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Ideas to get more riders on trains, buses

August 03, 2006

Re "No free rides," editorial, July 31

If L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to increase ridership and avoid the problems associated with the Bay Area's "Spare the Air" fiasco with free public transit, he should give out MTA system passes in a targeted rather than helter-skelter fashion. Target the most likely to ride buses and trains and send them free monthly passes.

A free-for-all transit proposal has great symbolic value, but I wonder if it would provide the outcome the mayor wants, which is a long-term increase in ridership.

KEITH MALONE

Los Angeles

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Your editorial suggests that, instead of waiving fares for a week, "a public transit system that is fast, efficient and blankets the city" would get commuters out of their cars. I agree. One improvement would be to provide some way to know when the bus is coming. It gets lonely and hot at the bus stop. If I knew that the bus was coming in 10 minutes, I would have time to pop into a store or buy a paper. Offering a text-messaging service to give me real-time schedule updates would go a long way toward considering leaving my car at home.

GIL DAWSON

Los Angeles

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