Non-stop bus service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and downtown Los Angeles will begin Wednesday, March 15th.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) — the city agency that operates city airports — plans a FlyAway bus service to carry passengers between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and (LAX) terminals using freeway carpool lanes.

The first buses Wednesday, March 15th, will depart Union Station and the LAX Central Terminal Area at 11 a.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be among the first passengers on the 11 a.m. bus from Union Station, following a news conference and inaugural ceremonies.

From March 15th through March 31st, people beginning their trips by using public transportation to Union Station can connect to the FlyAway and ride roundtrip to and from LAX free.

The new nonstop FlyAway from Union Station will operate from Berth 9 at the Patsaouras/Gateway Transit Plaza, which is located on the east side of Union Station and accessed via Vignes Street.

Buses will run in both directions every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m., and every hour from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The buses will depart Union Station and LAX on the hour and half-hour.

FlyAway buses will drop off passengers at LAX on the Upper Departures Level in front of each terminal.

Passengers departing LAX will be picked up on the Lower Arrivals Level in front of each terminal under green signs marked “FlyAway, Buses and Long-Distance Vans.”

The 20-mile ride will cost $3 one-way for adults, $2 for children between two and 12 years, and free for children under two years old.

Tickets will be available from a kiosk staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Patsaouras/Gateway Transit Plaza.

Parking for up to 30 days is available at Gateway Center Garage (enter on Vignes Street) for $6 a day.

Five hundred covered parking spaces are available for FlyAway customers.

Only cash is accepted for the bus ride. An automated teller machine (ATM) is located inside Union Station.

Cash and checks are accepted for parking.

Unlike public buses, FlyAway buses are designed with luggage bays and feature cushioned seats.

Porter service will be available to riders. The new service complies with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts and parking slots for vehicles displaying disabled placards or license plates are located adjacent to elevators.

The ride from Union Station, which uses high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, usually takes less than 45 minutes during peak traffic periods.

According to current Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) rail schedules, it is estimated that using a combination of Metro Rail and the LAX FlyAway, a traveler could leave the Hollywood business-tourism district or from the Mid-Wilshire area and reach LAX in little over one hour for $4.35 total.

The above-mentioned Metro Rail schedule departs Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue at 8:58 a.m., arrives at Union Station at 9:19 a.m.; or departs Wilshire and Western Boulevards at 9:02 a.m. and arrives at Union Station at 9:14 a.m.

The rider then would depart Union Station on the FlyAway at 9:30 a.m. and arrive in front of LAX Terminal 1 at 10:05 a.m.

The total fare of $4.35 is equal to $1.35 for the Metro Rail Red Line plus $3 for LAX FlyAway.

In collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, Los Angeles Airport Police will ride the FlyAway buses on a random basis and patrol station stops on foot.

Bomb detection canine teams will conduct periodic sweeps of the buses, station stops and luggage-staging areas.

This security operation will also include the Van Nuys FlyAway bus service.

The new service is part of LAWA ground transportation initiatives to expand its FlyAway bus system to improve passenger convenience, and to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions by encouraging high-occupancy vehicle ridership, airport officials say.

The new Union Station location is part of a plan that will eventually add seven more locations around Southern California to the FlyAway system by 2015.

LAWA also plans to add FlyAway service to its other commercial passenger facilities at Ontario International and Palmdale Regional Airports as demand warrants.

The new FlyAway service from Union Station is offered through a three-year “Right of Entry” and “Hold Harmless Agreement” with Metro.

As an inter-modal transit center, Union Station provides a link to LAX for a large population of transit ridership that would not otherwise be available if the FlyAway site were located elsewhere.

Union Station provides direct access to the Metro Red and Gold Metro Rail Lines, Metrolink trains operated by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, Amtrak intercity passenger rail, Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s DASH and commuter express buses, and many other local and regional bus systems.

The FlyAway from Union Station builds upon LAWA’s experience operating the FlyAway service from Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley, airport officials say.

The Van Nuys FlyAway has served more than 18 million riders and saved 396 million miles that vehicles would have traveled in the region since it began in 1975, LAWA traffic studies say.

LAWA ground transportation experts estimate 2,000 or more cars are removed from local streets and freeways everyday because of Van Nuys FlyAway operations.

Expansion of the FlyAway bus service also is a requirement of the LAX Master Plan Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program and one of the conditions of the recent settlement of lawsuits filed against the LAX Master Plan.