An out-of-service bus leaves the Big Blue Bus yard on Monday. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@www.smdp.com)

YOUR COLUMN HERE — I would like to give my input into the Big Blue Bus (“BBB”) route and schedule changes that were implemented on Aug. 24, 2014 to the #5 line:Bus Inputk over to Santa Monica Boulevard in order to connect to the #1, or walk the long blocks to 4th and Broadway from Lincoln Blvd. to connect to most any other line. What about the disabled passengers who need a walker, or the passengers who must use a wheelchair? Must they be forced to get off the #5 at Lincoln and Broadway and somehow find their way to the transfer points in downtown Santa Monica?

The #5 line has now been changed so that going westbound into Santa Monica, the last stop is at 7th and Olympic, at which point you cannot connect to most other lines. You must now get off at Lincoln and Broadway if you want to transfer to the #1, for example, and walk over to Santa Monica Boulevard in order to connect to the #1, or walk the long blocks to 4th and Broadway from Lincoln Blvd. to connect to most any other line. What about the disabled passengers who need a walker, or the passengers who must use a wheelchair? Must they be forced to get off the #5 at Lincoln and Broadway and somehow find their way to the transfer points in downtown Santa Monica?

I don’t know how or where you get off going westbound on the #5 to connect to any other line. I was told by the BBB on their Facebook page that the BBB is trying to cut down on “bus traffic” in downtown Santa Monica. But, the #s 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10 all still travel through “downtown” Santa Monica. The #5 is the only bus that is no longer “allowed” to travel into downtown Santa Monica. How does cutting one bus into downtown Santa Monica help to cut down on the “bus traffic”?

I have been told by other riders of the #5 line, that trying to catch the #5 at 5th and Colorado going eastbound to Century City is extremely difficult, as drivers don’t slow down to look to see if there are passengers waiting to board the bus at that stop, as well as construction trucks are blocking the bus stop on a daily basis. The area is filled with construction, etc., as well as many homeless people who harass folks trying to catch the bus at that stop.

And, because of the Expo line construction, the westbound #5 has been rerouted and now travels on Broadway to 20th Street, and from there over to Colorado, turning on 26th Street and then over to Olympic and then into Century City. Because of the schedule change, the wait times for the #5 now are at most 30 minutes. There are no bus benches along Broadway, even though the construction is scheduled to last until 2016!

And, please don’t get me started on the “new” BBB bus stops. They are a joke! And now, some of the stops that have been in place for some time; the seats are filthy and have not stopped some clever homeless folks from “camping” at the “new” bus stops.

It seems as if the BBB no longer considers the needs of the customers. I have been on the #5, when customers have been “blind sided” by having to get off at Lincoln and Broadway and have to walk into downtown Santa Monica in order to transfer to any one of the other lines that are still “allowed” to travel there. Although many folks (including handicapped folks) are completely inconvenienced by the changes to the #5 route and schedule, they will probably not speak out. Let me be their voices. I myself, have to wait at Lincoln and Broadway in the morning to catch the eastbound #5 for almost 30 minutes because of the schedule of the #1 (which I transfer from), and I have a bad back. I also ride the #5 with a passenger who now has to walk from 2nd and Washington in Santa Monica in order to catch the eastbound #5 at either 5th and Colorado or Lincoln and Broadway.

Our voices need to be heard, and each time I have voiced my concerns to the BBB on their Facebook page, or through e-mail, I am give the same old tired response: “Thank you for your concerns, we will forward your comments to our Operations officer”, and nothing ever gets done.

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