The new Metro Line 902 offers relief for crowded Orange Line

UPDATE: Metro has released the timetable for Line 902 in PDF format.

In addition to the Silver Line, Metro has another new bus service rolling out next week – Metro Line 902.

Essentially, Metro Line 902 is a supplemental line to the popular, and therefore crowded, Metro Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley.

After taking a look at ridership numbers on the Orange Line, Metro found out that the Van Nuys stop had the highest number of people getting on and off the bus after the North Hollywood stop (where the busway connects with the Red Line). Specifically, a good 14% of Orange Line riders – over 3,000 passengers – board and alight at Van Nuys every day. Line 902 is an attempt to give Orange Line riders who go between Van Nuys and North Hollywood an alternative – and to offer other riders some room to breathe.

Line 902 is a weekday service that runs only during morning and afternoon rush hours – the times when Orange Line riders tend to pack the articulated buses to capacity. Riders headed to Van Nuys from the North Hollywood Red Line station can board Line 902 at Bus Bay 8 and 9 on the same side of the street as the Red Line station, not across Lankershim Boulevard such as for the Orange Line. Buses will run every 12 to 15 minutes.

From the North Hollywood Red Line station, Line 902 stops at Valley College Station before continuing on to the Van Nuys Station. After the Van Nuys stop the line turns into local service and continues up Van Nuys Boulevard to Pacoima. This service replicates Line 233 and Line 761 for much of the way. What this means is that Orange Line riders who used to transfer to or from these lines at the Van Nuys station can now enjoy a one-seat ride.
Regular riders on Lines 233 or 761 should know that Line 902 doesn’t replace or otherwise affect those lines.

Why doesn’t Metro just run more buses on the Orange Line to accommodate the rush hour crowds ? If you look at the Orange Line schedule, Metro is already running the buses every four or five minutes during rush hour. With the signal priority the Orange Line gets at intersections, having buses run more frequently would cause all sorts of problems on north-south streets.

Timetables for the line are scheduled to be released later today. In the meantime I’ve created a Google Map showing the route of Line 902 that you can check out after the jump.

View Metro Line 902 in a larger map