Next New FlyAway Route to LAX Will Serve Expo La Brea station

In 2004 Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) [the L.A. city department that operates LAX, Van Nuys and Ontario airports] as part of what is known as the LAX Master Plan Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program reached with opponents of LAX expansion agreed that by 2015 the FlyAway system will be expanded to nine routes. This is proving a challenging (and expensive) goal to work toward. Recently the Irvine route was discontinued due to low ridership (albeit a nonstop shuttle service is promised as an eventual replacement).

Photo: Forbes

The Irvine FlyAway cancellation was partly facilitated by the bankruptcy of Coach America, which was operating it. Coach also had the contract for the Westwood FlyAway which has like Irvine had disappointing ridership. The impending shutdown of Coach America provided LAWA an opportunity to put the Westwood service back out to bid in hopes a new operator might be able to bring down the cost of operating the service.

At the Sept. 17th meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners a new three year agreement was awarded to Corinthian International Parking Services (agenda item #16) to operate the Westwood Flyaway and Exposition Light Rail line La Brea station Flyaway.

Expo what? After considering various options for Flyaway expansion routes LAWA has settled on having the next new one be an express bus service between Expo’s La Brea station and LAX.

The staff report notes “The La Brea Fly Away is expected to be located adjacent to the Metro Expo/La Brea Station in Los Angeles. Negotiations with Metro for use of the La Brea stop are underway. Subject to Board approval, La Brea Fly Away would commence as soon as practical after the commencement of the Agreement.”

By awarding to Corinthian the contract to operate the new Expo Flyaway in advance LAWA avoids the delay of undertaking a lengthy contract award process. But I have confirmed with LAWA staff that at this time it cannot be predicted how long it will take for an agreement between Metro and LAWA to be reached. And even then as the press release announcing the agreement with Corinthians notes the agreement will have to receive “approval by both boards” (i.e. Metro and LAWA). So it may be a while before service starts.