Trying something different this month since I don’t have time to write about all or most of it. Here are the things that stood out to me from the upcoming docket of committee items. Some of these – particularly the rail load report and the Blue Line report – will hopefully get their own full length post in the not too distant future, BUT… please enjoy these summaries for now.
Congestion, Roads, Highways
Citing the variety of other incentives available to owners of state-determined Clean Air Vehicles, Metro staff is recommending that the agency end free access to the county’s ExpressLanes for CAVs. The incentive is recommended to be replaced by a 15% discount. CAVs make up as much as 6% of traffic volume in the lanes where congestion is heaviest, which staff says accounts for 15-minute longer trips along the length of the I-110 lanes. If approved, the change could be implemented by the end of the year.
Finance, Budget, Audit
Metro considers allocating funding to replace farebox hardware by 2020 to allow for mobile and online TAP card reloads without the current 24-48 hour delay, and receives an update on software development for those mobile TAP payments. Sounds like phase 1 will allow you to purchase fare on your phone and use it to load your TAP, but you still won’t be able to use the app itself to replace your TAP card until phase 2.
Metro’s financial report for the second quarter shows sales tax revenues are about $30 million above budget levels while fare revenues are short of expectations by $11 million as ridership continues to drop.
Planning and Programming
Metro receives the excellent Blue Line First/Last Mile plan, which, if implemented, could indicate that Metro is finally ready to acknowledge the primacy of station access issues in providing good transit service. This plan is intended to be followed by studies covering the entire rail network and the busiest bus stations.
Metro will consider funding a subsidy for Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line that would reduce ticket prices by 25% for a six month pilot period. While it’s not fare integration, the pilot is an acknowledgement by Metro and Metrolink that the status quo is not working for L.A.’s regional rail network because Metrolink is too expensive relative to the level and quality of service that it provides. The same program on the Antelope Valley Line – initiated 3 years ago – has led to increasing ridership that Metro expects will completely offset the need for a subsidy by this summer.
Safety, Security, Operations
Metro receives a report from its Office of the Inspector General that recommends a marketing push and focus on getting public sector employees to use transit as a solution for falling ridership.
Metro receives the requested report on rail capacity. Staff says that while average crowding levels are far below a full load ratio, ridership pulses routinely take individual trains to crush levels – with EB Expo being the most represented among the observed data (at ~5% of observed peak hour trips). More on this soon, maybe.
The Crenshaw Line is 2 months behind schedule.
Metro will get recommendations for reducing gender disparity within the agency – less than 3 in 10 employees are women.