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MTA report notes growth of region’s public transit

LOS ANGELES — There are fewer freeway accidents, more people living near public transit hubs and more buses running on time since county voters approved Measure R in 2008, the final version of a transit report released last week said.

“In Los Angeles County, we must applaud the voters for their imagination and foresight, as they requested more transportation options and were willing to vote for Measure R and Measure M to support that request,” said Phillip A. Washington, chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“As we add more services and reorganize others, our region is changing. This report shows us what progress looks like.”

Measure R increased sales tax by a half-cent to help fund public transportation projects and is expected to generate $40 billion in revenues over 30 years. Measure M was another half-cent increase approved in November.

The initial report, released last May, covered 2008 through 2015 and showed more than 480,000 Los Angeles County residents were living within a half-mile of transportation projects that have opened since 2009, making more than 22 percent of the population living near a rail station, a bus rapid transit line or Metrolink commuter rail station.

The final report also notes that 74 percent of Los Angeles County residents live within a quarter-mile of a bus stop and 41 percent live near a high-frequency bus stop provided by the MTA or a partner agency.

Conditions on Los Angeles County freeways also have improved, the report found, with SigAlerts down 36 percent since 2008.

“Measure R has helped us produce travel options and augment existing programs that are building a new mobility for L.A. County,” said MTA Board Chair and Duarte Mayor Pro Tem John Fasana.

“Whether on bus or rail or through better management of freeway space, such as we see with the ExpressLanes, these options are creating a new system for getting around.”

The report shows that buses arrive on time 13 percent more of the time and customer satisfaction is up by 5 percent.

The study notes that MTA services support many of the county’s most disadvantaged communities, providing low-cost transportation choices to help residents get to work, school, parks and other important destinations.

A total of 31 new transit stations have opened with more than 60 percent of the population around those new stations being disadvantaged.

The report notes that Silver Line ridership is up 295 percent and Gold Line ridership is up 113 percent.

The MTA also provides alternative transportation choices beyond transit, including running the nation’s largest vanpool program and organizingcarpools though an employer-based ride-matching program.

The report shows that since 2008, annual vanpool trips have increased from 2.2 million to more than four million in 2014. The MTA also funds door-to-door paratransit services for people with disabilities through Access Services and usage is up 77 percent over the last four years. Wheelchair boardings on  regular bus service have increased from 489,850 to more than one million in 2014.

The MTA continues to work to ease traffic through transit and freeway improvements, funding 34 new miles of carpool lanes while attracting 14 percent more carpoolers to ExpressLanes since 2013.

The MTA also has provided funding to vital bicycle and pedestrian facilities, connecting L.A. County to jobs, housing and transit. The county has 1,600 miles of bike lanes and bike paths, of which 930 miles have been built since 2008.

The report also shows that 68 percent of MTA Rail riders walk to trains and four percent ride bikes. On the bus side, 83 percent of riders walk to bus stops with five percent using their bikes.

 

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