(or, how Metro got out from under the huge operating deficit created by the ten years of the Consent Decree)
In 2009, Metro was faced with a significant operating deficit as a result of a reduction in state operating subsidies, fare revenue,
and overextending the amount of service provided when the Consent Decree was in force. In order to resolve the deficit, Metro undertook a plan to more efficiently allocate service and focus on providing higher quality service. They established a Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC) of key stakeholders to establish policy guidance for transit service development.
The BRC was charged with developing the basis for amending the specific service design guidelines, performance metrics and standards within the Transit Service Policy, developing future service adjustments, and establishing formal processes for the coordination of service between Metro and other transit operators. To do this, they were asked to identify and prioritize service quality attributes, and recommend guidance on service coordination, bus-rail integration, and the reduction or elimination of duplicative services.
The policy recommendations were approved by the Metro Board of Directors July 22, 2010, after six months of meetings by the BRC. The recommendations were then translated into a set of service design guidelines, performance metrics and standards which were used both to evaluate the system and to identify opportunities for service improvement. The thus-revised Transit Service Policy was used to restructure Metro's bus service, starting with the December 2010 service changes.
The BRC consisted of five Metro Governance Councilmembers (one from each of the five Councils), a member of the Metro Citizens' Advisory Council, representatives of five non-Metro transit agencies (LADOT, Norwalk Transit, Pasadena ARTS, Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, and West Hollywood CityLine), four area business organizations (the San Fernando Valley was represented by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association) and representatives from the Los Angeles Community College District and the University of Southern California. Attachment A of the staff report contains the policy recommendations and guidelines approved by the Board. In the area of service design, the BRC recommended that the rail system, Metro Rapid, and the Orange and Silver Lines serve as a "backbone" fed and complemented by the regional bus network. Less-frequent local bus services were seen as an augmention to the regional network for better geographic coverage but closely-spaced services were proposed for consolidation into fewer, more frequent services at a half-mile to mile route spacing.
For this series of service change programs, Metro staff used a "clustering" approach to proposals involving several lines and grouped all the lines together for each proposal. We have used the same groupings for the pages here. Where a line was cancelled (either wholly or in part, with no restructuring), we have made a reference to that in the list rather than create a separate page for that line; the staff reports include the maps and data for these lines, if the reader is interested in those details. The staff reports also include summaries of the public hearing comments.
It also must be noted that with the dissolution of the "service sector" operating model, the former sector Governance Councils were renamed Service Councils at the beginning of the 2011-12 fiscal year. Therefore, the line pages refer to the SFV Council by its original name for actions through June 30, 2011 and by its new name thereafter.
The December 2011 service change program was suspended after an audit by the Federal Transit Administration raised questions about the implementation of several changes systemwide. Those changes were implemented June 17, 2012; staff subsequently decided to defer the December 2012 service change program while they completed a FTA request for a Title VI review of the previous service change programs from 2009 and 2010. In October 2012, after the Department of Justice changed the FTA's involvement in the review process, Metro determined that the review would not be completed by year's end and deferred the June 2013 service change program as well. Staff is now expected to bring the December 2013 service change program to the Service Council in May for review and to set a July date for the public hearing.
Lines 162, 163 & 363 (Sherman Way-North Hollywood Station) - see December, 2011
Lines 167 & 741 (Cal State Northridge Transit Center) - see December, 2010
Line 901 (Metro Orange Line Canoga Ave. Extension)
December 2012 and June 2013 - Deferred (see above)
DISCLAIMER: Kymberleigh Richards, who operates the Transit Insider website, served on the BRC in her capacity as a Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Councilmember. She was also considered the "transit user" stakeholder representative due to her position at the time as the Public and Legislative Affairs Director of Southern California Transit Advocates.
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