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Fool’s Gold

October 27, 2009

gold line smallFirst, it was supposed to open in “Late 2009”. Then, in a burst of exuberance, it was moved up to “Summer 2009”. Now it is officially November 15, 2009 – or as some might say, late 2009.

I have to say, I feel kind of foolish for ever thinking that Metro could finish the Gold Line – pardon me, the “Edward R. Roybal Linea de Oro 黄金线 Gold Line” – ahead of schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hard-core Metro basher, but anyone who follows Metro’s track record knows their predictions aren’t exactly good as gold. They overestimated the daily ridership of the Red Line by 150,000, which turned into 170,000 once they developed a method of “much more accurately measuring ridership” a year later. The initial Gold Line ridership guess was overshot as well, followed by a drastically underestimated guess for ridership on the Orange Line (seriously, do these guys just pull ridership figures out of their hind quarters?) This certainly doesn’t bode well for a timely opening of the fledgling Expo Line, which would be in trouble even if it weren’t embroiled in controversy. We’d be lucky to see that line open before the apocalypse in 2012, and we’d be lucky if the once theorized Expo Phase 2 to Santa Monica is built at all, official references to it have been removed from Metro’s project page.

Not that Metro’s track record is all bad; I generally find they do a good job running trains on schedule, and it has to be recognized that Metro’s budget for rail construction is abysmally low. However, it’d be really nice if Metro treated the LA populace as adults. How hard is it to give us a reason why opening dates are pushed back, or ridership figures are so far off the mark? As difficult as it may be for a politically conscious government organization not to engage in doublespeak, we’d all be better off if Metro was straight with us.

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