Vae Viator^62

Vae Viator62

America’s Worst♪

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 continue to be used as improvised trash cans. BBB N.B. The stop still needs a trash can!

BBB Maxella Trash Fix???♪

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! :-)

  Why a trash container is needed♪

The photo above shows exactly what people will do when a trash container is not provided.  They will jury rig something.  What they did in this case is rip off the tape which covered the plastic pipes at the base of the utility pole and stuffed their trash into the pipe, nice, huh?

Edward F. King,  Director of Transit Services
City of Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus
(Photo: www.bigbluebus.com)

 The man pictured above could ensure that trash containers are installed along BBB routes with a simple three-line memorandum. 

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 www.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.

Please see the video of a vehicle which crosses the solid white line and cuts off a Line 111/311 bus which is in motion. 

Thanks to www.youtube.com for their excellent video support!

Please carefully note that, in some videos, pedestrians are pinned to the curb by the vehicles that cut in front of the bus —as a result these pedestrians are illegally denied the right-of-way. Which right-of-way would be unchallengeablely theirs IF, and only IF, Mr. Washington would review su Topo’s  simple solution (vide infra) and implement it . 

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, than protecting bus passengers, to do.

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. Washington who is CEO of the LACMTA.

Su  Topo 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 so far has proved to be inadequate.

OVERMATCHED (for a while anyway)

 Transportation directly to LAX?:
“dangerous and fraught with problems” and/or “costly” and “risky”

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

The Los Angeles Times (Nelson) reports on a new private bus service in San Francisco.  It seems to be for those who can't stand San Francisco's Muni --which this Mole rates as just great!  You can purchase $7 orange juice and apparently more expensive coffee on board.  It is nice to learn about this sort of service, but in Los Angeles, the public "Metro" is so far below acceptable that Mole wishes that the Times would start holding the LACMTA's feet to the fire.

A New York Review of Books article(Sacks) explains that Claude Bernard, the great French physiologist, said everything on this matter when, in the 1850s, he wrote, “La fixité du milieu intérieur est la condition de la vie libre.” Maintaining such constancy is called homeostasis. The basics of homeostasis are relatively simple but miraculously efficient at the cellular level, where ion pumps in cell membranes allow the chemical interior of cells to remain constant, whatever the vicissitudes of the external environment. More complex monitoring systems are demanded when it comes to ensuring homeostasis in multicellular organisms—animals, and human beings, in particular.

The Times (Nelson2) provides some background and elaborates on the LACMTA's deliberations on the future of the Orange Line; replacing the busway with an elevated train is a possibility.

Su Topo can pretty much predict the LACMTA's decision based upon their typical inclination.  Safety, comfort and convenience will be ranked antepenultimate,
penultimate and ultimate with cost leading the list.  If New York City had been burdened with the LACMTA, people there would still be riding in horse-cars!  Fortunately for NYC they had transportation designers who were planners first and accountants second.  As usual the LACMTA will, as usual, use this as an excuse to pass another Ballot Measure which will attempt to seperate taxpayers from their money.  Your Mole is 100% against giving the LACMTA another penny; better to leave things as they are until the LACMTA can be professionalised, so that we obtain value for every taxpayer dollar spent.
2015-04-19: as I watched channel 7 (KABC) this morning I saw a spokesperson for the LACMTA describe the agency’s plans to improve the Orange Line.  One option, dismissed out-of-hand as being too costly, was to convert it to a rail line.  We are back to business as usual at the LACMTA, that is —build it as cheaply as possible and then try to figure it out.  The true course of action for a progressive transportation agency would be to build ALL RAIL AS RAPID TRANSIT.  But no, the LACMTA is happy to implement 1950 era solution to 2015 problems.  It’s a wonder that they don’t go into the bicycle rental business and we can all cycle about the city —perhaps I should legally protect that idea?

 « L'Angleterre est un empire, l'Allemagne un pays, une race, la France est une personne. »

   Jules Michelet (1798-08-21~1874-02-09)

 [England is an empire, Germany a country, a race, France is a person.]
 Merci Bien à  http://evene.lefigaro.fr/

Ars longa vita breva

Paul de Laboulaye (1849-01-24~1926-01-04) 
Here is his “Sainte Jeanne d'arc”. 

Merci Bien à www.piasa.fr
See much more of Laboulaye’s work here. 


Here is composer Erik Satie’s Je te veux , played by Daniel Versano.
And, if you like, and have the time for this longish piece, here is Satie’s Parade

Ah, grooveshark.com, ¡Te amo!  You always have the appropriate music for us!   Thank you!!  

The Mole rides again, so you don’t have to thread your way through a Metro bus' maze-like aisles.
(All dates are ISO8601 format, times are expressed in the 24hour system.)

Aisle Blockers

What does one call people who spread out on the bus and make aisles practically unnavigable?   The word "thoughtless" does come to mind.

 Head Sign Pixelated♪

2015-04-08: This Mole always attempts to put his time to the best use.  So he took a look at the way in which modern head signs are produced.  As I waited at the LAXCBC I started thinking about the “dot-matrix” head signs which we see on buses every day.  The head sign’s dot-matrix is composed of four elements, each comprising 16 vertical dots and 32 horizontal dots, a total of 2048 dots; each dot, in actuality, being a pixel (picture element).  The worst of all displays is the dreaded “Discharge Only”.

2015-04-10 14:30 @ LAXCBC: La Taupe assists a NYC couple in navigating Los Angeles convoluted transportation system.
They laugh as I explain that they’ll need to have exact change to pay their fares AND that the most direct way to Aviation Station will require them to pay a Muni bus fare (BBB or CCMBL) then purchase a Day Pass at the Aviation Station. You can see why the LACMTA is America’s Worst!

Your Mole has been told by a reliable source that California's Madera to Fresno “Bullet Train” will be [if it is ever completed] a Maglev type.  Also the technology will be supplied by the Chinese, so we can say goodbye to the idea that California can help us recapture America’s technological edg.

2015-04-16 @ 12:30: I board a Line 161 bus at Thousand Oaks Transit Center. Which Center is everything most Metro Transit Centers are not.  It seems that the LACMTA is little involved in its operation. This transportation center has WI-FI, restrooms and information desk staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people along with an electronic schedule board to keep one informed of  arrivals and departures.

Your Mole arrives at the Orange line westernmost terminus.  Hoping to  board an Orange Line (it's a bus folks!) bus headed for Van Nuys.  He exited the 161 Line bus  and crossed the street where several Orange Line buses were parked. 

A bus, not the first in line, pulled away from the curb and left. As is to be expected with the LACMTA, there was NO signage to guide us! Something like “Board Orange Line buses one-half block east" would have been helpful.

2015-04-16 @ 15:08: Su Topo waited near the Van Nuys Orange Line station and boarded a 788 Line. The 788 Line is a fairly recently announced service; it addresses one of la Taupe’s complaints about transportation to the San Fernando Valley.  The route takes us via the 405 Freeway to Westwood where it connects with a CCMBL number 6 to LAX.

 2015-04-17 I rode with a co-worker to a meeting in Northridge and will return alone.  After the meeting I head for a nearby café and use my iPhone to plan a route.

I entered my current location, as you can see below.

Trip Spoiler – Request

2015-04-17 Trip Spoiler oh, sorry, I should have used its official name, i.e., Trip Planner.

                                        Trip Spoiler – Response

The “Trip Spoiler” performs poorly and shows me the response above, viz., it couldn't resolve the Reseda address which I supplied.  I didn’t want to waste any time on this, as I have on other occasions, so I walked to a nearby Reseda Blvd bus stop and boarded the first bus which arrived, a 240 Line bus.  Serendipitously, it took me directly to Sepulveda Blvd in Sherman Oaks

The penultimate leg of this trip is a 734 Line bus routed south on Sepulveda for a climb over the mountain.  This portion of the trip turned out to be a very relaxing ride through a natural setting.  It has been a while since you Mole has visited the Valley; all-in-all it was an interesting trip. 

Like the bus stop on north-west corner of Airport and 96th Street, the LAXCBC proper suffers from an extreme lack of policing. Both these areas WILL be accidents scenes in the future. In the video linked below, we can see that car, which entered in order to drop off a passenger, exit the wrong way from LAXCBC.  

On the same day I saw the vehicle below enter and leave with no apparent purpose —just lost I guess.

Yet another car blunders into the LAXCBC

I saw a third car, this one a LAWA yellow vehicle with two women in it; it was marked “Custodial Services”.  I really wanted to film that one but an exiting bus blocked my shot.  These were three incursions which I saw in less than half an hour; this goes on all day.  In this Blog I’ve done everything but paint the “No Entry” signs for them.  America’s Worst?  Please, you be the judge.  Well everything but provide security for the LAXCBC —which is not part of my skill set.

Inefficient Signage

Not that the LAXCBC is well organized in other ways either.  Every day there seems to be a new impediment to visually challenged passengers.  Bike racks in the middle of the concrete slab, which I call an island, left over signage from the days of the 715 Line, and now a BCT flag illogically placed and pictured above.  It should be attached to the existing Bay 6 flag support rather than presenting another barrier to some of the LACMTA’s ridership. N.B. that the BCT schedule is attached to the support pillar in a manner that is guaranteed to strike the unwary directly in the face and its edge is sharp enough to deliver a bad cut.

But, Mole, how could it be improved?  I thought you'd never ask! Please take a look at the photo below.  You will note that I have thoughtfully placed the schedule signage where it will do no harm, between the Metro "flag" supports and affixed BCT's "flag" to one of the existing Metro supports.  Mr. Washington, what do you think?  It is much better, isn't it? 

The LACMTA's approach to things can often be considered minor examples of a Rube Goldberg device.  That is, the effort expended is disproportional to the result. Rube Goldberg devices are known to many engineers; you can see examples here.

Safer and Better Signage

The above picture illustrates a more efficient approach to signage; it gets the job done, how shall I say, without creating a hinderance.

Another Example of Dual Purpose Signage

Although I've described this particular hindrance before, this seems to be the perfect place to reintroduce it. The Bay 4 sign is necessary, but the gratuitous smaller piller and advertising sign is unnecessary.  It is left over from the days of the 715 Rapid Line which was in and of itself unnecessary.


 An Undesirable Artifact

While taking the photo of the signage just above this one, I noticed a stream of
"water" emanating from behind the pillar shown just above.  It is an unfortunate side-effect of not having public restrooms where they are needed. 

It is also related to the comple lack of security at the LAXCBC!

Ear (and Eye) to the Rail

Transit as unseen and unimagined by the LACMTA

The LACMTA (Subordinate to LAWA)


Every Which Way But Right!


Four Seats to LAX!


The LACMTA Tries Again; Asymptotically to LAX!


The World’s Most Inconvenient Way in Which to Travel From City Center to an Airport!

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.

With slightly more than a population of four million, Barcelona is about one- fourth the size of Los Angeles, yet they seem able to provide one seat to their airport.

First we’ll walk through part of El Prat to the airport rail station.

Let’s ride the train from Barcelona, Spain to its airport —¡Viva Espania

Thanks to the up loaders of these videos: alex123453828 for the walk through the airport and Adam Thorn Smith for the musical portion of the ride from Barcelona to El Phat.

Again, thank you to our host, www.youtube.com 


The imprimatur of Forbes magazine (Rogers), which is a straightforward business magazine, is what caught my attention.  They report that the signals are all divisible by the sub multiple 187.5; and have been received in the not-so-distant past.

If you are as intrigued as I was, then please, take a look at this Daily Mail piece(O'Callaghan) which includes a depiction of the signals.  The source of which is estimated to be extragalactic.
Links to both articles are provided in “Works Cited” (vide Infra).

 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 Exceptionally Rude Drivers: xxxxx [comments];
83064*[232 Line: driver ignored a simple direct question, asked several times];
None included here, but observations of a minor nature may be included in the main posting;

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 xxxx/xxxx;
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[] C[];

I.D. numbers of drivers who are unable or unwilling to position their buses parallel to the curb, a short step from the curb and/or equidistant from the vehicles exits.
75533* 232 Line F[7] C[Y]; F[], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; xxxxxF[Y], C[Y]; N.B. distances are in metres, think yards. 13 metres 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)date; XXXX-XX-XX(-);
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.

BART = Bay Area Rapid Transit – Please note the use of the word “Rapid” because it is a word we almost never hear in Los Angeles.

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 $1.75)

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].

T= 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. [Addendum 2014-07-31]: Things have been much better lately.  There is a more responsive feedback system now.  If things keep this way, I may have to delete this "Disclaimer and apologia" section in the near future.  Almost immediately after writing the preceding, the system "returned an error" on a save.

Your Mole’s Copyright Statement
All photographs and original written materials are copyrighted © 2007~2015 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. “Start-ups offer Bay Area travelers alternative to crowded bus system”. Los Angeles Times. Apr. 7, 2015: Web. http://www.latimes.com/local/cityhall/la-me-california-commute-20150407-story.html

Nelson2, Laura J. “Report: Converting Metro's Orange Line to rail could cost $1.7 billion”. Los Angeles Times. Apr. 10, 2015: Web. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-orange-line-rail-20150410-story.html

O.Callaghan, Jonathan and Prigg, Mark. “Are these mystery radio bursts messages from ALIENS? Study finds freak frequencies from outside the Milky Way ALL form unexplained multiples of 187.5”. Apr. 1, 2015. Dailymail.com. Web. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3020612/Are-mystery-radio-bursts-messages-ALIENS-Study-finds-freak-frequencies-outside-Milky-Way-form-unexplained-multiples-187-5.html

Rogers, Paul. “Message From The Aliens: '187.5'“. Forbes.com. Apr. 2, 2015. Web. http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulrodgers/2015/04/02/message-from-the-aliens-187-5/

Sacks, Oliver.  “A General Feeling of Disorder” The New York Review of Books. Apr. 23, 2015. Web. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/23/general-feeling-disorder/

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                               The above is ### 30 ### in Braille


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