New NoHo-Pasadena Express to begin late February

Attachment B

UPDATE: The Board approved the new route.

The Metro Board next Thursday will consider approving funding for a new 180-day pilot program to add a North Hollywood to Pasadena bus route — a route that connects the Orange and Red Line to the Gold Line. The line will also serve the Burbank media district and the north part of downtonw Glendale.

The new bus line, to be known as the NoHo-Pasadena Express (the number will be 501), will have six stops: NoHo, Hollywood Way and Olive Avenue in Burbank, Buena Vista Street and Alameda Avenue in Burbank, Goode Avenue and Brand (westbound) and Sanchez and Brand (eastbound in Glendale) and the Gold Line’s Memorial Park Station and Del Mar Station in Pasadena.

The plans are for the NoHo-Pasadena Express to run every 15 minutes during weekday peak hours and every 30 minutes during weekday off-peak times and every 30 minutes on the weekends. Travel time between NoHo and Del Mar in Pasadena is expected to be about 55 minutes during peak traffic times.

If the Board approves the pilot route at its meeting next Thursday (Oct. 22), the new bus line would start the same day as the Gold Line Foothill Extension opens next year. The Foothill opening date will — quite conveniently — also be announced at the same Board meeting. UPDATE: the service will begin in late February.

This is a bus line that Supervisor and Metro Board Member Michael D. Antonovich has been pushing for quite some time now. As he has pointed out, transit between the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley has often been in short supply with most routes pointed toward downtown L.A. instead of connecting the big job centers in both valleys.

The full Metro staff report is here on the No-Pasadena Express. Concurrently, a longer term study is underway to convert this pilot bus line to a bus rapid transit service, meaning in the future it could have more features typical of BRT such as dedicated bus lanes.


26 replies

  1. Would this be like a makeshift off-peak version of LADOT Commuter Express #549 between North Hollywood Station and Memorial Park? They should also add a stop at the Glendale Park & Ride (wb Wilson-Harvey/eb CA-134 eb off-ramp/Harvey)

    • I would say that probably during rush hours only, that would be practical, but at other times of the day, I just don’t see that many people getting on/off at the park & ride lot. A better place for a stop, in Glendale, would be the Glendale Galleria. People can park there for hours at a time, plus there are many shops, not only within the Galleria, but in the vicinity of it. More people=more $$.

    • Hi Mark;

      It’s a more frequent version of the Commuter Express bus — as this will run throughout the day instead of just at rush hour. It’s a pilot program, meaning staff will have a chance to evaluate ridership, time of travel, stops, etc.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • I don’t know why they wouldn’t just leverage Lake Station as the end point. Freeway hopping is the best.

      • “I don’t know why they wouldn’t just leverage Lake Station as the end point” — Exactly what I was thinking. I believe they “think” that since the Commuter Express line goes there they didn’t want to duplicate that last stop – but I would venture that 99.9% of riders would want to exit at Lake or even beyond – but def Lake at the minimum.

  2. This plan completely ignores the Disney/Dreamworks campus; which is a sizable chunk of the commuters on this route during rush hour.

    • I totally agree with that. It should be planed so that it hits both the “studios” in the Burbank area, as well as, hitting the Burbank Transportation Center. If it doesn’t do BOTH, or if METRO insists in contracting this line out, unfortinately, it will be doomed to complete failure. This NEW line needs to be operated “IN HOUSE” and NOT be a contracted line.

    • I think the Pasadena end is also somewhat of an issue…. Many people that use the commuter express right now get off on Colorado near Los Robles and Lake. Add in a transfer to the Gold Line in Pasadena to get to Lake & then walking from the Freeway down to Colorado and I’m not sure if this is any faster than the current Gold->Red Line solution or using the current 549.

  3. This line would completely miss the comunity of Eagle rock? It would make better sence to upgrade the 780 line with a bus lane because the 780’s route has proven ridership. Metro would save money by integrating the 180/181/780 lines into this new BRT line

    • What your proposing can’t happen because, on one end the 780 serves Hollywood and on the other end it already serves Pasadena. Any upgrade to the 780 would be totally useless to those who live/work in the North Hollywood or Burbank areas.

  4. I did this commute for a year, so I know first-hand that this is a critical gap for transit. I searched schedules for 5pm weekdays. The Commuter Express bus is 7 minutes faster (48 minutes). Taking the Gold Line to Union Station and then the Red Line to NoHo is just 2 minutes slower (57 minutes). I assume the off-peak times would be much more attractive (Commuter Express doesn’t run off-peak and the train should take roughly the same time).

  5. If Metro built this line as a BRT, wouldn’t it basically be an Orange Line extension to Pasadena? Is Metro looking into having Orange Line buses continue on eastwards past SFV to SGV?

  6. At least this is a start, but I feel that the longer term plan should be to create a western spur of the existing metro gold line from memorial park station and take it through glendale, burbank, and finally north hollywood to link it with the red line and orange line.

  7. The proposed line duplicates an existing Commuter Express Line which may have consequences. The line should travel north to the Airport then south on Hollywood Wy to Olive Ave. and Warner Bros. prior to entering the freeway. I doubt the MTA will run the line in house since their usual SOP is to contract out. And yes, the MTA contractors have never been reliable in both transporting passengers and maintaining the buses correctly.

    • I’ve already stated it before, and will state it again, If you want this line to succeed, you MUST have a stop at the Burbank Transportation Center, Downtown Burbank, Burbank Metrolink, and the Glendale Galleria.

  8. Why no stop at Downtown Burbank Metro link station to pick up riders off the Ventura county line and Antelope Valley lines and allow them to access Glendale and Pasadena?

    • I would agree there, but, remember that if they put too many stops, on the line, it won’t be fast enough and then METRO will say that there isn’t any “real” time savings and will drop the line.

  9. Why does it not continue on to the Burbank Airport? That should increase ridership would it not.

    • I would agree with you there. It would make sense to have this line continue onto the Burbank Transportation Center. The extra running time can’t really that great of a difference. If METRO can’t see the advantages of running this through the Burbank Transportation Center, then, again, I’m afraid that this line will be doomed to failure.
      While I’m on the subject, Why not have this line serve the Glendale Galleria? That too would make this line more appealing, especially for shoppers.
      This proposed new line should start sooner than the start of the Gold line Extention. It should start with the December Service changes.

    • I think you’re right there. The MTA contractors seem to NEVER be able to keep to a schedule. They’re, for the most part, either early or, like most times considerably late. If Metro really wants this, badly needed, line to succeed, they need to run it IN HOUSE and NOT contract it out as proposed.

  10. Build a train line from the West Valley to North Hollywood station and continuing through Burbank and Glendale and linking up with the Gold Line in Pasadena. Thank you.

    • That would be a good idea, except that the patronage has to be established first. I believe that the idea is still under study. But, let’s get something running in the mean time. Let’s see if the ridership demand is really there before we commit billions of dollars to something that hasn’t been tested yet.