A woman boards a Big Blue Bus on Broadway on Thursday. (photo by Daniel Archuleta)

CITYWIDE — While people jumped aboard Metrolink at record levels, and even Metro Rail experienced a boost, the Big Blue Bus saw no significant increase in ridership over “Carmageddon” weekend, transit officials said.

Actually, ridership was down by more than 1,000 boardings compared to the weekend before Interstate 405 was shut down so that crews could demolish a portion of the Mulholland Drive bridge.

Fairbox figures from July 15 to July 17 show there were 92,541 boardings, compared to 93,709 from July 8 to July 10. From July 16 to July 18, 2010, ridership was 97,535, said Linda Gamberg with BBB.

“It’s probably attributed to good media attention and everyone deciding to just stay home,” Gamberg said. “More people decided to take bike rides or take walks and enjoy the weather. Most folks here on the weekends use the bus to do errands and make shorter trips while in Metro people are traveling much longer distances.”

Gamberg was pleased the ridership numbers held pretty steady and that BBB did not spend scarce resources on providing extra service that wasn’t needed.

Over at Metrolink, the system saw about a 50 percent jump in ridership over the weekend compared with the same weekend last year, a Metrolink official said.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Red and Green line trains and the Orange Line busway, which were offering free service, saw about a 15 percent to 20 percent jump in passengers, according to Metro.

A Metrolink line from downtown Los Angeles to Oceanside saw 50 percent more riders on Saturday and 25 percent more on Sunday, compared with one week earlier.

Officials attributed the increase to the “secondary message” of the massive media campaign leading up to the closure of the San Diego Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.

A route to and from Ventura County, one Metrolink does not usually offer on weekends, had about 250 riders on Saturday and 185 on Sunday.

Officials noted one surprise in the ridership numbers on the Ventura and Orange counties routes.

The rest of the county’s transit service, including free buses operating along major arteries heading into the Westside and West San Fernando Valley neighborhoods, were either normal or slightly below normal ridership.

Metrolink trains operating between downtown Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley, which stop in Glendale and Burbank, saw a 15 percent jump on Saturday and a 32 percent boost on Sunday, compared with the previous weekend.

Some of the record weekend ridership might be attributable to a new $10 weekend pass Metrolink began offering the first weekend in July.


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