Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus has announced several service changes for the fall, including reductions to some trips with low ridership and increases to those in high demand.
In response to passenger requests and crowded buses, Big Blue Bus officials say the agency increased service on Route 3 and Rapid 3 (serving Lincoln Boulevard) and Route 7 and Rapid 7 (serving Pico Boulevard). Rapid 3 is offering new midday service to accommodate heavy demand from increases in development near the Playa Vista/Marina del Rey portion of Lincoln and in Santa Monica tourism, Big Blue Bus officials said.
The fall service changes began Aug. 25.
To accommodate the changes, a variety of bus trips with low ridership have been cancelled or will run less frequently. The minor reductions will be spread across multiple existing services to allow for additional service on routes that have faced overcrowding or poor schedule reliability, as the transit agency has no funds available to add new service, officials said.
Agency officials hope the changes will be practically unnoticeable to most passengers.
The service adjustments have occurred on Routes 1, 2, 3, and 5 with the discontinuation of unproductive morning trips and some Rapid 12 afternoon trips. Due to lower ridership on midday Route 8 service, trip frequency will be reduced to every 20 minutes from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Route 6 service will be reduced by two afternoon trips during the school year while operating only during Santa Monica College’s fall and spring semesters.
“At Big Blue Bus, we continually review routes and schedules based on travel patterns, changes in ridership, new markets and on-time performance challenges due to road conditions to determine how we can best support the majority of our customers while optimizing efficiencies. These precision changes will be accomplished by employing the same zero-sum service improvement model BBB has been applying for the last two years,” said Edward F. King, Big Blue Bus director of transit services.
Due to construction at both UCLA and Santa Monica College’s Academy of Entertainment and Technology, some trip adjustments have also been made to lines serving the two campuses. Big Blue Bus will use a new transit hub on UCLA’s north campus at Charles E. Young Drive across from Parking Structure 2 on weeknights and weekends, but will still use Hilgard Terminal on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For SMC riders, Sunset Ride buses will continue to serve the current route between SMC’s Bundy and Main campuses, but the Sunset Ride will no longer provide service north of Pico Boulevard.