The following article appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on October 27, 2015.
New Metro express bus to link Pasadena with North Hollywood – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
By Steve Scauzillo
October 27, 2015
The county’s largest transportation agency will inaugurate the first-ever express bus linking the San Gabriel Valley and the San Fernando Valley on March 5.
Dubbed the NoHo-Pasadena Express, the new bus line will run every 15 minutes during weekday peak hours and every 30 minutes off-peak and on weekends between the Del Mar and Memorial Park Gold Line light-rail stations in Pasadena and the North Hollywood Orange and Red Line stations.
Between those end points, the bus will stop at Hollywood Way and Olive Avenue in Burbank, Buena Vista Street and Alameda Avenue in Burbank, Goode Avenue and Brand Boulevard (westbound) and Sanchez and Brand (eastbound) in Glendale.
The bus rides Walnut Street and Fair Oaks Avenue briefly in Pasadena, but mostly takes the carpool lanes of the 134 Freeway, stopping in Glendale and Burbank, then Lankershim Boulevard to the NoHo Station, according to Metro.
After initiating exploration of the line in November 2014 and then again in January, last week the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board approved the express bus for a 180-day trial period. The bus will cost about $1.2 million during the pilot period if contracted out to an independent service provider, records show.
The bus service will start on the same day the Foothill Gold Line light-rail service begins from east Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. The idea is to extend transit service to the east, to take cars off the congested 210 Freeway, and to the west, to remove cars from the western part of the 210 and eastern 134 freeways.
The NoHo-Pasadena Express has been pushed by Metro board member and county Supervisor Michael Antonovich and board member and Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian.
Both point out the convergence of commuter trains and Metro light-rail lines into downtown Los Angeles fails to serve the two biggest job centers in Los Angeles County. The new bus will connect east-west from Azusa to North Hollywood, tying together the two valleys, their residential populations and job centers, while bypassing downtown L.A.
“Extending the Gold Line (by bus) into the San Fernando Valley makes sense. Burbank is the largest employer in the region,” said Antonovich. Many people work at The Walt Disney Co. (7,900 employees), Warner Bros. Entertainment (7,400), ABC,Inc. (2,300) and Yahoo! (1,400) in Burbank, according to the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Glendale’s large employers include Nestle USA (1,180), DreamWorks Studios (1,478), and Glendale Adventist Medical Center (2,540).
The route as laid out by Metro does not go to the Burbank airport, called Bob Hope Airport. Passengers can take the Burbank Bus at the North Hollywood Station to the airport, recently expanded to seven days a week. The fare is $1.
“It will alleviate congestion from people going to LAX,” Antonovich said.
Travel time from Del Mar Station in Pasadena to North Hollywood will be 55 minutes during rush hour. Metro envisions the new bus attracting 1,750 riders each weekday.
To make the ride a little shorter, Metro is working with Caltrans to accommodate the bus riding the shoulder of the freeway, when safe to do so.
Transit buses ride freeway shoulders in Minneapolis/St. Paul and in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Twin Cities buses can use 300 miles of freeway shoulder to bypass traffic snarls, according to the MetroTransit of Minneapolis/St. Paul website.
At the end of the trial, Metro may continue the bus and explore making it into a dedicated busway in which the bus rides its own lane, or a light-rail line, Antonovich said.
Sounds like this will save about 4 minutes off the gold line – red line route.
This is exactly what I need for commuting to work in Glendale!
It will save about 4 minutes, provided the carpool lanes aren’t jammed–and they often are.
Rail travel doesn’t have to deal with traffic or congestion. Hence, 80% of the time, rail will beat the bus. Sometimes by more than that.
Still, having both is not a bad idea…