Monday, August 15, 2005

Why I don't always (heart) Metro

Metro busesWarning: this is going to be more of a rant than usual.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Greens meeting will feature a presentation from a Green who has lived in Los Angeles for 20 years without a car. Coincidentally, I've been trying to become more independent of my automobile. As a Green, I feel guilty driving no matter what, but since we are a one-car household, I feel especially guilty about monopolizing the car. Unfortunately, I have a longer commute that does not lend itself to public transit, and my efforts to car pool to work have been rebuffed. Nevertheless, in honor of record gas prices, I decided to experiment with taking the bus to work.

Today clarified for me why most Angelinos will not abandon their cars no matter how expensive gas becomes. The route to my work is relatively simple: I took the 714 Rapid down Beverly to Santa Monica Blvd, and transferred to the 304*, taking that into Santa Monica. On the way to work it was simple and ran on schedule, taking an hour.

But it took me two hours to get home! I got to the bus stop at around 5:15 and had to wait half an hour for the bus, meaning it was two buses behind schedule. This meant of course that when the bus did come, it was totally packed, so I had to stand the whole way to Beverly Hills. Also, the delay meant that the Rapid wasn't running anymore, since according to Metro, rush hour is from 3 to 6. So I had to wait for the 14 and take that. At least it didn't rain.

During my two hour sojourn I had plenty of time to reflect on the bad experiences I had taking the horrible buses when I lived in D.C. Once there was something wrong with the subway, so they used buses to transport all the metro people downtown. That meant that as I waited at my bus stop on Wisconsin, bus after bus came by completely packed without even stopping. That showed that the Metro system couldn't care less about the bus riders, and would always prioritize the subway people. Somehow I guess they expected me to telepathically understand that a subway line was blocked and therefore bus traffic on my route was canceled for the morning. After more than an hour of this I gave up and took the day off.

Maybe one day someone will solve the bunching up buses problem, in which no bus comes for an hour and then three come at once. That will be a glorious day.

Also, since when have buses had tvs with news and advertising (w/ sound) and horoscopes?!? Isn't there supposed to be separation of church and state? Why are captive bus riders forced to learn about astrology while they travel in discomfort to and from their jobs? This seems even worse than the in-elevator news/advertising they had at another place I worked, which was silent at least.

*UPDATE 8/16: Today it took me 20 minutes longer to get home on the bus than it did yesterday! Admittedly it would be even worse if the bus had made me late to work instead. (Also, I corrected a typo above where I put the wrong bus line.)


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