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Rail News: Passenger Rail

MTA transit strike enters sixth day

Los Angeles residents continued searching for ways to get to work and school Sept. 20, while United Transportation Union (UTU) and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) negotiators met again, breaking several times to crunch numbers.

"The consensus is there’s been some progress made," says Edward Scannell, MTA spokesman.

Meanwhile, the transit agency is offering some alternate services. MTA and Southern California’s commuter rail system, Metrolink, have contracted 30 buses (MTA, 22; Metrolink, 8) from non-union operators Transport Concepts Inc. and Moor and Associates. Dubbed "Red Line Special," the buses would pick up Metrolink passengers from Union Station and transport them along the Red Line subway route, stopping in front of the stations to drop off passengers.

"It’s working pretty well," says Scannell. "The buses are crowded but [people] are getting to work on time."

Even that effort is only a drop in a massive transit bucket. In addition to its bus services, MTA operates light-rail and subway lines. In July, the subway’s daily trips averaged 121,000. On the bus side, MTA operates 2,000 buses over 200 bus routes; an additional 17 routes contract their operations to two companies. Of the two, one is still operating. The other, a Teamsters-represented company, has had spotty success in getting buses out. On Sept. 18, the first weekday of the strike, no buses left the lot; Sept. 20, four left. Normally, the company operates 43 buses on four lines.

Altogether, 36 buses carried passengers Wednesday on Los Angeles Streets while light- and heavy-rail cars and more than 1,900 buses remained idle.

Kathi Kube

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/21/2000