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.

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