Monday, March 21, 2011

Go Metro, Go Home (Maybe)

Metro Los Angeles has a new phone number that replaced its former number back in December last year. This isn't breaking news, but is still good to know, especially if you have called the number before:

Due to state budget constraints and the recent emergence of the 511 phone number, which provides similar access, Caltrans opted to discontinue the 1.800.COMMUTE number. The cost of operating 1.800.COMMUTE is approximately $800,000 annually. Metro's cost for maintaining the 323.GO.METRO number is estimated at $12,000 annually.

This is also probably why the operating hours of the number (new or old) is and has been and will continue to be from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday for the foreseeable future. Due to state budget constraints, providing salary for someone to provide timetable information during the actual hours of operation is not a workable option at this time.

All right, so I'm being a little snarky. The phone line is definitely a benefit, and it makes complete sense to have its hours of operation coincide with Metro's peak hours of service. But, truth be told, there are more instances than not when a WI-FI hotspot, or even a smart phone/mobile device or whatever else isn't available with which to access for inquiries and trip planning, much less a paper timetable. It would just be cool, and yes, convenient to have a means of information when you've missed a bus or experience some other unanticipated situation.

But Metro isn't always about convenience. (Now I'm not being snarky, I swear. I'm straight-faced.) On a related note,, its signs and flyers notifying of the number change don't even mention hours of service. I think it's important to know such things.

Just imagine how frustrating it would be to call on a Sunday at 4:32 pm only to find out you've missed operating hours by two minutes, and essentially go find a book or if you're lucky an LA Weekly because you'll be waiting for the bus with no indication of when the next one will be arriving, let alone if it'll take you in the right direction - sorry, but not really; tough noogies; you're SOL, my fellow Angeleno; better luck next time. Why don't you just get a car?

But perhaps that's just me.

1 comment:

  1. It's not just you, Lindsey. This is what is happening to public services, which of course are so critical for getting to and from work, school, doctors appointments for many, many people. But for some reason, the thinking all over the country seems to be the focus is on cutting taxes at the expense of needed service rather than raising revenues to maintain services.