Big Blue Bus shakes up routes to improve service, Metro connections

Big Blue Bus will roll out 16 new 60-foot buses on its Rapid 7 line. Photo: Dennis Finn /

Big Blue Bus will be rolling out new 60-foot buses on its Rapid 7 line. Photo: Dennis Finn /

The Santa Monica City Council last week signed off on a slew of bus service changes to improve the efficiency of the city’s municipal bus operations and improve connections with Metro Rail.

Travelers to and from the Westside will benefit from increased service, larger buses and a Metro Rail connection on the popular Rapid 7 line that runs mostly on Pico Boulevard. Instead of the line ending at Rimpau Terminal — as it does now —  the Rapid 7 will make a stop there before continuing up Crenshaw Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard, then heading east to the Wilshire/Western Purple Line station.

Additionally, several proposed changes that are still awaiting the city’s approval would improve connections with Phase 1 of the Expo Line starting in February 2012. Current Big Blue Bus Lines 12 and Super 12 — the latter to become a Rapid 12 — would be rerouted to connect the Culver City Expo Line Station to UCLA. Line 5 would be rerouted to connect the Culver City station with Century City and downtown Santa Monica.

Big Blue Bus will be holding community meetings this fall to discuss these Expo-related proposed changes, which would then be forwarded to the city council for their consideration.

Also of note, the 10 Express line — which shuttles riders from Union Station, through downtown L.A. and off to Santa Monica via I-10 — will be re-designated as a Rapid line. Accordingly, the stop distances on both ends will be increased in a couple of places to improve end-to-end run times.

For a full list of changes, check out the official Big Blue Bus notice. A map of the entire Big Blue Bus system is available here.

8 replies

  1. I proposed a similar extension of the #7 (not necessarily a rapid bus) back in the mid-90’s, not too long after (SMMBL former general manager) Jack Hutchinson retired and Ms. Griffin-Negriff took over….they said it was a good idea, but were not ready to expand the service area at that time….

  2. Thank you for extending Rapid 7 all the way to the Wilshire/Western station. I had been thinking of moving to Santa Monica (closer to my office) ever since the Metro Rapid 920 was discontinued in December 2010. Now I have an alternative, and here’s hoping the ride on Pico Blvd. is much smoother than on Wilshire Blvd.

  3. That’s a great idea about changing the #10 into a Rapid bus. There really isn’t any reason for it to stop on every corner in Santa Monica and West LA before it gets to the 10 Freeway. That is a really good idea and it’s about time.

  4. Just wanted to say thanks for the ongoing news about transit in SoCal beyond just Metro itself. One of the things I missed about Steve’s old Bottleneck Blog was the comprehensive coverage of transportation in the region, so I do hope you guys continue not to feel shy about stepping up coverage of news from Metrolink, municipal operators, Caltrans, LADOT, etc.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Hi David;

      Thanks much — we’re going to try to cover more news from around the region so that The Source can be a clearinghouse of sorts.


      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. @Erik, after 50 years, neither Metro nor Big Blue Bus has figured out what to do about bus riders transferring from a Pico bus to a Pico bus.

  6. Gee, only 15 years after it opened, the SMBBB 7 bus is coming to the terminus of the Purple Line as opposed to the terminus of the P-Pico LARy Yellow Car which closed in 1963.

    Is this not a poster child for transportation policy and coordination in greater Los Angeles?