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Santa Monica Big Blue Bus to Change Routes and Schedules

Phil Brock For Council 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Michael Feinstein for Santa Monica City Council 2014Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

July 31, 2014 –Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus this week announced changes to two of its most popular lines in order to improve service by splitting routes, discontinuing stops and switching drivers more often.

The changes to the two major routes from the UCLA campus will go into effect August 24, in time for the start of the fall session. The route and schedule adjustments reflected in the August service change will remain in effect until the next scheduled service change in February 2015.

Big Blue Bus officials outlined the numerous minor and major changes to the bus routes in a July 28 report to the City Council.

“In addition to the seasonal shifts, the driving force behind the changes for August are to improve service efficiency and reliability for BBB customers, especially on Routes 1 and 3 that currently do not achieve on-time standards,” said Suja Lowenthal, the agency’s Transit Government & Community Relations Manager.

“Other operational improvements, including more operator recovery time and operator relief at key points along the route, will benefit customers with even further schedule reliability.”
The major changes will take place along Route 3, which runs from UCLA through Santa Monica and ends via Lincoln Boulevard at the Green Line Station near LAX.

The line is among the three most popular routes, serving approximately 175,000 monthly passengers. The line will be split into two different routes, creating a new 3M line based on north and south sections of the original route.

Route 3 will consist of the southern portion of the route and will have a total trip time of 56 minutes. While Route 3M will consist of the northern end of the route and take 39 minutes to make the total trip.

According to Lowenthal, these trip lengths will enable the agency to create more regular and enforceable schedules and schedule the two routes more efficiently based on their passenger loads.

“Some Route 3 customers will be required to pay a new fare and possibly experience increased total travel time through downtown Santa Monica,” Lowenthal said.  “However, this will be somewhat offset by less bus bunching and better overall reliability.”

Big Blue Bus officials held a public meeting on Jun 25 to discuss the proposed plan to modify Route 3, which included the new 3M Route.

Of the 50 participants at the meeting, ten were frequent riders of Route 3 buses, while the others attended the meeting to discuss issues other than the service changes.

According to the report, the majority of the Route 3 riders were pleased with the proposed plans.

In addition to public meetings, BBB also posted information online and received 15 email responses with feedback about the changes.

Routes 1 and 7, each of which serve more passengers than Route 3, will both expect changes, though not as significant as Route 3.

Changes to Route 1 include discontinuing of the last trip from UCLA to Downtown at 12:12 a.m. during the weekdays and reducing weekend hourly service before 10:00 a.m. between California Avenue at Lincoln Boulevard and Venice Circle.

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