Rising Ridership Spares Some Metro Buses

The 751 to Huntington Park wasn't on the chopping block, but the 611 "Huntington Park Shuttle" was. Photo:##http://www.flickr.com/photos/39569101@N07/4320061590/lightbox/##MetroBusRider/Flickr##

I was still on the Carmageddon high on Monday afternoon when the press release rolled in to my Inbox announcing more bus service “changes.”

I hate covering bus cuts, even when it’s a much more minor adjustment than what we’ve gotten used to seeing the last couple of years, and even when some advocated assure me the cuts and restructuring actually make sense; I can’t help but think how annoyed I would be if the bus line that runs outside my house was cancelled, or if the Expo Light Rail Phase II never comes to fruition.  A major reason we live where we live is because of the transit options (existing and future) near our house.

I read the release and began outlining my story.  Three bus lines, the 246 in the South Bay, the 611 in Huntington Park and the 612 in South Gate were going to be eliminated.  Two other lines would be truncated but three lines would be extended.

But then, two days later, Metro announced the cuts were being put on hold indefinitely.  One Metro official told me there were very few lines to do a costly outreach.  Last night, I got an email forwarded to me from a member of one of the service sectors that gave a different story:

As we have seen at our monthly meetings, Metro transit ridership has been increasing over the past six months.  Even though the regions unemployment rate remains very high, Metro is attracting more riders.  This is in spite of the fact that about 75% of the trips on Metro are historically work related.  This increasing transit demand should be taken into account.  Thus Metro staff will be analyzing the latest ridership data and travel patterns on these lines.  Staff may return with these proposals or modified versions next year for Service Council consideration.

So, there’s two pieces of good news for bus riders.  First, there’s no more bus cuts coming down the pike this year.  Second, an increase in ridership held off a relatively small service cut.  The big question is if ridership continues to rise, will Metro find itself restoring some of the 800,000 hours cut in previous years?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Orange Line BRT Speed Improvements Caught In Inter-Agency Delays

|
I was hoping to write a couple of happy stories this week about the Metro Orange Line. The San Fernando Valley’s highly-regarded workhorse Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) opened in 2005. Lately, a new pedestrian tunnel and faster bus speeds seemed imminent. These facilities would save time for the Orange Line’s 30,000 daily riders. Earlier this week, I […]

A Peek Into Metro’s Frequent Bus Network Proposal

|
Metro is currently considering some pretty big bus service changes. Basically Metro is considering a cost-neutral scheme that would eliminate multiple relatively low-performing bus lines and would add more frequent service on a core network. More details below. Overall it looks like a step in a positive direction, though the devil may be in the details. And […]

Law-Breaking Drivers Disrespecting New Wilshire Boulevard Bus-Only Lanes

|
On April 8, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Metro, federal, county, and city leaders cut the ceremonial ribbon opening the second phase of the $31.5 million Wilshire BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Metro forecasted that the Wilshire Boulevard peak-hour bus-only lanes will significantly improve commute times for the more than 25,000 people who board Wilshire Boulevard buses at peak […]

Times, ABC7, and Metro Parking Stories Are Wrong and Misleading

|
Yesterday, the L.A. Times ran Lack of Parking Drives Many Away from Mass Transit, an article by Laura Nelson. The Times starts with the example of a San Fernando Valley Metro Red Line commuter nearly missing grabbing a parking space. This leads to assertions of “parking shortages” on “L.A.’s light-rail system [sic – Red Line is […]

Open Thread: Metro Considering Bus Stop Thinning In Network Plan

|
As part of its big bus service re-organization, now called the Strategic Bus Network Plan (SBNP), Metro is proposing “stop thinning,” which basically means eliminating numerous bus stops that are too close to each other. According to a recent Metro staff report [PDF] the SBNP is “expected to be presented to the Board for approval in […]