Metro Moving Ahead with Bus Expansion
Despite the elimination of transit subsidies from our Greenhouse-Gas-Battling Governor and the Democratically controlled state legislature, Metro is pushing forward with plans to expand and improve bus service thanks to increased funding from Measure R. A report to the Metro Board’s Measure R committee shows that just because the state has bowed out of the transit funding game, all is not lost for those who supported Measure R because they wanted better bus service.
While specific plans aren’t yet available, you can get an idea from both the report and the handout to the committee what Metro’s priorities are. For example, they aren’t saying, "increasing number of buses at rush hour for the 704 line" but are saying, "Wilshire Blvd. to address existing crowding." Metro is expressing these priorities for the 20% of Measure R that is going towards bus service:
Clean Fuel Bus Purchases
Added Fare Freezes or Reductions
Added Bus Lines
More Frequent Service
Longer Hours of Operation
Restructured Bus Lines
Not sure how Metro is going to both freeze or reduce fares and meet the stated goal of their draft Long Range Plan to have their farebox recovery ratio rise to 33% by 2010, but other than that these look like the kind of changes people expected when they voted for Measure R.
Meanwhile, the picture is less rosy for other municipal operators. Thirteen of the sixteen local transit operators are going to use all or part of their Measure R subsidy to "replace lost funding" including Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus and the City of Los Angeles’ DASH service.