Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Good Transit

Longtime readers know that on principle I generally object to the waste and abuse that characterizes transit in the US. Thus it should come as a surprise to not only hear mild praise but mild praise for that poster child of bad government; the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency (LAMTA). This has been in the planning stages for several years because the MTA has been resisting success at least as effectively as somebody we know. Nonetheless more Metrorapid bus lines are coming. Rapid buses are plain old buses except they run limited stops and go places people go.

From the LA Times article:

Transit officials plan to launch eight new Metro Rapid bus lines running throughout Los Angeles County, touted as the centerpiece of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's $3.1-billion budget proposal released Monday.

With five lines starting later this month and the eight proposed, the Metro Rapid system will grow from 15 lines today to 28 by June 2008.

"Metro Rapid has become the hallmark of our service expansion," said Marc Littman, an MTA spokesman. "People from around the world have come to study it. We didn't invent it though, but introduced it in the U.S. after seeing it successfully work in Brazil."

Service on the Metro Rapid Program, implemented in June 2000, is 25% faster than regular service because the buses make fewer stops and run every three to 10 minutes during peak travel times, the MTA says. Also, the Rapid buses have equipment that extends green lights or changes red lights 10 seconds faster.

By June 2008, 500 Metro Rapid buses, up from 359, will serve 28 transit corridors covering 420 route miles and 35 cities throughout the county. Metro Rapid's most popular route, Line 720 on Wilshire Boulevard, had 46,000 riders in the month of April, and Line 754 on Vermont Avenue had 25,000 riders, the MTA reported.
Even Metro Rapid is no great shakes as transportation but in the world of transit it is a standout performer.


Mr First said...

Looks like a good idea to me.

Anonymous said...

The Original MOIST!?

Man Its dead around here now....


FF&M too?

Rob Dawg said...

Not dead, just back to normal. We've also been doing a little desk clearing with technical topics that take a little more thought. People are here and presumably reading rather than ranting. Not to worry, there's plenty of rant material coming.

Mr Fourth said...

Rob, I like the style of your latest posts. I'm mostly a lurker, but I think you are finding a good mix of intelligent vs hyperactive rantable posts.

Thanks for the blog.

R-Boy said...


We have something called the Circultor here that does something similiar. Basically they created it to go to all the tourist romps so that the tourists are off the main bus lines for the regular J-O-B commuters. We also have Express buses that do the same thing (they're more expensive, but they make very few stops)

Peripheral Visionary said...

There's an invisible tension in the development of bus schedules between the various constituencies; namely, the car-less (including the poor as well as the tourists) and the commuters.

Traditionally, it's been considerations for the car-less that have won out, as local government officials (pandering shamelessly to working class and poverty class constituents) have been generous in the allocation of bus routes through impoverished areas, with little thought for providing services for middle-class workers. The result is a lot of half-empty buses covering the bad side of town to the very block, with a small number of extremely crowded buses serving a random selection of stops on the commuting route.

Public transit has been figuring out, although VERY slowly, that people are willing to take the bus to work and back, but need the buses to run commuting routes during commuting hours. They're even finding out--heaven forbid--that some of those routes actually break a profit. I'm all for public transportation for the car-less, but if one of the goals is getting cars off the overcrowded highways, then they need more buses serving the suburbs-to-downtown-and-back commute.

Jake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The LA system is great (for the most part.) I've been using the MTA for about two years since I got rid of my old clunker of a car and I hardly miss it. There are very few places I really want to go that aren't easily accessible with the MTA. The subway is terrific, very clean and safe, although very limited in geographic reach (mostly downtown and Hollywood.) The new Orange line in the Valley is another good idea -- technically a bus, but it runs in its own dedicated "channel" (walled-off roadway) like a train. If I need to go out of town a few times a year, I rent a car. Bad news is the MTA just raised fares, a monthly pass has been raised to $62 and will go up to $75 in 2009.

Peter McFerrin said...

As of last year (I'm not sure about its current stance), the BRU opposed Rapid because MTA usually reduces regular-stop service on corridors now served by Rapid. A guy on Bottleneck Blog says that BRU proselyters are now getting on the #720 Wilshire Rapid, though, so maybe that's changed.

MTA should restructure most of its routes so that there is a minimum of 1500 feet between each stop. On those times when I have the misfortune of getting on the #33 Venice Local instead of the #333 Venice Limited, I often see people getting on and riding for two stops, a distance of maybe 2000 feet. Even a child on a tricycle can cover that distance in less time than it takes a local bus.