Metro NextGen Bus Study: Upcoming Meetings and More Detail Online

Metro bus - via Metro NextGen webpage
Metro bus - via Metro NextGen webpage

L.A. Metro is moving forward with its “NextGen” Bus Study on how to reorganize service. The agency will hold a series of online hearings in August about the proposed changes, which are scheduled for implementation starting in December.

NextGen is a big project with a lot of facets and contingencies. Essentially Metro took a hard look at how its bus system worked and how it could be reorganized to work better. Many cities have done similar bus service reorganizations. Many transit system reworks have been resounding successes; examples include Houston, IndianapolisAustin and Seattle. A few have failed to result in much improvement, for example Baltimore.

For NextGen, Metro did a lot of data crunching, received a lot of public input, and formulated a detailed system-wide plan.

Some aspects of Metro NextGen Bus Study - via Metro fact sheet
Some aspects of Metro NextGen Bus Study – via Metro fact sheet

For a broad NextGen orientation, start with this Metro overview video.

Broadly this reorganization is really good thing, somewhat overdue – though the benefits and the pitfalls are in the details.

One issue is that the NextGen Study is budget-neutral. Metro will improve the bus system, but every place where service hours are added, they will be removed from somewhere else.

NextGen will largely do away with Metro Rapid express buses, in favor of more service on a single line that consolidates Local and Rapid. Only a few Rapids remain on some of the heaviest routes, including Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.

Below is an example of how Rapid and Local consolidation will work for buses on Venice Boulevard. In this example, the ride/trip time is slightly longer on the new consolidated line (NextGen 35 minutes vs 33 minutes now) but this is offset by less time spent waiting, due to buses coming more frequently.

Metro chart showing how NextGen could benefit the Venice Blvd bus, by eliminating Rapid, and speeding up local
Metro chart showing how NextGen could benefit the Venice Blvd bus, by eliminating Rapid, and speeding up local

Metro now has detailed pages describing changes planned for all of its current bus lines. Below are examples for Venice Boulevard. The current 33 Local and 733 Rapid will be combined into a single Line 33. The new 33 will run more than twice as often as the current 33 does.

Planned service for Venice Blvd line xxx
Under NextGen, service for Venice Blvd: Lines 33 and 733 (Rapid) will combine into a single, more frequent Line 33. Image via Metro Explore NextGen page
Venice Blvd xxx
Under NextGen, Venice Blvd Line 733 (Rapid) will go away – in favor of more frequent service on Line 33 – Image via Metro Explore NextGen page

Another way bus service will be improved is by thinning unneeded bus stops. With stops thinned, Metro riders may have to walk a bit further to get to the bus stop, but buses will go a little faster with fewer stops. Metro’s Explore NextGen page now has detailed maps of stops to be removed.

Venice bus stop thinning (see separate page for xxxbound)
NextGen Venice bus stop thinning (see separate page for westbound) – image via Metro Explore NextGen page

Interested folks can view line by line information, use Metro’s NextGen trip planner, give public input, and get lots more study details on the Explore the NextGen Bus Plan page.

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