Monday, June 29, 2009

Late-Night Metrolink

Because we live in an area that grew up during the peak of the automotive boom, it has come to pass that many young Riversiders like to travel in to Los Angeles for their evening and weekend revelry. This is, obviously, prohibitively difficult to accomplish on public transport. Metrolink's Riverside and 91 Lines are notoriously scanty on reverse-peak and off-peak service. The final 91 Line train of the evening leaves Los Angeles at 17:25, and the final Riverside Line train leaves at 18:35. Not exactly ideal for hitting the town. The Metrolink San Bernardino Line, however, is quickly becoming a model of exemplary commuter rail service, with frequent service not only on weekdays in both directions, but also on weekends. There's even a Saturday night train that leaves LA at 11:00 PM. Still a touch early for my tastes, but we're getting there. Problem is, that train ends up in San Bernardino, not Riverside.

A similar problem appears to exist in Pomona. There's a beautiful, well-connected transit center at the Downtown Pomona Metrolink, but that station is served by the Riverside line, not the San Bernardino line. However, these lines are linked by the 24-hour Silver Streak BRT system (from Montclair to Downtown Pomona).

Riverside has no such a connection. Even the Omnitrans 215, which does travel between the two cities, no longer stops at the Metrolink station (why?!?!), and service on that route stops too early to be useful in this particular case. Of course, RTA service stops a touch too early at the moment as well, but this night bus thing is going to take off come January, and I bet we'll see 24-hour service on at least route 1 in the near future.

Combine one last Metrolink run leaving LA at, say 1 or 2 am, an Omni or Metrolink bus waiting at San Bernardino to bring those passengers to Riverside, and late-night RTA service, and you have a recipe for a carfree night out in LA.

In fact, come to think of it, you probably won't even need new late-night RTA service for a 1 am Metrolink. The train won't get out here until 3am, and our wayward partygoers won't see Riverside for another hour after that. The usual 4am transit service will already be running to pick them up.

So, that's my proposal. Get a bus running that connects the amazing San Bernardino Metrolink line to Riverside, at all hours of the day, and you'll instantly improve connectivity for the city. And you'll make the party-going students of our local colleges very happy.

2 comments:

  1. The constant hooting and howling of the trains running through Riverside are about to drive me bonkers. It seems to have picked up in the last week or so. When I used to lay in my bed and listen to the Silence of the city, I now try to drown out the train whistles with ear plugs. It doesn't really help. I'm not sure why it has gotten so bad lately. any answers to this?
    Susie in Riverside

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  2. Susie-

    Couldn't tell you. It isn't passenger trains, that's for sure, but rail freight is up these days, as gas prices and environmental concerns drive shippers away from trucking.

    Depending on where you live, though, the City's ongoing quiet zone program may be bringing you relief soon. The BNSF main line (which runs parallel to the 91) will be getting a quiet zone from Mary/Brockton to Buchanan, most of the length of the city. In this zone, trains will no longer be required to sound their horns at crossings, and so they'll simply glide by in the night. See this piece at the PE: http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20130607-riverside-railroad-underpass-quiet-zone-projects-benefit-drivers-residents.ece

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