The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has put millions -- billions if you count the build-'em-and-they'll-come strategy of subway and light rail -- into trying to get folks out of their cars and into trains and buses. Metro, as it's known, has been trying to get Angelenos to "dump the pump" for years, often to little or no avail.
It turns out that these mass-transit proselytizers might want to start at home. USC's Neon Tommy reports (with TheBusBench.com breaking the story) this week that slightly more than one out of 100 Metro employees use their own transportation system, and that Metro officials appeared to try to cover the fact up after revealing it on Facebook.
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On August 2, Traci Cummings posted on Metro's Facebook page, "What percentage of Metro employees go Metro to work?"
In a lengthy reply, the Metro Los Angeles Facebook account posted that "a little more than one percent" take Metro to work. They said the number was so low because "the vast majority of Metro's employees work at one of the 11 bus divisions or 4 rail yards," in the morning or "late evening," when buses are no longer in service.
"These employees do not have the option to commute by transit," Metro wrote in the comment thread.
But Metro's comment dissappeared from the Facebook thread ...
This is an eye-opener, especially because Metro has shifted its transportation plan from buses -- which are heavily used and often packed -- to one more dependent on light rail.
The idea is that if more comfortable, civilized train lines are built, a more gentrified class of people will get out of their German cars and into a train car. It's a $40-billion-plus gamble -- shifting transportation from the service class to the white collar class -- being made with your tax dollars.
Now, if Metro can't get it's own employees into its system, how successful will it be at filling those billion dollar trains?