10 Ways to Improve L.A.’s Public Transportation System

and attack the growing traffic problem head on.

Some “outside the box ideas.” Feel free to add your own or discuss in the comments.

10. Remove all street parking from main roads, (such as Santa Monica Blvd., Wilshire, Olympic, Sunset, La Brea, Fairfax, La Cienega, and Western) to make space for manageable bicycle only lanes.

9. Impose a County-wide gasoline tax of $3/gallon. Use tax dollars to fund public transportation.

8. Make wifi and cell phone service available throughout the Metro system, including underground.

7. Designate select surface streets as “car pool only” during rush hours.

6. Allow food and beverage sales in Metro stations, and for food and beverages to be enjoyed on trains.

5. Ban drivers from using both hands free and handheld communications devices while driving. Penalties for a driver caught texting or using a cell phone while driving would equal those for DUI.

4. Immediate installation of signs on escalators reading, “Stand to the right!”

3. Ban additional conditional use and building permits for parking lots except for those adjacent to outlying MTA stops.

2. Tax valet and parking services 50%. Use tax dollars to fund public transportation.

1. Require the Mayor and all City Council members to take public transportation to and from their district to City Hall at least one day per week… during peak hours. On one other day per week they need to take public transpo to another district’s center, visiting a different district each week.

49 Replies to “10 Ways to Improve L.A.’s Public Transportation System”

  1. #10, In Coachella Valley and in other better planned suburbs, this is common practice. Most major streets are free of on-street parking. It also makes the street more aesthetically pleasing.

    #9, Is that gas tax on TOP of the $3/gallon we pay now for a total of $6/gallon? Uh, no.

    #6, Yes on food! Nom nom nom.

    #5, This accomplishes nothing. In fact, car fatality rate has gone by 16% and injury rate down by 36% since 1995. That is, driving is now safer even when cell phones have become popular. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_accident

    #4, It’s about time. Just a simple sign.

    #2, I don’t see how this works. Why can’t you just increase the fee paid for parking instead of imposing an additional tax? Managing tax revenues carries more administrative burdens than straight up fees.

    #1,Like those of us who were former public transportation riders, this would lead them to conclude that public transportation sucks.

  2. #1 get’s my vote but it has to include ALL the munincipalites in LA County.

    I already tossed up the $1 gal mass transit tax. I kept it at that as there are some things people will always need to have a car or similar for. IE I couldn’t do art shows using mass transit as I have a 3 huge tubs, tents etc.,.. Plumbers couldn’t use due to tools. Can’t make it an economic hardship either.

    And damn it all, I had been working on a snarky immodest proposals to get it to work. I may still do it.

  3. So where do you plan to put all the cars parking on the arteries now? All those cars that folks use to get to jobs that aren’t served by anything remotely resembling public transportation? Your front yard?

    Ever ridden an escalator with “Stand to the right” signs? No one pays attention.

    Gas taxes are the most regressive of all taxes. Hurt the little guy first — great idea.

    NONE of these ideas will work until the transit infrastructure is in place to provide alternative modes of transportation. Until then, you’re tilting at windmills. Build public transpo that works, then maybe these will encourage ridership.

  4. So let’s say that some of these measures are employed and as a result ridership increases. Ever been on a standing room only train with people drinking hot Starbucks and eating stinky fast food? Not good, dude. No on #6.

  5. I would almost agree with getting rid of parking on the main arteries IFF you then made them dedicated bus lanes. As it stands, if I take the bus to work it would be over 2 hrs…or a 30 minute drive…hmmm…yeah, car wins every time.

  6. How about expanding on #10 (no parking on major arteries) by adding that the lane presently vacated by those cars become bus only lanes that can be shared use with cyclists, motorcyclists/ scooter riders and taxis? It works in other highly congested cities, specifically London where I lived for a few years.

    I like to think that if you put bus only lanes down the major arteries mentioned above not only through peak times but 24 hrs per day, M-F, people who live and work along these roads would leave their car at home and jump aboard. Especially if that TAP program ever gets moving. And then perhaps they’ll upgrade the orange non-express buses to more than one per hour and start night buses, thus reducing drunk driving.

    And to address the person above that insists on parking the cars on your front lawn, perhaps the idea is to give people an alternative to driving and hence reduce the need for parking. If you remove street parking and upgrade public transport, pedestrian access, i.e. sidewalks on every street, 4 way and diagonal walk signals everywhere, not just in BHills, and add green spaces, people are not going to want to drive their cars but instead will walk, ride and shop and by proxy put money back into their neighborhoods. It could actually turn Los Angeles into an accessible city.

    I’d like to propose an alternate to the raising gas prices or valet charges however: Introduce the traffic camera: drive in the bus only or the carpool lane? Get a fine mailed to your door a week later. And all the money goes to pubic transportation.

  7. Having been doored by somebody on Beverly this weekend while riding my bike, I (and my bloody knees) would limp to the polls for #10 any day. More, more, more bike lanes.

  8. WestwoodNC: (Banning cell phone in cars) accomplishes nothing… driving is now safer even when cell phones have become popular.

    Less injuries doesn’t mean less accidents or that its made for better drivers. Studies show that people who use their cell phones while driving are not only more likely to get into accident, but tend to drive slower then non-cell phone using drivers. (And a raise of hands from anyone who’s gotten stuck behind someone who has tried to parallel park while talking on a cell phone?)

    Lee: So where do you plan to put all the cars parking on the arteries now? All those cars that folks use to get to jobs that aren’t served by anything remotely resembling public transportation?

    If those cars are parked on a major road, there’s more than likely public transit available. But, traffic, including buses, move slowly in part due to the parked vehicles.

    Ever ridden an escalator with “Stand to the right” signs? No one pays attention.

    In New York, if you stand on the left you’ll likely get knocked out of the way. Its the only city I’ve personally seen those signs in, and people do obey them.

    Sherrie: Ever been on a standing room only train with people drinking hot Starbucks and eating stinky fast food? Not good, dude.

    Excellent point.

    Julia, Johnny, Lara, Frazgo, Myke, and all of the above, thanks for commenting!

  9. At $3/gal gas tax, what’s the break-even distance for driving to Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange or Ventura counties to tank up?

    Do the math: Say you have a 12 mpg SUV with a 20-gal. tank.

    Crossing the border saves you $60.

    If (untaxed) gas is about $3.50/gal, that $60 will buy you about 17 gallons of gas. At 12 mpg, 60 bucks worth of gas will take you over 200 miles (round trip).

    There really isn’t any place in urbanized LA County that’s more than about 30, 35 miles from some other county, tops. Most places are within 20 miles or less.

    So you’d only have to spend about $12-18 in additional gas, even with a 12-mpg SUV, to save $60 in taxes. Save $40 or $50 per fill-up just by driving to the OC?

    Do you imagine they won’t?

    (Not that it really matters. Getting legislative or voter approval for a $3.00/gal. county gas tax is an amusing fantasy, but it’ll never happen.)

  10. Many of these suggestions make public transportation worse, sitting next to someone yammering on a phone or eating food on public transport would make people want to avoid using the system.

    The gas tax would be putting a bullet in the head of the LA economy. Businesses would move out of LA so fast to avoid these costs, the tax base would plummet.

    Making using a car more difficult (no phones, increased parking costs, etc.) does not make taking public transport more appealing. All that does is frustrate people.

    Without a significant plan to make public transportation the better way to move around the city, the majority of these ideas are completely flawed and short-sighted. There would be NO public support for these ideas.

    Taking the train to work takes 90 minutes, including 2 shuttles and 2 trains. In my hybrid car, it takes 20 minutes. Put in a better way for me to get to work and I’ll take the public transport everyday.

    You must give people a positive incentive to change behavior. All you offer are negative incentives. The government is the instrument of our will, not a nanny trying to punish us for bad behavior.

  11. Wanna improve public transit in LA? Use it. Use it all the time. Then take your experience and demand better service, extended routes, and more frequency. The MTA will respond to increased ridership coupled with public demands for improvements, like in any other city.

    But unless bus lines reach capacity, and the trains are close to full at all hours, things will never improve. It’s a chicken and egg problem, and it has to start somewhere.

    For some of us, it’s a matter of changing your life: moving near transit for example. For those who can’t do that, at least use it once in a while. Every little bit helps.

  12. LA Mapnerd: Do the math.

    I hereby rename you LA Mathnerd.

    Michael: For years, people have rejected mass transit, only to later wonder why traffic continues to get worse and why better public transportation isn’t available. At some point L.A. will become so unmanageable by cars the business will begin moving elsewhere. Something needs to be done. While your critiques are welcome, you haven’t offered a single “positive incentive,” yet demand “put in a better way for me to get to work and I’ll take the public transport everyday,” as if this will happen without the population getting a kick in the ass or something else significant from happening. Any ideas?

    Bert: Good points, but I strongly believe besides using public transportation we need to also make room on the roads for the buses to actually be a better option than a car.

  13. When I lived in the burbs, the commute to my urban job was 50 minutes or so. The bus ride (if I drove to the bus stop) was 60 minutes or so. I rode the bus occasionally, when my schedule allowed, until the fares were raised.

    Now, I’m in LA, and driving takes 10 minutes, while the bus takes 15 minutes. I’ll take the bus if I have a good parking spot on the street. The time spent parking negates any time saved by driving.

    The thing that would lead more people to bus than drive is simple: keep the fare low, or make it free. Lengthen the schedules, and add more buses on very busy routes. You could pay for this with a mixture of different taxes that change based on the level of congestion.

    Once the fare is at zero for a while, they can deregulate cabs a little and allow private cars to take bus passengers to the “final block” for a small fee. Maybe they could even allow for pedicabs.

    Another thing they could do is do live transit maps on the web/phone and at kiosks.

  14. David: My point about what to do with the cars on the main arteries now is that you can’t demand that people sell their cars, and there’s no other place for them to park.

    Build transpo first, then encourage people to use it. Don’t penalize them for not using what doesn’t exist.

  15. Granted, I have loads of ideas of how to improve public transit, among them for the MTA to re-direct the annual $27 million for the free towing service for private motor vehicles, to working out a plan with the CHP to not be charged for towing buses off the freeway (yes, if the CHP is the first to reach a freeway-stalled MTA bus, they will commandeer it, tow it and charge the city; I have a MTA employee on record stating this), to the elimination of all the subway-based print advertising (of which there has been A LOT lately) that preaches to the choir.

    One positive suggestion I have is to conceive an agreement commensurate with the “guns for money” exchange. If owners of private motor vehicles were offered a year or two of MTA monthly/TAP passes to sell their vehicles (say, all but one as well as the last one for those who are daring)–along with improving the bus system as stated above with respect to the bus-only lanes and express buses–then perhaps therein might lie an alternative to parking one vehicles in the yard.

    And while the food and drink on the buses and trains is a potential problem–I see more of it on the L.A. system than I did in NYC where there are bodegas on the platforms that sell candy, snacks, soft drinks and water–it is nevertheless a concern that can be attenuated. L.A. should adopt the practice, as there is fair money to be made that way too. Why not a drinking car as well? That way, those who do not wish to be bothered can get on any of the other cars. Those who wish to partake pay a two-drink minimum no matter the distance, and it will go to having a bouncer (NOT a cop) on board to handle those who need to get out at the next stop. Yes, a party car will not only pay for itself handsomely but eliminate the need for all that dreadfully incompetent advertising. (That seems as if it were created by an agency still stuck in 1964; the attempt to be retro fails horribly with the current speech bubble campaign.)

  16. The buslines are filled to capacity. The 10, the 14 (and the MTA is having a hearing about proposing cutting the service for the 10 and 14 after the 11pm, there is virtually no way out of or are two downtown LA, except the two and four what the heck is that? so they are going to make it so you just can get out using the red line if it does start running, that’s real smart f**king SMART!!!) the 37, 90, the 210 but the problem is the wrong people take it…hold the MTA accountable for the classist policies. I would say racist, but I know how saying people are racist hurts everyones head and makes them feel uncomfortable, so classist.

    Out of consideration for the hipster here, I will be PC and refrain from using the R word.

    MTA is a bunch of classist, stupid, b**tards. I’m sick of standing room only busses that run once an hour. People need public transport that works NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!

    Call Roger Snoble out on a daily basis on his incompetence. The MTA is run by people, stupid people, those stupid people have names, say them regularly so their ears will burn and maybe the will learn to listen.

    Browne

  17. “You must give people a positive incentive to change behavior. All you offer are negative incentives. The government is the instrument of our will, not a nanny trying to punish us for bad behavior.”

    I believe the only way to fix things, which is nearly impossible, is to change the hearts and minds of the people. We have to realize that the car culture is NOT sustainable. It panders and enables our laziness, our wanton desire for consuming beyond our needs, and our hidden hate for all other humans. It will continue to destroy our environment, both the natural and the built. Hybrids and electric cars are just cop outs, nothing more. They are there to make rich liberals and car companies feel good.

    We must realize that our desire to get from exactly here to exactly there with as little work as possible, no matter if it’s 2 blocks away or 500 miles away, has had massive negative outcomes. The car has been around but 100 years and yet it has changed the fundamental way we live our lives. No longer are we conservative. No longer do we save. Our cities are meaningless. It has enabled consumerism, sprawl, and death.

    We willfully accept over 48,000 premature deaths a year the hand of the car. Car accidents are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 34. Where else is that kind of death toll acceptable? We should be having 5k runs to stop the car culture. We should be wearing ribbons for those who have died in car accidents. You want to save the children? Forget about gun control. Guns result in the 7,000 deaths for people 1-24. Cars kill nearly twice that many – 13,000.

    But cars a necessary, right? We have to take the negatives because we can’t live without them. No, of course not. We are addicted to what the car offers. Humans survived just fine without cars, and we can do it even better now. But, like a cigarette smoker who knows the cancer sticks will kill him but keeps lighting up anyway, the temporal pleasure brought on by the convenience of the car, along with the environment that has been shaped to encourage (maybe even enforce) car usage, it is very difficult to quit.

    Just like the war on drugs, government force is unlikely to have much of an impact on the addicted. Only you can. It’s time for interventions locally, nationally, and globally. Inform your friends that they are killing themselves. Get the information out there. It is possible to change the car culture, but it starts with you. Are you going to wait for someone else to fix the problem, or are you going to kick the habit, beat the withdrawal symptoms, and lead a better, healthier, more sustainable, more conservative life?

  18. “We have to realize that the car culture is NOT sustainable. It panders and enables our laziness, our wanton desire for consuming beyond our needs, and our hidden hate for all other humans.” Fred

    Yes, exactly. I got in a car with my friend the other day and I was like, “this is insane.” We were stuck on the freeway and I was telling her we could have just got on the gold line and rode our bikes and we could have been at our location. I’m never going to own a car again. After you get rid of it, while the public transport is a pain, its still better than driving. You meet neat people, you get to actually see and feel people. It’s weird. Everyone has got to go without a car for a month, just to see what it’s like.

    Oh and instead of yelling at your significant other you can just yell at Roger Snoble the CEO of the MTA, because he’s a bastard.

    My sister is mentally delayed and she lives independently (with some help) and I’m so very proud of her. The bus is the only way she can get around. The way the bus runs just makes me so angry, it doesn’t have to run the way it does. When she tells me she has to wait two hours for a public bus in the hot sun it makes me very upset. That shouldn’t happen. And she’s like, “It’s ok.” And you know it’s not ok. It is not ok.

    Browne

  19. A lot of interesting reads.

    A gas tax for transportation funding needs to be statewide. That will stop a flee out of a given city and businesses will find a way to work it out as some 20M in the states is still a huge marget. By city or county it would fail for the reasons pointed out.

    I have to disagree with Browne on the car culture is not sustainable. To a point you are correct, the personal auto as we know it and power it now isn’t. BUT take a look at what is coming our way in terms of alternative fuel sources, hydrogen from non-fossil fuel sources has great promise. Toyota showed it is possible to run a hybrid fuel cell and show cased the technology at the LA Autoshow this fall. Very promising stuff that could well carry us past the finite fossil fuel sources available worldwide.

    We do need mass transit. We need one that goes where the work force goes. Doing that will make it a viable alternative for people. The current hopscotch methods so far don’t hit enough commuters to make it a viable alternative. Rather than politicians and municipal PACS creating a gerrymander we need some serious metro wide, not downtown LA centric plans in place.

    My two shiny bits. Now I am going for a walk and enjoy the sunshine.

  20. “I have to disagree with Browne on the car culture is not sustainable.” Frazgo

    That was me agreeing with Fred of MetroriderLA, he said it first, though I do agree with him.

    Browne

  21. Some great ideas here and lots to think about. I’ll be happy to call Roger Snoble, if he’s really the guy to call. (If anyone has contact info for people who can make a difference, please post it.) Here’s a little anecdote I’d like to share with them: Yesterday, I took the Gold Line down to Chinatown for the parade. It was pretty normal capacity going down at 11 a.m. but near riot levels trying to get back. There were security people blocking the stairs up to the platform, only allowing about 50 at a time to go up. Why? Because the dinky little platform can’t hold more than a few hundred, tops and the trains were only running three and four cars. The people being held downstairs were interesting to watch. It was clear that some were not used to public transit or–waiting in line for that matter–and tried to bully to guards into letting them up. One woman actually pushed her way past and bolted up the stairs. Quite dramatic. And all rather silly. Once my group was allowed upstairs, we waited for about 15 minutes, then our train showed up–with three cars. I swear the monorail at Disneyland holds more people. What a mess. I’m sure there were many first timers who happily returned to their cars after this lame experience.

  22. “I have to disagree with Browne on the car culture is not sustainable. To a point you are correct, the personal auto as we know it and power it now isn’t. BUT take a look at what is coming our way in terms of alternative fuel sources, hydrogen from non-fossil fuel sources has great promise. Toyota showed it is possible to run a hybrid fuel cell and show cased the technology at the LA Autoshow this fall. Very promising stuff that could well carry us past the finite fossil fuel sources available worldwide.”

    It’s more than just the fuel to power the vehicles. Before a car has been driven a single mile the environmental damage of its creation is the equivalent of driving it 35,000 miles. What happens to cars when they can’t be driven anymore? What about all those rubber tires cars go through? What about the run-off into our oceans for the concrete roads that cars must have to move? In the book “Asphalt Nation” authour Jane Holtz Kay even shows how the salting roads in the North East during winter reeks havoc on the environment. “Greensumption” is not the answer, conservation is. Car culture is a culture of consumption. As long ans the car culture is king, so is wanton consumption. The population is growing, not dwindling. This is why even though our cars are built safer than ever now, the number of deaths caused by cars remains the same. Building better cars will only have a negligible effect on the damage cars cause because the changes won’t keep up with the increased consumption.

    Space is another aspect of sustainability that you neglect. Each car requires a massive amount of space. A pedestrian requires 5 square feet of space when still ,and 10 when in motion. A single car requires 300 square feet when parked, and 3000 when going 30mph. Have everyone drive a car, you can do the math to figure out how much concrete is required. And of course a car usually wants more than one parking space.

  23. Roger Snoble is the CEO of the MTA, I’m pretty sure he’s the guy to call.

    Mailing Address
    Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
    One Gateway Plaza
    Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952

    Directions to Metro Headquarters Building (PDF format, 309 KB)

    Phone Contacts
    Metro Information 1.800.COMMUTE
    Wheelchair Lift Hotline 1.800.621.7828
    Hearing-Impaired Hotline 1.800.252.9040 (TDD)
    Lost and Found 323.937.8920

    Better to go down there, good luck calling. They just put you on hold. I was on hold for two hours. No joke, two hours.

    http://www.metro.net, tells you all you want to know.

    Customer service 213-464-2111 you won’t find that on the website very easily though, oh also don’t call them while on the bus, because they won’t be allowed to talk to you, they claim for safety reasons….

    In general though I’ve never known a person to call to make a difference.

    Browne

  24. Browne said “In general though I’ve never known a person to call to make a difference.”

    That’s the spirit!

  25. Thanks for the contact numbers.

    Lou, I think what Brown meant was he’s never known any of the people he’s called to make a difference, not that people calling in don’t make a difference. I think…

  26. I’m going to be positive and not flame Lou and assumed he was saying it was good that I know that this isn’t the freakin superfriends and if you need help the superfriends isn’t going to use their super powers to come save you and that’s a smart way to think. I’m thinking that’s what Lou meant, right Lou?

    I sort of thought in America that this country was supposed to be run by the people, that’s the theory, but hey if this turned into “please help me wipe my tooshie” land, someone forgot to send me the memo.

    If you didn’t mean that Lou please share with us your “make a difference” phone list, because that would be rad if it existed.

    Browne

  27. All this advertising on the train to get people to take the train… all this propagandizing against car culture…

    The most effective way to increase use of transit is to make it an extremely good value. Lower the price, increase the number of buses, and subsidize it by taxing other traffic. If possible, make the bus free.

    Buses are never as great as the ads make them out to be. They get hot, sometimes smell, and get crowded. This matters to some people, but not all people. Why bother trying to appeal to the overly-sensitive, when there are thousands of others who will tolerate these inevitable problems, if you just give them a good deal?

    Back when fuel prices went up, and day passes were $3, the cost of driving round-trip from the San Gabriel Valley to Downtown by car exceeded the cost of the day pass, and far exceeded the cost of the monthly pass. If the MTA had managed to find a subsidy to maintain this for a couple years, drivers would have shifted to using the bus, and it would have had a far greater impact on transit use than any number of advocacy ads.

  28. While I love the commie b**stard idea of free busses (deep down I’m a dirty hippie, but I know that it’s just a dream, the reality would be just kind of dirty and nag champa smelling), we can’t do that. This is LA, this is a capitalist state, country…. What we need to do is make METRO run like a business.

    The busses can make money. Force them to cut, cut, cut and make the busses run and then if they make us angry and unhappy the people who ride the busses can boycott them.

    We can’t even boycott the busses now, because they are not inspired by our money, they are on gov’t welfare.

    Encourage competition, this owned by one person silliness does not work. I bet if the MTA had competition, righteous competition it would work ALOT better.

    The way it’s set up now rewards the MTA for bad behavior, it rewards them for mismanagement. It encourages them to spend large amounts of money on things that don’t work, that they don’t finish, so they can ask for more money the next year.

    “We didn’t finish that project, cause we need more money,” morons at the MTA.

    Cut this rail crap out. Make the busses profitable and then use the profit to add rails if you can and to make it work the way the people who pay for it want it to work.

    If the people own the bus the MTA will have to answer to the people and not their f***ing friends.

    You get what you pay for.

    Browne

  29. The most effective way to increase use of transit is to make it an extremely good value. Lower the price, increase the number of buses, and subsidize it by taxing other traffic. If possible, make the bus free.

    That’s simply not true. Transit is already heavily subsidized. It’s not the $1.25 that’s keeping people in their cars. If you made all public transit in L.A. free tomorrow, the amount of people leaving their cars for the buses would be negligible.

    The fact is, many years ago the federal government chose the automobile as the de facto mode of transportation for this country. They subsidized the car culture putting the private mass transit industry out of business for good. It’s going to be very hard for mass transit to ever be a free market industry again. There’s just too much subsidized auto infrastructure for any unsubsidized transit to compete. It’s hard to compete with nearly 4 million miles of subsidized auto roadway infrastructure.

    Transit has been relegated to welfare, both for the riders and the agencies. Like Browne said, there is no reason for Metro to care because they are not living off the money of their customers, they are living off the subsidy. But I have to disagree with Browne when she says “cut this rail crap out”. It’s my belief that the only chance transit has to go from being mobility welfare to a viable alternative to the car culture is is rail. Buses are a last ditch effort, they are a paltry hand out not only because they are bumpy, loud, uncomfortable, and easily crowded, but most importantly, because they ride in the same traffic as cars with the added additions that they make frequent stops and don’t go exactly where you want to go. So they offer no competitive advantage over cars. This is why buses could be free and car drivers wouldn’t care. Rail offers added value. It is a true alternative that can elevate transit to a true mobility option for everyone.

    As long as transit is seen as nothing more than welfare, it will continue to be ghettoized and the poor who ride it will suffer and the city at large will suffer.

  30. What METRO needs to do is give Fred and Browne jobs, good paying ones and we can tell them how to make money.

    Then of course becoming part of the problem by working for the problem seems to never work out, sort of like that movie Serpico.

    Browne

  31. What METRO needs to do is give Fred and Browne jobs, good paying ones and we can tell them how to make money.

    :)

    I do agree with your criticisms of Metro. I often sit back and wonder “what the hell were they thinking?” because things that seem so basic seem to be neglected. At the same time, as you noted earlier, I think Metro is in a difficult position because it essentially has to beg and get permission for funding, making it an inherently political and potentially slimey business where favors must be given and tough choices have to be made.

  32. Make Wilshire Blvd from Santa Monica to Downtown morning 6am tp 10am and Evening 3pm to 7pm, Buses and bike use only….that could be our new subway….

  33. “The most effective way to increase use of transit is to make it an extremely good value. Lower the price, increase the number of buses, and subsidize it by taxing other traffic. If possible, make the bus free.”

    Um, it pretty much IS free. Transport in this city starts at .25 -> you know, that change that sits at the bottom of your purse or gets relegated to the laundry fund. It IS good value already.

    If we are really going to compare good value for money, let’s talk about the cost of taking one Metro Rapid bus versus filling your car with one gallon of gas. $1.25 versus the $3.19 you pay at Chevron. How about extortionately expensive car repairs? Insurance? How much per month do you spend parking meters and valet? Car washes? A metro EZ pass costs something like $62/month. If we are talking balls-out cost, well, your car just lost the game.

    Like mentioned by others, cost is not going to get anyone out of their cars. Frequency and increasing of transport options will help. Maybe even education about carbon footprints and climate change will help. The lawmakers giving the people of this city a benefit of the doubt will definitely help.

  34. David, your best post on MetroBlogging. Huzzah! This rules and I’m glad to see so much discussion about our transportation problem.

    Lara is right; it is pretty inexpensive to take the Metro. However, if you don’t live and work near Metro Subway stations or one of the few lines on major streets that has frequent service, taking the bus is just flat out annoying. Hence why I commute by bicycle. (Also why I wholeheartedly support #1.)

  35. The main problem with public transit in LA is the time it takes to get from point A to point B. 95% of the trips in LA are significantly faster to drive. Ridership simply will not increase until it takes less time to ride the Metro than it does to drive. $$ aside, its about the time.

    The main reason for the long amount of travel time is the Metro system rarely gets you to your destination without having to change trains/busses several times or walk an unmanageable distance.

    What can be done? Increase the number of express busses and trains. Build the Subway to the Sea. Put cheap hourly rental cars at all the main train stops. Put parking ramps at all the main train stops. Then you can drive your car to the closest train stop and park it, take the train to the other side of the city, then rent an hourly car to drive to your final destination.

  36. #8 is the best idea anyone’s had in years. Free wifi on trains and maybe even buses would be huge, though people wouldn’t have much use for it during peak hours when it gets crowded.

    #6 is a disastrous idea. Allowing food and beverages will mean every train and bus will have sticky floors and smell awful within a week.

  37. I would like to add a suggestion that is rarely talked about.

    #11 Create incentives for people to live close to where they work.

    If half the people that work in LA lived within say 15-20 min of their work, then our roads and buses would move much quicker. They might even opt to take a bus or train. Not everyone needs to live in a 5 bedroom house in the burbs. As for the people that can’t afford to live near their work. Tax breaks or other incentives can be created to make it affordable. We would end up saving money in the long run as we don’t have to maintain the roads as much and we get the tax dollars instead of the IE. We must bring people closer to where they work and get them off the roads! There are serious quality of life issues when you spend 4 hours in a car polluting the earth and giving everyone’s children asthma.

    rant over…thank you.

  38. I would like to add a suggestion that is rarely talked about.

    #11 Create incentives for people to live close to where they work.

    If half the people that work in LA lived within say 15-20 min of their work, then our roads and buses would move much quicker. They might even opt to take a bus or train. Not everyone needs to live in a 5 bedroom house in the burbs. As for the people that can’t afford to live near their work. Tax breaks or other incentives can be created to make it affordable. We would end up saving money in the long run as we don’t have to maintain the roads as much and we get the tax dollars instead of the IE. We must bring people closer to where they work and get them off the roads! There are serious quality of life issues when you spend 4 hours in a car polluting the earth and giving everyone’s children asthma.

    rant over…thank you.

  39. I would like to add a suggestion that is rarely talked about.

    #11 Create incentives for people to live close to where they work.

    If half the people that work in LA lived within say 15-20 min of their work, then our roads and buses would move much quicker. They might even opt to take a bus or train. Not everyone needs to live in a 5 bedroom house in the burbs. As for the people that can’t afford to live near their work. Tax breaks or other incentives can be created to make it affordable. We would end up saving money in the long run as we don’t have to maintain the roads as much and we get the tax dollars instead of the IE. We must bring people closer to where they work and get them off the roads! There are serious quality of life issues when you spend 4 hours in a car polluting the earth and giving everyone’s children asthma.

    rant over…thank you.

  40. Most of my comments have already been made over at MetroRiderLA, so I won’t take up space repeating them here (you can read them at http://metroriderla.com/2008/02/12/10-more-ways-to-improve-las-public-transportation-system/#comment-294390 if you like).

    I would like to add a comment, though, on escalators. You can add all the signs you want, but until you find a way to get people to stop taking strollers and bicycles on them, you’re not going to get anywhere with posting “stand to the right” signs. (Metro can’t even get people to keep strollers and bikes out of the aisles in the trains …)

    Oh, and a comment specifically for Browne, if I may: Some of your posts show a lack of understanding about how these things work (Fred having to correct you about public funds subsidizing transit, for instance). When you call for people to call Roger Snoble daily about this, I can tell you that the only impact you will have is increasing his perception that most people don’t know what they are talking about. Which means you’ll get to leave messages for him every day that will get ignored. If you are going to advocate for positive change, you must be speaking from a credible, knowledgeable position, or you will get nowhere.

  41. 1) People live too far away from the their jobs. People need to move closer to their jobs instead of having 50 mile commutes. Then public transportation will be more useful to more people.

    2) Freeways should be “ALL CARPOOL” during rush hours, excepting buses and trucks. This would not require building any lanes, just putting up signs. Cost would be minimal.

  42. Just toll the 5 through Los Angeles County. Use of Interstate 5 is inescapable by motorists at one point or another during the month, if not every day. Use the revenues – considerable – to do capital construction on rail systems and/or eliminate MTA fares. Tolling (taxing the use of) the region’s backbone penalizes the poor the least.

    The other thought is to prohibit the rollback of gasoline prices. If gas prices spike to $3.50, they don’t go back down at the pump. The difference between production costs and pump costs go to the same funds as above. There’s less incentive for corporations to shut down refineries at peak periods if there’s no benefit from keeping prices high because they claim there’s a shortage. There’s also no surprise as to gas costs, either – they become fixed and easy to budget for.

  43. Tolls won’t help much. What will happen is they become the expressway for the wealthy while the poor who can’t affort take side streets and freeroads to get where they are going.

    Take a look at the OC Toll roads, you don’t see many with pool cleaning equipment or lawnmowers loaded in their beds.

  44. Kym,

    “Oh, and a comment specifically for Browne, if I may: Some of your posts show a lack of understanding about how these things work…” Kym

    Blah, blah, blah I know exactly how things work. This is a blog that I comment on, not a school paper. Now go to my blog and tell me my facts are wrong on that blog. I doubt you will be able to, because on my posts on my blog I’m right on.

    I’m not in anyone’s pocket. How about you Kym?

    I have don’t have an organization to push or an agenda, my only agenda is that public transportation in LA needs to be fixed, FOR EVERYONE, not just the people in the burbs.

    Why don’t you take your award from the MTA and cheerlead somewhere else.

    If the MTA handed me anything I would use it to wipe my a**.

    Browne

  45. I do think these are all great ideas. My only concern is with #10. It would be a great idea to make the parking lanes bus/bike only lanes. However I wouldn’t want to be a pedestrian with no buffer between me and the moving cars and busses.

    Parked cars are a great buffer but if we remove them then I would like to suggest that all sidewalks on main roads should have lots of trees and some nice street furniture to make it safe to walk.

    I would also like to add that we need lots of bike racks.

    And also time schedule and way-finder at every bus stop and down on the metro platforms!

    And one more thing: covered benches at bus stops and more benches for people to sit on on the metro platforms (right now people are sitting on the stairs, which is an escape route, and on the floor.)

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