Friday, October 19, 2007

A question on buses and trains...

One of the disadvantages to blogging about regional transportation while not having been an Angelino for too long is that sometimes I don’t know, or haven’t learned, something that is common knowledge to everyone else.

From Wednesday’s Live Chat with Pam O’Connor:

From E-mail: Alex Romano writes: Right now the north San Fernando Valley and
the Westside are woefully undeserved by public transit. When will the
downtown-centric focus of transit routing be revised to reflect the multi-core
reality of the Los Angeles area?

Pam O'Connor: You're right! Los Angeles County has many centers where there
is a high concentration of jobs, residents and activity. Downtown Los Angeles is
the biggest but Warner Center in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica, Long
Beach, Pasadena, Hollywood, Century City and other centers deserve decent
transit, as well. The Expo Light Rail line now under construction to Culver City
and, then onward to Santa Monica, will help ease traffic on the I-10 Freeway and
major surface streets. And a western extension of the subway is also under
serious consideration.

In this instance, we have a person asking about improving transit from the Westside to the Downtown and the answer is that there’s light and maybe heavy rail on the way. My question to all of you, is there some reason that O’Connor didn’t mention more and better bus routing as an option to improve transit?

In my experience it’s much easier and quicker to provide bus routes than any type of rail. Nationally and locally more people commute by bus than by train and the subsidy per bus commuter is much lower. Yet, the only options being discussed here are the most expensive ones (both to build and maintain.) Am I overreacting to an innocuous question and answer session, or is there something going on here I don’t know? Is there some sort of bias against bus service, or was not mentioning bus service an oversight?

2 comments:

Justin said...

There was just a major bus expansion to the west valley, in particular the Warner Center via the Orange Line, which just opened in the last year or so. I suspect there is message fatigue on bus expansion to the West Valley audience.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in the valley for 10 years and am aware of the bus expansion for only 1 reason---I've seen it.

The city did little or maybe nothing to market the bus service to potential riders. A simple office park/mall campaign may have enlightened people that mass transit to and from the Valley was now available.

This is only my opinion, but in cities like New York, Chicago mass transit is a way of life, even visitors use it as it is well known. LA has been without mass transit for so long that adding it without making a HUGE deal about it means that people just continue to do what they have always done.