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: issue with metro silver line
Date: October 17, 2012 13:57:25 PDT
To: john.fasana@gmail.com
Cc: leahya@metro.net, alejandrof@metro.net, johnsondeb@metro.net, woodsonj@metro.net, aleahy@metro.net, echternachm@metro.net, mcano@lacbos.org, kbarger@lacbos.org, nbjornse7@gmail.com, wigginss@metro.net, HorneT@metro.net, mtacac.chair@ymail.com, SOTOPA@metro.net, TAYLORP@metro.net, YuKi@metro.net, Corral-LopezD@metro.net

Mr. Fasana- Thank you for passing this along. 

From metro's response, it appears that I am not the only patron who has expressed concerns with the management of the silver line, but this response is still totally inadequate. This is, in fact, exactly what I expected --- an unsubstantiated claim that everything has been fixed. I have been told this before, with specifics, only to find that service has not actually improved or has even gotten worse. If I seem cynical, I assure you my mistrust for metro on this issue is not pathological. It is based entirely on experience. 

Detour signs have been up at the affected stations and drivers have presumably been told about the detour procedures since inception (ie, for over a year), and yet these problems have gone on and on and on. Metro has told me that they have implemented fixes, and the problems have gone on and on. 

Assuming for the moment that metro is not lying to us, and that they have actually implemented some additional changes in training and in operations at the termini, what is still missing (as always) is supporting data from the field. I suppose I would still have to take any metro-provided evidence with a grain of salt, but someone needs to collect secret shopper data at the silver line stops (harbor freeway station, in particular) to validate these putative procedural changes. Occasionally checking that the signs are still up does not mean that drivers are actually showing up at the proper locations at the proper times, consistent with the signage. 

So I and other riders are still left with the same choice: put our own time and schedules at risk in hopes that this time metro has actually managed to improved things, or simply stay away from the silver line. I've done the former too many times, and too many times metro has failed me. Metro has relied too heavily on customers to verify that their drivers are adhering to policy. The time has come (actually it came long ago) for metro to do its own quality control. So based on the current response from metro, I must still avoid the silver line. 

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to the meeting tomorrow. I ask that you please use your influence to continue to push metro on this subject and that you not be mollified by unsupported claims that anything has been fixed. Thank you. 



  1. I have been out there at El Monte, and I have seen the Transit Operations Supervisor out there both mornings and nights. The flyers are posted at both levels of Cal State LA and County USC station - although they conflict each other in terms of the hours of the detour and the times are no longer accurate, at least they are there.

    What was missing in the statement was that they did add additional service in August to up it to every half hour, which unfortunately didn't last - it's now every 40 minutes. I think your advocacy helped, as well as my constant complaints of missed connections and hourly service. With 40 minute service, half of the scheduled connections are 30 minute waits, but at least that guarantees a connection. More importantly they added time to the schedule and I can see through TransSee (http://doconnor.homeip.net/TransSee/RouteStops.php?a=lametro&r=910) that by and large they are conforming, although there is no way to dig into the level of granularity that allows me to determine whether Harbor Station is served at ground level or not.

    Also, to protect the El Monte-side customers, in August MTA implemented a scheduled timed transfer between the 76 and 190/194 after 10 p.m. - more important now since the "Transfer if in sight" direction for the late 190/194 is impossible since Silver Line stops upstairs at new El Monte Station.

    Indeed, there was a stray "Silver Line Special" last week roaming around the upper deck of Cal State LA station at 6:40 am, well after the eastbound El Monte Busway was scheduled to open. So there may be some overkill here. The service has improved, although by breaking connections through 40 minute operation instead of adding time to the schedule. Ultimately they need to run like rail, with 20 minute headways, ticket vending machines, and proof of payment on buses, but that isn't happening anytime soon. Still, the currently "temporary" schedule may be enshrined in the permanent schedule in the December shakeup, which would create an "A" route that would be a special edition of the Silver Line, similar to the 70A and 76A that serve different routes at night. I will have to look at the driver bid books in a couple of weeks to see if this was done.

  2. I don't understand how you can defend conflicting flyers. This is the absolute crux of the problem. Sure, it's no big deal if you're disembarking, but if you want to get on, you can't wait in two places at once.

    According to the new temporary schedule, there is a northbound silver line bus that now ostensibly arrives at harbor freeway station BEFORE 9 pm on the STREET level, when all the signs around the station say buses arrive on street level AFTER 9 pm. (I have no idea where, when, or WHETHER it is actually arriving, since I've been avoiding the silver line at night for months.)

    I've run out of words to describe how utterly mismanaged this system is. With any luck, at least my end of the silver line will be back to its normal level of dysfunction very soon.


  3. Well the Harbor Transitway detour has ended. The Silver Line route has added time for the detour on the El Monte side. It is two years too late, but your efforts have helped. Also in January Metro will amend the TAP contract to install ticket vending machines at El Monte Station.

  4. That is so bizarre that you picked tonight to leave a comment... After a couple of months of inactivity, I am actually just about to write a new email to metro...