Saturday, December 17, 2011

More Trains, More Often

More Lines , More Often !
The Phantom is a huge advocate of improved evening and weekend service. Metro operates frequent bus and rail service in a larger geographical area than any other transit system in the world, yet service frequency falls off a cliff after dark. Downtown and many other neighborhoods do not shut down after 5 p.m., so why should a bus or train that operates every 6-12 minutes during the day suddenly become every hour after 7 or 8 p.m. ? It makes absolutely no sense.

Now it looks as though Metro is finally seeing the light, or in the dark as it were, with improved evening service on the Red, Purple and Blue Lines. The top three Metro Rail lines now have 10 min service from early evening until close. That's more frequent than during the day on weekends. Metro has been making a big deal about the cost of night service for years, but adding less than a dozen trains (and operators) for 3 hours is really just chump change.

The obvious question is why not the Gold and Green lines or buses on the 15 Minute Map ?! It would be a bit more costly, so start with a dozen more trains to cover the other rail lines (including Expo!) and then add buses to the 25 lines that already have 24 hr. "Owl" service. It doesn't even have to be every 10 minutes. Every 12-15 minutes until Owl service begins would be a huge improvement ! It would put Metro in the league with New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Surfliner Schedule Leaves Riders Waiting at the Station

The proposed January 8, 2012 Pacific Surfliner schedules create a nearly 3 hour gap in southbound service from Los Angeles from 7:30 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. daily. The new 7:30 p.m. southbound departure would also drop the stop at Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs, leaving riders in Southeast L.A. County without evening service. The last Metrolink is at 6:30 p.m. There is also a new southbound gap leaving L.A. between 12:30 p.m. and 3:05 p.m. on weekends.  

Why can't the new through train operate 30 min. later out of San Luis Obispo at 2:30 p.m. so that it may keep the 8:30 p.m. slot out of Los Angeles ? Wouldn't there be less opposing traffic later than earlier, as proposed. The stop at Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs should also be retained as long as Orange and Laguna Niguel get to keep their stops on selected Amtrak trains.

The proposed Northbound schedule from San Diego may be a disaster on weekends, especially during summer. Currently there are four weekend evening departues northbound from San Diego at 5:20 p.m., 6:20 p.m., 8:20 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. The new schedule has two weekend evening departues from San Diego to L.A. at 6:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., a three hour gap in service at a very busy time! The Phantom predicts those two trains are going to be extremely crowded.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

You call this "Coordination" ?

No More Rail 2 Rail ?
Amtrak California may end the popular "Rail 2 Rail" program that allows Metrolink monthly passholders to ride Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains within the zone of their pass. If Rail 2 Rail is eliminated, Metrolink Orange County and Ventura County Line riders will lose weekday midday, evening and weekend service. That's no way to run a railroad !

The Phantom Rides ...

The Phantom Commuter
The Phantom rides the buses and rails, reporting on what's right and what's wrong with L.A.'s transit system