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Opinion

Readers React: Why the people overseeing Metro don’t know how to improve bus service

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Yurithza Esparza, 23, a Cal State Northridge students, commutes between school and her home in Boyle Heights by transit.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am extremely skeptical that Metro is going to be able to improve its service enough to make it attractive to people who currently drive. (“L.A. is hemorrhaging bus riders — worsening traffic and hurting climate goals,” June 27)

Back around the beginning of this century, then-Metro Chief Executive Roger Snoble realized that the system was far too expansive to be managed by the agency’s board of directors. He pushed to create five regional governance councils, one of which I served on for 11 years.

I was the exception rather than the rule. My appointment came after years of public transportation advocacy and service, and I was also a Metro passenger. Most of the appointing authorities tend to pick people who rarely, if ever, set foot on the trains and buses they help control. I myself was replaced early in L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration.

I’m sure that when the grand redesign of Metro service is completed, it will be presented to the five councils merely for them to rubber stamp the implementation. Sadly, the composition of those councils means they wouldn’t even know where to start making any alterations to the plan.

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If Metro wants its service to be useful, it needs to force the appointment of transit-knowledgeable people, especially those who depend on that service and have a vested interest in making it work.

Kymberleigh Richards, Van Nuys

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To the editor: Complaints about bus ridership usually mention slow service or disruptive passengers. At some point, Los Angeles must make a significant investment in its bus system. How significant?

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What sounds appealing is an enlarged fleet of small driverless electric buses running frequently in dedicated bus lanes. Operating costs would be reduced since there would not be any drivers, and bus maintenance would be simplified.

To enhance security, roving bus marshals could circulate among the fleet. Passengers could use a smartphone app to report incidents.

The sense of freedom and convenience associated with car travel is now mostly obsolete, as driving in Los Angeles nowadays is awful. Freedom from cars is becoming the new ideal, but in a sprawling metropolis like L.A., thoughtful alternatives to driving are necessary.

Ed Salisbury, Santa Monica

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To the editor: When they write the history of the revolution, they may take note of the front page of the July 3 Los Angeles Times.

It told the tales of two ambitious young women. One was Petra EccIestone, 30-year-old heiress of a race car billionaire, who spent her days making “lavish changes” to her Holmby Hills mansion before selling it for the highest price ever in L.A. County.

Another was Yurithza Esparza, the 23-year-old student who couldn’t afford a car, who spent her days commuting on buses between Boyle Heights and Northridge so she could attend college.

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Guess which one they will call a hero for humanity?

Tad Daley, Los Angeles

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