Gold Line bus shuttle service changes to reflect customer feedback

little tokyo shuttle stop

As most of you know, we’re just over a week into the three-month closure of the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. Work being done during the closure includes major track relocation and tunneling work for the Regional Connector project. More details in this previous post, and some recent photos of construction work are available here.

While the station is closed, bus shuttles have replaced Gold Line train service between Union Station and Pico/Aliso Station. Based on customer feedback received after the first week of the closure, the shuttle service has been modified slightly to make riding faster and more convenient.

Two types of bus shuttles will be in effect starting Wednesday, Jan. 20. 

  • The Little Tokyo/Arts District shuttle will run directly between Union Station and Judge John Aiso/1st.
  • The Pico/Aliso Station shuttle will run directly between Union Station and Utah/1st.
  • The shuttles will stop at Union Station at Patsaouras Plaza Bus Bay 7 (drop off at Bay 9).

Please be sure to check the electronic signs on the front of the bus to make sure you are boarding the right shuttle at Union Station. Metro will also have staff posted at stop locations to provide information and assistance. Bus shuttles will operate every six minutes during weekday peak periods and every 10 minutes midday, evening, nights and weekends.


gold line bus shuttle map update

10 replies


    Metro supposedly listened to passengers and made changes but the Gold Line Shuttle looked like a total mess when I attempted to use it Saturday.

    While things may be better for those traveling between Union Station and Pico/Aliso Station, if your trip will either begin or end in Little Tokyo and you plan to travel between there and East LA, Metro’s newest Gold Line Shuttle solution is a total mess.

    The Gold Line Shuttle no longer transfers passengers between Little Tokyo and Pico/Aliso as it did in previous weeks.

    Even if you are a slow walker or have limited mobility, walking will be faster than attempting to use the shuttle as I did Saturday. According to Metro, the distance between the stations is about 0.97 miles.

    When the train was running, the trip between the 2 stations took 3 to 4 minutes but using the Gold Line Shuttle Saturday, that trip took over 34 minutes. That was at about 4 PM, While it was Saturday, that is still considered rush hour and many bus lines run more frequently.

    I say it took over 34 minutes because I ended up completing the trip on Metro Bus 40 after the Metro Gold Line Shuttle seemed to just abandon me at Union Station.

    After arriving at Pico/Aliso Station by train, I saw that the Gold Line Shuttle was pulling away from the signed bus stop. Fortunately, the driver opened the door and took on passengers as we crossed the street from Pico/Aliso Station and I took a short ride to Union Station where the system seemed to fall apart.

    The shuttle from Pico/Aliso Station went out of service after arriving at Union Station. The next Gold Line Shuttle to arrive also went out of service. The next 2 shuttles to arrive at Union Station were actually in service but they both departed for Pico/Aliso Station.

    Finally, I spotted a Metro Bus 40 enter the plaza and was able to make my way to the proper stop and took that bus to where I needed to go in Little Tokyo. The total trip time was 34 minutes but I never did see a Gold Line Shuttle heading to Little Tokyo,

    To put that 34 minutes in perspective, please note that if the Gold Line was running as it did last month, 34 minutes after departing Pico/Aliso station, it would be between Lake Station and Allen Station in Pasadena.

    I realize that the Regional Connector work needs to get done, but in an attempt to better accommodate passengers traveling between Pico/Aliso Station and Union Station, Metro has all but abandoned those who begin or end trips at Little Tokyo.

    I agree that it is best for shuttles from Pico/Aliso to stop at Union Station first rather that pass right by Union Station on the way to Little Tokyo but the shuttle should still continue to Little Tokyo after making that stop.

    A few posts in “The Source” have indicated that Metro is trying to help lessen the impact the Regional Connector construction work has on businesses in Little Tokyo. Metro delayed construction until after the holidays and now offers a parking validation program.

    Before the recent Gold Line Shuttle changes, Gold Line passengers were still able to get to Little Tokyo and visit those businesses.

  2. While DASH D would not come close to Pico/Aliso, METRO 30 will stop at the same stop as the Gold Line Shuttle going in the direction of Little Tokyo.

    Going from Little Tokyo to Pico/Aliso, the Metro 30 stop will actually be closer to the Pico/Aliso station than the Gold Line Shuttle stop.

    With that said, Metro 30 does not run that frequently between those 2 stops, especially on weekends and off-peak hours.

    This new Gold Line Shuttle configuration will make it easier for passengers connecting between Union Station and Pico/Aliso and will make it less convenient for those starting or ending a trip in Little Tokyo.

    One option to ease the inconvenience would be to include Metro 30 as part of the shuttle and offer free rides to Gold Line passengers. At Pico/Aliso, Metro employees could offer a free pass or transfer for Metro 30 to passengers bound for Little Tokyo as they exit the station but at Little Tokyo passengers would need another options as there are usually no Metro employees available to assist passengers there.

    The work needs to get done but it has already been delayed until after the holidays because businesses in Little Tokyo felt it would economically impact business during that period.

    Since the new configuration makes travel to and from Little Tokyo more difficult, this will negatively impact businesses in the Little Tokyo area.

    Once the Regional Connector Project is completed, it will be a boon for those businesses that are able to survive the construction period.

  3. Is there a way to get to Little Tokyo to Pico/Aliso and vice versa? Or do I just have to walk it now?

      • I’m pretty sure the 30 doesn’t stop at the Pico/Aliso station, and if I rode the Dash would it be free or will I be charged a Dash fare on top of my Metro fare I’d have to pay to ride the Gold Line?

    • Line 30 DOES stop at Pico Aliso station.

      Also, you can always walk a few blocks north to Cesar E Chavez or south to 4th Street. Metro and Montebello run buses on those streets, respectively.

      I wrote in MONTHS ago asking for a hub and spoke model for the bus shuttle, and I’ve very pleased to see it implemented.

  4. OK. Now I am confused so I need some clarification.

    It sounds like all buses will now stop at Union Station. So If I am going from Little Tokyo to Pico/Aliso, I will get on a bus that says Union Station and it will eventually go to Pico/Aliso and if I want to go from Pico/Aliso to Little Tokyo, I will also get on a bus that says Union Station and it will eventually go to Little Tokyo?

    It sounds like there will no longer be a shuttle stopping at Little Tokyo that will say “Pico/Aliso” and there will no longer be a shuttle at Pico/Aliso that will say “Little Tokyo”.

    If that is the configuration, there will need to be signs clearly stating how to get to Pico/Aliso at the Little Tokyo stop.

    While there are plenty of Metro personnel and security at Pico/Aliso and Union Station to assist confused travelers with the shuttle detour, passengers boarding at Little Tokyo generally need to figure things out without assistance.

    Also, with all the talk about El Nino, passengers should be aware that there are no rain shelters at the Little Tokyo and Pico/Aliso shuttle stops.

    A rainy day alternative for passengers starting in the downtown area would be to make your way to a sheltered stop of the Montebello 40 as that will make stops near Atlantic Station, East LA Civic Center Station, Maravilla Station, and Indiana Station.

    Another rainy day alternative would be Metro 30. There are stops downtown with shelters but not at the Pico/Aliso shared stop with the Gold Line shuttle.

  5. That seems alot better than how it was. I used the shuttle yesterday and was not pleased on how long it took to get to Union Station. And how I was charged again at Union Station to continue my destination to Chinatown.