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: December 12, 2012 04:06:57 PST
To: john.fasana@gmail.com, 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

Yes, I'm back. And I am once again reporting a silver line no-show. 

As you may have surmised, I gave up a few months ago. I had accepted the fact that I had done everything I could reasonably do to get the silver line problems addressed... contacting customer service, operations management, my county supervisor, and a metro board member with whom I had an "in." Even the prospect of public humiliation on blogger was not enough to elicit an adequate response from metro. I'm guessing that since the problem was viewed as temporary (ostensibly due to a detour which was mere months away from taking care of itself), no one was particularly inclined to take it very seriously, no matter how many customers suffered. 

In mid-july, I stopped taking the silver line at night, opting instead for the longer but more reliable green-blue-red route, along with more frequent solo driving. Continued evidence of silver line managerial incompetence during this time only reinforced my decision. For example, a new silver line schedule addendum appeared online (910 SCN REV 10-12) including a bus arriving at harbor freeway station at 8:52 pm explicitly on the street level, when all the signs at the station still said street level after 9. Seriously, how can that possibly have happened after all my complaining, your official changing of the detour start time, all your ado with the signage, and all your other "fixes?" I really would love to hear an explanation that does not involve incompetence or callous disregard for customers. 

Anyway, some time after the express lanes opened, the detour signs disappeared from the station, but so far as I am aware, there was no official announcement that the detour was over. Again, in a blatant show of ineptitude or inconsiderateness, the harbor transitway closure announcement was still up on the metro web page, as was the 910 SCN REV 10-12 schedule, both specifically indicating that the silver line stops on the street level at night (although still indicating conflicting transition times, of course). These seem to have disappeared from the web page now, but I think they were up for weeks after the detour apparently ended. Needless to say, without clear communication on where to actually catch the bus, I was in no particular hurry to roll the dice again on the silver line. 

But I guess I was feeling lucky this week. Monday night, I actually decided to give the silver line a try for the first time in about five months. On a hunch, I waited on the freeway level, and lo and behold the bus actually arrived. Encouraged (although I can't say I was actually optimistic), I figured I'd try again tuesday night (12/11). I don't know if the ~9 pm bus is supposed to come at 8:52 or 9:03 now, but I was there with plenty of time. Nextbus said it was due to arrive a few minutes after 9. It updated a few times and then disappeared from nextbus without actually arriving (at least not on the freeway level). The following bus did show up at 9:39, improving your observed post-detour performance to two out of three. 

Believe me, nobody has lower expectations for the silver line than I do. I'm not surprised that the system is still broken, but I guess I am disappointed. Maybe I should be encouraged that you have improved your reliability from ~50% during the detour up to ~67% post-detour, but I still suspect that you have it in you to do better. As you should know by now, I am not complaining in hopes of receiving a free pass or some other quick and meaningless placation. I want the problems fixed. This includes not only the tangible functioning of the silver line but also the apparent culture of arrogance and insensitivity at metro. An acknowledgment from Frank Alejandro and Art Leahy that a pervasive, institutional problem exists would be a good start. 

I'll be holding my breath. On the blue line. 


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