Tuesday, April 12, 2005

L.A. Times Needs To Be Comprehensive In Printing The Numbers As High Gas Prices Bring More Riders To Public Transit

The L.A. Times has a short story on the front of the California section this morning, April 12, reporting that public transit ridership in the Los Angeles area has been increasing as gas prices soar.

But the story is incomplete. It gives percentage increases, but provides no exact numerical figures, which leaves one wondering just what the increase is.

On Page 2, there are comprehensive numbers for Metrolink's San Bernardino line only. Ridership rose, according to a Metrolink spokeswoman, from 10,978 commuters in March a year ago to 12.031 commuters this March. The story neglects to say if this is a daily or a monthly figure.

Overall, according to the story on the California front by Sharon Bernstein and Nicholas Shields, Metrolink ridership is up 7%, Red Line subway nearly 12%, Green Line light rail 8% and the, already crowded, Blue Line light rail by 3%. But exact numbers aren't given.

Times Metro editors often don't require such details. That's a mistake, since a 7% increase in 100 riders would be seven more riders, while, for 100,000 riders the increase would be 7,000. We need such details to know precisely what's going on.

Still no detailed reaction from the L.A. Times to the General Motors decision to suspend its advertising, because they don't like what auto columnist Dan Neil and other Times writers have been saying about them.

I'm going to have more to say about this in the next few days, but for the time being, I think there ought to be a boycott on SUV purchases from all vehicle producers in Southern California. I notice that last week's Time magazine has a huge opening ad from Mercedes Benz for the gas guzzling SUVs. This is not a time to quietly accept such ads, no matter where they come from.

Today, by the way, is the 60th anniversary of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. I was on my way home from school, a boy of seven walking across Tahquitz Creek in Palm Springs, about 3 p.m. that day, when someone gave me the news. Roosevelt, like Pope John Paul II, was a holy father to many, and he is still remembered with love and respect.

It was also 60 years ago today that my father's flagship, the USS Rall, was attacked by five Japanese kamakazis off Okinawa. Two were shot down, two hit the water and one hit the ship below the bridge, killing or wounding a third of the crew. My father survived the attack and died in bed in 1982, but many of his crew did not make it through April 12, 1945. May they rest in peace, as may FDR.

It was also a year ago today that Denise Smith, who with her husband the late Times columnist Jack Smith, was in Pearl Harbor the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, died. She was the mother of Times reporter Doug Smith, and we all remember her most fondly.

So April 12 anniversaries are significant. Time passes, but our memories of these people and events are as alive today as when they were with us. On my wall at home is a Bronze Star Medal my dad won on April 12, 1945, as is a picture of Roosevelt, with Churchill and Stalin, the architects of the World War II victory, conferring at Yalta that same year.


Blogger Transit Nerd said...

We will post the source data for the Metro and Metrolink ridership later this evening. Here is the link to check: http://tinyurl.com/3qam2

Ken: The Times is missing a lot of transportation stuff.

The other day, Metrolink reported, and I heard this first hand, that UP had a dispatcher who delayed two Riverside Line trains for up to 120 minutes. Metrolink wisely taped the conservation where the dispatcher deliberately jamed up the rail line and was quite explicit.

The Riverside Line has shown an 8% ridership drop due to UP not doing what they've contracted for and direct interference.

UP has a contract with Metrolink to give commuter trains the Right of Way and priority. Here are some details from our website: http://tinyurl.com/6swn6

With more documentation coming out on the future of oil: http://tinyurl.com/5yc2b , you wonder what can be done to move mass transit forward. Right now, MTA is funded to build one mile of rail per year!


4/12/2005 7:52 PM  

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