Some Good News for Bus Riders, Rapid Buses Come to Venice Blvd.

6_29_10_rosendahl.jpgA quick pose before the bus ride. For more pics, visit our Flickr page.

There was a little good news for bus riders in advance of the fare hikes coming on Thursday.

For literally as long as I’ve known him, Councilman Bill Rosendahl has been hectoring Metro for better rapid bus service along Venice Boulevard.  Rosendahl, who lives literally a couple of blocks from the bus stop at Centinela and Venice, argued that if Metro could cut twenty minutes from the bus trip from the Westside to the Downtown, that people would use the service and the bus would be full.  Nearly three years after the first time I saw him hector Metro’s intergovernmental affairs director Art Henry at a City Council meeting, that Metro rapid line is a reality.

On Sunday, Metro Rapid 733 debuted, replacing the less-than-stellar 333 Line that provided a very limited express trip.  The 733 runs from Arizona Boulevard in Santa Monica all the way to Union Station.  While it doesn’t rival the Wilshire rapid bus experience just yet, Rosendahl was celebrating today not just the new bus line but also his vision of the future of transit on Venice Boulevard.

The Councilman explains his vision for rapid buses from the Westside to Downtown:

My big hope is that if we can scientifically point out between 7 and 9 o’clock. that we can fill up a bus with Santa Monica, Venice and Mar Vista then maybe at Fairfax we can get right back on the 10.

You can watch the full interview with the Councilman, before he got on the 733 for the first time, at our You Tube site.

The service will run every ten minutes during rush hour, and every fifteen minutes the rest of operation.  That may not sound like much, but for riders getting on at Centinela, that’s the difference between a fifty minute ride to Union Station and an hour and ten minutes.

For the full schedule and list of stops, download the official schedule here.

  • I rode the 733 from Union Station to Centinela on Sunday, interestingly enough, and it worked beautifully.

    The bus was stuffed to capacity.

    Give the people what they want and they’ll show up.

  • Eric B

    733 was full this morning from Motor to Santa Monica. Then again, the 333 always was too. I remember that this is not a full rapid deployment, so what features were included and which were not?

  • Joseph E

    Councilman Rosendahl was quoted as saying:
    “My big hope is that if we can scientifically point out between 7 and 9 o’clock. that we can fill up a bus with Santa Monica, Venice and Mar Vista then maybe at Fairfax we can get right back on the 10.”

    Yeah, but where will you get off the 10? And is the 10 any faster than surface streets between 7 and 9 am? Google calculates that the freeway trip from Downtown LA to Santa Monica takes 1 hour with bad traffic; slower than the 733’s current route.

    Now, if there were transit/carpool lanes on the 10, it might be a more useful route for transit service.

  • Carter R

    @Eric B

    -Currently there’s no funding to do the Rapid Enhancements (next bus displays, shelters) that the first two lines got on any other Rapid lines.

    @Joseph E

    -Or better still, bus only lanes on Venice! 3 lanes in each direction is a highway in most parts of the country.

  • My curiosity is about the owl service in that corridor (midnight to 4 p.m.). In the past year or two overnight service on Venice consisted of the 33 and 333 overlapping, running once an hour each but offset so stops had 30 minute service. Which meant at a local stop in the wee hours you could have a limited stop bus pass you up. Nowhere else on the system was such a service model in place during owl hours. The closest thing to it is when Foothill replaced its Line 480 owl service with the Silver Streak. 480 runs local service in some segments while the Silver Streak has only 4-5 stops once it leaves downtown L.A. travelling to Montclair. Obviously that was a big change in service but still not as peculiar as Venice owl.

    Most Metro owl service is hourly except Wilshire (20) and Vermont (204) are have hourly and Sana Monica Bl. (4) is 15-20 minutes until 2:30 p.m. before going to 30 minutes. And I note the 33 is still hourly for owl hours and the 733 like all rapids doesn’t operate owl service. So this is a substantial cut in service during early morning–any reports by riders how this has played out?

  • Wilshire and Vermont are half-hourly. That mistake got past me…

  • Nice write up Damien. The 10 is typically slower than Venice eastbound in the morning rush, so I think Venice is just fine. Now what happens when people start ditching the highway commute for the rapid or the Expo line along the Venice corridor, I don’t know – then the 10 might flow more freely.

  • Joe

    It takes an hour to go from Venice/Centinela to Union Station, and maybe an hour and ten to get back in the evening. I used to do that daily, but then I moved and now I can take the subway (still just a little jealous that they did this after I stop taking the 333).

    I can’t imagine this “Rapid” would shave off more than five minutes, although I should hop on to see. There is definitely room for bus only lanes since there is a large median plus a huge distance from the street to the sidewalks, at least from Lincoln to Crenshaw.

  • Greg

    So they got rid of the packed 333 and now have the 733 instead? Unless they added capacity I don’t see much difference: the bus is now more appealing to Mar Vista residents due to speed, and less attractive to Mid-City residents due to increased distance between stops. The bus was always packed during rush hour regardless, and at at night has to sit at stops while waiting for time to catch up to it so its not early. Unless they added capacity I see this change as a benefit for those in Rosendahl’s district and a slight loss for those who now have to walk farther to reach the bus stop, because lots of those mid-city residents take the bus all the way to Santa Monica.

    If this added capacity from the 33/333 line then I see it as a net good, but can’t find any info on this.

    As an earlier poster stated, we need bus only lanes the length of venice blvd. The road capacity is there; make the change.

  • Yuri

    The 733 is a good improvement since it has less stops and is better integrated with other rapid lines like the 754, which now stops at Venice Bl. Bus-only lanes on Venice Bl would be a huge improvement, and should be easier to implement than on Wilshire Bl, since the space once occupied by the interurban is still there.

  • Lovely to see how well maintained that bus shelter and sidewalk are. Could we perhaps get a little bit more gum on the ground there? You can still see the sidewalk. I prefer all gum sidewalks personally.

    I’m happy that no automobile lanes will be affected with this transition to a longer bus on Venice. It’s not like the right of way used to support street cars or anything crazy like that. Venice isn’t used by anybody but car drivers, so why make room for anything else?

    This is my favorite street to use when the 10 is crowded, Washington is backed up, Olympic is flooded, and Pico is too slow. All streets need to be car-only highways. There is never enough space to drive around here! I do all my shopping in Santa Monica, Culver City, or outside of LA County – if the roads are too clogged with drivers then how am I supposed to get out of my city to shop?! My kids will starve. Thank God this bus is just a longer version of the 333 and nothing else is being done to improve bus or bike travel on Venice.

  • Greg

    Yes it has less stops and will be an improvement for some people. However, due to having less stops, the 733/33 will cause some other people to have to walk farther to a bus stop/wait longer for a bus to arrive. I haven’t seen a good analysis of these trade-offs on the metro site. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. The integration with other rapid lines is good.

  • Spokker

    “I haven’t seen a good analysis of these trade-offs on the metro site. ”

    The Rapid Bus system has just undergone an entire analysis of those trade-offs, resulting in the cancellation of some rapid service which has been rolled into local service on certain lines.

  • I’m all for sarcasm, but to make the point in a straight-ahead manner that ubrayj was making in their post sarcastically: there needs to be a light rail line along Venice Blvd. From Downtown to Venice.

    There was a streetcar on this street decades ago, there’s a hugely wide right of way west of Western, with plenty of room for it, and it goes through neighborhoods where people actually live and are highly transit dependent. And it would dump tourists right at Venice Beach, where plenty of tourists end up hanging out and visiting.

    But I know it’s not going to happen; such a route isn’t even on Metro’s Long Range Plan, or the 30/10 initiative, which is even smaller, and that has TWELVE rail projects on it.

    But a Train Nerd can dream.

  • Actually, Scott.

    I was speaking to someone I work with who sits on the Palms Neighborhood Council and he was excited by the idea of a new modern streetcar running from the La Cienega Expo station down to Venice Beach, and suggested getting the neighborhood councils of the area rallied around the idea.

    We could have modern streetcars running in transit only lanes open to buses too.

  • Ken Ruben

    Hi Everyone:

    Here is my post(see further below) I did yesterday.

    Dana is a good friend and we discussed his comments above last night.

    He is right about the now hourly service at night but it’s the same as before the 333 limited service all night.

    I have been riding various aspects of the 33/333/733 since 1992 so I have been through the mill (so to speak) on all of this.

    —“Ken” Ruben–

    Previous post copied to this thread:

    Hi Everyone:

    Following up the various posts above including my own, I have not only the brochures mentioned above, but both the hard copy 733 and 33 timetables.

    I was able to get the new 33 timetables a few days in advance but didn’t get the 733 timetables until Saturday night on my last 333 ride returning from a day of railfan riding on Pacific Railroad Society’s METROLINK RAMBLE.

    I didn’t ride any 733 runs on Sunday, but yesterday, leaving from Culver City about 3:19 p.m. at Venice and Bagley (i.e. Main Street side), I got to the METROLINK ticket machines at Union Station about 4:08 p.m., to purchase a ticket to Fullerton to attend the monthly trainweb.com (train travel meeting) and my train was scheduled to depart at 4:20 p.m. which I did make.

    The ride up Main Street in downtown LA was relatively fast and efficient stopping only at 7th, Temple, and Alameda before heading into Patsouras.

    FYI and I welcome any additional comments.

    —“Ken” Ruben—

    P.S.: Sirinya Tritipeskul with her comments above is correct except IMHO, I think the hard copies especially for the 733 should have been available a few days sooner.

  • I need to know what time the Metro Rapid line bus passes by Dana St and Vermont ave between 4:00 and 6:00 on friday October 22 i appreciate it thank you

  • that would be the #754 sorry

  • Damien, I need to know when my spaghetti will be cooked I appreciate it thank you

  • If you’re using traditional spaghetti noodles, and your water is already boiling, it should take about ten minutes give or take 2 pending the thickness of your spaghetti.

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