Fewer girls are driving buses and trains in Los Angeles County in comparison with three years in the past, and satisfaction with the area’s public transportation system has additionally decreased, in line with a latest survey.
In its first complete survey since 2019, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority discovered security was the highest concern among the many greater than 12,000 bus and prepare riders polled this spring, adopted intently by cleanliness, homelessness and timeliness.
“It’s very easy to do a survey after which put it within the submitting cupboard and do nothing with it,” stated Jennifer Vides, Metro’s chief buyer expertise officer. “That’s not what’s taking place. We’re all of it, we’re convening groups to speak concerning the outcomes from the survey and to develop a buyer expertise plan that addresses this stuff.”
Though girls made up nearly all of bus riders in 2019 — at 53% — they solely accounted for 49% of riders this yr, in line with the shopper expertise survey. The % of girls on Metro prepare traces additionally fell, although solely by two proportion factors, to 44%. In comparison with all respondents, feminine riders had been extra prone to cite security as the highest situation on which they needed Metro to make enhancements.
Metro supplies the majority of public transportation service for Angelenos, with a fleet of greater than 2,000 buses and 6 rail traces, which carry about 800,000 riders each day, in line with the company. It additionally helps a motorbike share and new ride-share program, however the survey targeted totally on bus and prepare riders.
Elizabeth Medrano, a bus rider for the reason that Nineties and now a transit organizer with the nonprofit Ladies Organizing Sources, Information and Companies, stated it’s arduous to pinpoint one motive for decreased feminine ridership, however famous the pandemic continues to be affecting many ladies, who’re struggling financially as they’re unable to return to the roles they held earlier than the pandemic. And he or she famous that Metro’s bus service has nonetheless not returned to pre-2020 ranges of service, making reliability and timeliness continued challenges — which might enhance security issues.
“Security, for me, is a sense; it’s actual and likewise it expands,” Medrano stated. “If I’m ready for a very long time, I’m not feeling secure.”
Vides stated the company is near getting all of its buses again on the street however famous a scarcity of bus drivers has additional delayed the company’s progress. Metro officers and group leaders are additionally hopeful that the brand new transit ambassador pilot program — which is placing 300 uniformed and educated, but unarmed, Metro employees on trains and buses — will enhance security by growing the variety of individuals at transit hubs and offering help to anybody who wants assist.
Total satisfaction of Metro providers fell most importantly amongst bus riders, dropping from 67% riders reporting satisfaction in 2019 to 60% this yr, in line with the survey. Practice riders’ satisfaction solely dipped 1 proportion level, to 58%.
The survey additionally discovered constant ridership additionally fell within the final three years, with solely 78% of respondents saying they rode Metro a minimum of three days every week — down from 89% in 2019. Consistency fell probably the most amongst prepare riders, virtually 15 proportion factors, in line with the survey.
“The No. 1 objective for us is to enhance the expertise for purchasers,” Vides stated. “The problems that they’re involved about are the identical ones that we’re involved about. … And so in numerous methods, [the survey] type of validated a number of the work that we’re already doing.”
Past the brand new ambassador group, Vides stated the company is working to increase homeless outreach groups, implement a Gender Motion Plan to make Metro extra engaging and possible for feminine riders and put money into security infrastructure, like enhancing lighting and cameras.
The proportion of youthful Metro customers additionally dropped in recent times, with riders youthful than 24 down about 7 proportion factors from 2019 ranges, in line with the survey. In the meantime, the share of riders between 25 and 64 grew, growing about 6 proportion factors since 2019, to virtually 70% of riders.
The racial and ethnic breakdown of riders didn’t change a lot since 2019: Hispanics and Latinx riders proceed to make up the biggest group, at just below 60% of whole riders. About 15% of riders are Black, adopted by 12% who’re white.
Oscar Zarate, the director of constructing fairness and transit at Strategic Actions for a Simply Economic system, a nonprofit targeted on financial justice in L.A., stated he’s hopeful the survey outcomes can be used to search for new options to those unsolved points, like security and homelessness, which have continued to plague Metro and have an effect on ridership.
“We’ve tried criminalization, we’ve tried exclusion for therefore lengthy and it hasn’t produced any outcomes,” Zarate stated. “Security can look very completely different.”
Carmina Calderon, a senior organizer on the Group Energy Collective, a gaggle additionally advocating for financial justice primarily based in East L.A., stated she’s hopeful the ambassador program is an indication that Metro leaders are able to maintain enhancing transit in methods that may profit those that depend on buses and trains, and never simply scapegoat people who find themselves unhoused or unable to pay fares.
“I wish to say that I’m hopeful that they’ll handle these issues, however I believe that the one approach for them to really provide you with these adjustments is for them to constantly additionally journey the system that they signify, and to take heed to probably the most marginalized individuals,” stated Calderon, who’s been driving Metro since she was a toddler and lately helped advocate for Metro’s new ambassador program.
L.A. County Supervisor and Metro board member Holly Mitchell stated the issues made evident within the survey will drive future selections about the company.
“This yr’s suggestions from Metro riders displays a candid evaluation of the place our company must do higher in direction of that imaginative and prescient,” Mitchell stated. “We heard you and we’re doing extra to offer a secure, clear, and dependable atmosphere for everybody.”