A Peek Into Metro’s Frequent Bus Network Proposal

Metro's APTA review makes a lot of recommendations can balance the agency ... Photo via Wikimedia
Metro is proposing major bus network changes, and they might be a good thing. Photo via Wikimedia

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 the details are few and far between.

Though Metro has released a very basic presentation [PDF] with some maps and lists, the proposal seems to be in flux. Metro’s maps and lists don’t match. There are a lot of questions left unanswered.

How Metro’s Proposal Came About:

In March, Metro received the recommendations from an American Public Transit Association (APTA) review by a national panel of transit experts. On the operations end, the APTA review recommended more frequent bus service on a sparser network. The review also recommended more space between bus stops and a greater “load factor” (more people per bus) on somewhat crowded peak-commute-hour bus service.

The APTA recommendations dovetailed with changes that were already being considered. Metro convened a “Blue Ribbon Committee” (BRC) which reviewed Metro staff’s development of a bus service reorganization plan, called Metro’s “Draft Transit Service Policy” [PDF].

What’s In Metro’s Proposal:

To date, no full thorough documentation of Metro’s proposal has been made available, so the public has to read between the lines of Metro’s slideshow summary [PDF]. Calwatch posted a good summary of the proposal at Reddit.

On balance, the overall proposal has “no additional hours” of bus service. So where Metro would add more frequent service on many lines, it would subtract the same amount of service from other lines.

To evaluate how well bus lines are doing, Metro developed a metric it calls Route Performance Index (RPI.) The higher the RPI, the better the line is performing. RPI combines three measurements:

  • how many people use a line (passengers/service hour)
  • how far people travel on a line (passengers/seat mile)
  • overall operational cost (net cost/passenger)

These values are normalized so that a score of 1.0 matches the overall average. Better Institutions obtained a full RPI listing for Metro’s 140 transit lines (though the list does not include rail or BRT, and buses on Wilshire Blvd are now considered BRT). Metro’s highest ridership line, the 254 on Vermont Avenue, scores an RPI of 1.69, while the agency’s worst line, the 607 in Windsor Hills-Inglewood, scores an RPI of 0.27. According to Metro, lines with an RPI less than 0.6 “are subject to remedial action.”

Metro's proposed frequent bus network. Image from Metro presentation
Metro’s proposed frequent bus network. Image from Metro [PDF]
Where Bus Service Would Be Improved:

According to Metro’s “BRC Recommended Network” map, the following bus lines would run more frequently. Service on these lines would be improved to run at least every 15 minutes at peak times of the day (listed in Calwatch’s order – generally east to west and north to south):

Priority A (mapped in red)

  • Laurel Canyon Blvd – 230 (San Fernando Valley) [RPI 0.86 – 59th]
  • Vineland Avenue – 152 (San Fernando Valley) [RPI 1.06 – 26th]
  • Vanowen Street – 165* (East Valley) [RPI 0.87 – 56th]
  • Rosemead Blvd, Lakewood Blvd – 266 (San Gabriel Valley) [RPI 1.29 – 10th]
  • Main Street, Valley Blvd – 76 (DTLA to San Gabriel Valley) [RPI 0.97 – 35th]
  • Main Street, Las Tunas Drive – 78/378* (DTLA to San Gabriel Valley) [RPI 0.83 – 66th]
  • Alameda Street – no current Metro bus (DTLA)
  • Olympic Boulevard – 66 (East L.A.) [RPI 1.14 – 18th]
  • Eastern Avenue – 256* (Commerce to Cal State L.A.) [RPI 0.61 – 108th]
  • Pacific Coast Highway – 232 (LAX to Long Beach) [RPI 0.89 – 52nd]
  • Florence Avenue 111/311* (South L.A. to Southeast L.A. County) [RPI 1.18 – 16th]
  • Compton Avenue 55/355 (DTLA to South L.A.) [RPI 0.86 – 58th]
  • Rosecrans – 125 (Manhattan Beach to Compton to Norwalk) [RPI 0.94 – 42nd]

Priority B (mapped in purple)

  • Victory Blvd – 164 (San Fernando Valley) [RPI 0.79 – 73rd]
  • Topanga Canyon Blvd – 245 (West Valley) [RPI 0.64 – 100th]
  • DeSoto Avenue – 244 (West Valley) [RPI 0.64 – 100th]
  • Tampa Avenue – 242 (San Fernando Valley) [RPI 0.61 – 109th]
  • Glenoaks Blvd, Brand Blvd, Glendale Blvd – 92 (Burbank-Glendale to DTLA) [RPI 0.78 – 77th]
  • Glendale Avenue – 91* (Glendale to DTLA) [RPI 0.83 – 67th]
  • Van Nuys Blvd, 405 Freeway – 788 (Valley to Westwood) [RPI 0.81 – 72nd]
  • San Vicente Blvd – 330 (West Hollywood to Mid-city to DTLA) [RPI 0.89 – 51st]
  • Santa Anita Avenue – 487 (San Gabriel Valley) [RPI 0.75 – 87th]
  • Ramona Blvd – 190 (San Gabriel Valley to Pomona) [RPI 0.61 – 110th]
  • Valley Blvd – 194 (San Gabriel Valley to Pomona) [RPI 0.61 – 110th]
  • First Street – 30* (Boyle Heights) [RPI 0.89 – 51st]
  • Century Blvd – 117* (LAX to South L.A.) [RPI 0.97 – 36th]
  • Imperial Highway – 120* (LAX to South L.A.) [RPI 0.59 – 112th]
  • Vermont Avenue, Gaffey Street – 550 (South L.A. to San Pedro) [RPI 0.74 – 86th]

*The asterisked lines appear to be only partial. The full extent of the line does not appear on the Metro frequent network map. For example, line 256 on Eastern Avenue today runs from Altadena to Commerce; but the frequent service improvement is shown only on the southern half of the route – from El Sereno to Commerce.

To add the more frequent bus service on the priority A and B lines would require a total of 116,000 new service hours.

In addition to the new service on lines listed as A and B priorities above, there are two additional categories of service that would be improved:

  • An “Enhanced Rapid Bus Network” would add 142,000 new service hours.
  • There are apparently Priority C and D lines neither mapped nor explained that would be “in later phases.” Adding frequent service on C and D lines is quantified at 130,000 new service hours.

So the total new Metro bus service would be 388,000 new service hours (A&B 116,000 + C&D 142,000 + Rapid 142,000.) To “pay” for this, in a cost-neutral proposal, Metro would cut 388,000 hours of service from somewhere else.

Where Bus Service Would Be Cut:

To begin with, Metro would increase the load factor on its buses. The load factor is the measure of, on average, how crowded Metro buses are. Load factor is an average, and there is a lot of variability, so it does not mean every bus would have a lot more people standing, but it does mean that riders would get a bit more crowded, get a seat somewhat less often.

Transit expert Jarett Walker emphasizes maintaining a low load factor is very expensive for transit agencies. Walker states that crowding occurs “for short periods of peak demand” and minimizing crowding is expensive because Metro has “to pay drivers more to work very short shifts” and “the number of buses an agency must buy, store and maintain is based on the peak demand, not the all day demand.”

So, Metro can allow slightly more crowding by running fewer peak hour buses on lines that are already running very frequently. The actual bus lines that would get slightly less peak service are not specified, but raising the load factor would cut a total of 40,000 hours of service.

The following “outside of service area” bus lines would be eliminated:

  • 110 Freeway, 5 Freeway – 460 (DTLA to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm) – 17,000 service hours [RPI 0.89 – 53rd]
  • Pacific Coast Highway – 534 (Culver City to Malibu) – 9,000 service hours [RPI 0.72 – 89th]

While the 460 bus does go outside L.A. County into Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) service area, it is not clear how the 534, which goes to Malibu, is considered outside of Metro’s L.A. County service area.

These four additional lines would be eliminated (total 35,000 service hours):

  • Ramona Blvd – 190 (San Gabriel Valley to Pomona) [RPI 0.61 – 110th]
  • Valley Blvd – 194 (San Gabriel Valley to Pomona) [RPI 0.61 – 110th]
  • Wilmington Avenue, Vermont Avenue, Western Avenue – 205 (South L.A. to San Pedro) [RPI 0.71 – 91st]
  • Peck Road, Workman Mill Road, Santa Fe Springs Avenue – 270 (East San Gabriel Valley) [RPI 0.81 – 71st]

The Metro summary only specified those six to-be-eliminated lines listed above (190,194, 205, 270, 460, and 534) which combine for only 61,000 hours (16 percent of the above-mentioned 388,000 hours needed for new service.) There’s the additional 40,000 hours from increasing the load factor, added to Metro eliminating 140,000 hours worth of additional unspecified “low performing lines.” There’s no documentation of what those lines to would be, except that “lines with a [Route Performance] index of 0.6 or below are subject to remedial action.” The Metro document lists 38 lines that might or might not be cut.

List of possible bus lines that Metro may cut in its service reorganization. Image via Metro [PDF]
List of Metro bus lines with Route Performance Index less than 0.6. Metro may eliminate or cut these in its service reorganization. Image via Metro [PDF]
Metro’s document also maps some of these lines.

Map of under-performing Metro bus routes that Metro may eliminate or cut these in its service reorganization. Metro’s Image via Metro [PDF]
In addition to the Metro bus cuts somewhat specified, there some unspecified additional savings mentioned to be gained by Metro canceling bus routes that would be run by Municipal Operators, such as Foothill Transit or Long Beach Transit.

At its conclusion, though, the Metro document admits that, even with lots of unspecified cuts, the agency is 147,000 service hours (nearly 40 percent) short of the 388,000 needed. As Calwatch mentions, this 40 percent shortfall could be made up by something other than service cuts, possibly fare increases or a Measure R2 transportation sales tax.

Opinion and Analysis

Here’s where the article shifts from neutral third person, to opinionated first person. I don’t claim to be a bus network expert, but I have been riding Metro buses more than a few times a week since the early 1990s. When I see load factor mentioned, I think back to sometimes being late for work when heavily-overcrowded Vermont Avenue buses would pass up my bus stop.

Conceptually, the plan makes a lot of sense to me. I live within L.A.’s urban core, in Koreatown, and the bus lines that I ride run so frequently that I don’t need to use a schedule. I just know that, for most of the day,  I can go to a bus stop and a bus will show up soon. This plan won’t really change those buses in my neighborhood; they’re already frequent. The plan will cut some service in more peripheral areas, in order to add service to grow the area served by the central frequent network that works pretty well.

Someone who really is a bus network expert, and whom I read and trust, Jarrett Walker, praises the Metro plan. His entire piece is worth reading, but two brief take-aways. Overall, this kind of reorganization means that Metro can “serve more people without more money.” And, specifically with allowing peak hour buses to be a bit more crowded, Walker writes that “saving a little peak service unlocks a lot of all-day service.”

Another excellent source, Eric Jaffe at CityLab, also praises Metro’s plan. Jaffe largely echoes Walker, stating that the plan “reduces car reliance, promotes equitable mobility, and ultimately increases transit ridership.” Jaffe mentions similar worthwhile bus service re-vamps in Houston and Omaha.

At KCET, D.J. Waldie gives a somewhat-mixed review. He’s skeptical about eliminating stops. Waldie concludes showing the bus rider’s distrust of the agency: even if the plan works, it is “a given that Metro will continue to reconfigure bus operations to reduce operating expenses.” Calwatch points out that, with traffic growth and Metro bus service hours kept flat, the plan is, in effect, a 3 percent cut in vehicle service miles annually.

What makes me uneasy is that I’d like to see the details. Right now, the only document [PDF] that Metro is making public shows all of the new service benefits fairly clearly, but gives a vague outline for only about two-thirds of the cuts. I am sure there are wads of consultant reports, maps, lists, data, etc. that back up Metro’s plan, but the public can’t actually peruse them. I expect that it’s all a moving target, swayed by politics and finances, but I would be a lot more inclined to trust it if I could actually see what the snapshot looked like today. And, if Metro were more open about the plan, perhaps data-driven decisions might outweigh politics-driven ones.

Unfortunately, the little that Metro is sharing has quite a few inconsistencies:

  • A handful of lines appear on both lists/maps for to-be-eliminated and to-be-improved service. Lines 190, 194, 788, and others appear in both places. Will these be more frequent or eliminated? When I asked Metro spokesperson Joseph Lemon about these inconsistencies, the response I got was that “If it is not cancelled, its service levels would be improved.” Lines 190 and 194 may be operated by Foothill Transit in the future.
  • Though Metro has a stated formula for its Route Performance Index, the RPI spread sheet they released does not include their formula. When I try to use Metro’s data and Metro’s formula to validate their RPI list, I can’t get my calculated number to match theirs.
  • The Metro RPI spreadsheet does not match the RPIs mentioned in the plan [PDF p.13]. For example, for line 788 the spreadsheet has 0.81 while the plan states 0.58.

If Metro expects to build trust around major data-driven changes, the agency should be transparent about both the changes and the data.

I’d like to be able to praise Metro’s plan, but I am reserving judgement for when an actual plan is made available for review. It may well be a step in the right direction, depending on what it ultimately is.

  • calwatch

    The other thing that I’ve been complaining about is the composition of the BRC. It includes employees from other transit agencies, and political appointees (to sector councils and the Citizens Advisory Council) but no transit advocacy organizations. While there are a few known transit commuters on the list, they are certainly not the majority. They talk about first mile/last mile but don’t bring in pedestrian or bike advocates. Nor do they include the disability community, which will be affected if due to these changes, they give up on fixed route transit and decide to spend five or ten times the taxpayer subsidy on Access Services paratransit.

    When other agencies do Comprehensive Operational Analyses, they bring in the public regularly. LADOT is doing a COA for DASH and had meetings throughout the city last month. Foothill Transit is completing one now and had meetings and an interactive website, foothilltransitstudy.com, illustrating choices made. Meanwhile, there is no public discussion in Los Angeles, which is odd since Metro does great outreach for its construction projects. Does the public even want an expanded 15 minute network? For some of these outer area streets, like Rosemead Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue, it may be excessive.

    This reminds me of the vacuum created with the disasterous 2007 fare change. Roger Snoble decided to wall off staff and create a proposal that had ridiculous fare levels – $120 monthly passes and $1 senior fares in 2009. http://boardarchives.metro.net/Items/2007/05_May/20070524SBMItem1c.pdfUltimately that exercise reduced his credibility and Snoble was on a short leash, slightly mitigated by the fact that he helped pass Measure R. The BRC process started in the Leahy era, and Phil Washington will need to tread very carefully on this, open it up beyond bureaucrats to the riding public and to the cities and communities he’s affecting, and identify whether his priority is shepherding a sales tax increase in 2016 or initiating a massive restructuring of bus service, because both can’t happen at the same time.

  • Chewie

    For the lines that would be cut there should definitely be analysis not just based on that performance index, but also of whether the line is the only transit option for accessing a given area. For those without cars a low performing bus line might be the only way to a critical destination. This isn’t just about giving the most people the most access. The bus system still primarily serves people with little to no access to a car. I’d hate to see Metro bend over backwards to attract choice riders through more frequency on fewer lines at the expense of the people who have limited options.

    Maybe Measure R2 should focus on the bus system. What would it take in trems of funding to get decent headways throughout the county?

  • chairs_missing

    I wonder if it’d make more sense to address that problem by subsidizing more low-income housing near the main transit lines (for people who rely on it), instead of trying to deliver transit service to low density, car-centric areas of the county.

  • John

    Metro should include rail lines in this study as well and make rail operating hours available to be shifted to bus operations. While it makes sense to have good service on the rail lines, sometimes it seems too good during the weekends or in the middle of the night after 9pm. I remember noticing on the schedules that at around 10pm, service on the Red/Purple lines is more frequent than during midday, couldn’t this be considered excessive?

  • Charles Patrick Hobbs

    The 0.6 RPI cutoff seems arbitrary; we could save about half the routes on that list if we set the cutoff to 0.5…

  • Scott

    Red line only runs 3 trains per hour Sunday through Thursday due to the mystery never-ending maintenance, and purple only runs between wilshire/vermont and wilshire/western. On the weekend, the evening schedule runs every 10 minutes which doesn’t seem excessive at all actually, if you’re trying to capture a share of the people going out in downtown.

  • Scott

    Sunday through Thursday after 8pm, that is.

  • LAifer

    You missed the critical point in all of this, that many people neglect to consider in discussing transit networks and that people like Jarrett Walker emphasize over and over: frequency.

    Yes, it’d be nice to have a bus line with a stop within a block or two of everyone’s home in all of LA county, but if that means that buses only come once every hour, then it’s a system that would work for almost no one. What Metro appears to also be responding to, which we can see in their ridership data, is that the only bus lines they have that are seeing increasing ridership numbers at this time are their rapid lines. Those are lines that provide service only on main streets, at select stops, at high frequencies.

    So that means that people are willing to walk a few more blocks or take the presumed inconvenience of not having the stop right outside their door if, as you put it in your post, they “can go to a bus stop and a bus will show up soon.” If all of LA’s main streets had max 10-15-minute bus service waits, you make the schedules essentially irrelevant and the service quite reliable.

    Many of the lines on that list with an “RPI” below 0.6 are infrequent, with winding routes that provide coverage to areas that are typically a few blocks off the beaten path. And, surprising exactly no one, that means very few people actually use them. Just look at the maps that you posted here. The proposed map has a criss-crossing network of frequent service. The map of lines up for elimination looks like someone dropped some spaghetti on the ground.

    You could argue that the below 0.6 lines serve people with no other means, but that’s an unsubstantiated assumption. Are there people with limited means on any of Metro’s bus lines? Yes absolutely. That’s why any line elimination/adjustment requires a whole process before it can be implemented. But if Metro is looking to improve ridership without jacking up everyone’s fares or wholesale reducing service across the entire system, one way to getting there is to create a more reliable, frequent network of buses, which necessarily means eliminating some of the lines that might get at those harder-to-reach neighborhoods but also drag down the overall system.

  • Just a reminder that the Orange Li(n)e is internally known as route 901, while the Silver Li(n)e is known as 910. Their data, along with 720 is included in Shane’s data.

  • To be fair though, that would mean making improvements to fewer routes. It’s always about tradeoffs. Making cuts to some underperforming routes means making improvements to those that are oversubscribed and would benefit more people. Going back to Jarrett Walker, it’s about the choice between coverage vs frequency. Both have value, but given limited resources you have to choose which is more important to you and where on the spectrum you want to lie. Cutting just those would be making the choice to maintain more of an emphasis on coverage at the expense of frequency (not a choice I’d make, but one that has plenty of merit depending on your goals).

  • Azunyan

    “unspecified cuts…possibly fare increases…transportation sales tax.”

    So, basically we’re going to be paying more for crappier service.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Not many people hang out in Downtown L.A. after dark or on weekends. It’s a ghost town compared to other cities, and most people who are there late drive, or use Uber. Having trains run more often than they do during the day on weekends makes no sense at all. Rail headways should be the same as the buses. There are some good potential savings there.

  • Phantom Commuter

    About 1/4 cent dedicated to operations

  • Phantom Commuter

    Great idea, but there are there any legitimate transit advocacy organizations in Los Angeles ? BRU ? SOCATA ? Transit Coalition ? Bueller ? …

  • Phantom Commuter

    Most frequent service networks operate at least every 15 minute base service, not just peak service. Time to grow the funding pie for operations, or go back to the drawing board.

  • Chewie

    I’d be okay with that, but I bet that would be even harder to achieve.

  • calwatch

    Some of them are the only transit service in the area. The 607 to View Park/Ladera Heights serves a very vocal Title VI protected area, for instance. Metro has tried to cancel the 442, numerous times, but the riders of this four round trips a day commuter bus have the ear of County Supervisors and so it’s kept. Many of the routes that you call spaghetti are the only routes in Pasadena/Altadena and Inglewood – if the BRC does its work, Pasadena/Altadena will have no Metro buses on streets other than Lake, Fair Oaks, and Colorado. Pasadena ARTS does not run outside city limits and shuts down early in the evening.

  • chairs_missing

    Yup, that’s why I stopped riding the bus in LA.

    The trains are pretty reliable, but waiting 45 minutes at a bus stop on a major street like Sunset at 9pm is total bullsh*t (excuse my French!) If you can’t provide reliable bus service in the middle of the city, then why bother? I’ll just walk… at least I’m getting exercise.

  • John Hanson

    How about Move LA? BRU’s past is questionable and their court-ordered mandate helped screw up Metro’s service levels for years. I’m not sure what you mean implying that Transit Coalition isn’t legitimate. SO.CA.TA seems to be semi-defunct at this point, they haven’t posted a newsletter since 2011.

  • AlecMitchell

    You clearly haven’t been to Downtown L.A. in a very long time if you believe this to be true.

  • Phantom Commuter

    There is no other major city that has major routes operating every 5-10 minutes during the day suddenly drop to every hour at 9 p.m. Big city service in the daytime and small town service at night.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Actually every day, but travel to other cities often. There is no comparison. Downtown L.A. has little pockets of activity, but very little compared to other parts of town (Santa Monica?) or other cities.

  • PFT Future

    There are plenty of people who are downtown on the weekends, thus the reason for so many more restaurants and bars. Additionally, more people are living there as well as being employed, if that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t see all of the projects occurring there. Here’s a link to some of the info

    I actually think you could get away with 12-15 minute service at night but I will say on weekends, peak usage would be later in the evening because of the restaurants, bars and cultural attractions/sporting events.

    DTLA and Hollywood would likely see the most action and both are on the red line. What other cities have a more active night life than LA; SF, NYC, Chicago, Miami? Austin? SD in the gaslamp? There really aren’t many and yes I left out Vegas because its just different.

  • calwatch

    DTLA is not the center of nightlife in the region. That would be Hollywood/West Hollywood. I would lump Downtown with the smaller pockets in Santa Monica, Pasadena, the Beach Cities (Hermosa/Manhattan Beach bar zone), and Long Beach for the English speaking, and Huntington Park and East Los Angeles for the Spanish speaking.

  • I can’t believe the 534 would be eliminated. It’s the only service to a vast area of the county. I frequently take it from downtown Santa Monica to the current Expo terminus in Culver City, and at 4:30 in the afternoon it’s always standing room only. Of course I will stop taking it when Expo opens to DTSM next year, but the workers heading to Malibu will still need a bus when the get off the train. And when the Expo reaches SM, it’s an opportunity to reach out to potential transit users up the coast.

  • mrsman

    My thoughts:

    Many of the proposal items seem troubling. A few cuts are normal, but it is critical that certain routes are kept in order to provide the solo access to key destinations.

    Historically, LADOT has picked up many of RTD/MTA routes that have been dropped in the past. Beechwood Canyon and the Observatory Shuttle come to mind as routes that used to be run by RTD. And it is likely that some of the other routes would be picked up at by other transit agencies. Hopefully, they can pull some slack for some of these cuts as well.

    So some form of 534, 161, and 460 must stay because of the unique destinations they serve. And if 96 is dropped, LADOT should provide a shuttle for the Zoo and Griffith Park, even if they drop some of the other segments.

    And some of the more successful routes could probably be altered as well. Many more routes should be rerouted to better serve the rail lines. Here’s an example, a commute from the Sunset Strip to Downtown LA. The fastest trip would entail taking the 2 to Sunset/Vermont and then the red line into Downtown. But wouldn’t it make sense to route some trips of the 2 (and maybe even the 4 on Santa Monica) to the Hollywood/Highland station to save people from transferring or riding down congested streets between Highland and Vermont.

    And why or why do we have local buses (81,90, 91, 94,96),along the Pasadena Freeway. The buses should terminate at the Lincoln/Cypress Park Gold line station and connect to other lines to serve Downtown.

    And let’s not forget poor Robertson. The 220 is pretty close to 105, so it’s not that bad of a loss, but Santa Monica is also making cuts to its buses, even before Expo is completed. There will no longer be BBB 5 connecting Centruy City to Culver City Expo station, instead it will go to Palms via Motor. But the change will take place in a few weeks, not when Expo opens. I hope SM can wait until Expo opens before they cut the connection to South Robertson.

  • Evan G.

    Exactly. There would be no bus service in Malibu at all? That would be a big loss.

  • Joe Linton

    I wasn’t aware of it when I wrote this article, but since then I’ve heard a rumor that Santa Monica Big Blue Bus might pick up the 534 line (or possibly a portion of it.)

  • PFT Future

    Then you just haven’t been out in Downtown enough lately. Downtown has far more options than Pasadena or any of the beach towns. The arts district/little tokoyo or Ktown would be more of a pocket similar to Pasadena and beach cities. Remember most of the beach city activities happen near the pier in places like Manhattan and Hermosa. Downtown has far more range and more people every night and especially on the weekends. Its a different scene than the clubs, although it has a number of them, its far more bar, lounge, restaurant but its fun with rooftop options or basement places and spots in between.

    I mentioned Hollywood as the other place along the red line that has a lot of night life, thus why I said I understand the later night frequency on the Friday night and Saturday night

  • John

    One thing interesting about Metro’s proposal is to increase service on certain lines to every 15 minutes or less while also increasing the load factor. So if the beefed up line is unable to meet the new, more demanding load factors, does that mean it will then be cut back to current service levels of 30-40 minutes? So then what we end up with is a bunch of eliminated lines and a bunch of core lines running every 30-40 minutes that are then ready for the next round of cuts? Why isn’t there a county fuel tax to help fund transit operations so that car alternatives can stop being cut?

  • Rocio

    So I have lived near the 201 before and of course it’s low performing. It runs once an hour! I always wondered why they bothered having once an hour buses. If they had twice an hour buses they’d probably see a substantial increase in ridership bc very few people will adjust their schedules to catch once an hour buses. I wonder if it was always that way or if was made to be so infrequent so as to gut it.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Never goes to any of those places and neither do any of my friends. People go all over here, unless they are New York transplants living Downtown.


October Metro Committee Meeting Updates: Bus Service, TOC, Measure R2

The Metro Board of Directors held its monthly committee meetings this week, in advance of next Thursday’s board meeting. Below are a handful of news bits gleaned from this week’s committee meetings. Final decisions still need to be approved by the full board next week. Frequent Bus Service Network Metro’s System Safety, Security and Operations Committee approved […]

APTA Metro Review: Raise Fares, Consolidate Service, Charge For Parking

When the Metro board approved fare hikes last May, it also directed Metro to engage experts from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to study Metro’s fares and look into other revenue strategies. APTA experts completed their review recently, and presented their findings at last week’s Metro board meeting. Though the APTA review recommended approving Metro’s proposed […]

Ridership on the Upswing After Houston’s Bus Network Redesign

Editor’s Note: Los Angeles Metro is planning a  frequent bus service network re-organization similar to Houston’s. The L.A. project is now called Metro’s Strategic Bus Network Plan (SBNP.) Read about L.A.’s SBNP here and here. In August, Houston debuted its new bus network, reconfigured to increase frequent service, expand weekend hours, and improve access to jobs. The implementation was contentious at […]

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 […]

What Factors Are Causing Metro’s Declining Ridership? What Next?

In my circles, there has been a lot of discussion swirling around Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times article, Billions spent, but fewer people are using public transportation in Southern California, by Laura Nelson and Dan Weikel. The Times’ authors cast a disparaging light on recent downturns in ridership: “Despite a $9-billion investment in new light rail […]