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Transit Needs Improvements Sooner Rather Than Later

The Los Angeles transit system is losing riders, but L.A. Metro has been slow to implement changes that could keep people using it.
May 24, 2019, 9am PDT | Camille Fink
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The Port of Authority

Mehmet Berker writes about problems with transit in Los Angeles and ways it can be improved. Waits are too long, travel speeds are too slow, and important infrastructure, such as bus shelters, is lacking throughout the network. "Worst of all are the safety concerns. A 2018 Metro survey revealed that 15% of bus riders and 21% of rail riders have experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment while using the system."

Berker points out that ridership has been waning on L.A. Metro buses and rail, with a 22 percent drop in the last five years. Specific changes would significantly improve the travel experience for riders, including all-door boarding to decrease the time buses spend at stops along routes and vinyl seats that are easier to keep clean and maintain.

But, Metro spends more time studying ideas rather than implementing them and looks to capturing choice riders rather than keeping existing ones, says Berker. For example, all-door boarding finally started on two lines, but installation of the necessary equipment has been haphazard across the rest of the system. "What if — radical concept here — instead of focusing on luring new riders, Metro improves the system for those who use it now."

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Published on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Los Angeles Times
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