Officials from Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus and Metro announced Monday that three new Rapid bus lines will begin service on Monday, June 27.
Existing Rapid bus lines have cut bus commute times by approximately 25 percent, according to the officials.
The addition of Santa Monica’s Rapid 3 line and Rapid Blue bus service marks the first time a bus rapid transit (BRT) line has been operated by a municipal bus operator in Los Angeles County.
Rapid 3 will travel from Fourth Street and Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica on Lincoln Boulevard to LAX and the Metro Green Line Aviation Station. Running every 15 minutes Monday through Friday during morning and evening rush hours, it will make just 26 stops on the 20-mile round trip, cutting approximately 10 minutes from the trip each way. It will serve Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Ray, Playa Vista and Westchester.
Currently, Big Blue takes approximately 800 passengers a day to the Metro Green Station.
Rapid Blue buses will be a dark metallic blue with yellow lettering to differentiate them from regular Big Blues. Described as “upscale” by Big Blue officials, the new buses will be equipped with signal priority technology to hold green lights longer, and will run on natural gas fuel.
Newly designed bus stops, in dark metallic blue and yellow to match the buses, will be installed along the route soon.
The Metro-Rapid Blue partnership is spending $736,000 for the installation of the transit signal priority system on Lincoln and $1.3 million for the new bus stops.
At the same time Metro will inaugurate service on Fairfax Metro Rapid Line 717 and Beverly Metro Rapid Line 714.Metro’s CEO Roger Snobble joined Stephanie Negriff, Director of Big Blue Bus Transit Services, and Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tem Herb Katz on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica to make the announcement.