As Los Angeles World Airports and Metro consider plans to provide direct rail access to and from LAX terminals, I believe it is critical that we seize this opportunity to correct a glaring weakness in our city's transportation system.
While other alternatives have been proposed that would indirectly link LAX with commuter rail, providing airline passengers with direct rail access inside the terminal will ensure travelers get to and from airport terminals as quickly and seamlessly as possible. And while the costs may indeed be substantial, the costs to our region will be even steeper if our infrastructure cannot meet L.A.'s growing transportation needs.
At least 20 other airports in the United States provide rail access. To ensure that Los Angeles remains a truly great international city, we must provide public transportation that gets travelers directly into terminals, not almost.
Rep. Janice Hahn
Your article notes the lack of planning to directly connect LAX to the Metro train system. Los Angeles' other airport, Burbank Bob Hope, is focused on getting direct "train-to-plane" connections soon. It is already Southern California's only airport with a train station, and more improvements are coming.
The airport is spending $112 million to build a consolidated rental car facility with a new bus station and an elevated moving sidewalk that directly links the terminal with existing Amtrak and Metrolink service. We are also working with Metro to build a new Metrolink station on the Antelope Valley Line at the north end of the airport. Airport buses will bring travelers to the terminal.
Officials at the Burbank Bob Hope Airport strongly support direct connection between air travel and rail.
The writer is the executive director of the Burbank Bob Hope Airport.
Some points missing from the discussion of the various other airports with train service (and I have used airport trains in a number of airports) include the cost ($40 per person is not unusual in Europe), how far you have to walk to the station and what you do at the other end (the train does not take you to the front door of your destination).
Ignoring these issues often leads people to support the concept of rail to the airport.
Having to transfer luggage off and on shuttle buses is the least of the problems for the thousands of people parked at the remote lots at LAX. For users of any transit to and from the airport, the cost and the ability to reach the final destination are far more important than having to walk or take a shuttle to a station.
Sorry to read about the French couple who struggled to reach LAX by rail.
It reminded me of the young woman I once saw walking toward the airport on the narrow sidewalk inside the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel under the runways. She looked scared to death. The poor woman thought it could be a walkable journey.
I think about her every time I go through that tunnel. Now French visitors might think they can get to LAX by rapid transit. Oh, these innocent out-of-towners.