Vae Viator48

When politicians involve themselves in technical matters, expect failures.

The photograph below documents the situation at the Maxella AV and Lincoln BL stop on the BBB 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. For quite awhile BBB has been charging for intra-line transfers, reversing the long standing policy of free transfers to other BBB lines. Too, BBB has spent lots of money to build a big headquarters on Colorado BL just east of 4th Street. Mr. King, just a few dollars for a trash can, you might need a few more to cover other bus stops too, will erase this section. After all, it is Marina Del Rey! :-)

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 the important fact that 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 see yet another instance of a scofflaw drivers, one drives a van, the other is employed by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, cutting in front of a Metro 111/311 bus. Please see the www.youtube.com videos here

In spite of the potential for these violations to occur several times per HOUR, I have never seen a police presence at this location. One would think that with a bus schedule taped to the dashboard one of the several policing agencies would have made some arrests by now. Unless they have "more important" work to do, than protecting bus passengers.

La Taupe feels that it is appropriate to dedicate these video(s) to ALL the agencies that should be protecting us. So, they are dedicated to (1): Airport (LAWA) Police, the L.A.P.D., the L. A. County Sheriff’s Department and Mr. A. Leahy who is CEO of the LACMTA.

La Taupe has recommended a simple solution to the problem. That is, have the 111 Line buses pull up to pedestrian crosswalk then stop and discharge passengers. Doing so eliminates the space in front of the bus which the always-in-a-hurry scofflaws use to cut in front of the bus. *But with the LACMTA nothing is simple. Although the solution could be implemented with nothing more than a memo to the 111/311 Line drivers, it is a task for which the LACMTA is inadequate.

Another LACMTA Program Ends in Failure

The operative words in the above picture, “ReadyCARD ha terminado” and “noviembre 15, 2013” tell the story of yet another LACMTA bad idea has ended. The placard is uni-lingual, strange, ¿es no?

This was yet another program sponsored by the dysfunctional agency , like TransiTV that they thought would bring in lots of money, but failed. Su Topo said something like, “If you like their transportation, you’ll love the way they handle your money”, at the program’s inception.

An article (Surowiecki) in a 2013 The New Yorker applies to ideas like this. It aptly describes an economic dilemma, the sunk-cost effect, which in lay-man’s terms is often communicated as, “throwing good money after bad”.

Three brief quotes tell the story: ‘“Abandoning a project that you’ve invested a lot in feels like you’ve wasted everything, and waste is something we’re told to avoid.”’, says Hal Arkes, an Ohio State University psychologist. The piece continues, “In business and government, the effect pushes people to throw good money after bad.” How ones reputation is affected is also a consideration: “Giving up on a project, though, means that somebody has to admit that he shouldn’t have done it in the first place.”

We can see it and live with the consequences of bad LACMTA decisions every day. For example, the ill designed “subway system” which later, had poorly thought out light rail lines laid out in a pattern with basically only Union Station and 7th & Metro Center as transfer stations, are now being band-aided together (kind of) with the “Downtown Connector”. The LACMTA seems congenitally unable to “plan first” rather than “build first”, then in an unending pattern of déjà vu they are destined to repeat their errors.

La taupe saw another example of poor planning/execution as he guided Japanese friends from the “Purple Line” to the North Hollywood bound Red Line at Vermont Station. First, please examine the diagram of a typical Tokyo subway station (below).

Otematchi Subway schematic

The schematic is informationally dense. But, everything is useful. Take for example, the locations of the restrooms—of which there are six— clearly shown on the diagram and also by signage in the actual stations. Contrast that with the, umm, ZERO restrooms in the 7th and Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles, shame on you LACMTA!

The exits, which are prefixed with the letters A through E, assist one in planning the most efficient route to your destination. Let’s say that you were staying at the Palace Hotel (パレスホテル) on the diagram and wanted to go to SuidoBashi, you would use Exit C13b to enter the subway; and then you would locate the escalator at D4 and ride down to the platform level. Board your train and ride for two stops (水道橋 on the map below).

Toei Mita Sen♪

To simplify your trip, I’ve marked your starting point, 大手町, with an “S” and the destination, 水道橋, with an “F” for finish. No, you don’t have to be an Einstein to live in Japan, but it doesn’t hurt . But here in Los Angeles Einstein or not, we don’t get much help from the LACMTA. Signage throughout the Metro “system” exists at only the grossest levels. I have never seen a diagram produced by Metro which is even slightly comparable with the Otematchi Subway schematic linked here.

My Japanese friends were somewhat shocked by the crude system here and likely will tell their friends in Tokyo that the transportation system in Los Angeles is primitive.

In the event you feel that you have mastered the Tokyo subway system, here is a link to the more complete system. Have fun locate Otemachi and Suidobashi on the larger map.

To accurately depict the Tokyo transportation system, we will have to overlay the subway map with the surface rail map.  We will not consider buses for the purpose of this discussion.

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

China plans to construct three parallel underwater tunnels along a seventy-six (76) mile long route, while the LACMTA is unable to provide the last mile of track to LAX! I find that fact hilarious.

Please see also this.

The Los Angeles Times reports (Nelson) that, as expected by the sunk-cost effect, the LACMTA has convinced the Federal Government that other taxpayers should pay for a massively costly and totally unnecessary “band-aid that will “attempt” to fix the botched design of the Los Angeles subway “system”. Transfer points, interconnects, are features planned for and designed into subways. But not for people who slept through Subway Design 050.

Metro has lots of buses which criss cross the subways. These buses provide for   physical interconnect which is needed. Study the Toei Mita Sen diagram above and note all the intersections.  Someday, in the future, when the LACMTA is run by professionals, they may build a new subway that can be designed to slice diagonally across all existing subways; rather than a subway to nowhere which is what they have in the D/C.

A Times article (Nelson2) covers those who are protesting future fare increase.  Rightly so. they claim that their sales taxes are being poured into the profligate LACMTA and those should be sufficient.
The Los Angeles Times covers (Nelson3) a reorganization at the LACMTA, is that something like moving the deck chairs around on the Taitanic?

Rather than read about “house cleaning” at the LACMTA, I would rather hear that they are bringing the organization into the 21st Century. Indicative of that move would be the formation of a Transportation Rationalization and Planning Division. Such a group would apply state-of -the-art techniques to planning. Further they would rationalize the current patchwork into a RAPID transit SYSTEM.

An Industrial/Systems engineering group, when properly constituted, would apply a professional imprimatur to their work and provide STANDARD Operating Procedures along with institutionalized performance metrics for existing and planned operations.

A Public Ombudsman would provide the ridership with a real voice as opposed to the “yelling down a rat hole” option presently offered.  Sometime that is exactly what your Mole feels like he is doing; without the satisfaction of hearing the scurrying rodents.

La Taupe would have lots of questions for such an ombudsman. Such as: What is LAWA doing in the bus business.  Why can't Metro stations offer rest rooms.
And on and on - perhaps she or he should just read these posts.

Dividing the dysfunctional LACMTA into a Freeway and Public Transportation would better each part to better serve their constituents.

Lastly, factoring out, insomuch as humanly possible politics from the planning and operations of the LACMTA and leaving transportation policy to the sharp pencils of professionals, in this Mole's opinion, offers the best possibility for the future of public transportation in Los Angels.

All of the above would be preferable to the finger-pointing, blame-game which seems to have begun at the LACMTA.

Then the Times adds (Nelson4) to earlier coverage about fare evasion on the Orange Line (it's a bus folks). It seems that having Sheriff's Deputies on the job reduces the fare cheats.  But the question is at what cost.  With such a poorly designed line: No fare collection system on board the buses and "some platforms too small for access control gates" no wonder people don't pay the required fare.  I would like to see a hard nosed cost-benefit analysis.   If the cost of policing fares exceeds the amount of the additional fares collected, well, there is simply no benefit.  I wonder of the reorganization will result in more transparency vis-à-vis the LACMTA? ...

« On ne gouverne jamais une nation contre ses habitudes. »

Louis XVI (1754-08-23~1793-01-23)

[You never govern a nation against its habits.]

Merci beaucoup à www.evene.fr/ .


Let’s listen to music whose vintage is contemporaneous with Louis XVI’s lifetime. Here is “Gavotte” by François-Joseph Gossec.

Como siempre, Thank you! to our good friends at www.grooveshark.com for always providing the appropriate music for us.

The Mole rides again, so you don't have to look at the world through dirty light rail car windows.

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

Go Metro app♪

2014-02-05 09:3: The new “Go Metro app” upgrade feels like a downgrade to me. It seems like it takes forever to determine your location. When it finally displays “User Location”, tapping that causes the app to crash!  In the past tapping "User Location" would fairly quickly show the actual bus stop.  

Last month I supplied the "dump" info but since no updates have occurred I expect that they have yet to find the problem; assuming that they are even working on it.

Also when two stops are in close proximity it will only find one of them.

Maintenanance Might Not Be Us♪

2014-02-14 14:02: Su Topo has just finished a nice St. Valentines Day lunch. The venue was the Ocho Mexican Grill. Great food with friendly and professional service too. I walk to the Metro Center Station in order to ride a Blue Line Train. Looking up, I see that the idea “Something's always out of whack with the LACMTA”, holds true. This time it is the display panel, there are four others above the platform that seem to be OK. But su Topo feels that, no it can't be, they are using seperate PCs to drive each display!

2014-02-25 06:55: I board a BBB Big Blue Bus, one of their fairly new articulated ones. The friendly driver greets me upon boarding. He wears a patch with an I.D. Number, 13434, this is the first of its kind I've seen aboard BBB. His bus is number 5302. It seems that they may be reverting back to the BBB which we all knew and loved. Except for the litter situation at Maxella AV (vide supra).

Maintenanance Aín't Us

2014-02-25 07:15: I ride a Green Line train; the exterior of which is filthy.

2014-02-25 07:30 I board a Blue Line train whose headsign displays the dreaded “Willow” terminus. Here is a recording [edited for time] that will allow you to accompany me and hear what I heard.

The train turns around at Willow instead of taking us to Long Beach proper. In my case, I am headed for the First Street Station an d ultimately, the Convention Center. I believe what the LACMTA is saying here is “We deprive you of transportation and pass the savings on to somebody else”.

Neither is thinking about improved service♪

One need only to look around the Metro “system” in order to find things which need to be improved. Signage may be near the top of the list. Please, condsider the photo above which was taken at the Harbour Freeway northbound bus stop. There is lots of whitespace below “Northbound to El Monte”, in which could be included “Via Los Angeles”.

Then there is la Taupe's all time favourite: the “Norwalk” signs on the east bound Green Line platforms! What tourist arriving here has even heard of Norwalk? They could modify the signage in several ways in or der to clarify things, for example, Board here for the Blue Line connection to Los Angeles with continuation to Norwalk.” A combination of smaller letters for the “Board here for the Blue Line connection to” and “ with continuation to” while using larger letters for “Los Angeles” and “Norwalk”.

Unfortunately, since no one from the LACMTA ever rides the “system”, they will have to find someone that has to explain to them why my recommendation is better than what is extant today.

I would say that few in LACMTA management could hold down a job with a real transportation organization. With a vocabulary that they apply to the LAX last mile --such as “dangerous and frought [or was it freighted], with problems” don't expect innovation from these people.

Institutional Forgetfullness

The photo above prooves that at one time in the past, someone in the employ of the LACMTA knew what kind of signage was neeed to keep drivers from blundering into places where they don't belong.

The type of sign shown above should also be used at BOTH the entry and exit of the LAX City Bus Center. The money required would be well spent in preventing inevitable accidents.

XWant to sit down and wait for your bus? You won’t have much luck at this stop because someone is using the bench to store his personal possessions. The Front view is shown above and the side view below.

Ear (and Eye) to the Rail

Transit as unseen and unimagined by the LACMTA

The purpose of this section is to make people aware that the LACMTA is not home to many problem solvers.  I hope to accomplish this end by presenting the solutions adopted by other cities, some in foreign countries, in solving the city to airport rapid mass transportation challenge. 

Cautionary Note: Those employed by the LACMTA should NOT view the following video(s). The speed of the train(s), the fact that they neither share the right of way nor stop at stop lights, because they are truly rapid transit, will likely make you dizzy, nauseous, confuse and frighten you.

The video linked here will teach us how one travels from the Copenhagen airport in Denmark to Malmö in Sweden!. Thank you youtube.com and this Mole also thanks to the group: Jason, John, Richard, Öyku and Michelle who produced the video!

Oh, and since it is an elevated approach Ms Lindsey, it was not fraught with problems. You’re welcome! Please pass that on to the LACMTA.


What does something that weighs 4.3 million times our sun and is 25 million Km across do?  Pretty much what ever it wants to!  Read about it and its home area here.

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame

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

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: Not noted xxx/xxx;

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

ID numbers of Buses without Braille signs: xxxx;

METRO drivers Lack of 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[+4] C[Y];

I.D. numbers of drivers who are unable or unwilling to position their buses parallel to the curb, a short step from the curb an equidistance from the vehicles exits.

xxxxx F[+10] C[Y]; F[+7], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; xxxxxF[Y], C[Y]; N.B. distances are in metres, think yards.

13 metres is this is MORE than a bus length.  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(J)/; 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 didn’t signal (ring) in time. They don’t understand their relationship to the system and how, by driving faster than the GPS computer, they can bias it.

BBB = Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus

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

LAWA = Los Angeles World Airports.

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 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 have been submitting feedback and experiences slow but positive progress.  Until all issues are resolved, lo siento.

Your Mole’s 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 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 is 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

Nelson, Laura J. “Metro to accept $670-million grant for downtown rail connector”. Los Angeles Times. Feb. 19, 2014. Web.


Nelson2, Laura J. “Bus riders protest proposed transit system fare hikes
. Los Angeles Times. Feb. 19, 2014. Web. http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb/19/local/la-me-bus-riders-fares-20140220

Nelson3, Laura J. “Four key executives leaving in shakeup of Metro leadership”. Los Angeles Times. Feb. 22, 2014. Web. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-metro-housecleaning-20140222,0,7587287.story#axzz2uZC8ggxT

Nelson4, Laura J. “Fare evasion on the Orange Line has fallen, transit officials say”. Los Angeles Times. Feb. 25, 2014. Web. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metro-orange-line-fare-evasion-20140225,0,4826633.story#axzz2uZC8ggxT

Surowiecki, James. “THE FINANCIAL PAGE THAT SUNK-COST FEELING”. The New Yorker. Jan. 21, 2013:24. Print.
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The above is ### 30 ### in Braille 

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