; 74831 F[-3], C[Y]; xxxxx F[+], C[]; xxxxx F[+], C[];  N.B. distances are in metres, think yards.

nnnnn* = Contract Driver

I.D. numbers of drivers who are almost guaranteed to give you a Rough and Jerky (R & J) ride.  xxxxx;

I.D. numbers of drivers who will give you a potentially life-threatening ride.  XXXXX(-); XXXXX(-);

Codes: S = not wearing seat belts; J = bad judgment (unsafe driving practices).

La Taupe's Abréviations

ADADO = Automatic Destination Announcement (on) Door Opening. This feature is installed on many buses and operates on extremely few.  Another “money down the toilet” LACMTA investment.  La Taupe that this is intended for the visually impaired because people who can see can read the “head signs”.

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 known 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 didnt signal (ring) in time.  They dont 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)

FFE = Full Fare Equivalent (presently $1.50)

GMBL = Gardena Municipal Bus lines

LAXCBC = the LAX City Bus Center.

OCTA = Orange County Transportation Authority.

Rapid Transit = does 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).

R & J = Rough and Jerky [ride].

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 someday 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 (sometimes successive clicks will further enlarge the photo). *This feature is dependent 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                  

Works Cited

Albright, Brian. “Improve Fleet Safety And Security With GPS”. Field Technologies. Nov. 2011:14.  Print.

Bloomekatz, Ari. “Technical problems delay Expo Line's debut”. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 25, 2011.  Web. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-expo-problems-20111225,0,758848.story

Bloomekatz, Ari. “Metro board members lecture agency over civil rights violations”. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 16, 2011.  Web. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mta-meeting-20111216,0,4398882.story

Bloomekatz, Ari. “Audit faults MTA for lack of planning”. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 10, 2011.  Web.

Bloomekatz, Ari. “MTA responds to civil rights violations cited in federal audit”. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 13, 2011.  Web.

Stevens, Matt. “Girls find way to share school’s extra food”. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 27, 2011:AA1.  Print.

Weikel, Dan and Vartabedian, Ralph. “High-speed rail’s backup plan criticized”. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 27, 2011:AA1.  Print.

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The above is  ### 30 ###  in Braille

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