Out of Control Policy Blog

"I'd like to do more, but my problem is I have to go all over the city ÖIt's very tough because of my schedule."

That's LA Mayor Antonio "Subway to the Sea" Villaraigosa on why he rarely uses transit. Yet he still says this:

    "You've got to use public transit," Villaraigosa said just last week while unveiling an automated signal system to help unclog busy intersections. "You can't keep on pointing to someone else and saying it's their responsibility."

The mayor prefers to take a GMC Yukon to work even though ...

    Unlike many others in Los Angeles, Villaraigosa has easy access to public transportation.

    He lives just one block from Wilshire Boulevard, one of the city's most accessible and heavily traveled public transit corridors ...

Councilman Herb Wesson is a Transportation Committee member and could score major PR points if he took transit, but:

    "Given the type of work I do, it just doesn't work for me to take public transportation," said Wesson, who noted that he does ride the subway when he visits New York because it is so convenient. "I've taken the Red Line once that I can remember, maybe twice."

Article here

We hear these refrains all the time.

Flashback:

From a transit board member in DC:

    "My travel, my destinations and my time frame make it very difficult for me to use the system," she said. "I would have to take two trains and two buses.... It just makes it very inconvenient for me to depend on the system on a regular basis."

    Turns out, when asked by the Washington Post, only five out of 10 board members said they rode the system regularly (two others refused to talk, so it's probably safe to file them under "infrequent transit user"). Not one is a daily user, and most have either never ridden a Metro bus or can't remember the last time they did.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer found similar results after questions SEPTA board members: Only four of 14 members interviewed use the system at least twice a week.

Related: Marion Barry and Mitt Romney probably won't be on your bus

Ted Balaker is Producer


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