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Try taking the bus — you might be surprised by how pleasant it is

Try taking the bus — you might be surprised by how pleasant it is
A rider disembarks from a Metro Rapid bus in downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2017. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Reading columns like Steve Lopez's "There's only one fix for L.A.'s traffic nightmare — we all have to pay up," and letters in the Los Angeles Times on public transportation, I get the impression that it is an alien environment for many readers.

As a frequent user of buses, I have great respect for the drivers, who are always courteous and friendly. Fellow passengers, who cover all ages and ethnicities, are well behaved and helpful.

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The only time I had a negative experience was when I was wearing a sling and carrying a bag on a crowded bus (mostly young students) and no one thought to offer me a seat.

Rosemary Leibowitz, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Lopez is on target about improving transit use, but there's a reason that even lower-income people are buying cars: They don't want to take the Metro.

Safety is key. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez has said she refuses to ride the Metro Red Line because she fears for her safety. My wife does ride the Red Line and was recently harassed — where were the police officers?

Also, as Lopez says, Metro makes "unforgivable" decisions. One is its recent adoption of parking fees at the North Hollywood and Universal City Red Line stations.

I'm not the only person who drives past those lots rather than spend $3.50 for the round-trip train ride plus another $3 to park. After all, I'm already driving.

Michael Goldstein, Encino

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To the editor: Lopez is undoubtedly correct that it will take billions of dollars to build out an effective public transport system that lures people out of their cars. But for far less money and time, how about extending L.A.'s skeletal system of bike paths?

With so many e-bike choices, a 20-mile ride along dedicated bikeways is within the reach of many commuters. This is hardly a new idea, as more than 100 years ago, Pasadena wanted to build an elevated bikeway to downtown Los Angeles.

Many public rights-of-way already exist, and others would have to be acquired. But never has there been a better time to encourage people to get off the freeways and onto bicycles.

Paul Bergman, Pasadena

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To the editor: I am a woman who very frequently takes Metro bus and rail lines to attend cultural events in downtown L.A. I have not had a negative experience yet.

I own a car but prefer to use public transportation even though it usually takes longer than driving. At least I am able to read on the bus or train and do not need to fight traffic.

What does bother me is the unnecessary, constant, loud announcements on the trains and buses. Have the Metro officials not noticed this nuisance?

Ilca Moskos, Santa Monica

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