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THE NEXT LOS ANGELES / TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION : Getting Around : Are we creating a transit system that makes sense or simply a costly edifice that most Angelenos won't use? : Solutions : Fill Gaps in Bus, Rail Service With Feeder System of Vans

July 17, 1994

FROM: Rae James, deputy mayor of housing, planning and transportation, left.

Los Angeles, James argues, should launch a one-year pilot program of community-based vans called "circulators."

Neighborhood circulators are intended to fill the voids in the transportation network. During rush hours, these vans would travel set point-to-point routes, traveling, for instance, from a college to Union Station. Each full-circle route would take no more than 20 minutes.

During non-peak travel times, the vans would operate as a dial-a-ride service, taking elderly shoppers, for instance, to a grocery store. The circulators would perform as a feeder system, promptly taking people to places where buses and rail either don't go or are inconvenient to use.

Circulators would be cheaper transportation than taxis and offer more convenience than buses.

REALITY CHECK:

Compared to other transportation schemes, this one is relatively inexpensive--and its chances of succeeding are better than most.

To start up a one-year program, James estimated would cost $11 million for 50 vans in selected communities.

*

"People are still in their cars, and buses don't always go where people want to go in a timely fashion. We need a feeder system. Circulators can fill that gap."

-- Rae James

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