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A Busway Is No Way, Compared With Rail

May 12, 2003

Re "MTA Seeks Busway Instead of Rail to Westside," May 8: I alternate between driving and public transit for my Glendale-to-Westwood commute. The portion of my commute on the Red Line rail is the most pleasurable part, by far, and is the main incentive to continue choosing public transit. Even as a "standee," the smooth ride of trains is preferable to the jerking and swaying of buses.

Expo Rail will give all Angelenos a viable travel alternative to the Westside. It will be a vast improvement over the cramped, long bus rides currently required to get there. A busway in place of rail service would be a shameful waste of funds. Rail is the only mode that will lure commuters from their cars to public transit.

Dane Pereslete

Glendale

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I am outraged that the MTA plans a busway to Santa Monica. During the last couple of weeks I have had the misfortune to use the Metro Rapid on the Wilshire Corridor and can assure you this is not an alternative to light rail. Each time, I have been assaulted by the smell of bodily fluids from the homeless, plus the ravings and cursing of mentally deranged individuals. On a light-rail system it is possible to change to another carriage.

If the MTA is unable to pay for the system through government funding, I would suggest selling advertising space in the Metro stations, as is the norm in the rest of the world.

Bruce Chambers

Long Beach

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Once built as a busway, the right of way will almost certainly never be converted to rail. Given the scarce funding for transportation, an existing busway will likely be considered adequate. The problem is that rail is so clearly superior to bus transit in terms of speed, comfort and operating costs. Commuters will not use buses in anywhere close to the numbers that will use rail.

Temporary budget shortfalls should not cause us to make shortsighted decisions that are more costly and less effective in the long run. We already squandered the opportunity to extend the Red Line west across the Valley, instead settling for a busway. Let's not repeat this mistake on the Westside.

Michael Barack

Sherman Oaks

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