Sunday’s column is about another public transit adventure, this time to downtown L.A. and, thankfully, back, although the MTA wasn’t much help in that regard.
Metrolink’s cancellation of its Holiday Toy Express train is the leadoff item in my Sunday column. Following are vignettes and culture corner items about such topics as the Kaiser Steel tower, the movie “Enough Said” and a state senator’s surprise resignation. And I close with an item about three readers who can’t come up with my name.
In the silliest column I’ve written in ages, I travel in time to the year 2028 to report on the Hyperloop, the pneumatic tube transport device that was in the news last week. Read my exclusive here.
Friday’s column begins with a random encounter on a Metrolink train with two readers returning from their first trip, inspired by my columns. Thankfully, they had enjoyed themselves. (Whew.) Items follow from the Upland and Pomona libraries, and a plug is offered for a pie festival Saturday in Claremont.
John Evans shares a photo of Train 909 traveling from Baltimore to New York City, shot by his daughter, Jessica Guzman of Rancho Cucamonga. He jokes: “Now arriving, train 909 to Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga!” She was waiting for the next train.
I was immediately put in mind of the Beatles song “One After 909.”
Metrolink’s Weekend Pass is now a Weekend Day Pass, good for one day, not two. This won’t shake up too many of you, even Weekend Pass buyers, because few people used the pass both days. I generally did. Friday’s column explains the change and recounts my last hurrah with the two-day pass last weekend.
Sunday’s column reports on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority meeting from Thursday, at which the Gold Line extension to Claremont was discussed. The board declined to add it to the MTA’s list of Measure R-funded projects, meaning that until or unless that action is changed, we won’t see the Gold Line until sometime after 2060. That certainly puts the brakes on things, doesn’t it?
Been on Metrolink recently? The trains have glitzy new tickets, and starting today, you’ll need to tap them on most subway turnstiles to continue your trip in L.A. Turnstiles at Union Station will finally be locked, 13 years after they were installed. (I worry they’re rushing into things.)
This is a good time to remind riders, or would-be riders, that your Metrolink ticket is good for unlimited transfers on rail and most bus lines in L.A. County. In other words, your trip doesn’t have to stop at Union Station.
Pretty amazing to me that a tiny chip embedded in a paper ticket can activate a sensor on a subway turnstile, but it does, because I’ve tried it a few times recently even when I didn’t have to tap. This story has more details.
Metro, which is a separate agency from Metrolink, sells plastic TAP cards (that stands for Transit Access Pass), which replace paper tickets on non-Metrolink travel, i.e., subway, light rail or bus-only trips. For instance, if you drove to Pasadena and took the Gold Line, you’d use a TAP card. Metrolink had been the primary holdout from Metro’s TAP system, but no longer.
In other transit news, Metrolink fares are going up 5 percent on July 1. Here’s the press release. The Weekend Pass, instituted in 2011, will also see a change: It’s still $10, but it will be good for one day only, not all weekend. Well, you knew that was too good a deal to last. Evidently only 15 percent of riders used the pass more than one day, so it won’t crimp too many people, but it will crimp me.
Any reactions to any of the above?
Metrolink’s Weekend Pass will be good two days longer this week only: from 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Four full days and a smidge of a fifth, all for $10. Details are here. Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving and then back to full service Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Friday’s column (read it here) begins with the news that Friday marks 20 years for Metrolink service. We’ll make a bigger deal out of 25 years, but 20 seemed long enough to merit some ink, and I learned a few things about the system to boot. If Metrolink fan Shirley Wofford doesn’t comment on this, we’ll all be very disappointed. After that long item comes a bunch of cultural notes.