Metro adds bus service hours to proposed budget

Metro’s proposed $7.2-billion budget for the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year was released last week. As part of the normal review process, Metro CEO Phil Washington added bus service hours to the number that was posted online — from 7,019,376 to 7,094,376.

Some points we want to make sure everyone understands:

•Service would be added to the busy 910 Silver Line and the popular 460 Bus between downtown L.A. and Anaheim.

•The budget gives Metro the flexibility to add bus service for special events (Dodgers games, USC football, etc.) and for bus shuttles during the ongoing work to modernize the Blue Line.

•The changes include bus service hours for the extra day in 2020 (Feb. 29), which is a Leap Year.

Metro is also making changes to rail service hours that will help standardize train frequencies, improve on-time performance, provide three-car trains at peak hours and save taxpayer money by reducing under-used service.

•During peak hours all Blue, Expo and Gold Line trains will be three cars instead of the current mix of two-car and three-car trains. 

•Weekday peak hour frequencies for the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines would have trains running every eight minutes instead of the current every six minutes (Blue and Expo) or seven minutes (Gold). This is to make frequencies consistent and more efficient on Metro’s three busiest light rail lines.

On the Blue Line, every train would run every eight minutes between 7th/Metro and Downtown Long Beach instead of trains running every six minutes between 7th/Metro and Willow and every 12 minutes between Willow and Downtown Long Beach. Blue Line customers will experience less waiting time for trains from Downtown L.A. to Long Beach.

Metro CEO Phil Washington stresses that Metro, as always, will monitor bus and rail ridership and can adjust service at any time based on changing demand.

Phil also believes that this proposed budget is the most responsible fiscal path forward that will allow Metro to balance its many missions: run the third-busiest transit system in the U.S., expand and improve our local transportation network, innovate new mobility solutions and keep the system in a State of Good Repair to reduce breakdowns, delays and the expense of replacing assets broken beyond repair.

14 replies

  1. When I was a RTD Supervisor we used to run Express Buses between Downtown L.A. and Disneyland on busy days. There was also Special Service to Hollywood Park, Santa Anita and Los Amitos Race Tracks. All this was abandoned by the MTA. Service is not their primary objective. The other former agency , LACTC, was anti good transit. When a temporary tax was imposed to decrease the RTD fare from 85cents to 50cents ridership increase dramatically and the RTD increased service. The LACTC stepped in and demanded the RTD cut back service because the RTD was transporting to many people in which their LACTC subsidy was based on. With the merger the former LACTC people gained control of Los Angeles Counties Transit provider and we have seen the decline in services they provide and the many lines they have given away to other agencies which soon become cancelled or shortened.

  2. Im very pleased additional service is being added on Metro Express Line 460 to Disneyland. With Star Wars land opening up in 2 weeks, Im sure some folks are going to ride public transit than paying 25 dollars for parking. I noticed a awful proposal regarding line 460 was discussed 3 years ago to cut service between DLA and Norwalk Station. Im very happy that proposal was removed from consideration. I would like to see a faster version of Line 460 between DLA and Disneyland , as well as a new express route operated by metro between Harbor Gateway Transit Center, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland and the Anaheim Regional Transit Center

  3. The revised bus service hours (7,094,376) is still a 9% decrease in service compared to 10 years ago, 2009, when Metro operated 7,719,204 bus service hours. I voted for Measure R and M to improve bus service. Instead, bus service has been cut 1%~ annually.. i feel betrayed and scammed..

    • I agree with “Bus Rider’s” comment. The service was cut during the recession when sales tax revenues were down and before these additional tax measures were passed. Why is service still worse than back then? We used to have a decent 12 minute map. That’s gone now. Finally, as Metro gradually gives away lines to the muni agencies, the transfer policies have worsened. Since Metro-muni-Metro transfers now cost a lot more than Metro-Metro-Metro transfers, people who live in areas where different agencies boundaries meet are punished the most.

  4. when I do the calculation, the proposed rail services are actually reduced. 8 mins means 7.5 trips per hour, it only runs 22.5 cars per hour. Considering the 6 mins headway currently with mixed 2/3 cars train (mean is 2.5) and 10 trips per hour, it runs 25 cars per hour. Each train has capacity of 200, that means 8 mins headway can transport 4500 riders, while 6 mins headway can transport 5000 riders per hour. 8 mins headway with 3 cars train does not necessary mean the capacity is increased, instead it reduces the amount of capacity during peak hours. In addition of that, I would like to see service expansion of the 910 during weekdays off peak hours (15 to 10), and more service on 950 to/from San Pedro.

  5. “A 20 percent cutback in service in the Expo and Blue lines.” It’s actually worse than that. Trains every eight minutes means 7.5 trains per hour; previously it was 10 trains an hour. That’s actually a 25% cut.

    The Expo trains during rush hour are already three-car trains and are already standing-room only. So that’s going to be basically a 25% cut in ridership. That’s not the direction we need to be going.

    Once the Purple Line and the Downtown Connector are finished, THE most important thing for Metro to do is to figure out how to solve the Washington Avenue Y problem. I think the only feasible solution is grade separations through that area. That’s very comlicated because of the 10 Freeway. But it has to be addressed.

  6. Should just leave peak hours for metro rail every six minutes (how it is currently) instead of every eight minutes. Blue,Expo and Gold lines are busiest light rails in LA County.

  7. You buried the lede. A 20 percent cutback in service in the Expo and Blue lines. Nice work Metro. 10 trains per hour to 8? Peak hour trains are already overloaded.

    I just pray the Matro’s abysmal track record at the Washington / Flower wye junction does not repeat itself.


  8. ..well when you put it like that, 8 min instead of 6 min is not bad..but what about the weekends!!?? Didn’t NexGen study show that weekday peeks are not the only peak times in the system?? and since they are trying to improve service, is there any talk about going 24 hours for rail??

    • I know I mentioned this before but, while I used to understand the request and demand for 24 hour rail service for Public Transit, now that I’ve been to other countries that have both excellent rail systems yet still close at midnight, it honestly doesn’t make sense to have that out here. I already see service turning into homeless encampments after 10pm, is that really what we want operating every 30-45 min throughout the night?

      That being said, Metro this is off topic but GET IT TOGETHER!! If other systems can do most of their maintenance within a 3-4.5 hour window then so can you considering how small the system still is.

      With that being said, staying somewhat on subject, if Metro wants me to vote for another measure again I need to see 4 things: A rail line between NoHo and 7th/Metro via Glendale and Burbank (and not that crap that’s currently on the table either), Purple Line to Santa Monica, Express Service expansion on all currently operating lines (long overdue), and lastly but probably the top priority, grade separating the hot mess at Washington and Flower, and let this be a lesson not to ever do something like that again.

      This isn’t the 1930s anymore, why Metro thought approaching Washington and flower like it did even in the 1980s and 1990s is beyond me.

  9. What are the first two busiest transit systems in the United States?

  10. Who in their right believes by cutting service patronage will increase? This is just another example of amateurs attempting to run a major bus and rail service. Clear out Gateway of everyone except former RTD employees who remember what a great transit system we once had and attempt to lure back former RTD employees that the MTA lost.

    • Dude I understand that Metro isn’t in the best shape but your nostalgia for RTD employees is not particularly productive especially considering that it ceased to exist over well over 25 years ago. To compare the RTD to the Metro of now isn’t an apples to apples comparison. To be sure, we need more regional connectivity but a lot of that has to do with arbitrary political borders especially between the different munis and LA County/OC