LOS ANGELES—Citing a severely underdeveloped public transportation network, a survey released by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) Tuesday found that at least 65% of LA county children are in favor of expanding the city’s Choo-Choo train lines.
The trains are defined as those with bright colors, a friendly conductor, and a big, shiny steam whistle that goes “choo-choo.” Currently, there are fewer than nine trains in the LADOT network that qualify under these standards.
“I want to ride the big train,” said four-year-old Stephen Park, who uses the metro system every weekday to commute with his mother to pre school. “When I get on the big train I want it say funny things and to go on adventures. I like adventures, they are fun.”
Among the numerous criticisms of Los Angeles’ ailing Choo-Choo Network (CCN) are a decided lack of friendly characters or well-formed story-arcs. Children complain that when they get on the train, they are not greeted by conductors and are never sure of what type of train they are on—whether it be a nice train, or a mean train.
Additionally, the moral lessons learned by riders both young and old have been deemed to be “ambiguous”.
“When I get on the metro with my kids, I expect a clear narrative and something to say about the experience,” said Park’s mother. “Not once has the value of sharing or of being honest come up over the course of a trip. Maybe it worked back in art school, but I am sick of this non-linear nonsense.”
“Sometimes when my mommy takes me to the park, the big one in the hills, they have the steamy train (sic) there and I get to ride it,” continued Park.
“The metro train smells like pee-pee.”
Although plans for a new system have already been drawn—plans that include a colorful cast of characters, and updates to stations so that children may view where the trains sleep and live—budget constraints have forced the Department of Transportation to push back their implementation a further ten years.
Alternative proposals to convert at least dozen more trains to “choo-choo” capacity have also been delayed by municipal red tape.
“Judging by current estimates, these plans will cost at least 6 million dollars in animatronics alone,” said LADOT board member Alfredo Menendez. “The addition of paid actors, writers, and story-board artists will put us beyond the department’s annual budget. Until the city is willing to accept some massive tax hikes, I simply do not see this happening.”
In spite of demand, the Department concludes that LA children will have to wait for a full Choo-Choo experience. Until then, experts encourage parents to give their children piggy-back rides and pretend they are trains.