Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Notes & Links from Metro ETC Meeting

On 4/21 Sirinya gave a presentation on using new media to market alternative modes to a group of Employee Transportation Coordinators at Metro

¤People want to feel connected, even if it is remotely through online social networking
¤To change travel behavior – and ultimately, that is what ETCs seek to do – you have to figure out how to reach out to your target population
¤If your target population is a cohort that is educated, technologically savvy, then you have to meet them through their social mediums
¤You have to create buzz – give people something to talk about – and online social networking tools can help you do that.
¤Finally: Online social networking, Web 2.0, and other options have the potential to provide useful information when alternative mode commuters want or need it.


¤Bruins for Traffic Facebook Group
¤Measure R campaign
¤See our pictures at www.tinyurl.com/btr-pictures
¤Los Angeles Wants Google Transit
¤Facebook www.facebook.com
¤Twitter www.twitter.com
¤First tweet about Miracle on Hudson: http://twitpic.com/135xa
¤Google Products
¤Google Transit www.google.com/transit
¤Google Latitude www.google.com/latitude
¤Google Maps www.maps.google.com
¤San Francisco Webcam Network
¤Online ridematching meets social networking
¤PickupPal: www.pickuppal.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Transit-oriented adventure to Thai Town

On Sunday, Juan and I used the 720 and the Red Line to get up to Thai Town for the 2nd annual Curry Festival, which was organized by the Thai Community Development Center. (Disclosure: I was an intern there in 2003!)

For starters, we were super excited to see that Metro had indeed phased out paper day passes. Instead, we got reusable TAP cards. But what to do with them? After all, right now, Juan and I each have our own, although they're not activated right now since we didn't pay for quarterly passes through UCLA.

I insisted that Juan take a picture of these Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies. They were on the train to verify everyone had paid. Note: They carry around these scanners, which can detect whether you tapped your pass prior to boarding.

As we exited the train, I noticed several Metro employees standing by the ticket vending machines and the maps. Following last year's event, MetroRiderLA had written about his experience trying to obtain a ticket inside the Hollywood/Western station on his way back. (The article was entitled, "Thai New Years Festival Exposes Success, Failures at Metro"). It took over 30 minutes because of the large crowds attempting to figure out the two ticket machines. Back then, I commented that the high number of choice riders in this crowd exemplified the need for Metro to bring staffers into the station to help out, especially since Metro's subway stations are technically unstaffed. (But don't try to evade the sheriffs.)

So I went up to talk to these people, and I told them about MetroRiderLA's blog entry, and they seemed a little incredulous (like they'd been told that last year had large crowds, but hadn't heard it yet from an actual constituent). Then I made Juan take this picture to document it:

As for the actual event itself, it was busy, hot (thanks to the heat island effect), and wonderful. We recruited our friend Will Trevor to join us. He has a hearty appetite, which enabled us to sample more food. As a dental student, he was also super excited to see that this is how Bangluck Market stocks its Dental Care Center:

Of course, no transportation blog would be complete without these pictures:

While Metro had its staffers answer questions from choice riders and field questions and ideas from attendees on an exhibit, LAPD was out in force to make sure the people felt safe in various modes. They included this Segway.

So while ordinary Americans weren't buying American-made cars, the LAPD was buying up whatever the rental car companies didn't want.
Exhibit A: Late 2000s Ford Mustang
Exhibit B: A freaking Hummer!

Seriously. Seriously! What on EARTH??? To me, the Hummer exemplifies excess and everything that is wrong with the Big Three and America. Here we are, telling people to take public transit to an event, and then we feature a freaking Hummer?!???

Newsflash to LAPD: Ditch the Hummer ASAP.