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bikkuri bahn

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It's struggling to build ridership. Service has been cut on the San Bernardino line. Its passenger cars don't have WiFi, and there have been recurring reports of late trains.

Now, Metrolink, the region's commuter railroad, has another customer relations problem — its ticket vending machines.

According to rail officials, riders and complaints on social media, the devices have been breaking down with irritating frequency, resulting in missed trains, lines at stations, lost revenue and commuters worried about being cited for boarding without paying fares.




You know, if I lived in SoCal near a metrolink line, I think I'd just say f**k it, and drive to work.  Really, public transport users are basically getting the middle finger from society the way they are treated.

Edited by bikkuri bahn
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Mudkip Orange

Clearly, rail transit is a boondoggle. SoCal needs to stop wasting money on empty trains and apply that to widening bottlenecks and smoothing out congestion.

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Friends in LA area now feel very trapped in their lives as traffic has become worse by LA standards. One friend feels very lucky to be a 20 min local drive to the subway!



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I don't really understand that if they have conductors on board, why can't they sell tickets. Also using a monthly pass system would attract more riders, especially if they get a discount compared to the daily tickets. This would solve most problems without much investment. Allowing to buy tickets using SMS messages that are charged to the phone account would also help a lot of people.


ps: What i do wonder is that compared to the size of LA most metrolink trains are very shot and run rather rarely. So compared to the total number of people who commute daily in LA, the usage of any form of public transit is very low.

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Mudkip Orange

So here's the deal. There's three groups of commuter rail in the US.


---Group I are trains that were run by private railroads and were taken over by the government in the 1950s-1960s. The lines that exist today are generally less extensive than they were at the twilight of private ownership, but the remaining lines can see good service levels and patronage. These agencies tend to have ironclad operating rights, and often own their own rights-of-way, as the railroads were happy to shed money-losing passenger services without going through the sometimes years-long ICC process required to abandon service. Examples include most of the East Coast agencies, Chicago's Metra, and Caltrain.


---Group II are new starts commuter lines from the 70's and 80's. These may mimic routes that existed earlier, but the common denominator is that there was a substantial period of time where no passenger service existed prior to the agency's founding. Their operating rights are less assured then Group I, because there was no "stick" (operating money-losing trains) prodding the freight operators to the table. Nonetheless, the 70's and 80's represented a downturn in freight rail movement, and the railroads were often happy to see extra cash. Examples include Metrolink and Tri-Rail.

---Group III are new starts commuter lines from the late 90's onward. Group III systems run the gamut of service levels and ridership; the common denominator is that robust growth in US freight rail left agencies with a relatively weak hand to negotiate contracts. Most of Group III falls into two categories.
         - Peak-only services with extremely limited frequency, such as Seattle's Sounder or the Altamont Commuter Express
         - Robust, all-day services which largely operate over new track, like SLC's FrontRunner or ABQ's Rail Runner.

Metrolink is squarely in the Group II category. When the system was founded, Southern Pacific was bankrupt, and it was possible to acquire track on the cheap. Today, Union Pacific trade at a very healthy P/E of 22. Any substantial expansion thus requires the sort of investment in raw track that New Mexico and SL,UT put in. However, that sort of commitment demands a guaranteed revenue stream, which Metrolink doesn't have, being a joint powers board of no less than five (!) separate transit agencies. As a result, newer expansions tend to fall into the sparse, directional service seen on lesser-funded Group III systems.

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