Vae Viator40


In Memorandom
I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of
Ms Olivia Gamboa
who lost her life in a tragic accident on June 12, 2013.

A floral tribute to Ms Gamboa


The photograph below documents the situation 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.  They 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 include this comment in every post with the above until BBB corrects the problem.


BBB Maxella Trash Fix??


White Line Incursion Series 

Su Topo uses video to highlight the problem of scofflaw drivers endangering Metro bus passengers yet, no authority seems to want to take ownership of the problem.  The issue is not unique to the particular site which this Mole documents, but is illustrative of a general problem.  Your Mole encourages you to report similar problems to the appropriate agencies in your area(s) and hope that you will have better luck than he.  In the youtube.com videos linked below one can see exactly what happens when the policing agencies fail to enforce traffic laws.

The videos linked below document that, and this is important, a never ending stream of vehicles fail to use the lane as required by law. 

Neither are the policing agencies active when it comes to protecting us by bringing these obvious and frequent traffic law violations to an immediate halt.  The LACMTA is derelict as well, in that they fail to use the near hourly proof of the violations captured by the on board cameras, mentioned here and discussed at length in the posting of 2012-05-31. 

In the following video, we can see a Beverly Hills taxi and two other vehicles cut in front of a Metro bus.  At one point both the passing vehicles AND the bus are in motion.
La Taupe, after careful consideration, feels that it is appropriate to dedicate these videos ONLY to the CEO of the LACMTA, Mr. Art Leahy, the single person who is ultimately responsible for the safety of Metro passengers.

I know that Mr. Leahy and is staff would ultimately solve this problem.  But, not having the patience to wait six (6) generations, I have solved it for him.

Mr. Leahy, I know that you are loath to take on the politicians and other forces in Los Angeles in what would be a no-win situation.  So my solution involves only your organization.  Are you ready for it?  It is simple;  move the bus stop forward to the point where no vehicle can squeeze ahead of a stopped bus!  ¿Perfecto, es no?  Further, passengers could cross in front of the bus -and be positioned right at the crosswalk.  Oh Mr. Leahy, there is no need to thank me, it is my pleasure to assist you. :-)

<<Quand on est bonne mère, ça fait tout pardonner.>>  

Émile Zola: (1840-04-02~1902-09-29)

Merci bien à www.evene.fr ! 

[When one is a good mother, all is forgiven.]


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


Ms Nelson of the Los Angeles Times has written an article(Nelson) that documents exactly what a beautiful person Olivia Gamboa was.  It serves a fitting tribute and emphasizes that all who knew her feel her loss.  Please read this article which is linked in the Work Cited section (Vide infra).


Another Los Angeles Times piece(Serna) announces the start of using the functionality of the “access control gates”, at least the ones at Union Station.  I will quote just one partial sentence from the piece: “ … one reason Metro officials failed to lock the gates sooner is because they were operating under the false assumption that only 3% of riders were evading fares.”  Now isn’t that just exactly what we expect from the LACMTA; over estimates of potential ridership and dramatic underestimates of financial losses!


Wanting to document the duration that was required before a single station had “access control” I began by looking for the project start date for the “access control system”.  I first searched the Los Angeles Times site using their less than responsive search “mechanism”.  Not much useful was obtained there.  Then I turned to the source of last resort, metro.net. 


I was surprised to find a screen that looked, approximately, like the one pictured below.



Now you see it, now you don’t


As I started with the oldest item and clicked on each item above it, I was presented with: (i) Item not found; (ii) Item started to load but froze or (iii) no useful information.  This experience layered on many, many like it establishes the LACMTA as a closed and opaque organization. Surprise!


For example, when I was finally able to access something, and tried to search for information on access control, again I experienced a system freeze.   I show the screen frozen on page 3 of 309 (pictured below) while searching.



Looking for “access control”


As I scanned through the document, the 2010FY Budget, I found a title page which was headed, “I. Description of Metro and Strategic Plan” on the following page, which was the last on in the section, well take a look below at what I saw.

Unlike the LACMTA, I like to conserve resources so I combined the two pages into one, with the same effect.

This page is intentionally left blank


Finally, if you thrive on disappointment, Metro.net is definitely the site for you!  I tried another search for projects and found the page below which looked promising; in much the same way a lemon looks promising until you take a bite. Although a few links did work MANY did not.  You try it yourself; just point your browser to www.metro.net/projects/.  If it works you can be sure that someone at the LACMTA can read and does read su Topo.  My intention was to compare per mile construction costs and compare them with the values cited below under "access control" below.

Thrive Away!


KABC featured a story(Stallworth) on how bus drivers are becoming ill from years of breathing the pesticides which are used on buses —it can’t be doing passengers any good either, can it?  Follow the link in “Works Cited” and see the report.


The Daily News features(Scauzillo) a piece which seems to indicate that the LACMTA is promising one thing yet delivering another vis-à-vis the Gold Line extension outward from Sierra Madre Villa Station.   The agency with the learning disability, is finding that budgeting and spending are two different things with the latter demanding the former.  The article also indicates that we will be able to ride the Gold Line to Azusa by 2015 (hold back roaring laugh here).  The article has a subtitle which succinctly tells the story: “Foothill officials say Metro is going against the voter-approved Measure R”.

Oracle Corporation’s Profit magazine has a piece(Pavo) on the possibility of Austin, TX using ski lift type aerial gondolas for intra-city transportation.  Please click here to see an analysis of the system and the plans. 

One of the things that la Taupe found interesting was that surface rail costs are estimated to start at $50 million per mile, elevated rail (read rapid transit) costs will start at $140 million per mile while subway construction can be as much as $500 million per mile.

It will be interesting to compare the LACMTA’s construction costs with the figures above.  Su Topo thinks that they will, in every case, exceed the above values.  However, you can see how poorly I fared (Vide supra) when trying to find project information. :-(

 Clearly demonstrating that the "Orange Line" --It's a bus, folks--  is not rapid transit, the Times reports(Foxhall) an accident caused by another red-light jumper. 

Holiday Greetings for July 

Happy Fourth of July!

 Here, with Thanks you! to the NBA and youtube.com, is Sebastien De La Cruz with our National Anthem!


Joyeux fête nationale<<14 juillet>>! Vive la belle France!

 Here , Merci Bien à www.youtube.com , is the French National Anthem, La Marseilles.

¿Musica?  How about something upbeat? Here is Puro Tejano with 03-Cumbio Tex-Mix  ¡Esta es largo, una media hora!

With Thanks To our good friends at groveshark.com!

Ear (and Eye) to the Rail 

 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, nauseous and frighten you.  Additionally, the concept of having a DIRECT LINK to the airport should place you in a state of cognitive dissonance, which occurs when two cognitions complete.  Cognitive dissonance results in the case where Cognition 1, It is impossible to directly link a city to its airport and cognition 2, many cities are directly linked to their airports.  The Los Angeles Times

One can learn more about cognitive dissonance here.  But again, I must caution LACMTA management and staff that they should not try this sort of psychological study at home and definitely not without the involvement and guidance of a trained professional.

 What people headed to the airport want to hear is one seat, one ride not what we are forced to say here in Los Angeles, viz., at minimum, three seats three rides. 

 Here is a link to a video of a ride from Hamamatsucho Station to the first station, Tenozu Isle, on the monorail line to Haneda Airport (Tokyos domestic airport).  It is a ride which your Mole has made many times, as he worked on Tenozu Isle. 

I really like this video because it give the feel of life in the big city (population: 17+ million and if you pay careful attention you can see a cross section of other Tokyo transportation like the rapid transit trains which the monorail parallels for a time in the video.  Although, this may have been very early in the morning because the train was lightly loaded; not the crowding which I usually experienced.  One can see as well how, unimpeded by other traffic with no contention for the right-of-way the train just flew along.  Not the poky light rail we have in Los Angeles.  The point being it didnt have to be this way and is what one gets when politicians design transportation systems, (sigh).

 Youtube.com, thank you very much for complementing my words with videos!

Thank you too, Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon for the download!


 Here is a nice diagram of part of our home galaxy.  It is a sort of you are here picture.  Please take a look at it.


The Mole rides again, so you will know that finding the least noisy seat will involve moving around the train.

(All times are expressed in the 24 hour system.)


2013-06-05 9:10: I am aboard a 117 Line bus when a couple boards.  She pulls what appears to be a very heavy piece of wheeled luggage.  He drags a trash bag of recyclables on board; unfortunately it is followed by a liquid train.  Mr. Leahy. PLEASE!


2013-06-17 10:45 Your Mole waits at ITC for a south-bound 740 Line bus; the one that arrives is going OOS (Out Of Service) at the Green Line.  Right on its heels a 40 Line bus arrives, but it too, is going OOS. Metro Scheduling, is that like military intelligence?  I have lots of time so I take the picture below showing, only partially, exactly how littered the Inglewood Transit Center ALWAYS appears.  Actually, most of the litter is hidden under the bushes. Metro Maintenance, is that like ?


ITC Basura

2013-06-23 This is the day the schedules changed.  I thought I was ready because your Mole has gone paperless and keep the schedules which he needs on his iPhone.  The new schedules, for the most part, seemed to be ready in advance so they were downloaded and in place when the schedule did change.

But not so fast, take a look at what I saw in the photo just below.



The badly needed solution is to create a cover page for each PDF schedule.  So, su Topo has done exactly that and here it is!





That would make schedule identification quick and simple without having to open files and examine their contents.  As an example of a professional cover, here is the way they do it in the Big Apple.  Nice job, New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority, Thank You!

And our friends in Chicago at the Chicago Transit Authority do a good job as well.

CTA, Thank you, too! 

 It is a matter of attention to detail and taking the extra care necessary to do a profession job which is important.  The LACMTA spends countless dollars on printing all manner of brochures, most of which probably end up in landfills.  The actual paper schedules have a cover, but someone at the agency made the inexplicable decision to eliminate the cover page in the pdf schedules.

2013-06-25 morning: I ride a 232 bus and, surprisingly, ALL the volume controls are set at an acceptable level!  Unbelievable for this contract line!  I would credit the driver but that would probably get her fired.  This driver is simpatico!

She drops us right in front of the Green Line Station, which is great for us and makes loading, at the “designated” bus stop easier for her.  It is just how a company who cared about its passengers would treat them.
I transfer to a Silver Line (It’s a bus, folks) at Harbor Freeway Station or whatever it is called now.  Whatever it is called, it is NOT called limpia, the pigeons pictured below see to that.
Pigeons at Harbor Freeway Station


2013-06-25 12:05 9:00 Aboard a Gold Line train to Pasadena:  The onboard P.A. announces Mission Station and I look across the aisle at the map.  I doesnt show Mission Station anymore; instead it shows South Pasadena.  The map is right but the P.A. is wrong!  File this under Metro at Work sub-rubric?, If it works dont fix it!  Lots of money for name changes and other totally unnecessary tasks but NOTHING that benefits the passenger.

 2013-06-25 12:05 @ Union Station:  The P.A. announcements echo throughout the platform area making a hard-to-understand announcement near unintelligible.

 2013-06-25 13:30 Los Angeles:  Looking for a 740 Line stop:  I am searching Broadway where, as a bus driver told me, I could intercept a 740.  No luck.  Many bus stops have notices of changes to line 40, but not a hint about the 740.  I give up and ride a 40 Line bus.  Along the way I wondered why I didnt see much in the way of brochures explaining changes, new routes and etc.  The LACMTA just likes to surprise us?

On the 40 Line bus I saw a placard which displayed a poem called "Bellas artes" (Bellas artes).  Here are the first two lines:
Bellas artesMientras dormías escuchaba tu resuello,
profundo y lento.  ...                               
You can see the entire poem here and another one as well.

While I was in Pasadena, in the Gold Line Memorial Park Station I photographed the helpful sign pictured below.


Do It The Hard Way


In my 2013-03-30 posting, I took pains to describe exactly how station signs in Japan, communicate the maximum information in the minimum space.  As we see above, the LACMTA likes to spread information all over the place and in this case use the maximum material in order to affix the signs to the large columns in the station.  Would you like a second opinion, OK, they’re ugly too!


Another opinion that hold to is that the LACMTA is too busy spending money as fast as they can to slow down and perfect OR MAINTAIN anything. 


Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame


I.D. Numbers of buses with Out of Order Fare Boxes: 8423;

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 the 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.  

Xxxxx F[Y] C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; 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 Monicas Big Blue Bus

CHSRA = California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is the equivalent, in more ways than one, of the LACMTA.

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.

OOS = Out Of Service.

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 Topos 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 dont.  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 dont, 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.

Moles Copyright Statement

All photographs and original written materials are copyrighted © 2007~2013 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 Moles 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
“Bellas Artes / Bellas Artes” by Kyra Galván, translated by Zoe Anglesey. From Mouth to Mouth: Poems by Twelve Contemporary Mexican Women, edited by Forrest Gander and published by Milkweed Editions. Copyright © 1993 by Milkweed Editions. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

Foxhall, Emily. "Orange Line Metro bus and car collide in Encino". Los Angeles Times. Jun. 24, 2013. Web. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-orange-line-bus-car-encino-collision-20130624,0,6683419.story 

Nelson, Laura J. MTA bus driver killed in crash 'looked after everyone else first'”. www.latimes.com. June 15, 2013. Web.



Pavo, Kate. “Wired City”. Profit Magazine. May 2013:07. Print.


Serna ,Joseph. “Have a ticket to ride? Metro starts locking subway turnstiles”. www.latimes.com. June 19, 2013. Web.


Scauzillo, Steve. “Gold Line cities want light-rail's Azusa-to-Claremont extension on funding list”. Daily News. June 19, 2013. http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23497742/gold-line-cities-want-light-rails-azusa-claremont?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com


Stallworth, Leo. “Some MTA bus drivers claim illness from routine pesticide spraying”. www.kabc7.com. Web.




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The above is  ### 30 ###  in Braille

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