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Memo to Metro (the sequel): Service Change Proposal Details Still Lacking

I was gratified that my commentary Memo to Metro: “Additional Details” on Bus Cuts AWOL provoked illuminating comments plus at the behest of The Source's Fred Camino Metro updated its website adding a link to the additional details I had futilely sought. Chalk one up for L.A. Streetsblog helping make the world a better place.

One of the laments of the comments was a desire for more specific details about the proposals, such as maps and ridership data. Ironically such were prepared by Metro staff for the December round of Governance Council meetings in presentations about the service change proposals

Here are links to the presentations:

San Fernando Valley
South Bay
San Gabriel Valley

Metro is also making similar presentations at the public hearings yet has only posted the agendas for the hearings on its website.

Metro could easily include the maps, etc. as part of the material on its website regarding the service changes, but apparently can't be bothered. Having the maps only as buried reports on an obscure out of the way portion of the site really is of no value to the public. And as my original commentary noted, having material like maps only available at the hearings leaves one with insufficiently lead time to analyze their contents and have a chance to form intelligent comments. I don't see how one can conclude otherwise than Metro dropped the ball when it came to proactive outreach.

Faramarz Nabavi's comments recently posted on this blog included an offhand observation whose significance seemingly few have grasped regarding the cancellation of Rapid service: "Regional Service Councils should [...] receive preliminary data from staff on how many trips or hours will be cut vs. reallocated."

Recently I sat down with a bus rider I have known for some time who had expressed to me concerns about how the reallocation process played out during the Dec. 2010 service change. We examined timetables from before and after December of corridors that were supposed to have service hours re-allocated to local service when Rapids were canceled with no hint that the augmentation would involve anything other than the entire local line. In several instances this isn't what happened.

For example, line 14 mid-day service along the portion between La Cienega and Canon went from 30 minute to 40 minutes after the Rapid 714 was eliminated. Similarly the portion of the 180 between Colorado/Figueroa and PCC received no improvement whereas the trunk did. On weekends the 150 was improved Saturday but not Sunday. Staff have actually explained regarding the latter that this is because ridership on Sunday is very light and has been siphoned from the Ventura Boulevard corridor by the Orange Line.

These changes as implemented may be justifiable, yet patrons and the Governance Councils should expect more details beyond the blanket statement "reallocate resources" regarding the impact of the elimination of Rapids in a corridor. There should be some details how staff plan to augment the local service--both as to headways and what portions of the route the improvements will occur along. It is a simple matter of fuller disclosure.

I hope in the future Metro staff undertake the full spectrum of outreach that modern technology facilitates. Anything less would be a disappointment.

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