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Data Says L.A. Buses Run Fashionably Late, Just Like All Your Other L.A. Friends

People waiting for buses. (Photos by Maureen Bond and Lucy Rendler-Kaplan via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Metro's trains are super on-time. Buses? Not so much.Loathe as we are to report this, lest we further the perception of buses as the ugly stepchild of the L.A. transit system, it unfortunately appears that Metro's vehicular fleet is pretty consistently late.

According to KPCC, over one-fifth of Metro's buses closed their doors behind schedule last year, with a total of 21.4 percent running late in 2015. Things got slightly worse during the first months of 2016, with 22.7 percent of buses running behind schedule. The definition of "late," at least for KPCC's purposes, is an arrival time at least five minutes behind schedule.

Our trains, on the other hand, are practically Swiss in their on-time performance, with just under 1 percent of the fleet coming in late so far this year. Three cheers for trains!

Metro spokesman Bob Holland told KPCC that a number of factors contribute to bus tardiness, including a recent uptick in construction, heavier traffic and road diets.

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According to KPCC, even small improvements in punctuality can have a big effect:

Metro tracked 16.1 million bus stops last year, and 3.4 million of them were late. A 1 percent improvement would have meant an extra 160,000 on-time boardings.

But it's not all bad news—KPCC reports that some routes show better on-time performance than others!

The San Fernando Valley's Orange Line is a particular standout, consistently arriving on-time almost as often as me at a dinner party, albeit without the awkward ten minutes spent parked on the street, waiting to approach the door so as not to reveal just how deeply uncool I really am and have always been. Totally kidding, that has never happened.

Anyway, isn't the Orange Line a great example for whyL.A. needs more bus rapid transit lines? It's basically "a rail line on rubber tires" that has never, ever sat in the bathroom at a party for an extended period of time reading the host's magazines and praying your friends get there soon, according to Metro's Tom Jasmin. Well, at least he said the first part.

And, in case you've forgotten, passengers who experience significant delays can at least count on Metro for an excuse letter on official letterhead.

5 Myths About Los Angeles' Metro System