Customer Survey Rep on Board!

8 04 2010

I am proud to tell you California is on the way in changing the metro system.

On board at 8:22am, I sat on the train towards LA, and was confronted by a customer service representative with a survey.   Thrilled, I took my time and covered the survey with comments, suggestions, and my blog site address in black marker.   I then chatted with the rep concerning my thoughts about the schedules. Surely enough, all these issues were included in the survey. It was as if the survey was written for me!

I feel like I have made a difference with this blog.  New pamphlets  have been available to riders on the Orange County Line, with updates on acquiring two new trains!

If you are listening Bill Campbell and Janet Nguyen, thank you.  I think by adding new trains will help out the community in using public transportation saving us money and even helping out the environment.


New Rails being Added?

8 04 2010

This can be found on the OCTA site:

Metrolink has new locomotives and rail cars on order. The new equipment will be used to add rail cars to existing Metrolink trains that are at or near capacity, and to provide locomotive and rail cars for the service expansion.

This is great. The OCTA site has been updated recently. All I need to know now is, WHEN will this expansion be in effect?

I recall Campbell’s assistant talking about this, ‘expansion’ but she didn’t bring up any exact dates. It seemed like a project without a time clock.

Mr. Campbell – We would like some dates please!

In order to gain ridership, you should think about the following:
*More scheduling during weekdays, & weekends
*Targeting students

Thank you,
Allie/Train Crusader

New Change Agent – Bill Campbell

8 04 2010

After getting transferred three times in the OCTA phone service, I’ve decided to replace Janet Nguyen, with Bill Campbell as my new change agent. Although I haven’t spoken to him yet, I am confident that I can get past his secretary/assistant.

Dear Bill Campbell,

I am writing to you in need of your help.
I lived in New York and depended on transit.
I now live in California, and depend on transit.
New York accommodated my transportation needs.
California does not.

Along with a handful of rides I’ve spoken to over these past few weeks, we, (Orange County commuters) are suffering having no choice but to make the best out of this disorganized and unfair transit system.

You are the man with a bigger voice than I, and would appreciate more effort in making our needs met. As of now, the latest train that runs from Union Station to the Orange Station leaves at 6:30pm. Many riders like me work past that time, and is extremely inconvenient and difficult leaving work early to make the train. I understand there is a later train (8:30pm) for Amtrak, but it does not go to Orange. I have been stranded half a dozen times at the station, with no choice but to wait for a ride home.

I talked to someone in your office, and she explained to me the budget situation. My question is, why isn’t there more marketing for the transit? Why is OCTA taking money from the budget to build parking lots, and not put money into adding more schedules?

With all respect,

Marketing Transit to Californians

7 04 2010

What great commercials for Amtrak.

Now why haven’t we seen them broadcasted in Orange County? This was a matter I brought up to OCTA during my phone conversation. She told me they simply did not have the budget. I then asked, “what about PSAs? Have you ever thought about creating web content videos to try to try and spread awareness of taking public transit?” She then argued that they do have advertisements.

Okay. Well, yes I have seen less than a dozen advertisements to ride the Metro, but only on the subways! What about influencing people who spend hours of traffic driving to LA? How will they ever see these adds? They won’t.

There are many elements you can market to consumers to increase public riders:
1. Go Green – Save pollution from your vehicle.
2. No sitting in traffic – Give yourself an extra hour of sleep riding on the train, or spend time doing your hw.
3. See the city behind your steering wheel – The train allows you to simply look out the window to admire beautiful California.
4. Save money from Gas – Metrolink and Amtrak provides student discounts!
5. No Risk of Car Accidents – Your safe on the track!

The beautiful scenery Amtrak can show you...

Even after listing these valuable ideas to attract people to ride the trains, the assistant told me there was no point in marketing to a public that wouldn’t take the train. I think she missed my point.

How will budget deficit affect transportation?

6 04 2010

The assistant to Bill brought up the lower budget of Southern California. Although the below article directly refers to the 2007 budget, the outcomes of transportation budget cuts still apply to today.

· Cuts to transportation funds would violate voter trust. The overwhelming support for Proposition 1A (77%) sent a clear message that voters do not want the State raiding funds intended for transportation.
· Cutting transportation funding now will delay projects and increase the cost of needed improvements. The California Transportation Commission is already facing a $1.2 billion gap between transportation revenues and projected expenditures in the State Transportation Improvement Program over the next three years. Diversion of Proposition 42 money could push the STIP into free fall.
· Transportation activity will help offset the loss of jobs created by the homebuilding slump. Public infrastructure construction provides important ballast to smooth out the peaks and valleys in the economic cycle.

Budget going to Parking Structures?

6 04 2010

This was taken from the OCTA Metrolink site.

“Station improvements are also part of the program. OCTA, in partnership with the City of Tustin, has hired a design team to develop and design a parking structure for the Tustin station. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2010 and take approximately 12 months to complete. When completed, the Tustin station is expected to provide approximately 850 parking spaces and additional passenger amenities such as restrooms, improved pedestrian access and improved bus access.

The City of Fullerton has also partnered with OCTA to construct a new parking structure for the Fullerton Transportation Center. The proposed 1,000-space parking structure should provide significant relief to this station. Construction of the parking structure, led by the City of Fullerton, is expected to begin during summer 2010.”

I have never found anyone I spoke with complain about parking. OCTA needs to focus on what’s important for their riders.

Speaking with Assistant to Bill Campbell

5 04 2010

Supervisor for 3rd Disctrict - Board Member of OCTA

I was pleased to get in touch with anyone working for OCTA at this point. A woman got on the phone and we got into a heavy conversation about the Orange County Transit System. I complained and argued the following points about the current structure:
1. Not commuter friendly for riders who get off work after 6:00pm
2. Disorganized way of checking tickets
3. No employees working the train stations after 10:00pm
She used the term ‘honor system’ to explain the way employees check the tickets on the trains. I asked, “but wouldn’t you make more money if you forced riders to buy tickets?” She debated that riders without tickets are fined $250. I understand this, but it makes riders take the train in fear, when people don’t buy tickets under the assumption that they are hardly checked.

We then discussed the future for transit of Southern California, and what action is being taken place at this moment.

Steps OCTA is trying to accomplish to expand train system.
1. Buy more trains
2. New Schedule
3. Try to prepare for higher frequency

She highlighted that there is not enough budget at the moment to add on new trains. So they don’t have enough budget for accommodating new schedules, but they have enough money to redesign and fancy up the Anaheim Train Station? Displeased.