Tuesday, May 14, 2013
LAMTA Says Angelenos are not Angels
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority says MTA Says Angelenos are not Angels Los Angeles is the City of Angels. Los Angeles is the post World War II metropolis of the automobile. Detroit built the cars, but LA drove them. Even the fabled surfers carried their surfboards to Malibu on Woodys. Los Angeles abandoned the last of its 1,000 interurban rail system in 1963, The Red Cars had their last ride except in a Disney movie. The Pacific Electric Railway of Henry Huntington defined the Los Angeles basin. Cars and surf were the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Freeways, traffic, and Sig Alerts are the LA Culture. Unknown to the world, Los Angeles has had a nascent subway system since 1993 when 4.5 miles of a new Red Line and 5 stations opened. The city now has 88 miles of subway and light rail linking downtown to Long Beach and Pasadena. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was so desperate to lure Angelenos out of their cars into subways that the stations were built without turnstiles. Riders were on the honor system. The absence of locked gates and turnstiles gave rise to a generation of free riders. The chances of being busted for riding without a ticket were so small that up a majority of the 360,000 daily riders risked the $250 fine, which in turn is often unenforced. The idea of getting a free ride from the government is irresistible in the City of Angels. The MTA is so disappointed with the lack of honor by the otherwise green riders that it is spending $46 million to install the new electronic, gated system and $103,000 monthly to maintain – all to collect a $1.50 fare. It might not pay for itself, but riders will now be green with honor. Let’s think about Los Angeles and integrity and the honor system. Mayor Villaraigosa, the $100,000 moocher of complimentary tickets to games and concerts, has touted “LA’s Subway to the Sea,” although the subway is planned to end at the VA Hospital on Veterans Ave., near the 405 and a long, dangerous 3 mile walk to the sandy shores and waves of the Pacific. Los Angeles is Hollywood, which supports a league of attorneys and accountants to audit the entertainment companies as they attempt to cheat actors, directors, writers, agents, and musicians out of their rightful royalties and percentages. Los Angeles is the Walt Disney Company, which attempted to copyright “Seal Team Six” and “Dia de los Muertos.” Los Angeles is a city which issues $63 tickets for parking at broken parking meters. The ticketing is worth about $5 million annually in the city’s coffers. Los Angeles has now installed new electronic meters to replace the old mechanical meters. The new meters automatically revert to a zero balance when a parked car backs out. Los Angeles municipalities have a large number of municipal officials, both elected and appointed, under indictment for various forms of corruption and breaches of the public trust. Finally, let us recognize that New York City issued new tokens when it increased subway fares. It knew from experience that if it continued with the old tokens, new Yorkers would invest thousands in them to beat the fare increase. It eliminated the problem when it went to electronic fares. That’s New York; this is LA, but freeriders are a universal phenomenon.