The Fail Train: At the Beginning, I Just Wanted to Buy a Ticket

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I work in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t live in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t live anywhere close to Downtown Los Angeles. “How do you get to work?” you might ask.

Most of my commute to work involves the Metrolink, Southern California’s trusty regional commuter rail service. I drive about 15 minutes to the East Ontario Metrolink Station, which as you might have guessed, is in Ontario. I catch a train in the morning to Union Station in Los Angeles, and then hop on either the red or purple L.A. Metro subway line. I take the 7th Street/Metro Center stop and walk about 3 minutes to my office. I catch the train every morning and every evening I’m working in Los Angeles. It’s like clockwork, sort of…

Metrolink unfortunately suffers from a great number of problems. There are times when the engine has mechanical issues and won’t run, or other times when trains are delayed due to “track incursions” (something/somebody makes contact with a train). Sometimes there are signal issues or problems with the track switches. Sometimes the train is simply just late due to training and then has to wait for freight traffic to pass. There are a number of issues that plague what could be an amazing transportation system.

Before you can even experience any of that, however, you’re supposed to have a ticket. I purchase a monthly pass since it’s much cheaper than buying daily round-trip tickets. It’s hard to buy a ticket though when the ticket vending machine doesn’t work.

Observe…

  • February 2, 2015

So far, I’ve had to purchase my ticket in Downtown Los Angeles instead of at East Ontario, which makes me wonder:

What’s the likelihood that other stations are suffering from the same problem?

If I was a betting man (which I’m not), I would guess that ridership numbers for Metrolink are probably inaccurate due to the number of people that experience this issue. People are supposed to buy a ticket when they get to their destination, but I’m guess most probably don’t buy a round-trip ticket when they get to where they’re going. Why buy a round-trip ticket when you got travel to your destination for free?

I don’t know what the point of all this is (i.e., the point of this post), but I just thought I’d share with you folks out there (all three of you that read my posts) what goes on in the life of a daily Metrolink commuter.