Metro Train Travelling in LA: Awesome at Making You Really Really Plan Ahead

I've been thinking a lot about the ways that Metro seems to be a very herky jerky way of travelling through LA.

The past 2 weeks or so, I've gone 2010 all over again;  I'm biking and riding Metro consistently for work.

It costs a little more than those days.  The price of a 1-way is now $1.75, up from $1.25.  The price of an all-day pass is now $7 when it used to be $5.  That means, instead of fumbling for just 1 quarter, I'm fumbling for 3.  And if I want an all day pass I'm scrambling for two bucks to stack on top of the 5. 

What makes Metro a herky jerky way of traveling?  Basically, Metro's unpredictability vs. the supreme controllability, flexible-ness of your own personal vehicle. 

If by chance you are travelling by Metro train, you better have a lot of buffering time if you plan on making it anywhere by a certain time.

Unexplained delays do happen especially on the Blue Line, but thankfully I leave early enough that I have not been seriously screwed.  You really do have to plan very very ahead to ensure that you won't be screwed.

1)  I never know when their trains are coming.  Their time table schedule on their website is in PDF. 

That means every single time you want to check their times on their website, you have to download a PDF, rather than looking at their website.

I mean, it's 2015, I have a smartphone and can use trip planner on Google Maps.  But still if I wanted to really plan ahead and know all the routes, I'd still like to quickly see a timetable.

For reference, I checked how Boston and Chicago did their respective Blue Lines.

I'd remembered a grade school friend raving about the transit system in Boston, so I checked theirs.  They sort of had a timetable which shows first and last trips of the day.

Chicago's interface was a little confusing, but I got to where I needed to be.  Points for showing multiple times of arrival.  Points off for not creating borders in their interactive module.

For LA (and NY, apparently) implementation of tables on their websites would probably break their servers.

It's bad enough that the only line that gives you any sense of when the train is coming without calling that emergency phone is the Red Line.

Solutions:  How hard is it to put tables into a website?!

2)  You might miss the train spending time fumbling for change.  It honestly probably takes a good minute or 2 to get your tap card loaded with the appropriate pass because you're doing the following:  You're getting your money, you're pulling out your tap card, your answering all the prompts about what kind of fare you want loaded on your stupid ass tap card.

Even with your money and tap card ready, the process is still cumbersome if you see a train passing by and it appears you're not going to catch it, but you're just. Right. There.

I had that happen to me a few days ago transitioning from the Blue Line to the Expo Line.  I'd just gotten off the Blue Line, was headed towards the ticket booth to get another 1-way pass, but then within a minute, the Expo Line came my way.  There was not enough time to get to the ticket booth, and I wasn't about to be late to work.  I hopped the Expo hoping I would not run into any Sherriff patrolling for tickets;  I was lucky to get away with it.

Solutions:  The task is cumbersome, so if I can, I'd like to just be able to walk to Metro station, tap my card each time, having prepaid the card.  My best solution would be to have an online payment program or application that can pre-load your tap card. 

Either that or being able to pay ON the train somehow with a kiosk or Sherriff or something.

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