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Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: MTA Can Build the Subway to the Sea, All Right, But Which Sea?

The more
Bruno reads about the MTA, the more he’s convinced the Subway to the Sea might
just end up at the Atlantic – if it gets built
at all.
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The Dog
Trainer this morning had an uncharacteristically cogent editorial about the
MTA’s very screwed up pass system. 


The lede
was so good I suspect they’ve got a new intern whose brain hasn’t turned into
mush …. yet:


Simple. Secure.’ That’s the slogan the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
has adopted for its new Transit
Access Pass

system, but at this stage of its development, a more apt description would be
“Dumb. Complicated. Insecure.”


editorial goes on to explain in detail that the pass system appears to have
been designed by a bunch of drunken monkeys.
The poor and the elderly get screwed the worst, of course, which
sometimes seems like an official MTA policy.


But a Green
Sheet story earlier in the week really had Bruno growling:


spending more than $154 million for a system of locking turnstiles and
electronic payment cards for the county transit system, officials are
discovering that at least a third of the money may have been wasted because
they can’t use the new devices as planned.


Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed the locking turnstiles at subway
and light-rail stations to stop fare scofflaws and end what had previously been
an honor-based system.


under a $46 million contract, the turnstiles were predicted to save $13 a
million a year in lost revenue and reduced fare inspector costs.


“But the
turnstiles can’t be configured to lock until Metro fully converts to a new
electronic Transit
Access Pass

system – and that is proving nearly impossible.”




And I might
think in dog years, but there is some history to this idiocy.


In 2008,
the LAWeekly, detailed the lead up to installing the turnstiles.


One guy
thought it was a really bad idea.


board member Richard Katz, who voted against the locking turnstile contract,
felt from the beginning it was not worth the expense.


didn’t think it would pencil out, which appears to still be true,” said
Katz, a former assemblyman for the San Fernando Valley.
“They were trying to solve a problem that may not have existed, or is not
nearly as great as the money spent for the solution.”


He added
that he doubts the system has lost enough money from fare evasions to make the
expense worth it even if the turnstiles were operating.”


Katz, who
has ended up looking pretty smart, was the only board member to vote against
the proposal.  The Weekly did a


“Katz is
either a stubborn fool or the smartest guy in the room. He believes the
agency’s long history of bad assumptions is repeating itself. He’s unconvinced
that the tiny percentage of riders who don’t pay fares ever will. They could
merely disappear.


“I can
count the number of times on one hand that MTA has been right about
construction costs, operating costs — that doesn’t even include technological
costs,” he says. “Any more money spent should go to Sheriff’s [deputies] — more
eyes and ears on the platforms.”


Katz might
be alone on the MTA board, but he has company in many big cities around the
world, where open rail systems — like L.A.’s — are popular and the low
percentage of scofflaws are considered a small price to pay.”


Katz is
still on the MTA board – and the boards of Metrolink and The California High
Speed Rail Commission.  He’s become quite
a train guy. He is also quarterbacking
the mayor’s 30-10 plan to spend all that Measure R money while most of us are
still alive.


Let’s hope
if he buys the planners a compass so the sea it reaches is the Pacific, not the Atlantic..



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15 Responses to Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: MTA Can Build the Subway to the Sea, All Right, But Which Sea?

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is why, I voted against Measure R. MTA along with LAUSD is the most mismanaged and wasteful agency, and rarely gets any coverage that would expose it. What is the return on the money shoveled yearly into this agency. Highly compensated employees with excellent benefits working in a posh building and doing very little work in this bloated agency. Add to that, a Board composed of politicians including four idiots from City Hall, who can’t even manage the City, and what we get is a recipe for disaster.

  2. G. Shepherd says:

    What good are locking turnstiles when even this Superpup, who can leap a four-foot wall in a single bound, knows anyone can jump them or crawl under them?
    Your Pal,

  3. Anonymous says:

    30/10 scares the hell out of me.
    From the City Hall gang that cannot add or subtract, to say nothing about balancing the budget, comes this creative financing plan that is going to save the day. Please. We are just spending the next generation’s money on money losing propositions.

  4. Mutual Funds says:

    Hi there i sherish your nice blog, I would feel very honored if you allow me to publish a long review about your awesome webblog in this little would you say yes? Investor Forum is my main interest.

  5. Anonymous says:

    MTA has tons of real estate in LA and it would be a great report to find out exactly how much. Remember Jan Perry screwing up and giving in to MTA’s demands on a lawsuit for her park and in exchange we got all those ugly digital billboards. Have you seen the huge one going up on the new Marriott building? Its the largest in LA yet. MTA is allowing affordable housing to be built all over the Eastside thanks to Antonio’s and Huizar’s bitches called ELACC. How in the hell does a non profit group get millions and buys up real estate to build whatever the hell they want in a miniority community without any say? The only residents they invite are politicians and kiss butts not the “legal” residents of the community.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ron you have to start deleting comments, which are using your site for free publicity under the guise of comments like 9:51 and 12:22 above.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Poseidon Adventure (1972 film)
    Maureen McGovern
    The Morning After
    There’s got to be a morning after
    If we can hold on through the night
    We have a chance to find the sunshine
    Let’s keep on looking for the light
    Oh, can’t you see the morning after?
    It’s waiting right outside the storm
    Why don’t we cross the bridge together
    And find a place that’s safe and warm?
    It’s not too late, we should be giving
    Only with love can we climb
    It’s not too late, not while we’re living
    Let’s put our hands out in time
    There’s got to be a morning after
    We’re moving closer to the shore
    I know we’ll be there by tomorrow
    And we’ll escape the darkness
    We won’t be searching anymore
    There’s got to be a morning after
    (There’s got to be a morning after)
    There’s got to be a morning after

  8. Anonymous says:

    “He doubts the system has lost enough money from fare evasions to make the expense worth it even if the turnstiles were operating.”
    That’s a good, quality point!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I always felt that the LA honor system was a small way for Los Angelenos to feel good about themselves. So much of this city looks like a prison. Fewer and fewer open spaces and parks are open to the public. So the subway and light rail system not having turnstiles and all of the ugly barriers that go with them seems a bit gentile. But not now. Barriers up, and oh oh, they don’t work. It’s a perfect metaphor for the dysfunction of our local government.

  10. Hank says:

    Ron – please clarify what your left column ad says – “The Filter with Fred Roggin.” “The Filter” is broadcast on NBC’s Raw Channel 225 at 7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
    Channel 225 on what Cable system?
    Here in San Pedro (Cox Cable) 225 is the home of FUSE. Perhaps you are referring to Cox Cable Channel 804, which is listed as NBCWP, mostly Weather but also RAW.

  11. Non public transit rider says:

    Does anybody besides me question the need for this subway. Like the bullet train to Vegas – who is going to ride it?
    If there’s an MTA project that needs work it is the one that ALMOST goes to LAX. Somehow Atlanta, and New York (JFK), and Philadelphia, and Dallas, and Chicago, and etc. managed to get their subway/MTA projects to include the airport, but NOT LA.

  12. Uncodified American says:

    Re: Non public transit rider on August 30, 2010 3:53 PM
    Someone like Mayor Tony would say Los Angeles is a “World Class” city and “World Class” cities have subways and bullet trains and opera companies and brand new football stadiums and on and on. All paid for by the local taxpayers, of course.
    The Green Line to LAX? Supposedly it didn’t happen for technical engineering reasons. I suspect the LAX airport parking lot operators had something to do with that.
    If Sen. Harry Reid and the Nevada Casino operators want a bullet train from LA to Vegas, they should build it and pay for it themselves. Only Vegas would benefit from it.
    If you think a bullet train to Vegas makes no sense, how about a bullet train to Fresno?
    The single biggest problem with building a subway under Wilshire Blvd. is that there are too many lawyers on Wilshire Blvd. ready, waiting and eager to sue at the first crack of concrete in any building along Wilshire…

  13. I love the humor in the title. It draws you in with a smile. What sea?! Ha! Thanks for posting this.

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