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A question on buses and trains…

3:15 PM PDT on October 19, 2007

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 andthe Westside are woefully undeserved by public transit. When will thedowntown-centric focus of transit routing be revised to reflect the multi-corereality of the Los Angeles area?

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

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