To say that no one rides the bus anymore is a bit of an overstatement, but it gets the point across: In Metro's declining ridership, explained, Curbed's Matt Tinoco writes that since 2013, bus ridership has gone down by roughly 20 percent, and the figure is about the same for subway and light rail ridership.
Why aren't people riding the bus?
Tinoco references a Metro-run survey. The reasons are as follows:
- Changes in travel
- Too difficult to get to transit
- Slow buses
- Unreliable service
On the slow buses point, Metro buses are apparently two percent slower than they used to be, because they are caught in L.A.'s worsening traffic jams just like cars. And suggestions for bus-only lanes aren't likely to be met with widespread approval (nor have they in the past), which won't solve the problem.
Other cited factors include service cuts to neighborhoods that used to be more transit accessible, lower fuel prices that encourage people to drive, and neighborhoods that have become more expensive in terms of real estate, in which higher-income home owners are more likely to drive their own vehicles than opt for public transit.
Are buses safer than cars?
Some may argue that Los Angeles is a lost cause for mass transit - cars and SUVs predominate on the roads. Metro's effort to increase ridership on buses and light rail is admirable and probably much needed, in a city with infamous traffic congestion.
But traffic congestion isn't the only reason to promote bus ridership.
By one account, riding the bus is 60 times safer than going by car, as per Streets Blog USA.