Saturday, April 3, 2010

Letting Off Steam

This might not make sense to some of you, but it will make sense to others. Trust me, if you don't have a car and at times rely on public transportation in the Valley north of Ventura Blvd you'll understand what I'm venting about.

Metro is generally great when it comes to the Orange, Red/Purple, Blue, Green and Gold lines, but it's a constant fight when it comes to local buses. I try to avoid them at all costs, finding that my legs and bicycle are far more reliable at times. Still, when it's the only option, it's the only option. Sometimes I'm surprised at having a stress-free ride, but the only time that happens is when I'm not pressed for time. I often (daily) wonder how Los Angeles and its surrounding cities can call itself a city and still have at times a crappy execution of service. I'm venting, and since I'll be on a roll I'm throwing in some non-MTA material as well...

1. Connecting buses and their operators - if you see a bus has stopped at a red light and you have stopped at the connecting bus stop, why not wait a minute or two for the first bus to potentially let passengers off so they can cross the street to get on your bus instead of having to wait another 40 minutes?

2. Very happy to see the prominently placed bike lane on Reseda Blvd; bravo. Now, why does the 741 Rapid not operate on Saturday/Sunday? There are a million people looking to get somewhere every day of the week, not just Monday through Friday. While I understand the underlying logic, I don't understand the lack of availability. Sure, the 240 is operating, but not often enough. (This sentiment also applies to some lines stopping service just before 9:00 pm during the week.)

3. North/South buses tend to run very few and far between - not just on the weekends, but during the week. In fact, during the weekend I just pretend they don't exist. I am extremely thankful that where I generally need to go requires an East/West bus (whether heading to Hollywood or Woodland Hills), but good grief, man.

4. I find it a little ironic that the area bordering Warner Center Transit Hub has the most ill-paved streets and sidewalks. It is a deadly feat to bicycle on Canoga Ave between Owensmouth and Oxnard, and to be honest it is a real shame. It is literally right around the corner from the Hub. Also, the "I've a Lexus; hear me roar" mentality in the vicinity of Topanga Canyon Blvd/Victory is just... I don't know. You couldn't pay me to bicycle on Topanga. I'd be asking to die.

5. And finally, the problem of congestion. No one likes to ride in a bus that jam-packs patrons like sardines, but when you have to be somewhere, there's little to no choice. People have to be places; they're going to be pissed if they have to wait for the next bus. I remember one summer afternoon heading home from work at about 2:00 pm and the bus was already filled to capacity. The operator had to drive past a stop crawling with people; it was so sad. This bus in particular was running every 30 minutes that day - is that hint enough that there should be a touch more frequency? I mean, just a touch?

These are pretty much rhetorical questions, but if anyone would like to answer/discuss/vent, please do. I normally don't complain about Valley public transportation, because when it's good, it's exceptional. But when it's bad, it sucks like you wouldn't believe.


  1. The bus system in LA needs more money.

  2. Maybe I'm confused, but was that the goal of raising pass prices, the more notable at the time being the day pass from $3 to $5?

    I really need to dissect this when I have a little more time. Have you taken a gander before?