Metro's Problems and Solutions from a Bicyclist's Point of View

So having my reduced student fare card on the Metro has let me travel even more through the strands of LA.

I love it. Absolutely no need for a car unless I'm running late. I use the car theoretically like a credit card should be used --- only for emergencies.

However, there have been tons of downsides to taking Metro trains and buses. And I'm already very weary of the complete non-incentive of the massive bureaucracy called Metro to improve just about anything.
  • Number one is the long wait times at night. Every 13-23 minutes my ass. Particularly for the 233 from Westwood to the Valley, that took about an hour or so from time of arrival at the stop to actually getting onto the bus.
  • Number two is the unsureness of when the buses or trains will arrive. Very random, and it's really hard to depend on the schedule. Every 13-23 minutes my ass. On occasion, I do get lucky and arrive to catch a bus, but more often than not, I'm on edge about when the bus will arrive. Sometimes, I wonder if biking somewhere will get me somewhere faster. This is particularly true on the Blue Line, and the Van Nuys bus.
  • Number three is asshole Orange line bus drivers who won't let your bike on the bus when there's space available. The last driver told me that "it was a safety issue", which was complete bullshit because I've taken my bike in before and no one's life was immediately threatened on the 15-20 minutes that I took it. Not allowing bikes in when there's enough space is a real dickheaded move because we bicycle riders have usually had to wait a couple of minutes for the bus to get there. Having to wait 10-15 minutes for the next one is particularly fucking annoying, and waiting another hour at night for yet another unguaranteed space on the bus is pretty dangerous if not particularly fucking annoying. We need to get somewhere too!
  • Number four pertains to buses and especially the Orange Line. This is the guessing game bicyclists often have to play as to where bike rack space is available. In addition to unsuredly waiting for the bus. Off the Red Line in North Hollywood, people are coming off the goddamn train, and usually on the Orange Line, all the bike racks will be used up if you're not fast out of that subway.
  • Number five is Metro train riders not understanding that there are designated spaces on the train specifically for bicycles, strollers, bags, and other big cargo stuff. On the red line tons of people will just stand on the railing when there are many places to sit. I'd rather not be holding up my bike and would prefer to rest it on something. I've gotten into verbal arguments on the Blue Line about putting my bicycle in the designated middle areas. I point to the bicycle symbol. Also, I'm not a fan of playing a guessing game as to where the designated bicycle areas are. It can be quite annoying fighting through crowds of lumbering masses.
Solutions to 1, 2, 3, and 4: What we need is some kind of progress tracker for buses and trains available on their website. Perhaps make use of that GPS technology that can track real time traffic. The minutes till arrival thing that the Red Line and Orange Line have are somewhat helpful...that is when they're not completely malfunctioning and completely off.

The reason for a real-time progress tracker? Probably for more efficient trip planning for customers.

Along with that progress tracker should be some kind of bicycle rack indicator. Either online or some kind of signalling system. The bicycle rack indicator would let me know if I'm wasting my time waiting for a bus, only to be turned away. Maybe I could make actual plans to bike, take another route, call a taxi, call a friend.

Solution to 5: Would it be that hard and/or costly to paint designated areas of a platform on the Blue and Red Lines, Bike Zones? I think that would reduce confusion amongst bicyclists and riders as to where we need to be.

Particularly helpful during nighttime.

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