Los Angeles used to have a public transit system that covered about 25 percent more track mileage than New York City’s current subway system.
In its eco-hayday in 1945, LA had more than 900 hydro-electric Pacific Electric “Red Cars” that covered more than 1,100 miles, from Pasadena to downtown LA, Santa Moncia, Long Beach, Balboa and Santa Ana. It connected LA, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. In comparison, New York City’s subway today covers 842 miles.
So how did the City of Angels end up with the most pitiful transit system of any major U.S. city? You may have heard a story about General Motors buying the Red Cars and dismantling them in order to force dependency on freeways. But that’s just a myth propagated in the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”