In the several months I've been in Los Angeles, I think today was the first day that the Metro bus service actually made me throw up my hands and silently scream "Gah! It's 2006! Figure your shit out!" I left my just-southwest-of-downtown apartment at 10:45 AM to catch a 1:10 movie (the riotously funny Idiocracy) at the Arclight, and finally got to Sunset and Ivar at about 1:01. I was stressing over it because I'd bought my ticket online and didn't want to have to eat the eleven bucks and catch a later show. Not only did I end up taking multiple buses to get to my destination (I didn't take the Red Line, for reasons too boring to explain), but one bus that seemed fine to me mysteriously went out of service and kicked everyone off, leaving us waiting a half-hour for the next bus. Also, ugh, traffic. And constant red lights. And a guy in a wheelchair (I'm normally very sympathetic to the plight of the other-abled, but not today).
But you know what? It's a holiday weekend. Every single time I've stuck around in NYC over a major holiday weekend, I've had the same thing -- trains and buses going out of service or not showing up at all, me playing tour guide for my out-of-town friends and feeling embarrassed that one of the most complex and consistently reliable public transit systems in the world should malfunction just when I had a great opportunity to show it off to people. There was one July 4th weekend where a group of us had a Warriors-like adventure getting from uptown Manhattan down to Coney Island -- usually this trip doesn't take more than an hour and a half even with the slow slog of rush hour, but thanks to various breakdowns and no-shows and re-routes, it took about three hours. What gives?? If the city wants to up its tourist dollars, shouldn't it, like, not pull the plug on service at a time when there's a strong likelihood of people from other cities coming in for a visit? In order for them to generate all that revenue you hope they'll generate, they need to be able to get to their upmarket urban-retail-and-entertainment-complex and family-friendly greenspace McFunstertown. And it's not like any residents would want to go anyplace within city limits to enjoy their time off, nope nope.
So take heart, Angelenos, it's not just you. Remember that all the good drivers, conductors, and coordinator-types are probably lying naked on a beach in Aruba right now, and that holiday workers are typically the bottom of the employee barrel. Things'll be better on Tuesday... but for now, if you don't have a car, you're screwed. (Eh, it's fine; I have a lot to read this weekend anyway.)