Report and Poll Shows There Are Two Stories to the Los Angeles Commute

For a full copy of the map, click ##http://money.bundle.com/content/images/MapBestworstOutlineLarge.jpg##here.##
For a full copy of the map, click ##http://money.bundle.com/content/images/MapBestworstOutlineLarge.jpg##here.##

(Editor’s note: If you want to dig a little deeper into the numbers on Metro’s customer satisfaction surveys, we have the full results in pdf form for bus riders, train riders, and everyone available for viewing or download. – DN)

Yesterday, Angie Schmitt, who writes the daily “Streetsblog.net” roundup, reported on an analysis that ranked cities based on the quality of the car commuting habits of its residents.  As usually happens with these sort of stories, the data shows that car commuters in Greater Los Angeles are taking it on the chin spending over $400 a month on gas and maintenance and losing 70 hours a year to congestion.

Ouch.

In direct contrast to the dire picture portrayed in the article on Bundle on car commuting, comes a survey of Metro’s riders, done on behalf of the agency.  The survey shows that  86% of respondents agree with the statement, “Generally speaking I am satisfied with Metro bus/train service.”

On one hand we have a picture of Los Angeles’ car drivers bogged down in traffic with their money flowing into the coffers of the oil industry.  On the other hand, we have a picture of Metro riders, content if not happy with their service and paying hundreds of dollars less.  Sometimes, I don’t even need to editorialize to make the point.

That being said, there are some cracks in Metro’s armor.  While The Source and LAist reprinted the good news from the survey off the press release, Streetsblogger and So.CA.TA. Board Member Dana Gabbard dug a little deeper into the numbers.  Over one fifth of respondents said they encountered a brokendown bus in the last month?  And what’s with the 65/35 split between English and Spanish speaking riders?  Gabbard’s full comments can be found after the jump:

It is a bit appalling 22% report encountering a breakdown in the past month and that 35% of bus riders report being passed up during the same period. Metro CEO Art Leahy has a ways to go to achieve the quality improvements that he has stated publicly are among his chief goals for the service Metro operates.

It is curious that TAP usage is 53%. Does this reflect a shift to paying per trip as the day pass lost appeal after it was boosted to $6?

It is no surprise 91% of those surveyed think Day Passes should be available on the buses. The sad aspect is the technocrats who have been in charge of the TAP program never grasped this and only belatedly are seeking to address this overwhelming need.

I guess that over half of those surveyed report being Metro riders for 5+ years dovetails with 75% stating public transit is their only means of transportation.

Given the demographics I observe riding the bus Metro needs to work to ensure future surveys include more Spanish speakers – a 65%/35% split of English and Spanish speaking users being surveyed leaves me with the impression that the sample isn’t representative.

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