Friday, May 20, 2016

Train to the Sea

It's finally here. But no one ever gets it in this silly country. Frequency is much more important than speed. People hate to wait much more than they hate to ride. And of course too low frequencies can dramatically increase the average total trip time. Run them often enough, and 50 minutes from downtown LA to the beach is fine.
When the long-awaited Expo Line extension opens Friday at noon, passengers will ride from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica in 50 minutes.

That's an improvement over the ugly rush-hour commutes many days on the 10 Freeway. But it's roughly as long as the trip took on the old Pacific Electric Red Cars, which operated a similar route six decades ago.

Speed is one of the biggest challenges facing regional planners as they try to coax Los Angeles drivers out of their cars and onto public transit. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say they hope to convert 20% to 25% of Angelenos into regular transit riders, triple the current percentage.