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Transit News Shorts from Around the Region: FlyAway Fare Hike, Najarian v Antonovich, LOSSAN and More…

Photo of Van Nuys Flyaway Terminal via Wikipedia

Here are tidbits and some updates on transportation happenings in our region.

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (who oversee Los Angeles World Airports, the Los Angeles city agency that operates LAX, Ontario and Van Nuys airports) at its February 19th meeting approved implementing a one-dollar increase (to $8) to the one-way fare between the FlyAway Van Nuys bus terminal and LAX. The new fare becomes effective July 1, 2013. The agency justified the increase due to increased costs to offer the service. BOAC also decided the new service between the Expo light rail La Brea station and LAX that I have written about previously and is due to start this spring will have a one-way passenger fare of $7 BUT to jumpstart the new service it will have an introductory fare of $6 for at least the first six months of operation.

Has Antonovich's gambit to remove Ara Najarian from the Metro Board turned this into a public test of his political clout in the era of term limits?

Thanks to Jim Newton of the Times we now know the City Selection Committee meeting where the fate of Ara Najarian's seat on the Metro Board will be be decided will be on March 7th . And with Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich's role in this drama now out in the open the stakes really have skyrocketed as many openly wonder if the bid to keep Najarian off the Board falters is it a sign that Antonovich (who is termed out in 2016 after 36 years as a Supervisor) is becoming a lame duck and no longer the king of the northern county. And will aspirants to his seat start maneuvering which would further signal the end of his influence over events in his domain is drawing near (much as several national figures have already signaled their plans to run for the seats of Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky as they also will soon be termed out).

OCTA is inaugurating an ongoing series of Customer Roundtables and is soliciting applications from riders. They plan on holding three roundtables a year approximately 3 weeks after scheduled service changes (February, June and October). The agency will review the applications and select participants for each roundtable. And for those not selected initially they promise to keep applicant information on file for future meetings.

March 19th Omnitrans (which provides bus service to the western portion of San Bernardino county) is holding a public hearing -- this agency blog posting has more details on the proposal. It will be held from 11:30am - 3:00pm at the agency's main offices in San Bernardino, 1700 West 5th Street.

The Coast Rail Coordinating Council reports the Coast Daylight proposal (for daily passenger train service on the coast route between San Francisco and Los Angeles) is making progress in the negotiations regarding track access with the host railroad for most of the route, Union Pacific. Discussions are also underway with Caltrain for service into San Francisco. Plus passage of Proposition 30 means the state is in a slightly better position to fund operations and renting equipment to start up the service.

The situation in re the local takeover of administering the Surfliner which I written about in several previous postings may be coming to a head today at the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency Board meeting being held at Metro from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Union Station Conference Room, 3rd floor). The minutes of the Jan. 16th meeting (see "STATUS OF MEMBER AGENCY APPROVALS OF LOSSAN JOINT POWERS AGREEMENT" pp.7-8) makes clear North County Transit District's initial vote against the proposed Joint Powers Agreement has caused tension. The status report of the effort shows most of the other LOSSAN members have approved the agreement and the tweaks some of the other San Diego agencies besides NCTD have requested are being sent via a further amended agreement to the governing boards of the various members to be adopted. NCTD in January acknowledged some of their concerns are about actions that have not yet or until certain steps in the process even can be taken. Board Member Salud Carbajal, a Santa Barbara County Supervisor, in January went so far as to suggest that it would be in LOSSAN’s best interest to look at other options for moving forward with the creation of the new Joint Powers Authority (JPA) without NCTD if differences cannot be reconciled. The sense I get is there is a sincere attempt being made to address NCTD's concerns but that if an impasse is reached the effort will go forward without them.

Lastly, I am sorry to note that local activist (and chair of the Metro San Fernando Valley Service Council) Kymberleigh Richards is discontinuing her blog that reported on doings at Metro Committee and Board meetings from the perspective of a longtime agency observer. She explains her action in her last post:

Having failed to write and post my report on the November/December [2012] meeting, and having heard from absolutely no one about the absence of same, I have to conclude that the number of readers to this blog is somewhere between small and none.

Accordingly, I've decided to discontinue my reports and spend the time I was using to write them for other pursuits. I'll leave the archive here for as long as Blogger lets me, but I won't be updating.

Thanks to the few of you who were reading my posts.

As a friend once told me, having a blog can be like rolling a stone Sisyphus-like up a hill--an endless, thankless task. So it is no surprise when someone decides to go fishing and have a life instead...

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