Friday, April 08, 2011

The 176 is saved but...

Photo of the new "poppy orange" Metr...Image via Wikipedia
I few weeks ago I went over some of the trials and tribulations of  the Los Angeles Metro Route 176 that travels from Highland Park to El Monte. For now the 176 has been saved from extinction, but will the changes going to help the 176 survive in the long run?

Originally Metro planned to replace the eastern portion of route 176 from the area of the San Gabriel Mission to El Monte with an extension of route 287 that currently travels from the Montebello Mall to El Monte creating a "U" shaped route.

Instead Metro will interline the 176 and 287 so when a 287 bus arrives at El Monte station it will change its headsign to 176 and visa versa.Service on the 287 will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 45 minutes but the frequency of the 176 will go from a horrible every 70 minutes to a more reasonable every 45 minutes.

The question is, will this do anything to help the 176 or are we putting lipstick on a pig?

1. Will the Frequency Increase help the 176?

It might help slightly but it still is not a memory friendly timetable and in the Metro report there is not a mention of what will happen to rush hour frequency on the eastern portion of the line that is already every 35-minutes.

2. Does this address any of the destination issues with the 176?

No, there is no change in the actual route although there will now be a one seat ride for riders on the 176 to the Montebello Mall although Metro may not even put this in the timetables and for 95% of the riders of the 176 going to Montebello Mall via El Monte is substantially out of the way.

In addition this does nothing to address the issues that exist on the western portion of the route. Mainly that it serves no destinations that riders along the route want to travel to except with multiple transfers.

In other words, the changes to the 176 do not address the fundamental problems with the route. In an ideal world it would be wonderful if all the points that needed to be served by a bus (or for that matter rail) route but we do not live in an idea world. We have to look at service beyond straight corridors and look at getting bus service to the most rider generators and reworking weak lines to hit more of those generators.

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