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Public transportation needs an update
Posted Sept. 14, 2007

Andres Rivera
Web Editor

My beloved Nissan Altima was so close and yet useless on Monday. Unfortunately my car’s battery was dead and I was stranded at home.

With no one to drive me to school me or give me a ride so I could get a new battery, I only had one other alternative to get to class on time: public transportation.

After getting the schedules and plotting my course using the online Web sites, I decided to save a little money and take the bus. I was confident that I would soon be walking along the streets of La Verne. Of course, it wasn’t that easy.

Maybe it was wishful thinking that the bus would arrive at the bus stop on time or at the very least three or four minutes late. After all, time is money and bus rides aren’t free.

As it turns out the bus that would take me to the major transit center was 30 minutes late. Not one, but three, other buses that were going the opposite way passed by before my bus finally rolled in.

Inside the bus was reminiscent of contemporary views on public transportation; uncomfortable seats, an odd stench in the atmosphere coming from an unknown source and a parade of people jamming into what little seats were left, leaving no room to breath in the stagnant air.

The equipment on the buses didn’t seem to work either. In one bus there was a jam in the slot where the dollar bills are inserted while in another bus the change slot was jammed.

On another bus there was yet another problem with the same mechanism. With all the money that the transportation company makes by having high fares (I am not saying any names) you would think the buses would be fully operational at least two-thirds of the time.

The entire trip, which included taking three buses, lasted 2.5 hours in what usually would take no more than 40 minutes with moderate traffic.

It is quite clear that more steps need to be made in order to have a highly efficient transportation system. But can this be done? There was a time in California’s young life where its public transportation system rivaled those of the East.

The extensive transportation system composed of a combination of vehicles like rail cars and trolleys in Los Angeles and San Francisco was very efficient in its hay day. After it was crippled by the construction of “superhighways” called freeways, the public transportation system never recovered and has had lasting effects.

Plans to extend rail lines in Southern California like the Metrolink and alike provide some form of relief to those opting to stay away from driving themselves to work and school but the system is no where near as efficient as it could be.

Creating a sophisticated system that would seamlessly connect the growing population would seem ideal but cannot be done because of cost restraints among other factors. After all, how many people would want a loud railcar flashing by their neighborhoods or a barrage of buses clogging their streets?

While some improvements are being made and commute time for public transportation users gets a little better, i.e. Foothill Transit’s Silverstreak line and Metro’s Orange Line, more can be done.

Until improvements occur in my neck of the woods, I’d be better off hitchhiking or walking the 20-something miles to school.

Andres Rivera, a senior journalism major, is Web editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at arivera3@ulv.edu.