The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus and Santa Monica College (SMC) will launch a new service and revamp the existing SMC Commuter line this fall in an expansion of their joint transportation initiative.

The new and revamped bus routes will reach deeper into Santa Monica and nearby communities and provide service to a new SMC 225-space parking lot, officials said.

SMC will open the new shuttle lot at Stewart Street and Exposition Boulevard, just off Olympic Boulevard, the first day of the fall semester, Monday, August 27th. The new lot replaces a beach parking lot previously used on a temporary basis.

SUNSET RIDE — In conjunction with the new Olympic Shuttle Lot opening, Big Blue Bus will launch a new route, called “Sunset Ride,” that will connect the shuttle lot with the SMC main campus and two of its satellites — the Academy of Entertainment and Technology and Bundy Campus.

The service, which will also make stops at points besides SMC campuses, will run every 15 to 20 minutes Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. The service is open to everyone, but SMC students and employees with valid SMC identification can ride free.

“This is one of the most important lines we’ve put together with Big Blue Bus,” said Marvin Martinez, SMC vice president of planning and development. “We think it will be a successful line for students, faculty and the community.”

SMC COMMUTER — In addition, Big Blue Bus is revamping Line 6, the “SMC Commuter,” which started in February and currently runs three times in the morning and twice in the afternoon, making its way from the Westside Pavilion to Bundy and the main campus. The bus travels through the communities of Palms and Mar Vista, where a high number of students and employees live, SMC officials said.

After testing the route in the spring semester and summer session, the college and Big Blue Bus agreed that it should be changed to better suit the needs of SMC commuters, officials said.

Starting this fall the bus will run more frequently, from early morning to evening, and its schedule will be coordinated more closely with peak times of classes, Martinez said.

The route is also being changed entirely to get closer to clusters of apartment buildings where students tend to live. The new route will start at Venice and Culver Boulevards in Culver City and go through portions of Palms and Mar Vista, with stops at the Bundy Campus and the main campus.

The SMC Commuter will continue to be available at no cost to SMC students and employees with valid college ID.

Martinez said the college will continue to operate its own shuttle service, connecting the main campus to the new shuttle lot, the Bundy Campus, the Airport Campus, the Academy of Entertainment and Technology and the Madison Campus, which will reopen this fall after being closed for two years for a remodel to house the Music Department.

CROSSTOWN RIDE — Big Blue Bus will continue to operate Line 11, the “Crosstown Ride,” a north-south Santa Monica route that operates on weekdays only, stopping at the main campus every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and every half-hour in the evening.

Ridership on the Crosstown Ride jumped significantly when the Big Blue Bus increased the frequency of service in February from 30-minute to 15-minute intervals, according to Big Blue Bus officials.

With 200 SMC students and employees boarding buses daily on school days, overall ridership went up approximately 50 percent from the second to the third month of increased Crosstown Ride service, said Paul Casey, Big Blue Bus senior transit programs analyst.

This service is available at no cost to SMC students and employees with valid SMC I.D.

“By working with Big Blue Bus, we can go anywhere,” Martinez said. “We’re combining our resources to make one large transportation system.”