Vae Viator25

BBB, Maxella Needs a Trash Container!!

The photograph above is of the BBB stop at the Maxella AV and Lincoln BL on their number 3 Line.  The stop still needs a trash can!

Su Topo will lead every post with the above until BBB corrects the problem.

And then there is the “Downtown Connecter”.  Exactly what does that mean?  It means that, surprise, the LACMTA did a poor job of designing the light rail/subway "system" in the first place and now is attempting to apply the world’s most expensive Band Aid® to make it “all better”.  Let’s examine su Topo’s premise that they did a poor job in the first place.  How about chunks of concrete falling off the Gold Line and the Gold Line extension planning problem with the school that drove the cost up and delayed the opening?  Then there is the fact that Los Angeles is the ONLY major population that doesn’t have a direct link to its’ airport, LAX. 

The tracks to LAX, err, I mean thin air!

The Green line has a spur which points toward LAX and then dead ends and has done so for years, pictured above. 

Instead of going full blast to push the “Purple” line to the coast at Santa Monica the LACMTA delayed this much needed link through a highly populated area and instead built the “Expo” line, the Phase I plans of which are well over budget and several stations short of the original plan.  The Expo line has already experienced, and this might be a Guinness Book item, an accident more than an month before its’ (delayed) opening; now scheduled for April 28th. Got the idea? 

Just another word about buses.  The road bed built for the “Orange Line (it too, is a bus, folks!) required expensive fixing, for which we taxpayers footed the bill! 

We must not forget the Flyaway buses which produce income (kind of) for LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports) at $7 per passenger. While we Metro riders have been stripped of the 439 Line which once provided a nice Metro (we could use our passes) connection to WLATC, Culver City, LAX and the Green Line Aviation Station.

So our agency has now come up with a plan to spend lots of our tax money on an “L” shaped connector that among other things promises that it “Provides access to 90,000 passengers daily, including approximately 17,000 new transit riders.  Please, just think for a minute; how many LACMTA projections for ridership have come true?  Haven’t they all been overly optimistic?  Short answer,? Yes!

What it will the "Downtown Connector" do in reality?  (a) Cost a lot!; (b) Save a very few passengers a very little time; (c) During construction make downtown even less drivable than it is now and (d) Keep the Dash buses running.  Some minor rerouting of those Dash buses could obviate the necessity of building the “Downtown Connector”.

A number of important questions come to your Mole’s mind, if not to the minds of those “working” at the LACMTA.  (1) Is downtown Los Angeles as important as it once was?   There was a time when the downtown area was the work site for many, at May Company, Bullocks, Robinsons and on and on – but, it is not the same downtown that once existed, is it?  (2) How about spending the “Downtown Connector” funds on completing the link to LAX. Just thinking about how to handle the routing and scheduling of Green Line trains and LAX bound trains, in yet another multi termini line will give the LACMTA staff a massive headache.  Or (3) spend the money building out the “Purple Line” with the same type boring machine used in London (vide infra), the tunneling would require only about 18 months.  The immediate payoff would be to stop running the expensive, often lightly loaded, 720 Line buses down Wilshire BL. As this Mole has often pointed out the 720 sould only travel a route between Commers and the Perhsing Square Red Line Station; the opperative words being "TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM".  (4) Finally, there is the matter of the U.S. economy; one in which the government is focused on borrowing money from foreign governments to finance whatever strikes it as important at the moment.  A bad economy means decreased tax revenue and if you read this blog even once-in-a-while you know that your Mole believes that we should pass a "Measure RX" which cancels Measure R and makes the LACMTA be more like you and me; that is, required to live within its’ budget.

It is not a train, it's a bus, folks!!

I is so typical of the LACMTA to avoid addressing the hard problems and instead dreaming up schemes like the “Downtown Connector”.  Another fiasco which points out the “honesty” of the LACMTA is the “Silver Line”.  People think it is a rail line, sounds like one doesn’t it?  On the outside it is covered with cute images hat are supposed to represent passengers, passenger who are not seen due to the darkly tinted glass.  Yet from the inside it is yet another lightly loaded, expensive bus line (Please see photo below). 

It is not that full, exept during rush hours!

I believe that the LACMTA exists not to serve its' ridership, a position seemingly supported by the Federal Transportation Agency, but to spend as much of tax payer’s dollars as humanly possible – no matter What the consequences.

As far as downtown connectors go, we already have one; the Dash buses.  Remember when we could use our Metro passes to ride those buses?  

<< L'histoire est une galerie de tableaux où il y a peu d'originaux et beaucoup de copies.>>

Alxis de Tocqueville (1805-07-29~1859-04-16)

[History is a picture gallery where there are few originals and many copies.]

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

The BBC (BBC) describes the work of the “Metal Moles [No relation] which will tunnel for a new subway beneath London.  This is simply a beautiful piece, short, yet rich in detail, with lots of charts and links to more information, including videos.  The LACMTA could learn a great deal about planning just by reading and understanding the article. 

Just what the LACMTA needs.  Let’s calculate if 2 machines can bore 26 miles of tunnel in 3 years, one machine can bore about 4.33 miles in one year. Therefore, a single machine with the capability of the ones described in this article could bore the 6.3 miles from Wilshire and Western in 6 months.  The supporting mathematics: 26/2 = 13 ~ One machine’s three year distance bored in miles. 13/3 = 4.33 is one machine’s distance bored in miles.

The approximate distance from Wilshire and Western in Los Angeles to Wilshire and Ocean in Santa Monica = 6.3 miles ~ this is Google’s “Over-the-road” distance and does not allow for any curving and or zig-zag routing when the “planning” is finished, if ever. The time required to bore that distance is expressed by 6.3/4.33 or distance required to bore divided by one year’s boring capacity = 1.454 years or just fractionally under a year and a half.

The Mole’s recommendation:  Stop fooling around with the Expo Line which is by definition, NOT RAPID TRANSIT (it competes for the right-of-way, folks!) and start the boring for the subway to the sea which could be ready in, say, there years OR less.  Tunnel finishing, electrical and station building could lag boring by just a few months. Lots of subway construction work can be carried on conncurrently.  That is, and this is especially directed to the LACMTA, one need not complete the entire tunnel before beginning work on station building and etc. [I know, I know, you are stunned!]

There you are, Mr. Leahy, et al.  Let’s start on June 1!  Then we could avoid future accidents like the one which has already occurred on the yet-to-be-opened Expo line.

A TV news story (KABC7), no, not one anchored by the lovely Ms Christina Salvo, informs us that the Expo line, although, not yet ready for operation, has crashed. You can view the report here: http://bit.ly/Ha2kbo

As a special bonus you can see one of Ms Salvo’s reports, this one on something about Academy Awards fashion here: http://bit.ly/GQOiQV
¡De nada! J

¿Musica? How about tuning in to a great local station, KCSN, on the campus of California State University at Northridge? http://bit.ly/HEB0nd   Thank you, KCSN!

Ear to the Rail 

Technically this is “Ear” material because it originates with NPR (National Public Radio) and also technically it is Cosmology, so …

You might consider checking out the “Podcast + RSS section for audio from this site.  The section is located on the right side of the page just two (2) page down (Page Down) key depressions from the page linked to just above. 


Painters wanted: must supply own transportation to the job site.  A meteor might pass very close, within the orbits of some geosynchronous satellites, to earth in 2013.  See the details here: http://bit.ly/HcwJbT

Then we can see the Sombrero Galaxy in infrared, aqui: http://1.usa.gov/H87A3W

The link which follows will present an interesting introduction to scale.  http://1.usa.gov/GUixRC  The universe is LARGE, have fun!

 The Mole rides again, so you don’t have to assist others by fighting the horrible UI (User Interface) on Metro ticketing machines.
(All times are expressed in the 24 hour system.)

2012-03-01: Your Mole assists a senior citizen in purchasing a ticket at a rail station. Su Topo gets to use the best technology of the 1970s to accomplish the purchaseJ.  Here are the steps, and believe me, it doesn’t happen quickly when doing it for the first time.  Anyway, here they are:
Press A to Purchase Paper Ticket;

Press I to indicate enior/Disabled;

Press F for Senior Disabled Fare;

Press A One Way Ticket;

Then insert money .55/.25 (depending on Peak or Off-Peak); – The ticket drops into tray below the machine. 

Performing these steps is a LOT LESS FUN when the sun is reflected off the screen of the fare machine, due to poor placement.

These machines were installed only a few years ago yet they seem as if they were purchased, used, from a third world country.  In 2012 EVERYTHING in the UI (User Interface) should be based on icons and touch screens! Which screens should be place to avoid glare, too.  That is you would press one of a series of on-screen icons, perhaps one that was annotated “Purchase one way senior fare”, insert the money and you are ready to go.  Can’t be done you say?  Take a look at the machine that the Washington DC Metro uses http://bit.ly/GQu8qz.

No icons or touch screens but it is nice, huh!? One: select your purchase; Two: Pay (using Cash or a Credit Card); Three:  Take you ticket.  This is why the “Federal Transit Administration this week [a few weeks ago], found that the “[Los Angeles] Metropolitan Transportation Authority does an inadequate job of researching the impact on passengers when changing fares or eliminating bus lines [and lots of other things too – Mole].”

2012-03-07 aboard a 117 Line bus @ 9:15:  Riding a 117 Line bus can be unpleasant.  The man behind me is listening to rap music on his cell phone.  Which goes without saying, that that means very low quality.  Worse yet, he is singing alone with the distorted music. It gets even worse as one of the songs is sung by someone using an altered voice.  All this noise means that my reading is over.  A  flat bed truck stops next to the bus, it hauls a car with all four tires and rims missing.  The bus is totally quiet except for one extremely loud woman at the front of the bus and the rapper wannabe right behind me.  This bus has a long route and is just passing the 103rd Street Blue Line Station at 9:49.

Two passengers exit the bus at the station, then they become involved in an altercation – we roll on.

2012-03-08 aboard a 232 Line bus:  The driver, number 70950, is a non-stop talker with an extremely irritating voice. It is 9:11 and she has been carrying on a continuous conversation with a passenger.  Safety is not uppermost in her mind as she does not fasten her seat belt until Imperial Highway whch was more than ten minutes after leaving LAXCBC.

Su Topo can’t escape from women with loud voices today.  Two of them take the seat behind him on the Green Line, “… I almost wore my hair that way today … and she was like …”. 

On the Blue Line: A passenger is “sharing” his music: “Ain’t No Montain High Enough”, he is doubling the treat by loudly singing along.  Few, if any of the other passengers seem to be enjoying the performance. 

This entire trip downtown was in the non-reading mode.

Yet another candy vendor walks through the car.  There is very little security onboard these Metro Rail trains and even less on Metro Buses, so people pretty much do whatever they want.  The singer gets off at San Pedro; his departure reveals that there was another electronic device playing music more quietly than the singer.

2012-03-12 aboard a CCMBL #6 @ 7:15:  I want to read but someone is playing music on an audio device.  His songs: “… just give me some kind of sign girl “. The woman seated next to me is somehow able to read!  When he plays a quiet song we can hear the “headphone leakage” for competing devices.  So far, at least, no cell phone talkers.

2012-03-14 aboard a CCMBL #6 @ 8:40: Between the woman with the two talkative children and the man who complains into his cell phone: “…with two wheelchair pickups … this bus is so slow …”; and la Taupe’s reading comes to a quick end. 

2012-03-19 @ 14:00:  A man seated in front on the left side of the bus picks his nose aggressively.

2012-03-19 @ 14:25:  A 232 Line bus, number 11023, whizzes past my stop showing the dreaded “Discharge Only” head sign.

2012-03-21:  A 232 Line ride to LAXCBC in the late afternoon drags on and on.  An accident is reported at Sepulveda and Imperial and traffic moves at a snail's pace.  The driver muse ensure that she has 40 feet of clearance for this big bus before she attempts to cross an intersetion.  Knowing this or seeing it, drivers will turn left in front of the bus using up some of the required forty feet of space and, in effect, pinning the bus behind the crosswalk;  the also leave less than forty feet of space which must be cleared by another traffic light cycle. 

Your Mole wonders why MVT dispach, often loudly heard on the radio doesn't place us "on detour" - but no, even though there are possible other routes, e.g. east to Aviation, then west on Century to Sepulveda and back on route, we crawl along.  All the jabber on the dispatch channel and when buses require route management, ... silence.  Mr. Leahy, is this any way to run a transportation agency?, errr, I mean contractor to a transportation agency?

2012-03-22 On the Blue Line to Los Angeles:  As I wait on the platform, the P.A. tells us that "... information is posted at various places throughout the station ...".  This is truly the work of the LACMTA - data without any information value.  Are we supposed to hunt for this "information"?  Well, Mr. Leahy, are we??

2012-03-27 @ 8:30:  I exit the Green Line at the Harbor Freeway Station and walk down the several flights of stairs to the freeway level.  The “bus station” here is much cleaner than the one I used several years ago, brighter, seemingly safer and without the unpleasant odor; although someone smoke at some distance from the boarding area.  The fairly crowded “Silver Line” (it’s a bus folks) arrives soon and we depart at 8:36. I arrive at Staples Center at around 8:50.  Fast and proof to this Mole that the Harbor Freeway should have its’ own light rail, rapid transit line.

I remain at the bus stop to take some photos and watch as woman becomes angry because the “F” Dash doesn’t stop for her.  I explained that drivers may not stop, especially at a multi-line stop like this one, unless you signal them.  She signals a taxi and leaves.  In minutes, he is replaced by another woman who has the same experience.  I repeat my short “how to ride speech” and show her how to do it by waving at the next bus for her. 

One would think that the LACMTA “Marketing Department” would print a riders’ guide in place of all the useless brochures that they presently print.

In closing, here is a cartoon about the light rail extension to LAX (see photo above): http://bit.ly/GRuJnd  Oh, and the 2,325,002 minutes works out to be about 4 years and 3 months.  Wanna bet that it will be on time??

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame

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

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

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

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: xxxx;

~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: 5178; 40/439;

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.  

14941+ F[Y] C[1+.3]; 19781 F[+6], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y];  N.B. distances are in metres, think yards.

nnnnn* = Contract Driver
  +This driver was pulled up to the Hawthorne Green Line Station with the rear door about four (4) feet from the curb.  This could have been a real problem had any senior citizens exited from the  rear door.
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

BBC. "'Metal moles' begin work below London". bbc.co.uk. 14 Mar. 2012. WEB http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17365934

KABC7. "Expo Line train crash in downtown LA leaves 6 injured". Mar. 17, 2012. WEB. http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=8585223

Roush, Wade. “Google[‘]s Contribution to Transportation”. Xeconomy.com. Feb. 21, 2012. Web.

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The above is  ### 30 ###  in Braille

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