Metro Board Chair Pam O'Conner, in addition to her live online chats, also uses the Metro website to respond directly and publicly to other questions she receives. Just for communicating directly with her consumers she deserves a gold star. Some of the answers in her most recent post are pretty interesting in and of themselves. For example:
Metro is actively seeking ways that we can better price the use of the transportation infrastructure to make it operate more efficiently. In addition, revenues generated by pricing options would be applied to more public transit and road projects. One method is through congestion pricing which also reduces congestion by giving commuters and others an economic incentive to share a ride. Look for some pilot projects to be implemented within about two years. It is a different approach, but our traffic congestion and mobility needs for the new century are going to require new thinking….thinking about “new mobility.”
Did she just say Metro is looking at some "congestion pricing" type pilot programs? That would certainly be a different approach, and one that would be very welcome from where I sit.
Secondly, in response to a question about a parking structure near NBC Studios, she added:
(Though, frankly, I personally think that parking needs to be priced; right now people are not paying the real price of driving alone. However, I’m not speaking for the Metro Board here.)
Congestion pricing and parking pricing. Sounds like there's a lot of interesting ideas floating around Metro besides new light rail projects.
But all that being said, there's two questions I'd like answered:
1) Word is slowly leaking out that Metro will no longer subsidize transfers between their buses and LADOT buses starting in the new year. Given that this is a de-facto fare hike for thousands of commuters to the downtown, commuters choosing transit over the most congested part of the road network; shouldn't Metro be doing what it can to support these commuters and continue subsidizing this transfer? Metro officials said that ending the subsidy was part of the TAP card roll out plan, but so far there isn't a firm date on when the new card will be available nor when LADOT vehicles will accept TAP cards.
2) Recently, New York Governor Elliot Spitzer stepped in to greatly reduce a planned fare hike for New York City's MTA. Given the silence of state officials when Foothill Transit went through its recent fare increase hearing process, do you believe that Governor Schwarzenegger will act to spare Metro riders from any fare increase over the next couple of years?