Schedule confusion
Bus schedules must be designed for the convenience of the riders to keep ridership up and decrease car traffic. But in August Big Blue Bus introduced Line 3M and re-routed Line 5. Line 5 used to connect directly with all downtown lines; now it connects only via Line 3M, which mostly runs every half hour. If Line 5 isn’t to become an orphan, coordination of schedules is vital. Currently the weekday Line 3M first arrives an hour later than Line 5 begins; no connection. Other Line 3M to Line 5 weekday wait times vary from 1 minute to just over a half hour, the majority being 9-16 minutes. In the other direction, wait times between the arrival of Line 5 and departure of Line 3M range from just missing by 3-4 minutes, to a perfect connection (0-1 minute), up to 45 minutes in the evening. I consider anything over 15 minutes excessive as that already adds nearly 50 percent to the travel time to Century City. Perfect connections (at least 10) probably means waiting a half hour for the next bus. The previous Line 5 route was nearly door-to-door service for me. But as much as I dislike driving to Century City, taking the Blue Bus is too inconvenient now, and I’ll drive.
As for transferring northbound between Lines 3 and 3M, transfer points aren’t even indicated on the new bus schedules, at least online. In several cases whether there is a ‘hit’ or ‘miss’ between Line 3 and 3M at a transfer point such as 4th/Santa Monica is questionable and may result in a half hour wait; other transfers entail waits of less than 15 minutes to 20-45 minutes. One Line 3 bus as before, instead of 3 & 3M, would be much more convenient to riders; with a proof of payment system, one or both segments would be purchased when boarding; drivers can be changed downtown.
As for the new bus benches, obese people will occupy both seats, though rather uncomfortably, leaving no room for anyone else. And the new seats are already dirty, making them unattractive at best and a health hazard at worst. Micro-umbrellas need to be exchanged for a size that not only provides sun protection for most of the day and months as well as provide some shelter in the rain, especially for bus routes that only run every half hour. Any changes and expenditures should make the system more user-friendly, but the opposite seems to be happening.
Jim Gerstley
Santa Monica

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