Vae Viator32



What it says:

Measure J: "To advance Los Angeles County's traffic relief, economic growth/ job creation, by accelerating construction of light rail/ subway/ airport connections within five years not twenty; funding countywide freeway traffic flow/ safety /bridge improvements, pothole repair; keeping senior/ student/ disabled fares low; Shall Los Angeles County's voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax continue, without tax rate increase, for another 30 years or until voters decide to end it, with audits/ keeping funds local?"

What it means:

The LACMTA wants to keep its’ hand in your pocket for another 30 YEARS. Another 30 YEARS of cost overruns, scheduling delays and spending that makes a drunken sailor appear to be a miser – such as the minimally necessary and massively expensive “downtown connector”, which this Mole prefers to term the “Downtown Band-Aid” and funding NextBus rather NextTrip, a money pit that contributes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to operational improvements, bi-annual bus line cancellation, service reductions which decrease the value of one’s’ pass and on and on ad infinitum.

The alternative to Measure J:

The first step is fixing the LACMTA!  By factoring out the political component and professionalizing the organization.  This involves placing PROFESSIONAL project managers in charge of work so that taxpayers receive maximum value for their money AND citizens are provided with safe, comfortable and reliable RAPID transit systems. A professional Transportation/Industrial Engineering Division is BADLY NEEDED, so that incremental improvements, best practices and self sufficiency all become mantras for the LACMTA.  N.B. One easily appreciated aspect of comfort is to have access to rest room facilities at ALL RAIL STATIONS and BUS CENTERS.  When the above recommendations are implemented then, and only then should we again consider giving the LACMTA what amounts to carte blanche!


Time and time again the LACMTA, which is largely influenced by politics, rather than by professionalism and technical skills, has proved itself unable to manage projects in a professional manner.  This results in less than optimal solutions to Los Angeles’ public transportation needs.

Budget Cost overruns, mediocre work and schedule delays are all signatures of the LACMTA.  And the worst result of all – their failure to provide rapid transit, i.e., most newly built or extended lines end up sharing their “right-of-way” with LOTS of other traffic, vehicular and pedestrian.

To cite just a few examples of failures on the part of the LACMTA:

The LACMTA appears to be more secretive than the CIA and is not transparent at all about the way in which is spends taxpayers monies;

The Expo line is presently short of its’ goal and over its’ budget;

 A problem with a section of track shared by the Blue and Expo Lines has mechanical problems which were, as best I can determine, hidden instead of remediated;

The Expo Line was built without access control, so that if it is ever added it will prove much more costly than building it at the time the line was constructed;

No attempt is made to statistically analyze traffic patterns in order to better route and schedule bus lines – the result long waits;

The LACMTA just doesn’t get it!  They are responsible for a transportation system and cancelling bus lines which tie rail lines to bus centers (e.g. the 439 Line killed over a multi-year period) are the LINKS which makes a system out of individual pieces;

Much taxpayer money is wasted on cosmetics.  For example the recent “Rail Station Renaming Project” yields lots of expense with really no return on the expenditure!

Limited bus service (the LACMTA calls it “Rapid” service) often does not stop when it intersects another bus line’s route.  This is discriminatory since it reduces the value of my monthly pass without a logical reason.  Other than the Limited service is made to appear faster because it skips many stops therefore denying service to those in my class.  Such buses are usually much lighter loaded, reducing the requirement to stop even at stops which they do service.  Lawyers, start your briefs;

Abdicating its’ transportation responsibility to LAWA and its’ Fly-Away buses, which charge about FIVE time the fare which was available to riders on the now dead 439 Line which also served as a system link.  The LACMTA could have provided and SHOULD provide almost identical service over nearly the same route while serving the Culver Bus Center, the LAX City Bus Center and Aviation Station, at a fare which is less than HALF of that charged by LAWA on a time-line which in not significantly longer to LAX!

BBB Maxella Trash Fix??

The photograph above documents the “fix” applied at the Maxella AV and Lincoln BL stop on their number 3 Line.  It is the sort of “work” one would expect from the LACMTA.  The taped or caused to be taped shut the aperture in the plastic pipes associated with power poles.  These pipes were used as improvised trash cans. BBB N.B. The stop still needs a trash can!

Su Topo will see that the above photo will be the first picture in every post with the above until BBB corrects the problem.

%White Line Incursion Series%

The picture(s) below document that, and this is important, even when there is no Metro bus at the stop, a never ending stream of airport rent-a-car shuttle buses, taxis and civilian cars fail to use the lane as required by law.  These scoff-law drivers also cross the white line and cut in front of Metro buses which are discharging passengers at the stop, thus endangering those passengers.  Please note that the drivers of these vehicles all hold a class of license which allows them to transport passengers; although perhaps not safely!


The photo above was taken at the north-east intersection of Airport BL and 96th Street. It shows that two taxis have crossed the white line ahead of a stopped 111/311 Line Metro bus.

The first taxi has been identified as belonging to the United Taxi company.  The second is from the LA Checker Cab Company.

If it were not for the timidity of the agencies charged with enforcing traffic laws and protecting citizens, these activities would be brought to an abrupt stop.

Mr. Leahy shouldn’t you be picking up your telephone right now to light a fire under these agencies?  Random aggressive patrolling of the area after a police review the 111/311 schedule should reduce the infractions at this location to a minimum. 

The same kind of aggressive patrolling of the LAXCBC along with better signage and street markings would end the problem of civilian card dropping off their passengers at the bus bays, at that bus center as well. 


Here, v.s., is an example of a non-commercial vehicle impinging upon the
space in front of a stopped Metro bus.  Again, a less pusillanimous
approach to policing would “put the brakes” on this kind of
scoff-lawing behavior.  The photographer is standing behind the
bus "shelter", but there is indeed a bus stopped there.

If your telephone call didn’t do the trick Mr. Leahy, we know that Metro is a customer of Smart Drive® equipment because we can see your logo here, you may have to get creative (hint: just read on).

Now how can we get you and Metro drivers to use their Smart Drive® cameras to record the bad drivers who endanger their passengers?  We know this can be done because Smart Drive® shows us the system in action aqui. 

It seems as if it has lots of data which could put an end to those scoff-laws incursions into the roadway ahead of Metro buses very quickly.  Just show the law enforcement people 20 or 30 short videos of the events and they will get the idea!

Safety Last?

On 2012-10-08 @ 11:22: I am riding a West bound 117 Line bus on Century BL.  I take a seat on the left side of the bus just past the “step up” to the elevated section in the back.  My elbow touches the window, one of the swing-out emergency ones and it swings freely out!  Your Mole is an engineer, so he first attempts to close and lock the window.  It doesn’t lock in place!  I walk to the front of the bus and inform the driver (#16705) who listens to me.

Now Mr. Leahy, this is not the first time I’ve had this experience aboard a Metro bus, it is at least the 10th time!  I am not at all personally concerned about this maintenance failure on the part of the LACMTA.  However, I am concerned for mothers with small children who might fall out of the bus due to such a poor design.  These unreliable window exit latches should be redesigned and it must be done NOW! Again, I believe, that since you organization is incapable of dealing with the problem, you require my input.  So here it is:  (1) Short term fix – When the driver receives such a report he should stop the bus at the next stop AFTER reseating any children who are endangered by the condition.  He should take out a yellow  plastic adhesive tape that is embossed with “DANGER” and “PELIGRO” in black and tape an “X” over the window which will serve both to warn passengers and to somewhat keep the window in place.  The driver should then be required to fill out his maintenance card with the description and location of the problem which, because of the large, tape “X” will be easily found by maintenance staff.  Please, let’s implement this practice before a child is injured or killed! Of course, in the longer term, the latches should be replaced by a new design; perhaps the bus manufacturer should bear the cost of the retrofit.

<< Une accumulation de faits n'est pas plus une science qu'un tas de pierres n'est une maison.>>

Henri Poincaré (1854-04-29 ~ 1912-07-17)

[An accumulation of facts is no more a science than a pile of stones is a house.]

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

For anyone who has some free time, excepting the management and employees of the LACMTA, to explore interesting ideas, here is one for you.  A paper entitled ARE YOU LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION? By Nick Bostrom which was published in the Philosophical Quarterly (2003) Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243255 is very thought provoking.

 Here is the abstract:

“This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestorsimulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.”

The paper advances the thesis that we may be living a fine-grained simulated life within a powerful computer.  Strange, yes, but the challenge is to find a method by which we can prove or disprove such a thesis.

 Are we living in vivo or in machine?  Try to develop your own answer by following this link and searching for others.

The LA Times informs us (Weikel 1) Also, the design, designers and builders of this particular section of track should be investigated for possible financial responsibility due to malpractice.  Perhaps the curve, if one exists, is too sharp and the track can’t take the stresses since the agency is reported to have “… tried welding extra metal to the track to solve the alignment issue, but the work had to be repeated twice in the last few months because of cracking and chipping.”

The Los Angeles Times covers (Rojas) the ARTIC (Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center).  Although this Mole would prefer the more grammatical, if less cute, ARITC (Anaheim Regional Intermodal Transportation Center).  The project is planned to be completed in 2014 at a cost of $184-million.  Since the LACMTA is not involved perhaps such a schedule is possible; but so much glass in earthquake-country is cause for concern.  Here is the single sentence that is very close to how su Topo views this particular project. “Shawn Nelson, a county Supervisor and OCTA (Orange County Transportation Authority) member, fears that ARTIC’s planners may be more concerned with building something iconic than being judicious in spending taxpayer money and serving transit riders.”  The same statement could be made about our own LACMTA!  Please read Mr. Rojas’ excellent article, most local libraries have back issues of the Times in case you already tossed yours.

Another Time piece (Bloomekatz) inspired this Mole to make a rare gybe into politics with the “Vote No” headlines (vide supra).  Mr. Bloomekatz paints a bleak picture for those of us who believe in frugality in all things.  Here is another way of looking at Measure J.  Although measure R has another twenty-six (26) years (until 2038) left to dip into our pockets, the LACMTA which is generally NEVER proactive about anything, suddenly feels the need to keep their hand in our pockets for an additional THIRTY (30) years beyond that, until 2069!  All with the promise of “jobs and traffic relief”, yeah, sure.  In any event please read Mr. Bloomekatz nice article in full.

Your Mole says, that if they are going to give us jobs and etc. from those funds, let’s take a look at it again in 2037 and see what measure R has done for us by then, what is the rush]


 How about some musica?

 ¿icónico, es no?

 As always, to youtube.com, “Thank You!” And to Sr. “antonioru rubens velazquez” [sic], ¡muchas gracias por la subida!

Cautionary Note: Those employed by the LACMTA should NOT view the following videos.  The speed of the trains in the videos, because they are truly rapid transit, their quietness, the clarity and sound level of the onboard announcements will likely make you dizzy, and/ or nauseous and frighten you.

 Here is a video from our friends at youtube.com to help the LACMTA understand why running a light rail line along Aviation Bl is NOT running a subway to LAX, no matter what you name the station nearest LAX.

Today we will take a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) ride to SFO, San Francisco International Airport.  Yes, right directly to the airport!! It is true, just four-hundred miles north of Los Angeles they have done it!  Ant at the same time our ineffective LACMTA has dithered and tried to find another way to do it.  The most recent ploy is to get as close as that can with yet another light rail system that is mass transit but not rapid transit (BART is both) and incorporating LAX into the nearest station name – even though it may be a mile or more away, does not place you inside the LAX boundary.

Enjoy your ride from Freemont , by clicking here, (the complete ride is not photographed) to SFO because you can’t have the same kind of ride to LAX!

Thank you to both youtube.com and the uploader, rilesngtrain!

Here is a link to a nice map of the Bart system:

If you read the details you will find that the Powell and Market in San Francisco to SFO fare of $5.35 is slightly more than half of the Fly-Away $10 fare to LAX, here in Los Angeles.


Here is a nice picture of merging galaxies from APOD: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1210/NGC2623_HLApugh.jpg

Please click on the picture in order to enlarge it.

The Mole rides again, so you won’t stand in a sea of litter and wonder why the LACMTA doesn’t have it cleaned.
(All times are expressed in the 24 hour system.)

2012-09-30 8:11 @ ITC:  Inglewood Transit Center is synonymous with filth.  Every flat surface has litter.  There are plenty of litter containers placed around the area, so it is neither the fault of the City of Inglewood nor the LACMTA that it is filthy.  

It appears not to have been cleaned for years, perhaps it is cleaned by “Shelter Clean” (vide infra).  The sidewalk are dotted with gum, just the way they were at the LAXCBC before su Topo recommended equipment to really clean the sidewalks; which equipment also seems to clean graffiti off the benches as well.

Here is a link to the SteamX Pressure Washer equipmentz: 

I ride a 740 bus to the Hawthorne Station.  There I barely am able to board a Green Line train due to the entry being blocked by the largest load of bags stuffed with recycled material which I have ever seen on public transportation. It is quiet except for the woman across the aisle from me who is yelling into her cell phone: “… like they don’t have respect … that’s how they treat me everywhere”, complaint piled upon complaint.

 I exit the Green Line at Imperial or whatever it is currently named. As I descend the stairway to the Blue Line platform, I see a man with two shopping pages which are embossed with “Let Us Change Our Habits, Not the Environment”; your Mole hopes that it works.  Under the rubric, What were they thinking, Imperial has become “Willowbrook” yet the Green Line Pas still call it Imperial]  So typical of the LACMTA a job left half-done.  And what happened to the honorific names, “Rosa Parks” and “Kenny Hahn”?

2012-10-06 15:00 Aboard a 117 Line bus:  Bad driver alert!  Just slips past a red light and makes very rough stops!  The driver’s  number? 80546.

2012-10-08 9:00: On board 117 Line bus. The usually professionally “recorded stop announcements” have a grating addition on this line.  A somewhat gravelly voiced male voice is patched in to say “Connection to the Blue Line” at the 103rd Street Station.  It is emblematic of the “work” done by the LACMTA.

2012-10-16 10:00 On Aviation Bl:  I watch a Shelter Clean truck, number 0435, pull up to a bus shelter and begin to clean it.  He does a great job cleaning the glass enclosures which house movie posters.  But he ignores the litter just a few paces from the shelter.  It appears, Mr. Leahy, that once again you are in need of some advice from this Mole.  Here it is: When the Shelter Clean employee feels that he has the shelter area as clean as it is going to be, he should take a wide angle picture of the area, centered on the shelter and with the date-time included in the photograph.  The photographs are to be sent to the Taj Mahal (the building which houses your office) where one of the accounts payable staff will review the work PRIOR to payment.  No picture, no problem – the Shelter Clean billing amount will be reduced by the pro rata portion for the given number of undocumented cleanings. Ten shelters cleaned for $100, eight shelters photographed equals eighty dollars remitted.

Please link to Shelter Clean’s website:

You might want to watch the “slide show” pictures change automatically and see how much un-cleaned litter you can find.

While I have you ear, Mr. Leahy, I along with many  others are tired of standing at a bus stop waiting for a local bus and watching extremely lightly loaded Limited buses (you call them Rapid) pass us by.  I believe that the Limited buses should also stop at EVERY POINT where they cross any other bus line.  That would not reduce their “rapidity” by much and would make for a much happier ridership.  You have created two (2) distinct classes of ridership: those who were lucky enough to be discharged from their prior bus near a Limited stop and those who weren’t.  Now some organizations that claim to represent the ridership would likely sue the LACMTA for that discrimination.  Think about it, my pass is worth less than someone else’s just because the LACMTA decided to have Limited service skip the stop where I had to debus my prior ride.  

2012-10-17 LAXCBC Approx 8:10: An out-of-service 117 Line bus, number 8474 driven by an unidentifiable driver recklessly drives out the LAXCBC ENTRY (East).  He is soon followed by a civilian vehicle which, at least, uses the south Entry as an entry but continues to go the WRONG WAY around the “island” before dropping off his passenger.  Have I said before there is almost no security provided at the LAXCBC?

A todos mis lectores ¡Feliz Dia de Gracias!

To all my readers, Happy Thanksgiving!

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame

I.D. Numbers of buses with Outs of Order Fare Boxes: Bus #/Line/Date 8316/117/2012-10-18, xxxx/xxx/xxxx-xx-xx;

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: xxxx; xxx/xx     ;

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.  

80729 F[-1] C[Y]; 23143 F[Y], C[-1]; 18770 F[Y], C[-3]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y];  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

ITC  = Inglewood Transit Center

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.

z 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

Bloomekatz, Ari. “Transit foes seem outmatched.” Oct. 20, 2012:AA3. Los Angeles Times. Print.

Rojas, Rick. “Anaheim project picks up speed.” Oct. 7, 2012:A31. Los Angeles Times. Print.

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The above is  ### 30 ###  in Braille

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