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Good morning. It’s hard to talk . I’m Laurin all one things I look forward to most on the program a quarterly visits from the CEO of LA metro Phil Washington to talk about all things public transit , Phil , good morning , thanks for joining us . Good morning there . Thank you for heavens . So let’s start first with an op-ed that ran oh just battle I guess 4 weeks ago in the LA Times by James Moore and Thomas Ruben and said allies dwindling transit ridership isn’t hard to fix make riding the bus cheaper and more convenient and its sights win bus fares were lowered that you know bus ridership went up historically in the past , what do you think of that critique , and do you think that we’re in a similar environment today we’re cutting bus fares would significantly increase ridership .
Well , let me , let me first say I saw that article and we have put together a task force to look at our bus ridership and how we can improve and increase bus ridership bus ridership is down across the country right now and you know I think , as a society we’ve created so many additional mobility options , whether that be oh were left bike programs and so while we are looking to increase ridership. We have to take those things into account these additional mobility options that are out there now in terms of fares . You know , there’s been a lot of folks it’s say just make the whole system free and you know our fare box recovery rate is about 20% or so . So we’re talking about . Yes , a lot of money they have to come up with a lot of money and so and so that’s not something that we are ready to do right now , but we’re looking to improve and increase ridership as best we can .
Seems to me and I don’t know what your research shows about this but there , there are a couple of factors going on , one of which is gas is still cheap and and used cars are so plentiful at such low cost that even low income households can often now afford to buy a car afford to put gas in a chair a vehicle in ways that they couldn’t. In the past and that’s kind of your bread and butter bus rider bus ridership .
That , that’s right. There’s so many different factors , as you mentioned that’s impacting this , but one of the things I would point out though , I mean ridership is but one performance metric this one metric we are beginning to look at all the things that we positively impact in terms of congestion , we run the express lanes on the 1-10 and we’re looking to expand that we have money and measure ran fix potholes to fix local streets and sidewalks and so while ridership is an important metric and we tracked that and we’re trying to increase that we are also looking at other things that we do to positively impact congestion around LA County .
Also want to ask you about how things are looking for a funding the last phase of the Purple Line subway. We’ve got the federal spending bill expiring on the 8th that’s coming right up . So how is it looking to get that money .
Yes , so , so let me just. And they were building this Westside purple line all the way out to the VA Center through UCLA we’re building it in phases or sections . The first section in the first 4 miles is under construction were nearing 40% completion on that , the second such section of that Purple Line is under construction right now . Early on , and the 3rd segment that you were mentioning we need federal funding the federal funding has been promised to us , we are working with the current administration to get that we need that last tranche of federal dollars to complete that line . I will say that we’re looking to accelerate the completion of the entire land by like 11 years and so in our measure it talks about being completed by 2035 we’re looking to complete that line by 20-24 20-25 so it’s good , it’s good things happening all over the region .
So here you’re gonna have to try and have it ready for the Olympic Games coming to Los Angeles just correct if you don’t get the federal funding for the 3rd leg in this year’s appropriation are there out there maybe Olympic related funding avenues you could pursue.
Well we will deathly pursue every avenue of funding that we possibly can. We don’t have any committed fronds from the Olympic Committee . But if we don’t get those funds , we will have to have a discussion with the LA Metro board and and we will see how to proceed . But right now I’m I’m pretty confident and and hopeful that this current administration , will see the importance in the national significance of finishing that line for the 20-28 Olympics .
The sounds like , you know , ready to talk back up plans if that money doesn’t come through.
Well , we always have backup plans and that backup plan is having a discussion with the LA metro award and talking about how we can move some things around. If we do not receive the last tranche of money for per class action 3 .
Speaking of the 20-24 Olympic Games give 2028 we got it. 4 years later , the 28 transit projects scheduled to be announced 28 by 28 initiative for Metro this week . Can you share with us some of the projects here that would be part of this .
Yes , this is announcement that we are gonna make tomorrow. This idea of 28 by 28 , finishing 28 projects by 20-28 and it is a very , very aggressive effort , it is , it includes aspirational projects that are in the measure and budget . We are not looking to leapfrog projects or anything like that . That’s on the measure in in the measure in or ordinance . But some of these projects are from measure are like the Crenshaw line where we are almost 80% complete with that line . Some of those include the regional connector downtown that will really facilitate a one seed ride all the way from zoos or soon Claremont and Montclair , all the way down the Long Beach . We have the airport Metro connector station an area we have of the purple line that we just talked about . We have numerous highway projects we have the support of transit corridor and that we have a goal line he sat extension Whittier or South El Monte . We have the West Santa Ana branch , these are many , many projects . This is not aggressive approach , but we feel that a project like this add certainty to the state or federal pursuit of funding . If we have a list like that and and I would also say this is something that we encourage the federal government to put together national list of projects that of regional and national significance we are doing this with hope that the federal government . Even this administration looks at this example of what we do and in Southern California say we should put together a national list .
Now , just to clarify , so number. These projects are priorities already spelled out under measure him but this would accelerate them , so they’re done for the Olympic .
That’s correct , that’s correct. And there’s also there’s also what we call , what I call acts aspirational projects that are outside of that 10-year window that if we realize additional funding or what I like to call manna from heaven from the state from local sources from the federal government that we can do these projects as well by 20-20 8 .
We’re talking with Bill. Washington the CEO of LA metro our lines are open for you if you have questions forum where it 8-6 6-8 9-3 KBC or the air talk page KP PCC Darfur let’s talk with Mark in Hollywood Mark you wanna talk of about bus seats go right ahead .
Yes , I’ve been riding the buses since the ’70s and the ’80s. You know , I’m 6 foot 3 and they used to have nice padding on those old General Motors buses and even today , the Santa Monica a big blue bus has padding the Culver City Bus Lines has padding on their seats even Orange County and all these new new Flyer bus is that there .