Light Rail Cannibalizing Commuter Rail in Southern California

New transit lines are usually intended to provide an alternative to driving. But what happens when a new train line provides an alternative to an older train line?
July 31, 2017, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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This is awkward.
Supannee_Hickman

Thousands of Southern California transit users are switching from Metrolink commuter rail to Gold Line light rail, according to an article by Steve Scauzillo. "Both go to Los Angeles but the Gold Line is much cheaper, offers more trains more often and less waiting," according to Scauzillo.

According to a ridership released by Metrolink in July, ridership on the agency's San Bernardino line dropped 7.6 percent between January and March compared to the year prior. In total, the line lost 56,620 riders. Other lines also lost riders numbering in the tens of thousands.

When rail commuters hop from one train service to another, the switch "doesn’t remove cars from the traffic-snarled freeways nor does it reduce air pollution since these commuters weren’t driving anyway." It is, however, creating friction between Metrolink and Metro, which will "only get worse once the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority builds the next leg from Glendora to Montclair, creating duplication of services at three Metrolink stations: Montclair, Pomona and Claremont," writes Scauzillo.

In response to the conflicting dynamics of the two transit agencies, "heavy rail planners at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, [have] proposed a $500,000 study on how the two agencies can coexist."

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Published on Saturday, July 29, 2017 in San Gabriel Valley Tribune
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