Dear Mr. Cenzano,
Thank you so much for your Letter to the Editor in the Santa Monica Daily Press, dated August 30, 2016. I sincerely appreciate the time you devoted to express your concerns, regarding recent changes to Big Blue Bus’ service, and the impact they have had on Santa Monica residents.
In August 2015, Big Blue Bus commenced a yearlong, four-phase project, known as the “Evolution of Blue”, to provide residents of Santa Monica and neighboring communities with improved first and last-mile connections to the Expo Line. More specifically, the project consisted of system-wide changes, made in earnest, to provide a mobility landscape that promotes public transport as a viable alternative to single-occupancy vehicle trips.
In June 2016, service was discontinued on Route 4 due to its substandard productivity to provide improved frequency and efficiency on other Big Blue Bus routes. However, alternate service to the VA Hospital lobby is available on Route 17. Those traveling from Santa Monica to the VA Hospital can connect to Route 17 via Rapid 7, or the Expo Line at the Sepulveda Station.
Last month, Route 5 was truncated at Olympic Blvd. and 26th Street, to eliminate redundancy in service to Downtown Santa Monica. Alternate service to Downtown Santa Monica is available via the Expo Line or Route 1 on Santa Monica Blvd. Since making this change, staff has evaluated the ridership trends and other operating metrics for this service, in addition to evaluating the community and customer feedback that we have received to date. When this change was proposed during the public outreach process, there was little, if any feedback. Understanding the community’s and our customer’s tremendous support for this segment of the line, we will strongly consider restoring service with our next service change which will take effect in February, 2017.
While we understand how important connectivity to Downtown Los Angeles is for Westside communities, Big Blue Bus no longer has the necessary ridership on Rapid 10 to support weekend service. Consequently, weekend service on Rapid 10 was discontinued last month. This proposal was also vetted during the public outreach process before the final recommendations were made and adopted by Council. Alternate service to Downtown Los Angeles is available via Route 1 to the Downtown Santa Monica Expo Line Station, Route 41 or 42 to 17th Street/SMC Expo Line Station, and Route 14 to Bundy Expo Line Station.
Your Letter to the Editor has given us an opportunity reevaluate the recent changes to our bus service, and determine how we can best meet the needs of our constituents. Should you have any further questions or concerns regarding our service, please share them us at (310) 451-5444.
Thank you again for your invaluable feedback and your commitment to riding Big Blue Bus.
Edward F. King
Director of Transit Services