Staff recommends signal priority for Venice Boulevard and 733 Rapid Bus

The 733’s hindside in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by frecamino, via Flickr creative commons.

I thought riders of the 733 Rapid Bus that primarily uses Venice Boulevard during its long journey from downtown Santa Monica to Venice Beach to Los Angeles Union Station would be interested in the following staff report. The gist of it: staff is recommending spending $7 million to install traffic signal priority on Venice Boulevard to speed up the 733.

And let’s face it, the 733 could use some speeding up (timetable here). It often takes nearly an hour to travel between Venice and Lincoln boulevards on the Westside to Venice and Broadway in downtown L.A. The 733 is a key downtown-to-the-beach connection and also has a stop near the Expo Line’s Culver City station that is opening tomorrow.

The staff report is below (pdf here). The Metro Board of Directors’ Planning Committee will consider the issue at their meeting tomorrow and then it will need to be voted upon by the full Board.

Venice Rapid bus report

14 replies

  1. I also think Venice Boulevard is an excellent candidate for modern, articulated streetcars. With signal priority.

  2. The 733 is my main bus. My two complaints are overcrowding and schedule reliability. Hopefully this will improve both situations and reduce bus bunching. So glad to see east-west transportation get so many improvements!

  3. @Steve and @Steveland: I did read the report, and it was more to express that the current branding of the 733 as Rapid is misleading, even if there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why there is no signal priority.

  4. Not so sure it’s fair to say that the 733 needs speeding up because it takes 1 hour to get to downtown because, Big Blue Bus runs an “express” service downtown which also takes roughly the same amount of time.

  5. Any time savings would be great. My primary concern with the 733 is how metro has been substituting the larger articulated buses with smaller buses. By the time they reach Culver City heading east bound they’re already at or over capacity. The same is true when non-articulated buses running as line 733 reach Western heading westbound during the morning commute. I know bus operations can’t run articulated buses when they don’t have them but this can make taking the 733 at rush hour difficult.

  6. Looks like the goal would be to shave off 12 minutes from the trip make it just over 45 minutes, which is a great improvement if that happens!

  7. @kdbhiker: Should you choose to read the staff report you will find that the last line says, “As these funds were earmarked for the Metro Rapid Expansion Program, they cannot be re-programmed to any other bus or rail operating or capital expenditures”

    @Mike: 733 came late to the Metro Rapid party in 2010, after all of the other routes were up and running (and some cut already). The 733 is really just the old 333 with some red paint (no signal priority or bus stop improvements) and not 24 hours like the 333 was.

  8. Hey I have a novel idea, take that $7mil and put it into finishing the 2nd phase of the Expo Line faster instead of wasting your time signal priority!

  9. Echoing Mike, I’m a little disappointed to learn that the 733 doesn’t hav the signal priority that is part of what defines Rapid service. Now I’m wondering how many other lines are not really Rapid lines.

    • Please read the staff report, which explains why there is no signal priority yet on Venice Blvd.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. I thought all Metro Rapid buses got signal priority, as that was part of the whole branding, purpose of “Rapid buses”… guess it just means in reality “limited stops”

  11. I ride the 733 from time to time throughout the week after 3pm & on the weekends throughout the day & its jam packed, standing room only until a little past Lincoln & the load is lighter, with a few of the 733’s & 33’s bunching up together & vice versa on the ride back is just as worst, right until it gets closer to Crenshaw & then around the Convention Center, the load is lighter. Glad to hear that it’s finally being looked into for the Signal Priority on Venice, hopefully, next it will be looked into being upgraded & converted into the next Light Rail with would be so awesome.

  12. I once wrote a short story about one particularly crazy trip on the 733 at night. I likened it to a hospital emergency room. This line is such a useful east-west connection, but it needs all the help it can get!