FlyAway Bus Service to LAX Will Expand to Hollywood, Santa Monica, Torrance

FlyAway Board of Airport Commissioners Presentation Dec. 2, 2013 by dgabbard2

The Monday meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners included a presentation on the status of the expansion of FlyAway to develop eight new FlyAway sites by 2015 as part of a settlement I mentioned previously.

The big news is the expansion will include sites in Hollywood (on Vine south of Hollywood Blvd.), Santa Monica (adjacent to their city center), along the Orange Line at Woodley and in Torrance at its future transit center. Opening of these is anticipated between mid-2014 and mid-2015.

My thanks to Patrick Tomcheck of Los Angeles World Airport staff for making available the presentation.

  • AJ

    Hopefully this expanded service area won’t come at the expense of maintaining/increasing service frequencies with the existing routes. 30 minute frequencies is really the minimum that these routes should run, and 20 minutes would be ideal for more heavily used routes like the Union Station shuttle. If these new routes match the 2 hour frequency of the Expo Flyaway, they’re essentially useless (particularly for arriving passengers).

  • There is a tension between just the sort of frequency you prescribe (which has some merit) and the cost it would entail. I have heard some claim LAWA could just raise fees to subsidize the sort of FlyAway expansion you describe. The reality is more complicated. Brian Sumers’ just posted about the industry’s pushback against possible increases in fees

    If you have an interest in LAX (and other area facilities) and the airline industry Eye on L.A. Aviation is a great link blog

    I e-mailed Mr. Tomcheck the address for this piece so he’ll also see any comments posted. This is a work in progress and LAWA welcomes input.

  • Irwin Chen

    Linking the Expo service with Hollywood service is logical but this will not be a fast freeway bus like the Union Station FlyAway. The entire route of Expo-Hollywood Flyaway will be on local streets so LAWA will be essentially operating an express local bus service. This will be a very expensive bus route to operate and I don’t see it expanding to more than hourly headway to Hollywood.

    The Santa Monica FlyAway is interesting. The Downtown terminal at Civic Center has lots of parking but I think it is misguided to try to duplicate the Van Nuys service (park & ride) in Santa Monica. I think it would be better if LAWA operates this bus with stops in both Downtown and Midtown Santa Monica (Cloverfield/Water Garden area). If you think about who will need an express bus to LAX from the Santa Monica area, it is probably 50% tourist staying at Downtown area hotels, and 50% people working in Mid Town offices.

    Another issue with Santa Monica FlyAway is the routing. It will have the same issue as the Westwood FlyAway in that taking the 405 freeway during rush hour can be slower than taking Sepulveda – but LAWA doesn’t allow the Westwood FlyAway to use Sepulveda entirely probably because there is probably some sort of prohibition against competing with local bus (Culver City Rapid 6). The same will happen to the Santa Monica FlyAway… it will probably have to stick with 405 when taking Lincoln Blvd may be faster. It’s something they need to work out with Big Blue Bus.

  • They very much wanted to do a FlyAway route from Long Beach (a survey found it is one of the leading origin points for LAX flyers) perhaps running one from one of the lots at the airport there but had a glaring lack of cooperation from the airport which saw it as syphoning off customers. They decided likely John Wayne, Bob Hope and Ontario would also be unenthused. They investigated other Long Beach sites with parking near freeways but had no luck. There are all sorts of issues as to access, local cooperation and parking that might make a midtown Santa Monica stop difficult to do. Given the legal settlement they are doing the best they can given the 2015 deadline.

  • Erik Griswold

    Still no Fly Away service to ONT? Boy does LAWA really want that airport to die already!

  • calwatch

    Actually, from the conversation LAWA had with SOCATA, Ontario and San Gabriel Valley leaders are concerned that Flyaway will draw people away from Ontario towards the cheaper and wider variety of flights at LAX. Putting Flyaway there would really make people flee Ontario. That is the same thought for Long Beach, because it would enable people to better fly one way on one airline and fly back on JetBlue.

  • Erik Griswold

    Was this an ONT to LAX FlyAway bus? Of course that is stupid. No, I suggest a Union Station to ONT bus with possible stops at El Monte Bus Station, one of the Gold Line 2A stations and/or Montclair TransCenter.

  • LAWA’s agreement is to mitigate the traffic and air pollution impacts of traffic to and from LAX by expanding FlyAway. If the folks in Ontario get their way and buy the airport they are free to put in place a service like you outline.

  • Irwin Chen

    I’ve said this before about FlyAway and I think it bears repeating: FlyAway is emblematic of how LA does transit – public transport planning by court decree… Never mind what makes sense or where people want to go.

    FlyAway to Santa Monica makes very little sense vs. Long Beach or SGV but at last, this is what we are getting because Santa Monica is willing to play ball with LAWA.

  • “public transport planning by court decree”

    Green Line fits that description. Maybe the consent decree. Legislation, geology, acquired rail rights-of-way and community desire basically shaped the Metrorail system otherwise.

    Complex relations between various levels of governments, jurisdictions, stakeholders etc. often shape the landscape in all sorts of ways. It has ever been thus…

  • stvr

    Unfortunately plain and simple the FlyAway to Hollywood will NOT work. If you have to traverse city streets from Hollywood and Vine, then make a stop at La Brea and Exposition to pick up more folks with luggage, then take more city streets to get to LAX… you may as well have taken the heavy rail Red Line to Union Station and then gotten on that FlyAway which uses CARPOOL LANES.

    Doomed to fail.

  • Wanderer

    The transit route from Hollywood to LAX now is the Red Line to Union Station, then Flyaway. Overall that’s not so fast or easy, given the 30 minute headway on the Flyaway bus, and the considerable time it takes to make the physical transfer and buy a Flyaway ticket at Union Station. An express on-street bus might well beat that.

    I’d be more skeptical about the trip to Santa Monica vs. Big Blue Bus. People haven’t necessarily perceived enough time savings going to Westwood, will they going to Santa Monica?

  • scrubjay

    The easiest way from hollywood and vine is the red line to the blue line to the green line to the airport shuttle.

  • Phantom Commuter

    These routes are losers. You need carpool lanes, parking and good enough service to make it worthwhile. Anaheim/Disneyland, Glendale/Burbank, Long Beach, Ontario, Pasadena and Santa Clarita all make a lot more sense. Also increase the frequency of the Union Station Route to 15 min.

  • Pete Davis

    As someone who’s done that before, it certainly isn’t easy or fast. Red Line to the Union Station flyaway takes me about an hour and costs a whole three dollars more.

  • Bill

    The parking garage at the Pike in downtown Long Beach has lots of room. Perfect place for a FlyAway route to LAX. I worked at LAWA six years ago and suggested this site to their planning staff but they preferred a site at the 405/710 intersection at the time. Of course in Long Beach we don’t even have local bus service to LB Airport!

  • Charles Patrick Hobbs

    Which Flyaway routes have worked well, so far?

    The original (Van Nuys) Flyaway was/is so successful because it offered:

    * abundant and secured parking (at a reasonable daily price)
    * frequent service (15-30 minutes throughout the day (after hours, can drop to hourly service)
    * a reasonable fare ($6-7 each way)
    * a comfortable ride (nice buses)

    Now lets look at the other routes…

    Union Station. Parking? Check. Frequent Service? Check. Reasonable
    Fare? Check. Nice Buses? Check. 4 out of 4! (Plus the bonus of
    Metro Rail/Metrolink access from across the Southland).

    Westwood: Parking? Uh-oh, weekends only (UCLA lot needed for students during the week). Frequent? Check. Reasonable Fare? Check. Nice Buses? Hmm, they switched from coaches to cutaways, then currently they’re using the transit buses that the Irvine route used….Let’s make this one 2.5
    out of 4 (giving a quarter point each for the buses and the parking

    (Former) Irvine route: Parking? Check. Frequent: Nope, only ran six round trips per day. Reasonable Fare: $25 – a far cry from the $6-7 the other routes
    offered. Nice Buses: Not really, they were the same type of transits
    that MTA uses. (I’ve never looked inside, so don’t know about seating,
    luggage racks, etc.) Maybe a 1 for parking and a quarter point for the
    buses: 1.25 out of 4

    La Brea route: Parking? Nope. Frequent: Nope. (every two hours–ya gotta
    be kidding me) Reasonable Fare: Yes, $6 ($7 in Jan) Nice Buses: Haven’t
    seen ’em yet; my guess is they will be similar to those used on the
    Westwood line. 1.25 out of 4, just like the Irvine route.

    Now, the Hollywood route could be decent if it served the hotels near Hollywood/Highland, perhaps allowed parking in the lot there, and ran every 15-30 minutes all day. (Traffic light pre-emption, like the Rapid Buses, would compensate somewhat for it not being on a freeway). But every 2 hours? Forgetaboutit….

  • davistrain

    Historical note: Up into the 1960s, Santa Fe had an off-line ticket office on Vine St. south of Hollywood Blvd. Regarding Flyaway, I tried it last July after arriving from Chicago around 4:30 pm. I was quite happy to leave navigating LA afternoon rush traffic to the coach driver. The only delay was taking the Gold Line to East Pasadena–I had to let two trains go by before I found one with enough floor space for my baggage and myself.

  • BC

    And that sucks


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