Two year anniversary of the Silver Line today

 

The Silver Line debuted on this day in 2009, running seven days a week between the El Monte Station in the San Gabriel Valley, downtown Los Angeles and the Artesia Transit Center in the South Bay. (See the map after the jump).

The bus makes that trip in under an hour, thanks in part to using the carpool lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways. Before the Silver Line came along, bus service along the 10 and 110 freeways was on separate lines — the Silver Line tied it all together, complete with stops throughout downtown L.A.

How has the Silver Line performed? Pretty well. On an average weekday in November, there were 10,648 boardings on the line, a 42 percent increase over Nov. 2010. Average weekend boardings in November totaled 5,858, a 55 percent increase over a year earlier.

There have also been some significant upgrades. In June, additional service was added to the 110 portion of the Silver Line and in July, a new fleet of buses was dedicated for Silver Line use. New bus wraps were installed on the entire fleet of 28 buses in October.

The Silver Line is the only Metro bus line that connects to all of Metro’s Rail Lines — transfers to the Gold, Red and Purple Line can be made at Union Station and transfers to the Red, Purple and Blue Lines at 7th/Metro Center in downtown. The Green Line can be accessed at the Harbor Freeway Green Line station.

In addition, there are numerous transfers available to other bus lines. The Silver Line will also be a critical part of Metro’s ExpressLanes project, a one-year experiment that is converting the carpool lanes on 10 and 110 freeway to toll lanes. Carpoolers currently using the lanes for free will continue to do so, while other motorists will have access to them in exchange for a toll.

Some of that money will help fund transit. There will also be two carpool lanes in each direction on the 10 between the rebuilt El Monte Station and downtown L.A. — a major upgrade that should help boost the flow of traffic.

The regular fare for the Silver Line is $2.45. Here’s a link to the timetable and map. What do you think of the service? What, if any, improvements need to be made?

7 replies

  1. Glad to see that the Silver Line (bus route 910) fleet is now Silver and not Orange, while the Orange Line (bus route 901) fleet is still mostly Silver.

    Remember that the roadway these buses use parallel to Interstate 10 is actually still the El Monte Busway, built with transit funding and not highway funding, which has been temporarily opened to private automobiles containing at least 3 (and during “off-peak” times 2) “occupants”.

    Even with the Lexus-lane project the El Monte Busway isn’t yet a bone fide carpool lane and LA Metro’s blog really shouldn’t be giving away transit infrastructure to CalTrans and the FHWA so casually.

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  2. I’m really glad to see an article dedicated to the Silver Line. I commuted for over a year on the Silver Line from El Monte to DTLA and my experience was mostly positive. And since you asked, here are some of my observations/suggestions:

    Boarding at El Monte station could be improved. There’s always a huge line of people in the morning to get on the bus and the temporary terminal did not accommodate for this. Hopefully the all-door boarding at the new terminal will fix this. There’s also no fare vending at El Monte so it could be a pain for folks who don’t have exact change/tap cards.

    I wish there were 10-20% more capacity during the peak commute (~8-9 am and 5-6 pm). The buses are horribly packed during those times and stops are often skipped because there’s no more room to pick up people.

    The other thing about traffic flow in the I-10 carpool lanes (and I know this isn’t a Metro problem, but perhaps the word could be passed on) is that “America’s Best Transit” aka Foothill Transit has the most freeway bus breakdowns of all the local transit agencies and they often obstruct lanes and traffic. Also, their drivers tend to drive at way below the posted limit in the carpool lane, pissing off everybody behind them who actually needs to go somewhere. (I’ve seen one FT bus go 25 mph from Union Station all the way to El Monte).

    The Harbor Fwy station could really use a facelift. There are no clear signs directing passengers from the Green Line to the bus stops and the bus stop is a little too Spartan for my taste. It’s essentially standing in the middle of freeway traffic, and the noise/dust/pollution is off the charts. Perhaps some glass or steel panes separating the station from the traffic could be built. Also, the station is really dirty. A homeless guy urinated on the stairs the last time I passed through.

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  3. I ride the Silver Line daily from the Harbor/Slauson station to the 7th Street Metro Station (and reverse).

    The wait to board a bus in either direction is excessive, and, as Ben pointed out, increased capacity is needed.

    I don’t understand why half of the buses start at 7th/Metro to go north.

    Also, and this is minor, why don’t the southbound Silver Line buses stay on Flower to the Harbor Freeway? They would only be a short block from the Staples Center, but that would avoid a great deal of traffic on Laker nights.

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  4. Improvements that need to be made to the Silver Line:
    – Off board fare payment like the Orange Line
    – Dedicated bus lanes in Downtown LA
    – Lower the fare to that of Rail, Bus, and Orange Line service
    – Better signal priority in Downtown LA like Rapid
    – Higher frequencies to match that of Rail and Orange Line
    – Better amenities and information at all stops

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  5. Definitely agree with Ray – if the Silver Line is good enough to be put on the map with the Orange Line and rail it needs to run like rail and the Orange Line.

    Off-board fare payment – I know it can be tough on city streets but definitely a must at the stations.
    The fares need to be the regular fare – pay the Foothill Transit ransom with the toll money if you must.
    Service levels – with the added midday service on the Harbor side on weekdays, at least it runs as often as rail does from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. But after 7 service falls precipitously. I don’t want to be waiting downtown for up to an hour if I happen to miss a bus, and have even chosen to take the local even though it takes twice as long just to get out of the cold. And the weekend service, at 30 minutes on Sunday, is atrocious – especially since when construction closes down the carpool lane on weekends, the bus just gets stuck in traffic with everyone else. Run it at every 15 minutes on weekends, 20 at night, and at least the issue of missed connections at the ends can be resolved because you can take an earlier bus without a huge time penalty.
    Also, there needs to be more amenities near the terminals. Artesia Transit Center is near a Home Depot and El Monte is a 10 minute walk to the nearest shopping center. A coffee shop, a taco truck, a convenience store, but something needs to be visible from the bus station so that when folks miss their bus, they can at least get a bite to eat or a lottery ticket.

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  6. minor detail is on the maps, El Monte Bus Station needs to be farther east as the current map makes it barely past Cal State LA. Also some kind of indication of all the connection buses that take off from this point would be nice. Another thought is extending the line to at least the El Monte Metrolink station. That location has a small turn around that the city of El Monte uses for their city bus. If thats not available, the parking lot at El Monte Metrolink has room. I think this transfer would be great for passengers who need to transfer out to points much farther to the east- like going all the way to San Bernardino or Rancho etc.

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  7. The Silver line needs to have the off board payment amenity. All the street stops need to be converted into bus stations with station amenities. The line definitely needs to have dedicated bus lanes in Downtown LA. The line needs to have a re opening of the line. This is the only line in the go metro system which did not have a opening ceremony.

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