It seems that whenever our city’s dominant rag scratches it’s newsprinted ass and remembers that it’s been awhile since they’ve last gratuitiously and snidely bagged on the various forms and functions of LA’s sprawling public transportation system, they trot out some eagerbeaving staffer who takes one or more car-versus-bus or car-versus-train trips only to come back and report in a “Behind The Wheel” column that cars rool and everything else drools. In this lameass pit in its newshole the Times has previously slammed on bikes as an alternative commute only a loser or Lance Armstrong could love, and last July it whined about the Gold Line being too freaking stoppy-and-starty. Waaaaah!
Now in today’s edition comes the next volley. Headlined “Lunch in L.A.? Car Beats Train As Meal Ticket,” (crapass registration required), writer Sharon Bernstein and her editors suffer us with something like 40 column inches of her and her family becoming the latest publicly transported guinea pigs sent over from Spring Street. Her radical mission? Do lunch in Pasadena from downtown and later from her home in Studio City. And among the smug results of her investigative treks: a) the sidewalk at the Civic Center Red Line stop smells like peepee, b) the signage at Union Station is markedly poor, and inevitably, c) her car beat anything the MTA could offer. Shocking, t’aint it?
Sigh. Sure, I’m irrationally defensive of this city’s public transportage, but not to the point that I’m blind to its flaws and drawbacks. Still, once and for all I’d like to see the Times drop the axe and stop the grindstone and come to grips with the fact that they and their seemingly all-too-deskbound writers are the only ones in this town who don’t understand that the MTA’s products and services just aren’t built for speed. Hell, convenience isn’t even much of a factor. But you know what? For the vast majority of riders lacking and/or declining the luxury of an automobile, it gets them where they’ve got to go. And the last time I left my truck in the garage and hopped aboard the No. 201 bus at Sunset and Parkman and rolled with it over to Fletcher and Riverside to catch the No. 96 up to work, it took me about an hour and along the way I knocked back 45 pages of the book I was reading. Nice. Try it some time. Or don’t. Just don’t let the Times make that decision for you.