Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Infobox Public transit
name = Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

imagesize = 168px
locale = Los Angeles County
transit_type = Rapid transit (Subway)
Light rail
Local Bus
Bus rapid transit
began_operation = July 1, 1976
system_length = Rail – 73.1 mi (117.6 km)
Bus – 1,433 mi² (3,711 km²)
lines = 2 Subway
3 Light rail
3 Transitways
191 Bus routes
stations = 62 Rail
24 Transitway
ridership = 1,619,529 (Weekdays) (July 2008) [http://metro.net/news_info/ridership_avg.htm Metro Ridership Statistics] ]
track_gauge = 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
operator = Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
[http://www.metro.net/ www.metro.net]
employees = 9,032 full-time staff (Mar 2008)
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (also known as Metro, MTA or LACMTA) is the state chartered regional transportation planning and public transportation operating agency for the county of Los Angeles, and is the successor agency to the former Southern California Rapid Transit District. The agency develops and oversees transportation plans, policies, funding programs, and both short-term and long-range solutions that address the County's increasing mobility, accessibility and environmental needs.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates the third largest public transportation system in the United States by ridership with a 1,433 mi² (3,711 km²) operating area and 2,000 peak hour buses on the street any given business day. [ [http://www.apta.com/research/stats/ridershp/riderep/indexus.cfm APTA Ridership Reports Statistics - United States Transit Agency Totals Index] . Retrieved April 4, 2006] Metro also designed, built and now operates 73.1 mi (117 km) of urban rail service. [ [http://metro.net/about_us/about/about_metro.htm metro.net|About Metro] . Retrieved April 4, 2006] The authority has 9,200 employees, making it one of the region's largest employers.

The authority also partially funds sixteen municipal bus operators and a wide array of transportation projects including bikeways and pedestrian facilities, local roads and highway improvements, goods movement, Metrolink, Freeway Service Patrol and freeway call boxes within the greater metropolitan Los Angeles region.

Security and law enforcement services on Metro property (including buses and trains) are currently provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Transit Services Bureau via contract, in conjunction with Metro's Transit Security department.

In 2006, The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was named Outstanding Transportation System for 2006 by the American Public Transportation Association. Most buses and trains have "America's Best" decals affixed. [ [http://www.metro.net/news_info/archives/2006/metro_093.htm LA County’s Metro Cited as Nation’s 2006 Outstanding Public Transportation System] . Retrieved June 8, 2006]

Public transportation

Metro Rail

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates 73.1 mi (118 km) of Metro Rail service. The system is composed of 62 stations, two at-grade light rail lines, one grade-separated light rail line, and two heavy rail subway lines with total estimated ridership of over 300,000 boardings per weekday. [http://metro.net/news_info/facts.htm]

* The Blue Line (opened in 1990) is a light rail line connecting Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Long Beach. It is the region's first rail line since the demise of the Pacific Electric Railway's Red Car system in 1961, and was built along that system's Long Beach Line.
* The Red Line (first leg to Westlake/MacArthur Park opened in 1993 and to Hollywood in 1999, and to North Hollywood in 2000) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood.
* The Green Line (opened August 12, 1995) is a light rail line running between Redondo Beach and Norwalk which operates mostly in the median of the Century Freeway (Interstate 105). The rail line does not connect directly to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), instead, a shuttle bus runs from the Aviation/LAX station to the airport. It is the region's only above ground light rail line that is completely grade-separated.
* The Gold Line (opened July 26, 2003) is a light rail line that runs between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena and runs through Highland Park and South Pasadena. It was built mainly along a former Santa Fe Railway line.
* The Purple Line (named 2006, first leg to Westlake/MacArthur Park opened in 1993; to Koreatown in 1996) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Wilshire/Western Station in Koreatown. It was part of the Red Line until 2006.

From Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, Metro Rail passengers can transfer to Amtrak and the Metrolink commuter rail system.

Metro Liner

Los Angeles' newest form of transportation is the Metro Liner bus rapid transit system. Metro Liner vehicles are convert|60|ft|m long, articulated buses painted in Metro Rail's silver livery. The Metro Liner is meant to mimic the Metro Rail lines, both in the vehicle's design and in the operation of the line. Vehicles stop at all stations, tickets are sold only on platforms, passengers can board at any door, and the vehicles receive priority at intersections. Bus Rapid Transit is described by promoters as "light rail on rubber tires." Opponents have claimed that it has a small capacity and low speed compared to light rail.

*Metro Orange Line (opened on October 29, 2005) is a 14 mi (23 km) line traversing the southern San Fernando Valley from the Warner Center Transit Hub in Woodland Hills to the North Hollywood station where the line connects to the Metro Red Line. Metro is currently studying extending the Orange Line northward from its current western terminus.

Combined Transitway Service

Metro operates 2 transitways that host many bus lines, that originate and terminate in different places through Los Angeles county. When traveling within the transitways, the buses run in express service, stopping only at transitway stations. The transitways are meant to mimic the Metro Rail lines, because while each bus may have a different final destination passengers can board any bus and travel to any of the other stations.

*El Monte Busway (opened in 1974) is a 13 mi (21 km) combination transitway and high-occupancy vehicle roadway that runs in the median of Interstate 10 (San Bernardino Freeway) and on a separate right of way. The transitway provides express bus service between Downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, and the Inland Empire. Services are operated by both Metro and Foothill Transit. Metro includes the transitway in a silver color in system maps, however, it is not officially called the Metro Silver Line.

*Harbor Transitway (opened in 1998) is an 11 mile (18 km) combination transitway and high-occupancy vehicle roadway that runs in the median of Interstate 110 (Harbor Freeway). The transitway provides express bus service between San Pedro and Downtown Los Angeles. It carries buses operated by Metro, Orange County Transportation Authority, the City of Los Angeles, City of Gardena and City of Torrance. Metro includes the transitway in a bronze color in system maps, however, it is not officially called the Metro Bronze Line. Lines 442, 444, 446, 447, 450X, and 460 use most of the transitway and line 445 uses the entire transitway from Exposition Park to San Pedro. In the Metro timetables, there is a combined service designated 903 that provides the timelines for each of the transitway lines.

Metro Bus

Metro operates three types of bus services which are distinguished by the color of the buses. [cite web
url = http://www.metro.net/news_info/archives/2003/06_June/mta_089.htm
title = Bold New Look Proposed For Metro Buses, Trains, 'M' Logo
publisher = Los Angeles County Metro
author =
date = 19 June 2003
accessdate = 2008-03-10
] However, when mechanical problems occur, any color bus may be substituted to continue service on the route.Metro Local buses are painted in an off-orange color the agency has dubbed “California Poppy”. This type of service makes frequent stops along major thoroughfares. There are 18,500 stops on 189 bus lines. Metro Local buses that have not yet been painted remain white with an orange-yellow stripe. Some routes make limited stops but do not participate in the Rapid program; those routes are served by orange colored buses. Some Metro Local bus lines are operated by First Transit, Transportation Concepts, and Southland Transit. The contractor operated buses do not feature advanced technological features like those found on Metro operated buses. Metro Local is the only service that operates diesel or high-floor buses.

Metro Rapid buses are distinguished by their bright red color the agency has dubbed “Rapid Red”. This bus service offers limited stops on many of the county's more heavily traveled arterial streets. Metro claims to reduce passenger commute times by up to 25 percent by several methods, among them the lack of a bus schedule so that drivers are not held up at certain stops.

Metro Express - Currently only implemented on two lines, 450X and 577X, Metro Express buses are painted a dark blue color the agency has dubbed “Business Blue,” the buses are designed to offer premium, reduced-stop service along Los Angeles's extensive freeway network. There are other lines using the county's freeway system, but these are original lines using Metro Local & Rapid painted buses, with line numbers in the “400” and “500” series (Metro Express also uses line numbers in these series but append the letter “X” to indicate “expedited service”).

The LACMTA operates North America's largest fleet of CNG-powered buses. [cite web
url = http://www.metro.net/news_info/press/archives/2006/metro_058.htm
title = Metro Gets Grant For Purchase of More Clean-Air Buses
publisher = Los Angeles County Metro
author =
date = 26 April 2006
accessdate = 2007-01-07
] The CNG fleet reduces emissions of particulates by 90 percent, carbon monoxide by 80 percent, and greenhouse gases by 20 percent over the 500 remaining diesel powered buses in the fleet. Alternative fuel buses have logged more than 450 million operating miles since 1993, an industry record.


There are no fare gates on the Metro Rail system or the Metro Orange Line. Instead, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Metro fare inspectors conduct random checks of the system. If riders are caught without a ticket they can be fined up to US$ 250 and/or ordered to perform community service for 48 hours. Metro estimates that only about 3% of riders avoid paying the fare. In 2006, however, they said they were considering the possibility of adding turnstiles in the near future. [ [http://cbs2.com/local/local_story_056125641.html "Scofflaws Beware: MTA Considers Subway Turnstiles"] . February 26, 2006. CBS.]

In 2007, with the consent decree with the BRU expired, Metro announced plans for a fare hike. They said that they needed to reduce their $US 100 million deficit, which would be done either by raising fares or reducing service. This proposal garnered strong opposition from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilman Bernard Parks, the Bus Riders Union, and low-income residents.

On May 24, 2007, the Metro board approved fare increases, which were much lower than their original proposal. Effective July 1, 2007, the cost of the day, weekly, and monthly passes will rise, and the semi-monthly pass will be eliminated. Effective 2009, the base fare will raised $0.25 to $1.50, a day pass will be $6, a weekly pass will be $20, and a monthly pass will be $75. [http://www.metro.net/news_info/2007/metro_092.htm]


Average boardings for July 2008 are as follows:

Bus linesBlue LineGreen LineRed LineGold LineOrange Line
Weekdays 1,273,041 86,596 46,527 159,439 27,019 26,907
Saturdays 826,289 54,723 24,710 100,384 16,111 15,326
Sundays 610,725 53,083 20,099 82,438 13,029 12,682


LACMTA is the product of the merger of two previous agencies: the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD or more often, RTD) and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC). RTD was during the 1960s and 1980s (until the LACTC was created) the "800 pound gorilla" in bus transportation in Southern California. This lead to some hostilities and problems with other agencies, as described in the above article on RTD.


RTD and the LACTC officially merged on April 1, 1993. [Klugman, Mark. [http://home1.gte.net/tpnews/current.htm Brief Report: L.A.’s Transit Policing Partnership] . Spring 1998. Retrieved April 4, 2006] Initially, the agency retained the locations of the predecessor agencies in Downtown Los Angeles, but later moved to the 25-story Gateway Plaza building adjacent to historic Union Station in 1995. Local media reports of expensive Italian marble used in its construction resulted in the structure being derisively dubbed the Taj Mahal. [Simon, Richard. "Urban jewel or height of folly? Lavish new transit center and 26-story office tower next to Union Station will become a civic treasure, MTA officials predict." "Los Angeles Times" 24 September 1995: 1.] Housed within the building is the Dorothy Gray Transportation Library, a comprehensive collection of transportation-related books, videos, and other materials, said to be one of the largest in the nation. The library is open to the public.

In 1994, the United Transportation Union, representing bus drivers, went on strike. At stake here were the issues of wages, insurance, and other necessities. This was settled, with operators and maintenance workers receiving a 4% wage increase initially and a 3.5% one for the second year. They also received considerable improvements in health insurance. [ [http://www.h-net.org/~labor/threads/thrutn495.html H-Labor United Transportation On-Line Edition] . April 1995. Retrieved April 6, 2006.]

Employees of the former Los Angeles County Transportation Commission were transferred in December 1996 to the Public Transportation Services Corporation, an independent corporation. PTSC allows former LACTC employees to participate in CalPERS and opt out of Social Security, and permits Metro planning employees to do planning for other agencies, which Metro currently does for Metrolink. Some union members have argued that PTSC is a "sham corporation" designed eventually to outsource Metro jobs. [http://caselaw.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/b122889.pdf] [http://www.umoja-research.com/forums/index.php?act=Print&client=wordr&f=3&t=289]

Bus Riders Union agreement

When the MTA announced plans for a bus fare increase and the elimination of monthly passes, the Bus Riders Union (BRU) with several co-plaintiff organizations filed a federal lawsuit with lawyers supplied by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. They charged that the spending of money on rail was "racist" and demanded that more resources go to buses instead of rail projects. The BRU claimed that 50% of rail riders were white compared with 20% of bus riders. It argued that spending on rail projects reduced funding for bus service that disproportionately affected poor and minority riders who were dependent on public transit, and that improvements for the bus system would be more cost effective and require less subsidy than building a rail system. [http://www.busridersunion.org/engli/Resources/BRUstore/New%20Vision%20for%20Urban%20Transportation.pdf]

In 1996, under the direction of then-L.A. mayor Richard Riordan, the LACMTA signed a ten-year consent decree with the BRU to avoid litigation. Riordan would later state that the signing of this consent decree was a mistake. [http://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/73] At the time, the LACMTA board was led to believe from information provided by MTA staff that load factors could be maintained with existing levels of bus service and without impacting the rail construction timetable; this proved false.

The agreement required an average of fewer than eight standees on a normal 40-seat bus in a 20-minute period during peak hours and a 60-minute period during the off-peak. It also required the Authority to operate special services designed to better connect the poor with important job centers and medical facilities. Provisions of the decree that restricted Metro's ability to raise fares beyond inflation expired January 1, 2004. Donald Bliss, the Special Master overseeing the consent decree, resigned this position in February 2006. No one has been appointed to take his place. The decree expired on October 29, 2006. The BRU made an attempt to extend the decree, but federal judge Terry Hatter, Jr. denied this motion on October 25.

Revenue loss

In 1998, frustrated with sinkholes, cost overruns, and perceived mismanagement, 65% of Los Angeles County voters approved a ballot measure sponsored by County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky that barred the use of county sales tax money for all future subway projects.

With the passage of the initiative and a lack of confidence from federal and state agencies, the LACMTA brought in Julian Burke, a turn-around expert from the private sector. His goal was to revive MTA's reputation and stabilize its precarious budgetary condition. [ [http://www.utu.org/depts/pr-dept/news/ndigest/1998/may98/nd519.htm "Burke vows improved LACMTA bus service"] . UTU Daily Digest News. October 19, 1998. Retrieved April 5, 2006.] He recommended suspension of construction on both the Pasadena Blue Line light rail line to Pasadena and an extension of the Red Line to East L.A. MTA also halted planning for future subway extensions. Construction on the Hollywood and North Hollywood extensions of the Red Line continued as these projects were more than 80% complete. [Rabin, Jeffrey. "Subway's Arrival in Valley Ends Long, Costly Journey." "Los Angeles Times" 18 June 2000: A1.]

Shortly thereafter, the Amalgamated Transit Union, representing mechanics, service attendants and maintenance workers, went on strike, shutting down virtually all rail and bus operations. The issue this time involved "transit zones" and the fear that many of MTA's routes would be outsourced. A "transit zone" is a government agency that operates bus service in a given region with contractors not directly employed by their agency, such as Foothill Transit. The argument some politicians made were that transit zones were more cost effective than MTA service, because drivers could be paid reduced wages. In addition, service would be more aligned with community needs since these zones would be smaller than the existing MTA. [ [http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/oct2000/la-o05.shtml "Striking Los Angeles transit workers defy union officials and continue walkout"] . White, Jerry and Mendendez, Carlos. World Socialist Web Site. October 5, 2000. Retrieved April 5, 2006.] Transit zones were proposed for the San Fernando Valley and western San Gabriel Valley. Ultimately, transit zones were killed by a state law that requires them to honor existing union contracts, thus negating any cost savings in labor.

Concerned about the suspension of the 11% completed Blue Line to Pasadena, Pasadena rail advocates lobbied State Senator Adam Schiff to continue construction. He authored Senate Bill 1847, Chapter 1021. Signed into law in 1998, the bill created the Pasadena Blue Line Construction Authority, an independent authority to complete the suspended light rail line to Pasadena. [ [http://www.erha.org/pasadenaline.htm Pasadena Metro Blue Line Construction Authority] . Electric Railway HIstorical Association of Southern California. Retrieved April 4, 2006.] The law went into force on January 1, 1999. Once completed, the authority turned the line over to LACMTA for operation. The concept was so successful that a similar authority has been established for the Expo Line and the Gold Line extensions.

When it became clear the Pasadena Blue Line would not connect with the Blue Line, as originally planned, the board voted to change the name of the line. Some board members proposed the "Rose Line" in honor of Pasadena's famed annual Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game. However, because planned East L.A. extensions of this line would cross communities far from Pasadena, the board renamed it the Gold Line, because California is known as the Golden State, and because of the gold miners in the Pasadena foothills. [ [http://www.utu.org/utu497/news/newsdgst/2001/December/1203/1203-9.htm "Los Angeles MTA renames light rail line"] . UTU Daily News Digest. December 3, 2001. Retrieved April 4, 2006.]

In the spring of 2000, ground was rebroken on the stalled Pasadena Blue Line, later renamed the Gold Line.

On June 12, 1999, the extension to Hollywood/Vine was completed. On June 24, 2000, the Red Line reached North Hollywood. Because of the ban on the use of county sales tax for subway construction, and a local ban on the construction of new rail lines in the San Fernando Valley area (which prevented the Orange Line from being built as rail), further extensions of the Red Line are not likely to happen soon. Also in 2000, there was a separate federal ban sponsored by Congressman Henry Waxman, barring the use of federal dollars in the Wilshire Boulevard corridor, which prevented any extensions of the original Red Line route (now branded the Purple Line); this ban was repealed by 2007.

The MTA also unveiled the first of 26 planned Metro Rapid bus routes in June, which were Metro Rapid Lines 720 (Wilshire Blvd./Whittier Blvd.) and 750 (Ventura Blvd.). [http://www.realtor.org/SG3.nsf/files/TranSection1.pdf/$FILE/TranSection1.pdf Overview of Transportation Topics] . Realtor.org. Retrieved April 4, 2006.]

In response to the arguments made over transit zones, the MTA Board created "service sectors" on September 26, 2002. There are six service sectors: Gateway Cities (Divisions 1 and 2), San Fernando Valley (Divisions 8 and 15), San Gabriel Valley (Divisions 3 and 9), South Bay (Divisions 5 and 18), and Westside/Central (Divisions 7 and 10, plus Terminal 6) for bus service, and Metro Rail Operations for rail service. Each service sector has a general manager overseeing the operation of two or three bus yards or the rail system. The bus service sectors each have a "Governance Council" that oversees the bus routes operating out of each yard and has the responsibility to plan service in each sector within a certain budget, while Metro Rail Operations reports directly to the Metro Board. The service sectors are designed to be more responsive to community input, but since many bus riders ride routes from multiple sectors -- largely because the sectors operate lines that cross into adjacent sectors -- bus riders often do not know which governance council to complain to, a problem that was identified by the California State Auditor. [http://www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2002-116.pdf "Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: It Is Too Early to Predict Service Sector Success, but Opportunities for Improved Analysis and Communication Exist."] page 41, California State Auditor, December 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2006.]

In February 2003, the MTA became the first agency in the nation to use a bus made of composite carbon and polyester fibers. These "Compo Buses" are 2,100 pounds lighter than a regular bus, increase fuel economy, boast a faster acceleration and deceleration rate, and feature reduced maintenance cost. Current Compobuses are the 40-foot 7980-7999 series (NABI 40C-LFW) and the 45-foot 8000-8099 series (NABI 45C-LFW). The MTA plans to take delivery of a large number of additional 45-foot Compobuses in the upcoming several years.

On July 26, 2003, the Gold line to Pasadena was completed and turned over to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for operation. It was completed on time and under budget by the construction authority, although the MTA had to spend an additional $130 million to purchase cars and test the line. [Streeter, Kurt, and Tina Daunt. "Hopes for Urban Revival Ride on LA-Pasadena Line." "Los Angeles Times" 26 July 2003: A1.] On opening weekend, due to massive public interest, some waited up to three hours to board the trains. Free rides were offered for the first two days of service.

Day Pass

A few months after the Gold Line opened, and for the third time in nine years, the MTA experienced a strike. The Amalgamated Transit Union struck over issues concerning a health insurance trust fund the transit agency pays into and the union manages. The ATU wanted the MTA to contribute more to cover the steeply rising costs of medical care. However, an independent audit showed the union had mismanaged the nearly bankrupt trust fund, making the agency unwilling to contribute more money without getting a managerial stake. [Bernstein, Sharon and Kurt Streeter. "MTA Talks Advance." "Los Angeles Times" 24 October 2003: B1.]

On December 17, 2003, the MTA introduced the "US$3 day pass" and lowered fares from US$1.35 to US$1.25. The day pass allows patrons to get on and off Metro buses and trains as many times as they like within one operational day without paying an additional fare. Also, the MTA limited transfers to non-MTA bus systems. [ [http://metro.net/news_info/archives/2003/12_december/mta_205.htm "New Metro Day Pass to Provide Customers with Unbeatable Value for Daily Transit Needs"] . Metro News Pressroom. December 17, 2003. Retrieved April 5, 2006.] As of July 1, 2007 the cost of the day pass was increased to US$5.

Naming changes

After 1991, the agency used the word "Metro" almost exclusively to describe many of its services. In 2003, after primarily using the term MTA or Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency switched back to simply using Metro. The full name of the agency remains the "Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority," the name given to it by the state legislation which brought it into existence.

Along with a new name and logo, the agency decided to change the colors of its buses to clearly identify each vehicle with the type of service it provides: [" [http://www.mta.net/news_info/archives/2003/06_June/mta_089.htm Bold New Look Proposed For Metro Buses, Trains, 'M' Logo.] " MTA Press Release, June 19, 2003.]
*Rapid buses remained their signature dark red, but with an added silver stripe.
*Local (frequent stop) buses, as well as limited stop buses, were given a California poppy orange.
*Express (freeway service) buses were given a dark blue.
*All Metro Rail vehicles will maintain their stainless steel color with various colors of trim or be painted gray.
*The base color throughout the bus and rail fleet is silver.

Orange Line

On October 29, 2005, the 14 mi (23 km) Orange Line began operation. The US$354 million transitway traverses the San Fernando Valley. It is the region's first bus to operate within its own dedicated right-of-way. Unfortunately, within its first week of operation the at-grade Orange Line experienced three collisions with automobiles, all of which were deemed the fault of automobile drivers who ran red lights. Since the first few weeks of operation accidents on the line have declined significantly.

MTA has embarked on various measures to increase visibility of Orange Line Metroliners, including installing white LED strobes on each side of the vehicle to make them appear as if an emergency vehicle was crossing the red-lighted intersections. Drivers' tactics include slowing to approximately 10 mph (16 km/h) at intersections with poor cross-traffic visibility or blindspots. In addition, the police department heavily patrols the route, with officers in marked cruisers and motorcycles distributing red-light citations.

The route continues to enjoy rapidly increasing ridership with each passing week, owing to the relative consistent speed, minimum of stops along the route as well as remarkable scenery along some stretches, most notably the Sepulveda Basin portion of the route, which invokes an enjoyable ride in the country feeling as it passes park land and a sod farm. The project spent many millions of dollars solely in the landscape portion of the budget to produce a truly scenic ride. Many runs are standing room only. MTA continues to add more scheduled runs as well as double dispatching on some departures with more than one metroliner assigned to each scheduled run.

By May 2006, the MTA announced that the Orange Line had 21,828 average daily boardings, nearly reaching the ridership goals that were predicted for 2020. Outside groups have said that the Orange Line has already reached capacity and that it is time to start planning for a light rail line replacement.

Expo Line

In the years following Congressman Waxman's blocking of plans to tunnel a subway through the dense Wilshire corridor, traffic and congestion has risen considerably. The problem was underscored in 2000, when the art collective Heavy Trash group erected eight large signs along public streets announcing the construction of the "Aqua Line," a 15 mi (24 km) subway "connecting downtown to the Westside." [ [http://heavytrash.blogspot.com/2005/04/aqua-line.html Heavy Trash - BlogSpot] ] The Aqua Line was a hoax, but Heavy Trash's intent was to raise awareness that heavily congested and populated West Los Angeles still lacked rail access.

The LACMTA has officially proposed the Metro Rail Mid-City/Exposition Light-Rail Transit Project, a light-rail line to begin in Downtown Los Angeles and end in Santa Monica. Local and state sales tax and other funds have been set aside for this project. The Final Environmental Impact Report was approved in December 2005. Surveying of the former freight railway line began on May 30, 2006. The first ground was broken in 2006 on the first phase of the line, which runs from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.

Other groups have lobbied for the completion of the originally conceived Wilshire Boulevard subway. The two proposals are not mutually exclusive. Although Waxman's legislation halted construction over safety concerns, Waxman relented in October 2005 after an investigation by experts selected jointly by the congressman and the American Public Transportation Association. The expert panel concluded:

:By following proper procedures and using appropriate technologies the risk of tunneling would be no greater than other subway systems in the U.S. [http://thetransitcoalition.us/LargePDFfiles/APTA%20Review%20Wilshire%20Corridor%20Rev%201.pdf]

In years prior, Waxman had stated that if such a panel deemed tunneling safe in the Mid-Wilshire district, he would authorize legislation that would lift the ban on federal monies being used for subway construction. This has since been done; however, no money has been allocated for future construction of the Wilshire Boulevard subway. Any subway project would require years of planning; either the project will need to compete for federal money with many other projects across the USA, or funds will have to be raised at the local or state levels. This is also problematic due to the aforementioned 1998 Yaroslavsky measure prohibiting use of local sales taxes for underground construction. This may be avoided by through a loophole: the measure forbids use of local money for "new" subway construction, and the Wilshire Boulevard subway was planned well before the 1998 measure.

To recognize the line's ultimate destination to the ocean, the LACMTA has proposed renaming the line the Aqua Line. [ [http://www.mta.net/board/Items/2006/02_February/20060215Item12EMAC.pdf "Consider Color Designation for Metro Rail Project"] . Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Executive Management and Audit Committee. February 16, 2006. Retrieved April 5, 2006.] However, other MTA board members have voiced opposition, suggesting other names such as the "Cardinal Line" or other names. [Pool, Bob. "MTA Squabbles Over Hue-Mongous Decision". "Los Angeles Times". March 23, 2006.] In 2006, apparently in anticipation of extending the subway along Wilshire Boulevard past Western Avenue, the MTA designated a Purple line, which consists of six stations it shares with the Red Line from Union Station to Vermont, as well as the unshared segment from Vermont to Western Avenue in Koreatown.


In July 2006, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a free transit week, which was inspired by the San Francisco Bay Area's Spare the Air days of free rides, which helped increase ridership by 10%. This proposal would help reduce traffic congestion and improve the air quality during the free week. In the wake of concerns raised by Metro's police and security heads (citing increased crime during the San Francisco promotion), this was downgraded by Villaraigosa at the September board of directors meeting into a general directive to increase ridership by 30% over the next year.

In September 2005, Metro broke ground on a 6 mi (10 km) extension of the Gold Line from Union Station, which will run through Little Tokyo to the corner of Pomona and Atlantic Boulevards in East L.A.. The [http://www.metro.net/projects_programs/eastside/default.htm Eastside Gold Line Extension] light rail extension replaces a once-planned Red Line subway extension. It will travel mostly at grade, but will have two underground stations. This extension is expected to be completed by 2009.

The renamed Foothill Construction Authority (formerly Metro Blue Line Construction Authority) is in the planning stages of a San Gabriel Valley extension of the Gold Line to the San Bernardino County border city of Montclair. In the latest federal transportation bill, Congress authorized funding to complete the environmental and engineering process to supplement the funding allocated to it by the cities along the proposed route. The authority continues to plan and conduct the environmental review process.

Construction funding has not been secured, but the extension enjoys strong support from the cities along the route and the local congressional delegation. If construction funding is secured, construction may begin as early as late 2007; with "Phase I" (Pasadena to Azusa) completed by 2010 and "Phase II" (Azusa to Montclair) completed by 2014.

The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (EMLCA) has been established to construct the first phase of the Expo Line from 7th Street/Metro Center in Downtown Los Angeles to the intersection of Washington and National Boulevards in Culver City. Funding is in place for this first phase, but the as-of-yet unfunded phase two of this project will bring the line to the Santa Monica pier in Santa Monica. Phase I portion of this project went to bid in the spring of 2006. The route of Phase II of the project has yet to be determined. One alternative studied in the past showed the light-rail line continuing as a street tram down Venice Boulevard and turning north on Sepulveda Boulevard to rejoin the former railroad right-of-way at Exposition Boulevard. Another alternative would have the train take the shorter exclusive path along the old railroad right-of-way through Palms/Cheviot Hills/Westside Village/Rancho Park. [http://www.metro.net/expo]

Metro continues to expand its Metro Rapid bus system with a goal of 28 lines by 2008. A Special Master ruling in December 2005 requires Metro to increase service on all Rapid bus routes to every 10 minutes during the peak period and every 20 minutes during the mid-day and evening. Service would be required to operate between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. on all Rapid routes. Metro has chosen not to appeal the ruling and began implementation on all Rapid routes in June 2006.

In addition, the agency is embarking on a massive bus restructuring effort entitled Metro Connections. The project is designed to convert the current grid-based bus system, implemented in 1980, to a hub and spoke system focused on activity centers. [http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2006/01_January/20060103OtherSectorWES_Item4.pdf] The system is to be phased in the next four years, and will include new express routes and reconfigured local service. Suburban service and low ridership shuttles will be considered for operation by municipal agencies, restructuring, or cancellation.

A new Universal Fare system called 'TAP' which stands for Transit Access Pass is currently in the testing phase and is expected to roll out to the public in early 2008. TAP was initially used by UCLA students, select businesses (B-TAP program) and Metro staff. As of October 2007, it has entered a two-month test program limited to the first 2,000 customers. This smart card will allow bus and rail passengers to tap their cards on the farebox for faster boarding. TAP readers have already been installed on buses and rail stations next to ticket vending machines. Because Metro Rail is a barrier free system, fare inspectors will be checking to make sure TAP users have validated their card by using a wireless handheld unit, however, these will not be used until 2008. This automated fare system will eventually be implemented on eleven other Los Angeles County transit operators and intends to replace the EZ Pass which allows travel between these transit agencies for one monthly price. Commuters from surrounding cities and communities will be able to travel across the county switching from one transit operator's system to another using one smart card to pay for fares.

Measure R, a proposal that would enact a 1/2 cent increase in sales tax to fund transportation throughout Los Angeles County, including rail, subway and freeway improvements, has been approved for the November 2008 ballot. If approved, the Metro Rail system will be significantly expanded.


Most buses are equipped with monitors for [http://www.transitv.com/ Transit TV] broadcasts and to display real-time bus maps to show the location through GPS navigation; the latter is the first of its kind in the United States. Also, as part of Metro's [http://www.mta.net/projects_programs/atms/default.htm ATMS] project, most buses include a marquee displaying the date and time, Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) for audio and visual announcements for each stop, and an audio and visual Stop Requested announcement.

Most buses operated by First Transit, Transportation Concepts, and Southland Transit have five-digit fleet numbers. Contractors formerly operated some of the 2000-, 2300-, 2500-, 2700-, 3300-, and 4400-series buses; Southland Transit currently operates several 7000-series buses on Lines 266, 270, and 577X. These buses do not feature the ATMS technology that is on Metro-operated buses.

Metro Local buses are painted orange ("California Poppy"), Metro Rapid buses are painted red, and Metro Express buses are painted blue. Metro Local buses acquired prior to the adoption of these colors in 2004 are white with a gold stripe around the bus; these buses will be painted orange during their mid-life rehabilitation (except for the 5300-series New Flyer buses assigned to Metro Rapid lines, which were repainted in red livery in 2004-05). The 7000- and 7600-series buses acquired for Metro Rapid service in 2000 and 2002 are red with a white stripe along the top (7102-7112, 7617-7618, 7628, 7643, 7646 were white with a red Metro Rapid logo on all sides and some of these buses have been repainted to standard red and white and a few have been converted to Metro Local service), but some have been repainted to the current red and silver livery. Most are likely scheduled for repainting beginning in 2007; some have been repainted either in the updated Metro Rapid scheme or in Metro Local colors.

Metro operates the nation's largest fleet of CNG-powered buses. The CNG fleet reduces emissions of particulates by 90%, carbon monoxide by 80%, and greenhouse gases by 20% over the 500 remaining diesel powered buses in the fleet. Alternative fuel buses have logged more than 450 million operating miles since 1993, an industry record. Metro will retire all Diesel buses and become an entirely clean-air fleet by 2008.

Since December 17, 2006, Metro Local Lines 233 (Van Nuys Blvd.) and 204 (Vermont Ave.) were the first Metro Local lines to use convert|60|ft|m|sing=on NABI articulated buses, using the 9400-9500 series. These buses are also currently in use on Metro Local Line 4 (Santa Monica Blvd.).

Bus depots

Under the Metro governance structure, the routes operating out of each depot are supervised by a "service sector" under the responsibility of a sector general manager and a "Governance Council" composed of elected officials, appointed representatives, and transit users from a given area served by each depot. While service sectors have geographical boundaries, in practice they only define where the members of the governance council come from, as most of Los Angeles is served by routes operating out of multiple sectors. For instance, the 3rd Street bus is operated by buses from the Gateway Cities sector, despite its entire route being in the Westside or Central Los Angeles areas. A list of routes operating from each sector can be found [http://www.mta.net/about_us/service_sectors/default.htm on the Metro web site] .

The SGV-3 bus yard in Lincoln Heights is the oldest bus yard in Metro history.

Most buses show the sector abbreviation and division number affixed on the windows and sides of buses. Some also have circular decals with the depot name, with an illustration.

Gateway Cities Sector
*Central City (Division 1) (GC-1) - Sixth Street and Central Avenue
*Crossroads Depot (Division 2) (GC-2) - 15th Street and San Pedro Street
*Downey (Division 4, non revenue vehicles only)

San Fernando Valley Sector
*Chatsworth/West Valley (Division 8) (SFV-8) - Canoga Av. and Nordhoff St.
*Sun Valley/East Valley (Division 15) (SFV-15) - Branford St. near Glenoaks Blvd., Sun Valley

San Gabriel Valley Sector
*North Los Angeles (Division 3) (SGV-3) - Avenue 28 and Idell Street, Cypress Park
*San Gabriel Valley (Division 9) (SGV-9) - Santa Anita Avenue and Ramona Blvd., El Monte

South Bay Sector
*Arthur Winston/Mid Cities ( [http://members.tripod.com/buscat/division05.html Division 5] ) - 54th Street and Van Ness Avenue, Leimert Park
*South Bay (Division 18) (SB-18) - Griffith St. near Figueroa St., Carson

Westside/Central Sector
*Venice/Ocean Park (Division 6) (WSC-6) - Sunset Ave. and Pacific Ave.
*West Hollywood (Division 7 [http://www.metro.net/about_us/library/am_library_division_07.htm#TopOfPage] ) (WSC-7) - N. San Vicente Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.
*Gateway (Division 10) (WSC-10) - Mission Rd. and Richmond St., Boyle Heights

Closed Divisions
*Long Beach Port (Division 12) (GC-12)-Being used as a storage yard for retired busses. As of 2006, Division 12 has been sold to the City Of Long Beach.
*Riverside (Division 13) (SGV-13)
*Pomona ( [http://www.rapidtransit-press.com/rtd1111.jpgDivision 16] ) (SGV-16)

Other transit services

*Metro Freeway Service Patrol - A joint effort between the LACMTA, Caltrans, and CHP offering free quick-fix repairs and towing from freeways.
*HOV (Carpool) Lanes - 219 mi (352 km), 423 mi (681 km) both directions/each lane, of carpool, vanpool, and express bus lanes.
*Bike Paths - 475 mi (764 km) of bikeways for commuter and recreational purposes.
*Metrolink - Partially funded by the LACMTA, it is Southern California's regional commuter rail system servicing Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Orange County, and San Diego County


A complex mix of federal, state, county and city tax dollars as well as bonds and fare box revenue funds Metro.Funding sources (see footnote for current year budget)

Resources US$ in Millions
Fare Revenue 264
Prop A - 1/2 Cent Sales Tax575
Prop C - 1/2 Cent Sales Tax703
Federal Grants547
State Grants472
Interest Income/Bonds179
Other Local Revenue123
Total ResourcesUS$2,863


Metro is governed by a Board of Directors whose 13 members are:
* The five Los Angeles County Supervisors
* The mayor of Los Angeles
* Three Los Angeles mayor-appointees (at least one of whom must be a L.A. City Council member)
* Four city council members from cities in the county other than L.A. representing those 87 cities (selected by the L.A. County City Selection Committee): currently, the representatives are from Duarte, Glendale, Long Beach, and Santa Monica
* The Governor of California appoints one non-voting member (traditionally the Director of Caltrans District 7).

Responsibility for local bus service is delegated to five "Sector Governance Councils", each governing bus service in a service sector comprising the bus lines operating from the yards in a given geographical area. There are five sectors: Gateway Cities, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, and Westside/Central. Members for each governance council are selected by a combination of city councils, councils of governments, and county supervisors representing the area. Many members are local politicians, but each governance council is required to have at least two regular "transit consumers" on their council, which is defined loosely and includes transit riders as well as executives at other transit agencies within the sector. Although the vast majority of the appointees are also members of city councils of cities within the sector, one sector's council -- Metro San Fernando Valley -- is composed almost entirely of non-elected officials. Governance council members are then confirmed by the Metro Board of Directors, and can be removed from their position as desired by the nominator, or by the Metro Board. Governance councils approve service changes (although the Metro Board reserves ultimate authority over service), review the budget, address complaints about bus service, and provide recommendations to Metro management regarding the employment status of each sector general manager. Monthly meetings of the Board of Directors are organized and facilitated by Christopher Reyes.

One consequence of the governance council structure is that Metro can move much more quickly to add or remove service as needed. Therefore, the number of service changes has increased significantly since 2002, when service sectors began. In addition, because of the decentralization of responsibility, this means that bus riders who ride lines in multiple sectors must send multiple letters or attend multiple public hearings to express their concerns about lines that may be cut. Recently, a change was made that permits comments to be delivered to one sector, who will then forward comments to other sectors as appropriate. However, attendees of one sector's public hearing will only hear about the changes in their sector, and will not have the opportunity to speak directly with the staff in the other sectors at that hearing. In addition, each sector can set their own policies regarding public comment, and sectors are not uniform in how service changes are approved.

Communications between sectors and riders was poor, according to a report by the California State Auditor which was released one year into the new structure.


*"Star Trek" actor George Takei was an appointee in the 1970s of then L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to the Board of Directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, a predecessor to Metro.

*In the 1970s, RTD used to regularly select a "Miss RTD". These were usually local young office workers who applied for the honor. Display ads on the buses heralded their selection. This is similar to the Miss Turnstile in the MGM movie musical "On the Town".

* Arthur Winston worked for the MTA and its predecessors (going back to the privately-owned Pacific Electric Railway) for 76 straight years and only missed one day of work to attend his wife's funeral. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton honored him as the "Employee of the Century." He died less than one month after his retirement and 100th birthday in April 2006.

*The Patsaouras Transit Plaza outside the MTA headquarters is named after Nicolas Patsaouras, a former MTA Board member who played a key role in building support for construction of the Metro Rail system. Besides his involvement with development Patsaouras currently is a member of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of the city of Los Angeles.

*The Metro rail and bus fleet often make appearances in films and television shows produced in the Los Angeles area, including "Crash" [http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_30491-New-Flyer-C-40-LF-2003.html] , "Superbad", and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin". [http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_14024-Neoplan-AN-440-1990.html]


External links


* [http://www.metro.net Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority] - Official site of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Other Los Angeles Area Governmental Transit Agencies

* [http://www.metrogoldline.org/ Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority] - official web site of the construction authority that is planning the Gold Line Foothill Extension (Pasadena to Montclair)
* [http://www.buildexpo.org/ Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority] - official web site of the construction authority that is planning the Exposition light-rail line (Downtown L.A. to Culver City and eventually Santa Monica)
* [http://www.bigbluebus.com/ Big Blue Bus] - Santa Monica Municipal Bus service.
* [http://www.culvercity.org/depts_bus.asp Culver City Bus] -
* [http://www.foothilltransit.org/ Foothill transit] - San Gabriel Valley bus services.
* [http://www.lbtransit.com/ Long Beach Transit]
* [http://www.ladottransit.com/ LADOT] Los Angeles Department of Transportation
* [http://www.torrnet.com/128.htm Torrance Transit.]


* [http://www.transit-rider.com/ca.losangeles/lacmta.cfm Photos of Metro buses, trains, and stations]
* [http://www.westworld.com/~elson/larail/laus.html Union Station] - Private website about Union Station and Metro Rail.
* [http://www.transit-insider.org San Fernando Valley Transit Insider] - Private website with maps and other documentation about the history of public transit service in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, with links to current developments.
* [http://www.mta.net/about_us/library/transit_history.htm brief history of Los Angeles Transit from MTA's Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library]
* [http://www.calmaglev.org/documents/2004_rail_leaders_ethan_elkind.pdf white paper on rail history in L.A. County 1973-2004]
* [http://www.laweekly.com/index.php?option=com_lawcontent&task=view&id=349&Itemid=9 L.A. Weekly article on transit history in L.A. County]
* [http://members.aol.com/Gsoma/labuspage.html Los Angeles BusFans Page (Bus photos)]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=103018944950934706704.00000111f9137583f7f04 Los Angeles Metro System on Google Maps]

L.A. Transportation Advocacy Groups

* [http://TheTransitCoalition.us/ The Transit Coalition] - pro-rail transit web site advocating the extension of existing Metro Rail lines or proposing new lines.
* [http://www.socata.net Southern California Transit Advocates] - non-profit organization focusing on public transit policy analysis, public education, and political advocacy for public transportation in the entire Southern California region
* [http://www.busridersunion.org Bus Riders Union] - a civil rights organization opposing rail spending and advocating improved bus service

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