Vae Viator50

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 videos we see further instances of scofflaw drivers, some in convoy, cutting in front of Metro 111/311 buses.

Please see the www.youtube.com video here
Please note carefully that the pedestrian in the foreground of the linked video is pinned to the curb by the vehicles that cut in front of the bus —then illegally deny him the right-of-way. Which right-of-way would be unchallengeably his IF, and only if Mr. Leahy would have one of his staff explain su Topo’s  simple solution (vide infra) to him.   More videos here  and here. 

1In 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.

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

Illustrative of the LACMTA’s inability to make friends and influence people is a Los Angeles Times piece (Nelson) in which the dysfunctional agency is shoving its route for the “subway to Westwood” down Beverly Hills throat.   Beverly Hills which has two (2) pending suits against the subway will add the appeal of this loss to them.

Rather than architect a route that would not force the subway to run under the Beverly Hills High School the LACMTA would rather spend lots of money on law suits and earn the everlasting enmity of the city.  There are options which could easily curve by the school and still accomplish the goal in a reduced timeframe.  But no, the LACMTA will lengthen the build time and likely pause construction in order to adhere to the “planned” route. 

I can imagine that Beverly Hills will file a new suit every time the ground trembles under the school. Again, no one could ever charge the LACMTA with being too careful with the public’s money.  Nor could they be charged with careful planning either.  Please read the entire article.

Another piece by the L.A. Times reports (Nelson2) that cracks , described as “cosmetic”  in the Gold Line support column over  the 101 Freeway must be repaired.  A Metro representative is quoted: “Repairs probably will cost tens of thousands of dollars and should be done sometime next week [mid-April?]”.  This Mole assumes that, again, the LACMTA will pay for the repairs rather than holding the original contractor responsible for failures that occurred slightly more than four years after the line segment opened.  At a cost of “tens of millions of dollars” and cracking in a load bearing structure puts this “fix” out of the area which su Topo would describe as “cosmetic”. 

This problem mirrors one several years ago when chunks of concrete were falling off the Gold Line.  Lack of “institutional memory”, always on a steep learning curve and unable to learn by its mistakes are all characteristics which describe the LACMTA; your Mole documented the aforementioned Gold Line structural failure in a posting of 2007-03-24, i.e., about seven years ago.

Another Times article (Nelson3) covers the costs of the “Downtown Band-Aid Connecter”.  Although the cost is quoted as $927 million, those of us who follow the spendthrift agency know that the cost for this necessary project will easily top $1 billion.  Cancelling this project would benefit us all.  People have already learned to adapt to the transportation butchery produced by the LACMTA which agency has no reliable ridership values or a clearly enunciated benefits analysis for the Band-Aid, er connector.

A Times article which appeared last month (Zahniser) informs us of a clash between the City of Los Angeles and the LACMTA over funds usage; it seems every wants to tax us and spend the monies.  The city wants to repair sidewalks and streets and the LACMTA wants to build more mass, NOT RAPID, transit.  The city gets my vote, but please read the article and decide for yourself.

A public hearing at the Taj Mahal (Metro Headquarters) over fare increases turned confrontational with arrests following was covered (Nelson4) by the Times.  One of the “generous” LACMTA offers was that: “… riders paying one-way fares would be allowed unlimited transfers for 90 minutes, meaning about 20% of riders who don't use passes could see lower costs using the system.”  Wow! A whole 90 minutes!  The other side of the 20% in the above quote is that 80% would pay more —LACMTA staff and executives should ride the buses and see how much fun it is to see your transfer time tick away after seeming endless wheelchairs are boarded, causing you to miss your intended transfer connection.  The most incisive quote from the piece is this: “Advocates argue the fare increases will disproportionately affect low-income, minority passengers. More than 80% of bus and rail riders are minorities and their average household income is less than $20,000, according to Metro data. Others sharply criticized the quality of Metro bus service.”  This meeting seems to be one at which if you expressed your ideas passionately, you’d be sent to jail.  “Tempers flared as the hearing stretched into a fourth hour. After a loud exchange between a speaker and two Metro board members, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies escorted the speaker and another audience member from the boardroom and arrested them on suspicion of disturbing the peace, officials said.”

The Times reports (Nelson5) that toll roads are alive and well in Los Angeles and that the LACMTA never met a fee that it didn’t like.  Su Topo would like to highlight just two items: (1) “Metro owes the project’s contractor $3 a month in maintenance fees for every tolling device put into service.”  If $3 is an onerous charge, then why isn’t the LACMTA operating the system itself?  And (2) “The monthly $1 charge is expected to raise $700,000 per year for maintenance.”  No figure was given for the number of “tolling devices” in operation.  Therefore, one is unable to multiply that figure by $3 to determine what fraction of the fee would be covered by the $700,000.

It would likely take extraordinary rendition in order to extract that kind of data from the LACMTA.  I guess a half-truth is better than none, isn’t it?  “Metro collected more than $23 million in tolls over 14 months, … “.  Again no estimates were given by the LACMTA that would relate income to the cost of maintaining the toll roads.  The more one learns the less he knows J.

A Times captioned photo (Orr) shows that a big rig, after being struck by another big rig, ended up on the east bound Gold Line tracks.  It gives one pause to consider, when will be that a vehicle ends up in your lap on the Gold Line?  The Gold Line platforms at points where the tracks bisect the 210 Freeway are extremely noisy.  Noise abatment walls could reduce the noise and offer protection to the passengers.  But not in thecase where the LACMTA places a priority on doing everything "on the cheap".  

Please read all of the cited reportage in order to understand the full story.

«Il faut savoir mettre une toile de côté et la laisser reposer. Il faut savoir flâner.»
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-02-25~1919-12-03)

[You should know when to put a canvas aside and let it rest. You should know how to stroll.]

Ars longa vita breva

Here is a link to the one of Renoir’s paintings, Jeunes filles au piano. 

What kind of music would one hear at the dance pictured above?
Edith Piaf lived sometime after Renoir, but La Vie en Rose is probably danceable.  

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

The Mole rides again, you don’t have to wonder, exactly what it is that makes the LACMTA feel that they are “America’s Best”?.
(All times are expressed in the 24 hour system.)

2014-04-25 As I wait on La Brea BL for a 40 Line bus, I am fairly certain that the people who schedule these routes are NOT part of America’s Best!  I have been passed by two 740 Line “Rapid buses” and two 40 Line Short Line buses before a regular 40 bus shows up.  This has been a long wait.  As I wait, I think about the logic employed by the LACMTA in developing the “Rapid Line” concept; the rapidity obtains by passing groups of people, like those waiting with me, so that those already aboard the “Rapid Buses” won’t have to stop and pick us up.

One of the results of such specious logic is that when the 40 Line bus does appear, it is jammed full!  Also, as I have pointed out, we are paying the same fare as those onboard a “Rapid Bus” but receiving an inferior level of service.  Therefore, if they want to provide “Rapid bus service” the LACMTA should charge more for it AND provide standard service within ten (10) minutes headway of the “Rapid bus”.  This may mean running regular buses on a ratio of two regular to one rapid.  It may be as simple as talking to BBB and CCMBL who seem to have regular service in good proportion to rapid service.  LACMTA N.B. please bring a translator along (LACMTA speak to English) to ensure complete understanding.

Rapid service has been degraded from the original promised service of fifteen minute headway, to what currently seems like an hour between buses.  Nowhere is this more noticeable than on the 704 Line “Rapid” service which runs on Santa Monica BL.  If you are so inclined, please review this document, which may help in understanding headway deviation effects on passenger loads.  This sort of thing must be avoided, at all costs, by LACMTA staff and management.
2014-04-27  Exactly what are best practices?  The answer to that question is better given as an illustration.  My bus pulls up to a stop and both the fron and rear doors open to discharge passengers.  The front ramp is lowered in order to board a wheelchair, but the back door is left open.  While the driver is busy handeling the details of the wheelchair boarding, two people slip on board for a free ride.  A best practice would call for the back door to be closed before the wheelchair or any other boarding starts.  With the method currently in use here there is definitely a potential loss.  So, in this case, loss prevention is the driver for a best practice.

2014-04-28 As I ride along on a Rapid bus, my thoughts turn to the inefficencies of the current routing "policy".  What is needed are additional stops at streets that are locations for: hospitals; schools;  libraries;  mid-sized shopping centers and etc.  Adding these additional stops would allow people who must now wait for a "local" bus to arrive at their destination sooner.  The "Rapid" is generally a poor idea in that it favours those who live near a rapid stop and travel to another rapid stop.  The disfavoured must wait for a "local" bus, which seem to this Mole, to be scheduled 1:4 (one local to four Rapids).  In other words, the service is not provided on an equatable basis.

La Taupe is at the ITC.  A quick walk around it finds that the LACMTA's idea of customer service is extremely low, as illustrated by the photo below.

Of course, this is a private business whose venue boarders on the ITC;  and there are public restrooms somewhere, just not in this office.  The situation is even worse at the LAXCBC, the CCTC and etc., there are not even any signs which inform one that your on your own!  This fom an agency who, a every opportunity, will tell its ridership that it is the greatest transportation agency in the world or words to that effect.  This lack of public restrooms, builtin access controll and etc., are just further proof the the LACMTA's "on the cheap" policies.

Ear (and Eye) to the Rail

Your Mole is unhappy with KCET!  He is also unhappy with his cable provider. The former did not want to pay PBS fees and now broadcasts third class programming: old travelogs and other programming in which this Mole has little or no interest.  The latter refuses to give us a choice of excellent PBS programming, e.g. Front Line and tonight (April 29th) this: Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle -- A Voices Presentation -- The life and death of Mexican-American journalist Ruben Salazar [KOCE at 21:00].  Ruben was there near the beginning of the Chicano Power Movement.  All of us deserve to see this tribute to him, right, Ms Zavala? [Ms Val Zavala is Vice President of News and Public Affairs at KCET].

The Times covers (Lloyd) "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle -- A Voices Presentation" with a piece that makes su Topo even unhappier that he cannot view the broadcast tonight.

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 or LAWA 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 take us on a photographic tour of the Tehran subway system which offers service to the airport; it is, of course, a high-speed rail link.

A bilingual system map of the Tehran Metro is available here. 

La Taupe found the following tour of Tehran transportation, extant and planned, interesting.  Please note: there is a brief Anti war message at the end of the presentation.  

Thank you  www.youtube.com for the material!  Also thanks to “Eshgham Vatanam” who provided the first upload and to “Tara Farhid” who provided the second!


Here is a nice summary of the characteristics of our home galaxy. 

Although the following article will have only a limited readership, the first two paragraphs perfectly describe the problem of reconciling two theories involving scale, on which physicists are currently working. 

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame
I.D. Numbers of buses with Out of Order Fare Boxes: 9567;
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 9284 720/???;
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)/2013-07-23; 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

Lloyd, Robert. A man cought between cultures” Los Angeles Times. Apr. 29, 2014D1. Print.

Nelson, Laura J. “Westside subway extension survives legal challenge by Beverly Hills” Los Angeles Times. Apr. 2, 2014. Web. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-subway-lawsuit-ruling-20140403,0,2491628.story#axzz2zjUBrb9q

Nelson2, Laura J. “Metro to repair cracks in support for Gold Line freeway overpass”.  Los Angeles Times. Apr. 7, 2014. Web.  

Nelson3, Laura J. “Metro recommends $927-million contract for downtown L.A. rail project” .  Los Angeles Times. Apr. 15, 2014. Web. 

Nelson4, Laura J. “Transit riders assail proposed Metro fare hike at public hearing”.  Los Angeles Times. Mar. 29, 2014. Web. http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/29/local/la-me-0330-mta-hearing-20140330
Nelson5, Laura J. “Metro OKs toll road fees”.  Los Angeles Times. Apr. 25, 2014:AA1. Print.

Orr, Francine. “Pasadena Crash”. ”.  Los Angeles Times. Apr. 25, 2014:AA6. Print.

Zahniser, David and Nelson, Laura J. “L.A. could clash with L.A. County on transit tax measures”.  Los Angeles Times. Mar. 31, 2014. Web.  http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0401-transportation-taxes-20140401,0,5346445.story#axzz2zjUBrb9q

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The above is ### 30 ### in Braille 

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