About This Blog

This blog is about recurrent problems with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's public transit system. My particular crusade involves flagship line 910 (the "Silver Line") and its persistent, institutional unreliability after 9 PM.

I have been dealing directly and in good faith with Metro for some time now on this issue, but that private dialog has not resulted in any improvement in service. I started this blog in an attempt to provide another more public source of motivation for Metro to address their systemic failures.

Below I have posted my entire email exchange with Metro on this subject, and I will continue to update as the saga continues. The correspondence begins in November of 2011 only because that is when I discovered how to contact customer service. The problems with the silver line (and its transitway predecessors) started well before then. This email chain is unedited, except that I redacted my own name and contact info, and I removed redundant quotes of previous messages. Names and email addresses of Metro personnel have not been removed. I encourage you to contact them with your own thoughts. Also, feel free to leave comments here. I will probably delete anything vacuous or off topic, but if you have other complaints that aren't getting any traction, or if you have any suggestions that might improve service, please let me know.

For new visitors, the best way to read this blog is chronologically from bottom to top. The earliest entry is dated 2011-11-30. Since I can't seem to force all the posts onto one page, you'll have to start by clicking "2011" in the "Blog Archive" just below, or scroll all the way down and click "Older Posts."



From: fixmetro
Subject: Re: silver line MIA
Date: June 27, 2012 01:44:49 PDT
To: HorneT@metro.net
Cc: CustomerRelations@metro.net, BoardSecretary@metro.net, borja.leon@lacity.org, SOTOPA@metro.net, ALARCONR@METRO.NET, AlejandroF@metro.net

Tom. Please don't read this email now. For full effect, please stay up until 1 am and read it then.

In answer to the first part of your email, NO. No one has contacted me. You need to GIVE ME the name and number of the uber-manager in charge of the silver line manager.

I understand that part of the function of a customer service department is to insulate others in the company from irate customers. You have done your job admirably. Let me know if you'd like me to write a positive letter to your line management. But the system has broken down here. If you want to serve the customer, give me the internal contact info I seek.

I would guess that metro customer service only hears from a very small percentage of the customers that metro so callously leaves in the lurch, and I would imagine that a majority of those you do hear from have nothing but vitriol for you. I think I have been extremely patient up until now, but this may be the last polite message you get from me, as the respectful approach clearly is not working.

Something is SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY wrong with the management of the silver line. I take other buses all the time. Sure, buses are often late, drivers are occasionally rude, but I have never had any trouble worth contacting customer service over on any of my thousands of other bus rides. The silver line is just in a class by itself.

Never mind the fact that inbound silver line buses are basically always standing room only in the morning... Never mind the fact that silver line drivers don't know metro's folding bike policies... These are indicators of poor management, but maybe can be chalked up to budget problems or a bad day or whatever. But when customers have to rearrange their schedules or routes specifically to avoid a particular line due to chronic truancy, then there is an undeniable reliability problem.

I have been leaving work earlier just to avoid the late-night silver line crap shoot. The last leg of my journey is a once-per-hour bus (at night), so when the silver line does not show up, it costs me an hour. That's on top of what is already a 2 hour + commute.

Before tonight, the last time I tried to take a late silver line bus was the last time I wrote to you to say that the bus never came. Tonight, the VERY NEXT TIME I've tried to take the silver line after 9 pm, it did not show up AGAIN. I was on Figueroa outside harbor freeway station waiting for the 10 pm silver line until 10:30. No bus. This is the 2nd stop, so it's hard to believe the bus could be more than a half hour late, and nextbus indicated that the 10 o'clock bus did not exist. I couldn't wait any longer because I cannot risk missing the last gold line to Pasadena. So I took the always efficient and enjoyable green-blue-red route to union station. I should find a way to work the expo line in there.

I have reported this habitual unreliability time and again, but as far as I can tell, nothing has improved. We can (and should) blame the drivers, but when a problem (that has been reported repeatedly) is this pervasive for this long, one cannot lay all the responsibility on skulking grunts. I haven't seen a metro org chart, but I'm guessing there is one obvious individual on whom the responsibility should fall. I want to talk to that person's boss.

So while I am impressed you had the temerity to ask, the answer to your second question is NO, I have not experienced any improvement in service delivery.

I am still waiting for that name and number.

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