Times Columnist Wants a Regional Transit System, Mayor Agrees

Earlier this week, Streetsblog discussed a piece by Times’ Business Writer David Lazarus on the problems that Metro is facing with its funding.  The piece was almost entirely opinion, and there was very little research besides Lazarus’ gut and experiences in the column.  Despite that, Lazarus helped bring the debate over whether or not Metro should offer transfer passes into the mainstream.

Lazarus’ piece was read by more than just "the usual suspects" in the advocacy community, and thus he found himself sitting across the table for a debate with Deputy Mayor for Transportation Jaime de la Vega for a discussion of ways to grow the agency.  Lazarus quotes the Mayor as sharing Lazarus’ concern that not enough people that ride transit; although he remains mum on whether the Mayor thinks that will solve Metro’s financial crisis.  You can read Lazarus’ ideas after the jump, or read the entire Times column here; but here’s some weekend homework for our transit advocates.  If you could sit down with de la Vega and make suggestions for some quick fixes to make transit more accessible, what would they be?

So Job One: Put someone in charge already. The head of the MTA seems
the most likely choice, but perhaps other system operators would prefer
a more neutral party. Whatever. The most important thing is that
someone be responsible for presenting commuters throughout Southern
California with a regional approach to public transit.

Next up (and these are the easy fixes): Offer commuters daily, weekly
and monthly passes good for all local transit systems, and make those
passes available at all supermarkets, post offices and other locations.
People won’t know how viable public transit might be unless they give
it a try. Let’s make that as easy as possible.

And let’s create online resources that can crunch all the variables of
getting people from Point A to Point B and come up with the best
possible route and itinerary. There are such resources available — the
MTA offers a decent trip planner — but they could be a whole lot more user-friendly and intuitive.


The Week in Livable Streets Events

Those L.A. County Bike Master Plan meetings roll on.  Speaking of rolling, there’s a fun looking "Midnight Ridazz" event this Friday.  And for those of you who are into policy, there’s a surprise addition to the City Council Transportation Committee meeting (more on that later) for this Wednesday at 2:00. Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday– Outreach for the L.A. […]

Musing on Trends and Challenges of Increased Transit Use

Metro Rapid map.  Photo: RJM Connel/Flickr David Lazarus, in one of his recent L.A. Times columns on public transit, off-handly laments neglect of the "long-term promotion of public transportation as a practical alternative to traveling by car". Is that what transit in Southern California in the modern age has had as its goal? My long held suspicion is that […]

So.CA.TA. Meeting with David Lazarus

The monthly meeting of Southern California Transit Advocates for June will feature a dialogue with David Lazarus, business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Lazarus devoted three recent columns to the topic of mass transit expansion in the region, receiving a sizable response from the readership and even local leaders. The intention is to hear […]

This Weekend is the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica

Friday and Saturday Oct. 1st & 2nd the 5th annual AltCar Expo will be held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Admission is free. A map of the venue are on the event’s website along with a map showing which Big Blue Bus routes serve the site and a page extolling the free bike valet. […]

Former Metro Board Chair Takes Your Questions This Weekend

Had enough discussion on the proposed sales tax yet?  If not, you might want to check out the general membership meeting of the Southern California Transit Advocates this Saturday at 1 P.M.  The former Metro Board Chair, and current Board Member, will begin her presentation at 2:15 P.M.  From the SoCATA website: Pam O’Connor, member […]