On-demand city shuttle service connects Westside neighborhoods to transit hubs

By Gary Walker

LAnow shuttles provide on-demand bus service that connects transit-poor residential areas to major Metro lines
Photo by Mia Duncans

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has launched a new on-demand shuttle service intended to connect resi-
dents of Mar Vista, Del Rey, Venice and Palms directly to county Metro buses and trains along major local transit corridors including Lincoln, Venice, Washington and Culver boulevards.

The 16-seat LAnow shuttle buses are now in service from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Much like rideshare services Uber and Lyft, riders can summon
a shuttle ride to a specific destination via a free smartphone app downloadable from the App Store or Google Play and connected to credit or debit account. Riders can also schedule rides via (818) 493-6211 or at ladottransit.com/lanow. One-way fares are $1.50, or 75 cents for seniors or the disabled, and children age 5 or younger ride for free.

Daisy Luna was among the very first people to ride one of the bright blue LAnow microbuses.

“This is a dream come true for those who are students, disabled or don’t have a car,” she said during a March 7 press conference at Mar Vista Gardens. “A lot of people who live here are housekeepers, nannies, restaurant and hotel workers, and the schedule gives them a lot of flexibility for their trips.”

Luna recalled how she and other residents of the public housing complex began meeting with then-L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl more than a decade ago to improve public transit access in Del Rey. LAnow brings that vision to fruition in the second term of Rosendahl’s successor and former chief of staff, L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who hosted the press conference.

“We’re launching this here because this is where the seed was planted,” Bonin told a crowd of about 60 people.” My hope is that this will be ridiculously successful and that we soon will be able to expand the coverage area.”

Until this week, the only bus line that ran along Inglewood Boulevard near Mar Vista Gardens was the Culver City Green Bus.

“For us, this is about bringing people closer to opportunities, giving people more options for employment and helping to build stronger neighborhoods,” L.A. Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds said.

“We forget that not everybody on the Westside is of means,” added Bonin. “There are people who are transit-dependent because they can’t afford a car. This now means a grandmother, a 9-year-old or a person in a wheelchair doesn’t have to trek all over the place to go the supermarket or the bus that they need.”

LAnow passengers can take two trips for free between now and March 31.