California’s first multi-modal system & the world’s first bus rapid transit station turn 40

Bus rapid transit in Los Angeles began with the El Monte Busway, which broke ground 40 years ago this week.

Today BRT in L.A. has expanded to several other transportation corridors, but this is the original, the grand-daddy of them all:  The first multi-modal system in California and the first dedicated BRT station in the world.

While some things have changed (the draft environmental impact statement was only 17 pages long, and the El Monte Busway is now part of Silver Line service), the busway is as popular as ever.

Forty years later, daily ridership has grown from 12,000 to an estimated 40,000 as new terminals are planned for both El Monte and downtown Los Angeles.

The story and images of this historic transit line are up on the Metro Library’s Primary Resources Blog.

5 replies

  1. Buses add to traffic problems. We need more light rail. Orange line is a disaster. Buses are cramped and filthy.

  2. Good point John,

    Didn’t LA Metro announce that the El Monte Bus Station will not open until 2015?

  3. You think the “EL Monte Station” will be open by the end of this year, or even next? If its one thing the MTA is good at, that’s building things that NEVER OPEN (look at the Expo. Line!).

  4. …and next year the “Busway” will be completely opened to the single-occupant cars it was supposed to provide an alternative to and shortcut around in the first place. Given that the State of California just sued SANDAG for this very practice, I hope LA Metro will be paying close attention to any detriment to bus operation during the one-year test of the lane-pricing scheme.