Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Measure M Will Provide More Buses, More Often

Measure M, known as the “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan,” is a comprehensive transportation plan that will allocate over $850 million per year to improving transportation and mobility options for all in Los Angeles County. One-quarter of the revenue would be dedicated to transit operations — 5 percent for Metro Rail and 20 percent for Metro and municipal buses. That means more buses and trains more frequently throughout the day and night.

Every day, Los Angeles County residents take more than one million rides on Metro buses. Measure M would increase bus operations by about 10 percent, adding over $170 million per year in new funding to operate more buses  — particularly on high-ridership corridors — and keep fares affordable.

There are 16 different municipal bus agencies — like Torrance Transit, Santa Clarita Transit, Norwalk Transit, and more — that provide more than half a million rides every day. With Measure M, these municipal operators would also receive a share of new operations funds so that residents in all parts of the county benefit from increased service.

One of the best ways to make bus operations more cost effective is to make bus lines run faster and more reliably — by getting them out of traffic. Measure M includes hundreds of millions for improvements to current high-ridership bus lines like bus rapid transit (BRT). Some of these are identified by name like Vermont Ave. and Lincoln Blvd. Others are bundled together and called “Countywide BRT Projects.” Measure M would help make buses go faster and stop for less time, like all-door boarding, signal synchronization, and dedicated bus lanes. When buses go faster, they are cheaper to run, provide better service, and those operational savings can then be invested back into the corridor to run buses even more frequently.

Buses are the workhorses of the transit system and a lifeline for many communities. Frequent, affordable, and convenient bus service is especially important for many families of color and low-income families. The median annual household income for Metro’s bus riders is $16,377 compared to $56,000 across Los Angeles County, and about 92% of Metro bus riders are people of color (with 61% being Latino or Hispanic). Bus service has been flat or declining for the past 8 years, leaving the communities who rely on it with fewer options to get around. Measure M provides the necessary resources to have a serious conversation about improving bus services.

For too long, buses haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. More frequent, reliable, and faster bus service — while keeping fares affordable — is possible with Measure M.

For a link to the PDF of this policy brief, please access here.



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