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THE BIF FIX

How to get from here to there. A bus with a view? A monorail? Your own two feet?

Build better bus service

December 27, 2007|Francisca Porchas | Francisca Porchas is lead organizer at the Bus Riders Union.

LA. needs a first-class, bus-centered transportation system, with reliable 24/7 service and a bus every five minutes.

Double the bus fleet, provide a 50-cent fare and $20 monthly bus pass and implement bus-only lanes on all major corridors in the county instead of building multibillion-dollar rail lines or converting boulevards such as Olympic and Pico into mini-highways. Reducing the number of cars, not just moving them, must become the city's priority.

Lower fares mean more riders. From 1982 to 1985, annual bus ridership rose by 41% -- the highest in L.A. history -- when fares were dropped from 85 cents to 50 cents.

Bus-only lanes -- a means of prioritizing public transit over single-passenger automobiles -- have proved effective too. In Seoul, a city of 10 million people, adding buses on 119 miles of dedicated lanes attracted 1 million more riders.

This city needs to stop pandering to the car. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council member Wendy Greuel (chair of the Transportation Committee) should lead by fronting $27 million in city money to start the bus-only lanes on Wilshire Boulevard. Waiting for federal funds to arrive puts off completion of bus-only lanes until 2011. In 2008, we need to stop talking and start building.

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