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Bus Riders' Bid to Extend U.S. Oversight of MTA Is Rejected

August 27, 2004|Monte Morin | Times Staff Writer

Advocates for bus riders have failed to prove their claim that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is doing too little to reduce overcrowding and other bus-line problems, a U.S. District Court official in Los Angeles ruled Thursday.

While saying there was still "much need for improvement" in the MTA's bus service, Special Master Donald T. Bliss dismissed a motion by the Bus Riders Union seeking to extend a 10-year federal consent decree -- and its accompanying federal oversight -- for six years. Bus rider advocates had contended the MTA was moving too slowly in making improvements and would not meet the consent decree's October 2006 deadline. Bliss, however, found that the agency should be given another year to make improvements.

Bliss, a Washington attorney who was appointed by a federal judge to oversee the consent decree, said the bus riders' group could move later to extend the consent decree, but must provide evidence of its claims. The window in which the group can refile its motion is between September 2005 and May 2006.

The MTA agreed to the consent decree in 1996 to head off a class-action suit led by the riders' union. The union had argued that the agency was neglecting bus service in minority communities.

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