The buses in LA may be safe, but the trains are unbearable. Fix them, Metro

(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

The buses in LA may be safe, but the trains are unbearable. Fix them, Metro

May 1, 2023

About the editor: I have not used the Metro B Line, formerly the Red Line, in four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My boyfriend and I love going to the LA Times Festival of Books in USC and have used the subway for the past several years. (“How LA Metro Can Make Train Service Safer? Look What’s Working on Buses,” Opinion, April 27)

This year was a shock. We got off at Universal City Station and found it dirty and smelly. When we got in the car, we knew someone was smoking. People came in and begged for money or tried to sell stuff. Some we could ignore, others were quite aggressive.

I don’t blame people for avoiding the subway. Bus travel may be safer, but the metro needs to address the issues in its trains. LA will soon host the Olympics.

Phyllis Glantz, Sherman Oaks


About the editor: Madeline Brozen’s op-ed mentions critics of Metro who say that people who ride trains are more likely to be rich and white than bus drivers.

If you take subway trains regularly, you’ll find that most of the passengers are non-white, reflecting the ethnic makeup of Los Angeles. It’s hard to judge wealth just by looking at someone, but from my decades of subway rides, I feel like the city’s white and wealthy people don’t travel by train in great numbers.

On buses, drivers control fares and act as gatekeepers and authority figures, which can lead to more civilized driving. Currently, there are very few, if any, subway fare controls, so the absence of these gatekeepers leads to rude and illegal behavior.

Matthew Hetz, Los Angeles.

About the editor: I use Metro daily and can attest to the erosion of social norms on the trains Brozen refers to. I stopped taking the B Line between Sunset and Wilshire for my daily commute and opted for the 754 bus instead.

Brozen’s ideas about improving train travel, allowing vendors on the platform (even musicians would be great) and creating a sense of shared public space in our stations are perfect.

Metro needs to completely rethink its approach to managing stations and plazas next to entrances. Features that make the train fun, comfortable and convenient help bring passengers back.

By allowing for a variety of activities, the Metro can transform its stations from difficult to vibrant public spaces.

Aaron Paley, Los Angeles The author was the founder and CEO of CicLAvia.

Source: LA Times


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