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Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus Gears Up for School
By Lookout Staff
August 21, 2012 -- With summer ending and school about to start, Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus Will adjust the schedule for some of its major lines beginning Sunday and Monday.
The changes take "advantage of shifts in riders' travel patterns from taking more leisure trips to more school and work trips," Blue Bus officials said, "to provide the most effective and efficient transit for students and commuters."
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District begins classes Wednesday and classes for the fall semester for Santa Monica College start next Monday. The Big Blue Bus will deploy extra buses and new larger buses on Pico Boulevard to help meet the demand, officials said.
The College and the School District also are working with the City of Santa Monica and transit officials to manage the increased activity, including adding traffic control officers.
SMC students who drive should park at the satellite locations, College officials said.
Santa Monica College students will continue to ride the Big Blue Bus for free under the “Any Line, Any Time” unlimited ride program renewed by the City Council in June.
Under the agreement, the college pays a fixed annual amount that allows "all student, staff, and faculty members with a valid, activated SMC identification card bearing a current semester sticker" to ride the Blue Bus for free, according to transit officials.
SMC students accounted for 2.16 million boardings on the Big Blue Bus in fiscal year 2010-11, an 8 percent increase over the previous year.
"Students who take the Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica High School are encouraged to be aware of the very high demand on the buses during the first few weeks," transit officials said.
"Residents may wish to use alternate routes or to adjust their schedule for the first week or so of classes," they added.
City officials also are urging parents who drive their children to John Adams Middle School or to Will Rogers Elementary to "plan their schedule and allow enough time for drop off and pick up."
The biggest change will be the launch of a new Rapid 20 service between Downtown Santa Monica and the Expo Culver City station. The new line will service limited stops Downtown before taking the 10 Freeway to the Culver City Expo Station.
Also beginning next Monday Route 5, which currently operates buses that travel out of service from its yard to Culver City, will be open to riders, transit officials said.
The Blue Bus will also change its Super 12 service to a Rapid 12 service between the Culver City station and Westwood/UCLA.
"Bus trip times are being aligned with the light rail trips, stops
with the lowest usage are being eliminated (but will still be served by
BBB's Local 12), and the end-of-line stop is being relocated to northbound
Robertson between Venice and Washington," Blue Bus officials said.
The Blue Bus also will shift Route 5 buses from Olympic Boulevard, which is undergoing long-term roadwork, before resuming its regular route to Culver City.
Fall 2012 service changes, in addition to other service related information, are posted on the Big Blue Bus Web site at www.bigbluebus.com.
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