The Big Blue Bus — the Santa Monica municipal transit company — has added several significant enhancements to its service, including a new “Rapid 7” bus service connecting downtown Santa Monica and the Rimpau Transit Center on Pico Boulevard.

The new Rapid 7 represents one of the fastest and easiest ways for passengers to get to such popular destinations as the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica College and the Westside Pavilion, Big Blue Bus officials said. The Rapid 7 service replaces the former Super 7 service.

“This new enhanced service along one of our most popular routes will be a great benefit to riders who want to quickly access the downtown Santa Monica area and destinations along the Pico Boulevard corridor,” said Dan Dawson, customer relations manager for the Big Blue Bus.

“Our Rapid 3 service down the Lincoln Boulevard corridor has been a huge success with the public and we hope people will really enjoy the faster and improved service this line offers, not to mention the cost savings and environmental benefits people will get from taking transit instead of driving.”

Riders will save approximately 15 percent of ride time over previous Super 7 service.

Rapid 7 uses the newest high-tech buses available, and includes signal priority to move through traffic faster, digital interior signs, quieter engines and low floors for faster boarding.

The service operates more frequently than the Super 7, with buses running at ten-minute intervals at times. Rapid 7 makes the same stops as the Super 7, with the exception of Pico at 20th Street.

The new bus line serves the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College (SMC), the Westside Pavilion and the Rimpau Transit Center.

Rapid 7 service runs Monday through Friday during peak hours.

Fares are 75 cents for regular boarding, 50 cents for Student Punch Card boardings and 25 cents for senior, disabled and Medicare passengers.

The Big Blue Bus has also launched its “Any Line Any Time” program, which allows SMC students and staff to ride any Big Blue Bus line, any time free, thanks to a new underwriting agreement initiated by the college and its Associated Students.

“Student ridership is very important to us,” said Dawson. “SMC students and staff now take over a million trips a year on the Big Blue Bus, and with this new exciting program, we expect that number to rise dramatically, getting even more cars off residential streets and helping to reduce air pollution in the city.”

Information or questions regarding the new Rapid Blue 7 service and other improvements, Big Blue Bus customer service at (310) 451-5444 or www.bigblue bus.com/.

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