Consent Decree Orphans

(Based on my comments before the MTA board of directors on August 23, 2001. This rant also appeared on the MTA's Stakeholders site.)

In all the discussion about the consent decree "pilot program" lines, we have ignored the fact that three of those lines -- two of which serve the San Fernando Valley -- have never been implemented.

Those two, Lines 426 and 530, would connect one of the Valley's major east-west arterials -- Sherman Way -- to the North Hollywood Red Line Station with fast, limited-stop service, all day, seven days a week. Yet the changes for Line 426 were halted just before they were to take effect in December, 1997, and have never been resurrected; Line 530 was supposed to start last summer, but was similarly delayed. Neither of those restructurings have been given new implementation dates.

The Metro Red Line has been serving North Hollywood Station for more than a year now; it is particularly disgraceful that these two lines, which could carry many passengers quickly to that station, sit neglected on the drawing board. According to the staff report before you, the purpose of the pilot program is "to improve mobility for the transit dependent community". Is denying Metro Bus passengers a fast connection to Metro Rail an improvement? I think not.

On weekends, there is a lack of frequent service on the north-south arterials in the West Valley, so there are few opportunities to connect with Metro Rapid service on Ventura Blvd. to Universal City Station, but these two lines could provide a needed community connection through the middle of the Valley. Any savings that come from restructuring existing pilot program lines need to be reinvested by implementing Lines 426 and 530.

The pilot program is one of the few good things that came out of the consent decree. Why hasn't it been fully implemented?

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