Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Too many transfers, too many delays
My coworker is a brave soul. She travels on 3 Metro rail lines a day to get to work: Green to Blue to Red. The total distance of her commute if she drove would be a little over 13 miles. For the most part taking public transit works for her. She doesn't spend close to an hour in traffic, her car isn't forced to put on mileage and since work pays for the majority of her monthly pass it's cost effective. But there's something that is rarely taken into account: the psychological toll of relying on transit day after day to get you to and from a place 10+ times a week. The problem is that with 3 rail lines that's 3 times as many places for things to go wrong, multiply that by a round trip and that's 6 times a day things could go wrong, multiply that by 5 days a week and you're up to 30 times...you get the picture. The problem becomes when the days that the trip goes off without a hitch start to seem fewer than the number of times SOMETHING goes wrong. This can range from something minor like one or two doors not opening on a train causing momentary chaos at every station to a crash with a car, requiring everyone switching to a bus bridge. In LA it tends to be the Blue Line with problems more often than the others, and in Washington D.C. it typically was the Red Line, but when one of these "problem" lines are on your daily commute your ability to rely on transit as a timely and efficient option starts to dwindle. Not to say Metro isn't trying the twitter feed @metrolosangeles has started keeping much better with transit alerts and continues to be responsive via the source blog for issues being raised by customers. Check them both out if you're a rider or just a transit enthusiast.