A. Garcia / SFVS

Luz Sandoval

On a blustery New Year’s Day, Luz Sandoval tried to stay warm under the sun as she waited for a bus to take her from the City of San Fernando to her work in Sun Valley.

But the Metro buses were working on a holiday schedule, and Sandoval had no idea when the line she was waiting for would arrive.

This – the waiting for a bus – is her major pet peeve with Metro, especially on the weekends, when there are fewer buses.

“It takes a long time for buses to pass on Saturdays and Sundays,” she said. “It’s something we all complain about.”

She has waited up to an hour for a bus to arrive on the weekends, Sandoval said. “And if you miss out, you will wait another hour or so.”

Oftentimes the bus stops are packed on those days, she said.

“I don’t know if there is a quota for the buses on those days, but I would like them to pass more often,” Sandoval added.

Another of her complaints: buses don’t adhere to the schedule.

“Even if you have the App, they don’t come at the time they advertise,” she said. “It’s now 12 (noon) and look, the bus is not here,” she added as she looked at her phone.

Metro Public Workshops

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will host 10 community meetings beginning in January to ask for the public’s help in the agency’s NextGen Bus Study, an 18-month effort to redesign and reimagine the agency’s bus system to meet the needs of today’s riders.

Complaints like Sandoval’s will surely appear during those workshops.

Metro’s bus network carries about 70 percent of the agency’s riders. The NextGen study has found that seven percent of Los Angeles County residents are frequent riders on the Metro bus system and account for 80 percent of all Metro bus boardings.

 Surveys taken to date and a series of focus groups, online engagement and community events show both current and non-riders agree that the most important bus service parameters Metro should focus on being fast, frequent and reliable.

More Bike Rack Space Needed

For Miguel Celdran, another frequent bus user, the problem is not the frequency – he’s gotten used to the ebbs and flows of arrival times – but the availability of bike racks.

The 26-year-old’s main transportation is his bicycle. But for longer trips, or when temperatures dip into the 50s and strong winds make your teeth chatter despite being bundled up in a sweater and jacket (as Celdran was on Tuesday, Jan. 1), the only option is the bus.

The problem arises when those bicycle racks are not available. In red buses there is space for three bikes on the racks in the front; on orange ones only two. If they are already in use, Celdran said, it depends on the driver whether he can put his bike inside the bus.

“People think you’re going to hit them (with the bike),” he said. “If it’s the last route (and buses are pretty empty), they might let you in.”

For him public transportation is a necessity as he traverses the Valley, from his girlfriend’s house near Mission College to his mom’s home in Van Nuys, and all points in between.

“I don’t know where I’d be without public transportation,” Celdran said.

Various meetings are scheduled in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, Gateway Cities, South Bay and the Westside/Central areas of the region. The first one is Jan. 8, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Hubert Humphrey Recreation Center, located at 12560 Filmore Street in Pacoima (accessible via Metro Lines 90, 233, 744).



Metro Meetings in the San Fernando Valley

The public is encouraged to attend any of the following upcoming community meetings to share their thoughts on bus service strategies and policies to improve the bus system.

— January 8, 2019, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Hubert Humphrey Recreation Center, 12560 Filmore Street, Pacoima (Accessible via Metro Lines 90, 233, 744).

— February 6, 2019, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Boulevard, Van Nuys (Accessible via metro Lines 164, 233, 237, Metro Rapid Lines 744, 788; Metro Orange Line Van Nuys Station; DASH Panorama City/Van Nuys; DASH Van Nuys/Studio City).

All Metro meetings are held in ADA accessible facilities with special accommodations available to the public for Metro-sponsored meetings.

All requests for reasonable accommodations and translation must be made at least three working days (72 hours) in advance of the scheduled meeting date. Please call (323) 486-3876 or the California Relay Service at 711.

Those unable to attend in person can access information on the NextGen Bus Study by visiting www.metro.net/nextgen.