Morgan Fairchild sent me an email on yesterday's post about the SAG/AFTRA infighting:
"Thanks for pointing out the insanity of what’s going on with these unions. And please vote for the AFTRA contract...BTW, I’m not a liberal, I’m a moderate, especially by Hollywood standards."
On my experiment getting to work in Los Angeles using mass transit, and then deciding to call for a car on the way home, an amazing number of fellow travelers wrote in.
First, a few of you pointed out my math error (hey, I could work on the Air Force tanker assessment team!). I said idling 50 gallons-worth of gas a year would cost a driver $2,500. Um, oops! That should be $250. We fixed the text in the blog, but the on-air mistake will live forever.
Brian Buss is an engineer who also runs a free commuter website service called LAPassenger.com:
"Thank you for giving the Metrolink a chance...I, too, board at the Moorpark station and commute to Glendale station each morning...(my website will) text message people when the trains are delayed or cancelled...As ridership increases, maintenance decreases, delays are inevitable. I hope that you will decide to take the train again. It takes a week or so to settle into the routine, but after a while you will be hooked. Once you have your laptop, internet card, and cell phone, you can be quite productive..."
Thomas C. has a very different view:
"I find it highly amusing that in the experiment 'Only A Nobody Walks In L.A.' article, that you came to the same conclusion that my wife came to when she tried to do the exact same experiment from Moorpark. We both decided it wasn’t cheaper in money, and it wasn’t cheaper in time. Keep in mind that unless you sell the car, which you can’t because you need it to get to the station, you still have to pay insurance and etc since we live in Thousand Oaks and need to drive to Moorpark… Los Angeles is an example of mass transit in disrepair, where I challenge you to try the same experiment in Taipei, Taiwan, where 1) Mass transit is cheaper than a car and 2) You will get there faster by Mass Transit...Maybe the story is that people are taking more mass transit because their cars were repossessed, but it’s not out of convenience or expense for sure. America has been so paralyzed in investing in infrastructure we are starting to look like a third world country in regards to Mass Transit and Energy..."
Edward C has figured out one way to beat LA traffic:
"There is one area of L.A. that might be worth your time in doing a story: Downtown. This area is clearly growing, I believe around 20% per year the last couple of years. I live downtown and work downtown (as do most who live here). We are fortunate in that we live in the heart of the most congested city in the U.S. yet only experience that traffic when we have to leave downtown. There are an abundance of restaurants, clubs, shops and we now have a brand new Ralph’s Supermarket here. The homeless problem is improving on the west side of downtown and crime is on the decline. There are a number of developers here that are doing some good work in converting the older buildings here into lofts, condo’s and apartments...Amenities are aplenty with Wi-Fi, spacious common areas and state-of-the-art workout facilities..."
Some veteran riders gave me tips on cutting down the mass transit commute time, which was two hours one way! Here's one example, from Robert F:
"Rather than going through Union Station, you can travel a more direct route in less time...Board the Metrolink at Moorpark at 6:03 am. Arrive at Burbank station at 6:51 am. Transfer to and board the 155/292 bus at 7:14 am and arrive at Universal Studio at 7:43 am. This is a total of 1 hr. 40 minutes."
From Mark S:
"You could have jumped off the train in Burbank and then taken the bus down Hollywood Way to Universal. That would have made for a better comparison. Cost of gas is maybe half the cost of operating that car, in the name of fairness. Lastly, there's safety. Driving our cars everywhere means that 50,000 people each year don't make it home for dinner, due to death by collisions. Perhaps try trains or buses for a week or a month and see if the story changes. There's too much on the line for our country to dismiss public transit after trying it for 2 hrs."
From John S:
"By driving less, you lower the auto insurance rate, auto maintenance cost and increase resale value of the cars. As for time, it's quantity vs quality. On the mass transit, you can rest, read, socialize and work, versus behind the wheels, you pretty much just sit there and drive (I hope that's what most people do) and get your blood pressure broiling in parking lot of HWY 101. Another health benefit is you get to exercise, so you can spend less time on the treadmill."
Tom P. said there was no need for me to bail from the train on the way home because of the long wait:
"The One Hour+ wait time was a gift. With your lap-top in bag, exit Union Station's front door, walk across the street to 'Olvera Street' (literally across the street), and pick an eating place. Some restaurants even have A/C! Once there, pick a small appetizer from the menu, snack and have a beverage (total outlay about $10 including tip, not much more then the Coke and bag of chips from the vendor in the station or the vending machine), work on your lap-top, then walk back to Union Station and take your train. Overall, much cheaper than calling a car, and you get a chance to enjoy a snack break, get started on some work, and finish that work on the train. Concerned about Safety? Olvera Street is next door to City Hall and LAPD HQ, the place is crawling with law enforcement..."
And from Jeff J.:
"Occasional fan-mingling during commutes might be sweet, but some aren’t 'morning people' so please forgive them if….…you’re working the Blackberry and hear a young woman whispering, 'OMG, Katherine Heigl! Oh, I like totally love your show, pleeeease accept the Emmy…' and is interrupted, 'No way! It’s Nicolette Sheridan!' 'Ladies, please, she’s Marg Helgenberger, can’t you tell?' 'I think she’s Silda Spitzer.' 'Don’t you people watch the news? You’re Mika Brzezinski!' 'You’re Courtney Friel, right?' 'No, she’s Becky Quick.' Then, a daytrader comes closest to being right. 'No, no, it’s CNBC’s Fake Jane!' He gets mixed stares. 'The reporter and Allergan spokeswoman, hello?' Some recognition mumbling. 'You know, her TV ad: "Created by God, Improved by Dr. Nippentuck".' Ah, now they remember the posh Nippentuck Beautiful Mom Boutique and Day Spa, Inc. and then come the autograph requests..."
Note from Jane: SILDA SPITZER? (My turn for all caps.) Actually, no lie, one woman asked me if I was Paula Zahn.
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