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Bigger buses in June; bicyclists know the wheel deal

first_imgSo with the ever-growing popularity of the bus line, when will it become a train? Built on a former railroad right of way, the Orange Line is designed to convert to rail if needed, but that decision depends on ridership, said Marc Littman, Metro spokesman. Before a rail line would even be considered, passenger demand has to be there. Meanwhile, bigger buses are the next step, Littman said. In other words, stay tuned. ALONG FOR THE BIKE RIDE: If you see more co-workers wearing bike helmets into the office this week, they’re probably participating in California Bike Commute Week, an annual project of the nonprofit California Bicycle Coalition. Breaking all sorts of records, more passengers than ever rode the Orange Line in April. Latest figures show weekday ridership at 23,814, a leap from March by about 520 boardings, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports. In all, it’s a 27 percent increase from April 2006. To accommodate the growing crowds, Metro in June will bring one 65-foot bus to the 14-mile route. Extending about five feet longer than today’s buses on the line, the behemoth can carry about 14 more passengers. If successful, Metro will look to phase in the 65-foot bus to replace aging 60-footers. On Thursday, bicyclists can ride most public transportation for free, including Metro buses and rails, Los Angeles Department of Transportation Commuter Express, Santa Clarita Transit and Long Beach Transit. In L.A., about 1,860 have pledged to ride their bikes to work on Thursday, said Jose Ubaldo, Metro spokesman. The 13th annual program kicked off Monday. NATIONAL GAS OUT TUESDAY: Mobilized by mass e-mails, a nationwide movement urged all drivers not to fuel up Tuesday to “put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day.” But a one-day embargo won’t create turmoil for Big Oil because drivers still rely on gas and will eventually fill up later in the week. “I think people feel very frustrated and want to strike back in some way,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “So you don’t buy gas for one day, but you’re going to have to buy gas sometime.” If drivers want to make a real impact, they should buy hybrids and fuel-efficient cars and forget the SUVs and big pickups the next time they need another car, Kyser said. The national average for regular unleaded gas is $3.08 a gallon, about 15 cents higher than last year at this time, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s daily fuel gauge report. Naturally, California has the highest prices in the country at $3.48 a gallon for regular unleaded. The cheapest gas can be found in South Carolina at $2.83 a gallon. ROAD RAGE SURVEY: Surprise, surprise. L.A. ranks among the top five U.S. cities for road rage, according to a survey released Tuesday. But coming in at No. 4, L.A. is actually a nicer place to drive than Miami, New York and Boston – the top three offenders on the list from AutoVantage’s In the Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey. It’s the second year in a row that Miami has won the title for having the country’s rudest drivers. Survey participants in the Florida city pointed to drivers running red lights, yakking on cell phones and slamming on brakes, according to the Connecticut-based automobile membership club. The most courteous place to drive? Portland, Ore., knocking out last year’s winner, Minneapolis-St. Paul, which tumbled from grace in 2007 to No. 14 out of 25 on the list that ranks cities from the most road rage incidents to the fewest. [email protected] (818) 713-3746 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more