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Mayors' Subway Report Card

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Now here's the quote of the day via the Daily News: ""I think if there were laws that required mayors to take transit, you'd see transit systems improve remarkably." That's Ted Balaker, a policy analyst for the Reason Foundation who spoke to transit beat writer Sue Doyle, who wrote a piece on Mayors across the country and their public transit use.

Locally, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vowed to take public transit once a week last month in his 10 Ways to Reduce Traffic report. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg takes it twice a week. Chicago King Mayor Richard Daley and Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty do not use their transit systems. Though in Atlanta, Mayor Shirley Franklin uses it daily.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom did not return phone calls to the Daily News. However, SFist Editor Brock Keeling told us Newsom hardly uses it: "As far as i know, he's taken it twice -- the last time being this week to go to Sunnyside. But i'm exaggerating, I hope. anyway, my main point is that i don't think he uses public transit. [He] has a security-driven (SFPD) Lincoln town car for work and work events. it's not retrofitted for biodiesel. His private car is an Aston Martin, and he has a preorder in for the Tesla." In a city famous for its public transportation system, perhaps this is why his office did not return phone calls regarding the issue. This reminds us of our Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Transportation and his personal Hummer use.

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Below, transit lifestyle blog MetroRiderLA videotaped our Mayor on the subway back in 2006 when he was encouraging denizens to go Metro the first time around: