Re "Taken for a ride," Opinion, May 18
Thank you for publishing an article about using L.A.'s mass transit that does not treat the issue as some wacky, temporary lifestyle choice or some slight and silly tourist adventure. Any regular Metro rider can certainly add to the list of indignities that D.J. Waldie presented.
Now that more people are being forced onto public transportation because of fuel costs and the declining economy, Metro needs to be held accountable for its embarrassing record of shabby, substandard and soon-to-be-overly-expensive services.
Like Waldie, I am a daily Metro bus rider who has used public transportation systems around the world. When I moved to Los Angeles several years ago, I was happily surprised at the breadth of Metro's network, yet appalled at the quality of service.
In cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong, trains and buses arrive precisely on schedule, and there is signage that tells riders when the next vehicle will arrive or why there are delays. In New York, drivers and conductors are well-informed about the system and connected to their dispatchers via efficient lines of communication. None of this appears to apply to Los Angeles.
At this time of rising gas prices and increased awareness of environmental issues, Metro has a golden opportunity to provide a level of service that attracts and retains a diverse mix of mass-transit riders.
This doesn't take much more money but rather a simple rededication to customer service and efficiency. Is Metro prepared for the challenge?
Thanks to Waldie for a great article. I have to add a couple of items to his list of insults and (near) injuries.
First, you know how that 720 bus nearly topples riders while hurling itself down potholed Wilshire Boulevard in the morning? In the afternoon, that same bus takes an hour to go the nine miles from Barrington Avenue to Western Avenue -- and it's no fun standing through that either.
Second, don't forget those Transit TV screens that assault you with advertisements for debt-consolidation and work-at-home schemes with tidbits of yesterday's news thrown in. They are obnoxious, nauseating and disgusting. Their only virtue is that they frequently don't work.