This week we look back at the Top 10 LA County Metro developments of 2018-2019, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s year as Metro Chair:
1. The NextGen Study
Did you know that although 75% of Metro customers ride buses, it has been 25 years since the last major bus network overhaul? This past year, Metro launched the NextGen study to poll riders of the Metro bus system to see where and how they ride buses. This feedback will be used to inform the County’s efforts to reimagine the bus system to make buses a practical and convenient option for more Angelenos.
2. Making ExpressLanes Easier to Use
Have you ever sat in traffic and thought, “Hey, I want to be in that lane, but I’m not a regular ExpressLane user!” Now you can pay as you go – no account or pre-payment necessary – so more drivers can access the ExpressLane on an as-needed basis, quickly and easily!
3. Partnership with Via
It’s no secret that the Metro system needs better first/last mile connections to train stations and bus stops. To combat this problem, Metro launched a partnership with ride-share service Via to connect people with the public transit system. With a TAP card, users can get a ride from their location to a nearby Metro station for only $1.75. For now, this service is only available at the Artesia, El Monte, and North Hollywood stations, but it could extend its reach soon!
4. Improvements for Visually Impaired Riders
This year LA County Metro launched a trial to a new navigation assistance software program called Wayfindr. This program provides audiovisual instructions and prompts via smartphone to help blind and visually impaired customers navigate transit facilities, making Metro stations more accessible for all riders.
5. Multilingual Comment Forms
Metro developed new multilingual comment forms to assist those with limited English proficiency. Whether you speak Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Russian, Armenian, Thai, or Khmer, Metro wants to know what you think!
6. Crenshaw/LAX Line Underway
This year, lots of progress has been made on the Crenshaw/LAX Line due to hundreds of millions of dollars of support from the federal government. This line will provide increased mobility options to residents in South Los Angeles, as well as aid in congestion relief for LA County.
7. Purple Line Improvements
Five years after breaking ground, Metro has now completed the excavation of the future Wilshire/La Brea station and Wilshire/Fairfax station sites and is very close to reaching the bottom of the final station at the Wilshire/La Cienega station. Additionally, the new tunnel boring machines for the Purple Line have new names: Harriet (for Harriet Tubman) and Ruth (for Ruth Bader Ginsburg). They will be digging the tunnel for the Purple Line section 3 which will go all the way to the VA in Westwood.
8. Transforming the Way People Travel
Metro approved a feasibility study that will explore options to help decrease congestion. The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are profound: cleaner air, less congestion, more transit options, and free or reduced transit fares!
9. New Line Identification System
Metro is developing a new name and identification system for its entire train network so that, whether you take the Metro every day or you’re bewildered tourist from out of town and speak no English, you can figure out where you’re going with less hassle.
10. More Women Building the Metro
Due to Metro’s Project Labor Agreement and Construction Careers Policy, there are now more women working on Metro construction projects than ever before! Last month, Metro hosted more than 100 women at “Women Build Metro Los Angeles,” a pre-apprenticeship readiness fair. Earlier this year, Metro hosted the first-ever Girls Summit for girls grades 7-12, to help them realize that trains are not just for boys!