Los Angeles County public transportation ridership falling

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Ridership on public transportation in Los Angeles County is falling. Efforts are underway to reverse that trend. (KABC)

Ridership on public transportation in Los Angeles County is falling. Efforts are underway to reverse that trend.

With gridlock freeways and crowded surface roads, it's no wonder Southern California transportation officials want to get more people to take mass transit.

But despite huge investments in light rail and subways, L.A.'s Metro ridership numbers are plummeting - down 10 percent over the last 10 years.

"Ridership is cyclical and we are pretty sure that we are going to see an uptick and an increase in ridership very soon," said Metro CEO Phil Washington.

Washington says the reason for the loss in riders is hard to pinpoint.

Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a new mobile app designed to make mass transportation easier and more efficient. When asked about Metro's ridership drop, the mayor listed a string of possible causes.

"More people might be biking or more people might be going and using ride share. Fewer young people are buying their own cars. We see shifts all the time," Garcetti said.

But Metro has been spending more on its light rail and subway systems than its more popular buses. In fact, Metro recently reduced its bus service while raising fares.

However, Washington says the downward ridership trend is happening nationwide.

"It's a matter of studying what the trends are now to determine why the ridership is down, who is leaving and why are they leaving?" Washington said.

Some commuters say they'd be more likely to use mass transit if it were faster and more reliable.

"The buses here are pretty inconsistent. I must say I've missed them before when they've been early, ahead of their schedule, and then they'll just not come for long gaps of time," said Emily Friedberg, a student at USC.

Long Beach resident Michael Quezada said the inconsistent bus service has cost him work.

"At times, it can be a little inconsistent. I've lost a couple jobs because I was late for the interview," Quezada said.

Although fewer people are using public transportation, L.A. County leaders are thinking about another tax increase to fund more transit projects like light rail.

Related Topics:
transportationbusmetrotrafficLos Angeles County
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