The Metropolitan Transit Agency is proposing a number of changes on bus lines that will go into effect beginning in June, and the public has one more opportunity to voice their opinion.
The proposed cuts and cancellations are the transit agency’s way of dealing with a projected $100 million deficit in fiscal year 2009. According to an MTA spokesman, it costs $905 million to operate the transit lines while the agency only collects $341 million at the fare box. The rest of operations cost is subsidized by two half-cent sales tax measures.
Additionally, as the state legislature debates how to handle its projected $14-$16 billion deficit, the MTA is bracing for cuts in transportation funding from that direction as well.
The Bus Rider’s Union (BRU) contends that some of the changes will force riders to walk up to one mile to get to the closest alternative line, and that the cuts violate civil and environmental rights. The grassroots organization plans to hold a rally at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue Tuesday beginning at 8 a.m. to protest the cuts, and then will attend the MTA board meeting Feb. 28 at 9 a.m. to voice its opposition.
“This is eroding many of the key victories we were able to secure through the Civil Rights consent degree. If they vote and approve all of the cuts, about 50 percent of all the service additions we have gained through the 10-year consent decree will be lost,” explained BRU organizer Manuel Criollo.
The BRU spokesperson added that the changes will require additional transfers which equates to more money spent by the transit dependent.
Locally more than 26 bus lines will be affected. In the South Bay Sector, MTA has proposed canceling the following lines due to low ridership: 127; 202, 254; 350; 315 and replace it with the new 715 Rapid; 124; 126, 209, 211/215, 608, 626, 940, and 220.
The transit agency is also proposing a number of partial cancellations. These are: Line 62, canceling service south of Rosecrans to Hawaiian Gardens; Line 105, route east of Pacific Boulevard due to duplication of Line 611; Lines 108/358, canceling service west of Fox Hills Transit Center to Marina del Rey. Riders would use Culver City 2, Big Blue Bus 14 and Metro Line 110; Lines 110, canceling service east of Garfield Avenue; Line 439, midday and weekend service to be canceled; Lines 444 and 445, midday and weekend service north of Artesia Transit Center canceled to replace with an expansion of Line 450X.
Cancellation of Sunday service is proposed for these lines: 102, 121, 120, 265, 612, and 711 (all weekend service).
MTA also proposes eliminating the late night or owl services (after 11 p.m.) on the following lines: 10, 14, 37, 38, 53 and 60.
New lines are also proposed. These include the 753 Rapid, which will run along the current 53 line Monday through Friday; the Rapid 715 would run from the LAX City Bus Center to Firestone and Atlantic in South Gate; and the 730 would replace the 330 and operate along Pico Boulevard between downtown Los Angeles and the Pico/Rimpau station.
Finally there are selected other changes proposed. These include: Expansion of the 450X Line to operate during the midday and weekends north of the Artesia Transit Center; improving the frequency and span of service of the 705; and reducing the frequency of the 115 because of addition of the 715.
MTA held a series of public hearings and accepted written comments and now agency staff with take that information, evaluate it and then make recommendations to the various governing councils. These bodies will listen to all of the input during their March meetings and take a final vote at that time.
The meetings are open to the public, and people who want to make additional comments on the changes can do so.
The Metro Westside/Central sector, which is responsible for lines 10, 14, 37, 38, 220, 330 and 730, will hold its next meeting March 12 at 5 p.m. at the Beverly Hills Tennis Center, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills. Call (213) 922-1200.
The Metro South Bay Sector will hold its meeting March 14 at 9:30 a.m. at the Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson. Call (310) 225-6000. The South Bay sector handles lines 108/358, 110, 115/315, 120, 124, 126, 202, 209, 211/215, 439, 444, 445, 450x, and 608.
The Metro Gateway Cities Sector will meet March 13 at 2 p.m. t 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey. Call (562) 658-0200. This sector governs lines 26/51, 53, 60, 62, 102, 105, 121, 127, 254, 265, 350, 612, 705 and 753.