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Buses Bear Brunt of May Day Traffic Impacts

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, May 01, 2009, at 08:09PM
Bus Stop at Hope Ed Fuentes

Bus rider waiting at Hope Street just after 7th and Grand was closed Friday afternoon.

An accurate prediction of today’s traffic was made by a bus driver crawling north on Main Thursday afternoon. As she maneuvered past LAPD construction and a DWP truck, she said “This is terrible... and tomorrow will be a doozy.”

It was, particularly for those using public transit.

The May Day marches brought cryptic notices of Downtown detours, and barricades that at times seemed improvised. More than a few times, one would see a DASH or Metro bus travel on a previously canceled route, with people scrambling at the unexpected arrival of a ride.

In the case of the DASH D at Temple and Vignes, a sign stating there would be no bus service all day contradicted the buses traveling toward Union Station.

And when a notice was taken down––or not even placed––it left riders wondering whether it was time to wave the white flag and just find another way home.

One group of seniors who traveled from Ojai to Los Angeles by train planned to tour El Pueblo Historical Monument and then have lunch at the Arts District’s Wurstküche.

The day trip had been planned for a few months and when it was realized that the May Day Marches were being held, contingency plans to take cabs to the Arts District were made. The only flaw was an odd street closure between Union Station and the Arts District that turned a five minute ride into a twenty minute commute.

Later in the afternoon, even some drivers surrendered. As three DASH E buses followed each other closely around 5pm, they were not packed with passengers traveling from the garment district to City West. They were almost empty.

The radio was crackling with DASH A and DASH D drivers confirming they had too many detours to do even half a route. Then there was a DASH E driver, caught east of Broadway, who made a call out to a dispatcher.

“We are stuck. Stuck. We are stuck, stuck, stuck.” Pause. “Stuck, stuck, stuck. Do you copy?”

“Copy that. You are stuck.”

“Yes, stuck, stuck . . . copy.”

“Copy that. Do you have riders?”

“Affirmative. They are marchers...they are angry they can’t get to their protest.”

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Topic:
May Day Marches

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