Friday, October 21, 2005

Daily News and the Orange Line

My paper, the Los Angeles Daily News, is doing a pretty good job of covering the Metro Orange Line, offering a daily countdown -- "8 days to the Orange Line," says today's logo.

Go here for all the stories.

Today's story is all about the motorists failing to stop for the new traffic lights on the busway. The ticket is $350. Ouch. And in a previous story, Lisa Mascaro writes about resistance to using the Orange Line, with quotes like this:

"Why would anybody with a car want to take that, even with the cost of gasoline?" said John Nakahama, a retired architect in West Hills.

"I won't do it myself. I'm not even curious to try that. It's a bus."

Lisa also reports that estimates of only 5,000 to 7,000 riders per day are way too low, possibly to make it look that much better if/when they exceed expectations:

"I think the 5,000 number is really low-ball," said Professor James E. Moore of the University of Southern California's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. "They'll have absolutely no trouble beating that 5,000-passenger-per-day figure."

Moore hesitated to make his own ridership projection for the busway, Line 901, without doing formal computer modeling, but expects much higher numbers.

"Don't be surprised if it's double that. Don't be surprised if we hit that 20,000 to 25,000 this year, as opposed to 2020."

But there's also skepticism about whether the project is doomed from the get-go:

Veteran bus riders have also had a mixed response. While some look forward to a trip that's faster than current east-west routes, others say the MTA hasn't provided enough connecting buses to make the system effective - especially for those living in the North San Fernando Valley.

"It does nothing for us," said Bart Reed, executive director of The Transit Coalition, an advocacy group for bus riders.

"The amount of money they saved by not providing connecting services marginalizes the Orange Line," he said. "There is a huge amount of shooting yourself in the foot when you're spending one-third of a billion dollars and don't bring in the supporting cast to make it work."

1 comment:

Ilene said...

Only in Los Angeles, the only major city to which I've ever been without major transit lines, could people spend a lot of time whining about taking a desolate, unused railway and converting it into a bus/walk/bikeway. I haven't heard much public whining from the poorer people and those without any alternate transportation who rely entirely on the MTA. Of course, they endure 2 hour commutes, endless waiting and buses that don't come regularly. Since I myself have qualified in this category, I'd like to say on behalf of my fellow monetarily challenged friends and those without vehicles: This is fucking progress. If you don't like it you can get back in your Lexus and fight the 101 like a man.