Keeping a public transit agency's focus where it belongs

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We’ve often noted the fact that Metro has done a great disservice to the public it supposedly serves by drastically cutting and altering bus routes over the past several years.

Reason’s Out of Control blog points to an LA Times story that says Los Angeles’ transit agency has just been relieved of a decade of court oversight which forced it to improve bus service for poor and minority riders. During the last ten years, LA’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (unwillingly) transformed itself into a model transit agency after neglecting the riders it was intended to serve in the first place:

Under the consent decree, the MTA reluctantly purchased 1,472 natural gas-powered buses, added 1.3 million hours of service and increased security while maintaining low fares.

Those actions transformed the county’s transportation system — once plagued by inoperable buses and frequent breakdowns, a lack of drivers, poor adherence to schedules and insufficient capacity — into a nationally recognized transit leader.

This month, the MTA — whose 2,000-bus fleet went from being one of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest to one of its newest and cleanest — was ranked among the nation’s best transit agencies by its trade group, the American Public Transportation Assn.

Where had the MTA’s focus gone? To light rail that served affluent areas.

The NAACP, which represented bus riders, says it will be watching to see if the MTA goes back to its old ways:

Larson and others fear that, without the court’s watchful eye, transit officials will return to neglecting the county’s heavily used bus system to build and operate expensive subway and light-rail lines through more affluent neighborhoods.


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About Anne Linehan 2323 Articles
Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.