Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pro-football, Playboy mansion, LA transit

Sometimes things just fall into place. The WSJ's Jason Gay notes the opportunity posed by two concurrent events, the plan of the St Louis Rams to return to Los Angeles and the vacancy at the Playboy mansion ("Say Hello to the Playboy Rams" ... Forget the L.A. Coliseum, Hugh Hefner's mansion is on the market so naturally the Rams should play there for a couple of years").

But not so fast. The LA MTA's light-rail Expo Line stops at the Coliseum's doorstep and will soon open its Phase 2, which will extend it all the way to Santa Monica. The current Expo Line (Phase 1) garners just short of 31,000 average weekday riders with just over 22,000 on Saturdays and just above 17,000 on Sundays -- not great for a $1 billion project but cost-effectiveness was never the MTA's strong suit. The agency reports that on completion, it will be a $2.5 billion project and serve 64,000 riders per day, better than doubling (2.3x) current performance. At that rate, Sundays would account for 40,000 riders.

But all that was before the announced move of the Rams back to the L.A. Coliseum -- at least for two years. For eight home-game Sundays, they could add extra trains and even have some full trains. Yes, but 40,000+ extra bodies just eight times a year is not much, an annual uptick, just over 1% for the year. Nevertheless, the Playboy mansion, now and forever, accounts for near zero transit service.