In October, there won't be a choice: That late train will be scrapped, the victim of a dispute between
Well, that's the way things go -- a step forward here, a step backward there. If you like public transit, you learn to expect setbacks.
Here's the background. The commuter train system serves
Metrolink sent bills for the fiscal year that began this month to those five counties' transportation agencies. Four counties agreed to their share, paying 7.3 to 14 percent more than last year, but
Its share, an 8.8 percent increase, was too much for the board of directors, which on
"Our argument with Metrolink was that money doesn't grow on trees, it's certainly not growing at an 8.8 percent or 10 percent rate, and you need to live within your means,"
"Unfortunately," Wolfe added, "other member agencies didn't take that approach."
As usual, the 909 proudly goes it alone.
Metrolink, by contrast, got 10 percent more last year from SanBAG and now was back asking for 8.8 percent.
"I can't see a sustainable train service with 8 to 10 percent increases on an annual basis," SanBAG President
Michael said he was mystified upon learning that Metrolink's CEO,
And, Michael said, "my frustration with Metrolink is that cuts to service was their first answer." The agency ought to "sharpen its pencils" and make cuts like other government agencies have done, he said.
Metrolink says diesel fuel prices keep rising and that its labor costs do too. The agency worked with SanBAG to come up with cuts to
"We tried to pick trains that would have the least impact," Metrolink spokesman
Affected are two midday runs: Train 310, which leaves L.A. at
Also affected are the two last runs: Train 339, which leaves
Admittedly, 70 people total on that to-and-from train aren't many, and so those are obvious trains to cut. But it's still 70 people and a useful service, including for Dodger fans taking the train to home games.
Metrolink's weekend late trains will be unchanged, leaving L.A. on Saturdays at
The cuts were approved at a Metrolink board meeting Friday, held in
I boarded in
The way it's set up, you park in a vast lot, walk to the station, buy a daily permit, return to your car to put the receipt on your dash, then curse as your train pulls in and leaves without you. Thankfully, I got there in plenty of time to walk back and forth repeatedly.
At the meeting, the only familiar face was that of
The meeting itself was anticlimactic: Nobody showed up to speak. Two emails from the public were summarized: one asked that they keep late-night service and another suggested keeping late-night service on Thursdays and Fridays.
The board voted in favor of the cuts, with no dissent, and that was that. Although
McCallon, who's on both the SanBAG and Metrolink boards, told me Monday that he can see both sides.
Metrolink needs to be efficient, McCallon allowed, but an agency that answers to five counties with their own needs and agendas, he said, can't be held to the same standards as
Overall, ridership on the San Bernardino Metrolink line, the one that stops in
For late-night travel, some of us can take Foothill Transit's Silver Streak bus, which runs between downtown L.A. and
Here's some historical perspective.
It shows that on weekdays, the last eastbound train out of L.A. left for
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