Metro’s “Short Range Transportation Plan” Meetings Start Today

Goodbye, articulated buses. Photo: ##
Goodbye, articulated buses. Photo: ##

Starting this evening and continuing during the next two weeks Metro is holding community meetings seeking input on its Draft 2014 Short Range Transportation Plan and the companion technical document.

Metro describes the plan thusly:

… a ten-year action plan that guides our programs and projects through 2024. It advances us towards the long-term goals identified in the 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan, a 30-year vision for addressing growth and traffic in Los Angeles County.

Among the revelations of the technical document on page 29 is the following:

Articulated and extended length buses are assumed phased out over the Plan time frame. Metro is
standardizing on 40-foot buses as the maximum vehicle size. While this will increase operating costs,

it is expected to be offset by a reduction in acquisition and maintenance costs.

I understand Metro CEO Art Leahy has in the past stated his lack of enthusiasm for the articulated vehicles but one wonders how their elimination would impact operation of the dedicated busway services (i.e. the Orange Line and Silver Line).

A related document that was recently presented to the Service Councils and Metro’s Citizens’ Advisory Council is the draft of the Five-year Transit Service and Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018. Advocates for bike lanes in the city of Los Angeles will be especially interested in section 3.4 (pp.28-29) that outlines Metro’s concerns about “implementing dedicated bicycle lanes or dedicated bicycle/transit lanes on streets where a high volume of transit bus service operates”.

So, are these concerns warranted?

I’m sure proponents of such lanes will want to attend these meetings and give Metro their input.

  • madelinebrozen

    After a quick review of these documents, there are more things to be aghast about than one small mention of the phasing out of the articulated buses. Also, I’m not sure if that will even happen for 2 reasons.

    1. That point is made as an assumption in the financial forecast. It’s unclear whether this is something that will be happening or whether it just was done for the financial section.

    2. The report also says, “Operators plan on purchasing approximately 100 buses annually, some of which may be articulated buses.” The document doesn’t seem to have internal agreement.

    More frustrating is the travel demand modeling in the document. First of all, Metro is only modeling home to work trips, which are not the majority of trips. It shows when you ride a metro bus on the weekends that they haven’t really looked at that service because local buses can be PACKED on the weekends.

    Secondly on that point of travel demand modelling they state, “The mode choice process determines the share of person trips taking various modes of transportation. The modes in the Metro Travel Demand Model are automobiles and transit.” Excuse me? That’s not crazy to not consider the contribution of walking and biking to the overall travel patterns. Biking is a small contribution, but walking is less so. And combined, it’s a grave oversight to not even mention these modes. Overall, they really should do a better job at modeling travel behavior.

  • poopopooooopppty

    They are going to increase frequency when they get rid of the big buses? How they gonna do little buses on the 720 or 754 or 761 or 66 shit they run them on the late night 4 after the 704 stops.

  • calwatch

    I believe the travel modeling is geared towards inter regional and inter sub-area travel.

    As for the articulated buses, the previous page clearly indicates that the 100 buses, including articulated buses, are for the municipal operators. Foothill and Santa Clarita currently operate artics and others like Santa Monica and Long Beach could consider them.

  • Irwin Chen

    Ok, let me draw out the logic tree for people not seeing it clearly.

    Less 60ft bus = need more 40ft bus to maintain same capacity –> Net result: more bus drivers needed = need to increase operating budget (fare hike)

    It’s basically one way for Metro to justify increasing its operating budget, as opposed to capital budget for buying buses/build new rail lines, which usually has far more oversight.

    It also has added benefit of appeasing the BRU, which as many people have pointed out before, is a front for bus driver union pretending to be a civil rights organization.

  • That is a bit of a stretch. I believe Art Leahy has noted the articulated buses are slower and less maneuverable than standard sized vehicles. And how can a change in vehicles in a few years be a justification for fare hikes this year. HUH?

    And while no fan of the BRU intellectual honesty compels me to point out there is zero evidence for the BRU having any ties to the unions. In fact back in 1997 at a joint Metro/BRU public meeting after the consent decree was signed there were copies of correspondence between the BRU and the UTU I looked over that made it clear they were at odds. Wish I had kept a copy of that. I know some Metro bus drivers are fans of the BRU but not their union.

  • How can they be slower? How is being less maneuverable important in a grid-based city?

  • CNG produces less power than diesel which is noticeable for larger equipment and especially a problem in re accelerating from a dead stop such as is done at bus stops. That is why the artics are mostly used on the Rapids. And they are less agile to pull in and out of stops plus to make turns at route end point layover locations. All these are the price in efficiency paid for the additional capacity and lower cost per passenger (i.e. 1 driver for 1 1/2 buses worth of riders versus conventional 40 coaches).


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