Monday, September 19, 2022

The Bus Stops Here: In New IiP Report, LA Bus Riders Face Delays, Trash, Heat

Thank you to our partners who helped us connect with community members to audit six critical LA Metro bus lines, documenting what it actually is like to ride the bus in LA.

We’ve published the results! Go here to see the full report. Keep reading below for a summary of the highlights.

More than 50 riders completed first-hand audits* on six key bus lines traversing the city of Los Angeles. The top issues facing people who ride the bus were identified as:  

  • Reliability: Nearly half (44%) said the bus did not arrive when they thought it would.
  • Bus stop conditions: Nearly half of the 244 stops audited were described as dirty or as having trash or litter, while 65 bus stops (27%) lacked shade.
  • Accessibility: In more than half of the 126 observations, there was at least one person on the bus using a wheelchair, cane, crutches or mobility device. Yet, eight stops had no accessible boarding, 21 had narrow sidewalks, and 19 felt too close to moving cars—all conditions that would make it difficult for those using mobility devices to board the bus. 

When asked what would make their bus trips better, people said they want buses to be fare-free, faster, and more frequent—many specifically asking for bus-only lanes. Notably, they want bus stops to have more shade and benches and less trash. 

Bus Riders Do the Talking

People who ride the bus are tired of being an after-thought. We rarely hear from actual bus riders when decisions are made. In this report, they do the talking. 

We are providing the report to the current city council and to the candidates for mayor and for city council. The mayor controls a third of the Metro board and drafts the city budget (which contains $1 billion annually for streets and public right of way). The city council approves that budget and directs city services in their districts.  And 105 of Metro 119 bus lines operate some or all of their service in City of LA, with a recent Metro report citing, the average trip taken on Metro Bus is less than five miles, and on average about half the journey time is spent waiting for the bus.

We encourage policymakers at both Metro and the City of Los Angeles to use this data to inform their public works and transportation investments, and we especially want our mayor and city council members to pay attention to what their own constituents deal with day in and day out. 

This bus survey is part of a larger Investing in Place campaign currently underway about the need to create a Capital Infrastructure Plan in the City of Los Angeles. 

Sign up for our newsletter for updates and to connect with us about this campaign.

*The audit consisted of observations: 58 volunteers completed 126 observations (each person could observe more than one route). An observation included riding one of the six bus lines identified for the study, and answering questions about their experience waiting for the bus and riding the bus.


Take Action

Everyone: Join us to improve buses in your neighborhood.

Advocates and Community Leaders: LA needs a plan—one that is specific about projects and budgets. Let’s get it done together! 

  • Shed light on the public infrastructure projects that benefit neighborhoods by practicing budget transparency. One way to do this is by creating a Capital Infrastructure Plan. 
  • Help demystify the ways that the Board of Public Works makes infrastructure improvements.
  • We can’t improve our own neighborhoods if we don’t know what’s budgeted or what projects are being prioritized by any of the 11 City departments that work on streets and sidewalks. 
  • Collaborate and join us!

Elected Officials and Policy Leaders: Talk to bus riders where they are—on the bus. 

  • Experience the bus for yourself— ride the bus to get somewhere, not as a photo op. Let us know your favorite Metro bus line and why. 
  • Ask questions about the timeline, budget and implementation plan for improving access and shade at bus stops in Los Angeles. 
  • Ask questions about where local, state and federal public works and transportation dollars are going and how they are prioritized.
  • Reach out to us to talk more about how we can support an inclusive and accessible Capital Infrastructure Plan for the City of Los Angeles. 

Go here to donate to support this work.

The Unintended Consequences of a Roadway Quick Fix

by Investing in Place

Hiding in Plain Sight: Billions in Public Funding

by Investing in Place