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L.A. Now Live: Discuss the Orange Line and bus vs. train

June 28, 2012 |  6:00 am

The Times' transportation reporter Ari Bloomekatz will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the Orange Line, the less flashy success story of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The live web chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday. Bloomekatz will be available to discuss the Orange Line and other questions related to Metro and transportation in the city.

Bloomekatz reported that less than a year after its opening, the Orange Line busway's projected ridership more than tripled to 22,000 a day, and a study by UC Berkeley researchers found it even slightly helped relieve morning traffic on the 101 Freeway, which parallels the busway. By May of this year, daily ridership had climbed to 26,670 on a line that was significantly cheaper to build than its light-rail counterparts, such as the Blue, Green and Gold lines.

Despite that success, buses -- at least in L.A. -- don't get much respect.

"I think that's part of the problem. That there's an old stigma that a bus is an old, smelly, crowded vehicle and a train is a new, fast, shiny one," said Dennis Hinebaugh of the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute.

Adds Rand's Wachs: "There's many cities in the world where people go to the opera on the bus. That's not necessarily true in Los Angeles."