San Fernando Valley Service Cuts Hearing Report

Francisca Sanchez didn’t testify but made her opinion known.

More than 60 people showed up to ask Metro to cancel or modify some of their proposed service cuts in San Fernando Valley earlier this evening (Wednesday). What wasn’t surprising was that so many members of the public came out on a Christian religious holiday, but that the members of the Service Sector Board (more on that tomorrow) seemed as aghast at the proposed cuts as the general public was.

Service cuts hearings are a rare time when the transit activist groups can all agree. A representative from the BRU wondered what happened to the promise that last year’s fare increase while the Transit Coalition raged that proposed cuts are "destroying the bus network." A representative for SO.CA.TA also spoke against some of the cuts, but I he was speaking so fast (to try and get his comments within the limit) and was speaking on so many different lines that I had trouble following him.

It wasn’t just the usual suspects blasting Metro’s plans. Advocates for the disabled, the elderly, college students at L.A. Mission College (who would lose the only transit line to their campus) and a representative for Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes all testified against parts or all of the planned cuts. There was even a cameo appearance from a representative for LADOT who called the proposal "premature" and noted the plan would "inconvenience a lot of people."

There were plenty of members of the riding public who weren’t there to move an agenda, but to plead for the lines that connect them from where they live to where they work, shop, worship, eat and play.

Sean Ewell Murphy, speaking on behalf of his wife, noted that cutting Line 224 would lead to his wife having to walk over a mile just to reach the bus stop and warned the board that "you would disenfranchise her from riding the bus." Bus rider Chuck Erickson noted that he rode line 154 to the hearing and "It didn’t seem empty to me." The 154 is one of the routes that may be eliminated.

Some of the commentors noted that previous cuts had left service so poor on lines that it isn’t a surprise that people are abandoning the lines. Others noted that some of the routes due to be cut are heading toward major trip generators in the future. For example, NBC Studios is moving many of its operations to Universal Studios who’s line from San Fernando is being cut.

The most popular lines that are facing the ax are the 154 and 155 out of Burbank Station, 168 (connecting San Fernando to Chatsworth) and the 634 (which is the aforementioned connection to L.A. Mission College.) While each line will be fought for individually by those that ride it, more than one person testifying that they could think of a way for Metro to trim a lot of the $100 million needed to close its operating deficit.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A Peek Into Metro’s Frequent Bus Network Proposal

|
Metro is currently considering some pretty big bus service changes. Basically Metro is considering a cost-neutral scheme that would eliminate multiple relatively low-performing bus lines and would add more frequent service on a core network. More details below. Overall it looks like a step in a positive direction, though the devil may be in the details. And […]

More Service Cuts Coming Before the End of the Year

|
If I lived on Beverly, cancelling the 714 would make me bitter. Photo: biofriendly/flickr Amidst the discussion of Metro’s impending fare increase previous Streetsblog posting have noted even with additional funds from the state along with the addition fare revenues Metro still has a deficit and plans to close it (in part) with service reductions. […]

Metro Proposes More Cuts to Bus System

|
Earlier this week, Metro announced another set of proposed cuts to its bus system.  Following so soon on the cuts from just last month, Metro CEO Art Leahy took to The Source to defend the changes.  Oddly, rather than defend the good work being done by the bus division at Metro and push for the […]

Metro Proposes More Changes to Bus Routes and Schedules

|
One year ago, during Metro’s bi-annual revision of its bus schedule, Metro released a schedule of proposed cuts, that was universally panned by pretty much every transit advocate in town, from Bart Reed, to Kymberleigh Richards to Damien Goodmon to the Bus Rider’s Union.  After a nearly universal bad reception, Mayor and Board-Chair-In-Waiting cut a […]

BRU: No Fare Hikes Without Public Process

|
Image of "Times": Strategy Center/Flickr Earlier this morning, the Bus Rider’s Union rallied at the Wilshire/Western Transit Station to urge the Metro Board to not go forward with planned fare hikes for Metro bus and rail services until a full public hearing schedule is announced and executed. In May of 2007, the Metro Board adopted […]

For Metrolink It’s a 6% Fare Hike vs. Major Service Cuts

|
This was one of four cars on an Orange County Line run leaving Los Angeles Union Station to Orange County and Oceanside. It gets busier in Orange County.  Photo and description: LA Wad/Flickr Two weeks ago, I celebrated that the Metrolink Board agreed to "look into other options" rather than raise fares by 6%. Maybe […]