Metro Busway
G Line bus stopped at North Hollywood station
LocaleLos Angeles County, California
Transit typeBus rapid transit
Number of lines2
Number of stations29
Began operationOctober 29, 2005; 17 years ago (2005-10-29)
Operator(s)Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
System length60 mi (96.6 km)
Map (including Metro Rail)
Los Angeles Metro System Map.png

Metro Busway (previously known as Metro Liner and Metro Transitway) is a system of bus rapid transit (BRT) routes that operate primarily along exclusive or semi-exclusive roadways known locally as a busway or transitway. There are currently two lines in the system, the G Line in the San Fernando Valley, and the J Line between El Monte, Downtown Los Angeles and Gardena, with some trips continuing to San Pedro. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) operates the system.

The G Line, which runs along an exclusive busway, was the first route in the system to open on October 29, 2005. The J Line opened on December 13, 2009, utilizing the pre-existing Harbor Transitway and El Monte Busway, semi-exclusive roadways that are used by both buses and as high-occupancy toll lanes.

Metro Busway routes are designed to mimic Metro Rail services, in both the vehicles' design and their operation. Buses on both lines use a silver livery (similar to the one used on Metro Rail), passengers can board at any door, and vehicles receive priority at intersections. Like Metro Rail, Metro Busway operates on a proof-of-payment honor system, and passengers who have a fare loaded on a TAP card can board from any door. TAP cards can be purchased at vending machines located at stations.



Metro Busway lines are named as part of the naming scheme used for Metro Rail lines, however, the colored icons for the Metro Busway lines are squares instead of the circles used for Metro Rail lines.

Two Metro Busway lines operate in Los Angeles County:[1]

Line name Opening[1] Length[1] Stations[1] Termini
 G Line 2005 22 mi (35 km) 17 North Hollywood (east)
Chatsworth (north)
 J Line 2009[a] 38 mi (61 km) 12 El Monte Station (east)
Harbor Gateway Transit Center (south)
San Pedro (south)
  1. ^ While the roadways the J Line operates on opened as the El Monte Busway in 1973 and as the Harbor Transitway in 1996, the J Line was not established as a through route until 2009 (when it was referred to as the Silver Line).


The elevated viaduct of the Harbor Transitway that the Metro J Line operates on.
The elevated viaduct of the Harbor Transitway that the Metro J Line operates on.

These services operate on three primary corridors (in addition to city streets, where necessary):


Main article: History of Los Angeles Metro Rail and Busway

Metro J Line bus arriving at LAC+USC Medical Center station on the El Monte Busway
Metro J Line bus arriving at LAC+USC Medical Center station on the El Monte Busway

The first busway in the Los Angeles area was the El Monte Busway which opened in January 1973 and ran parallel to Interstate 10 (San Bernardino Freeway), offering an 18-minute trip between El Monte and Downtown Los Angeles, compared to 35–45 minutes in the general-purpose lanes.[2] The facility was a success with about 32,000 boardings per day on lines that used the busway as of November 2000.[3]

Metro J Line bus stopped at Slauson station on the Harbor Transitway
Metro J Line bus stopped at Slauson station on the Harbor Transitway

The area's second busway, the Harbor Transitway opened in 1996 offering a new connection between Gardena and Downtown Los Angeles. Ridership on the Harbor Transitway was radically lower than expected: Caltrans had projected that 65,200 passengers would travel along the Harbor Transitway each day, but after 10 years, the facility had only attracted 3,000 passengers per weekday.[3]

A third busway to be built in the region came after community revolt against a proposed light rail line. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) acquired the Southern Pacific Burbank Branch right of way intending to utilize the corridor for light rail trains. Neighbors successfully petitioned lawmakers to pass a ban on utilizing transit tax revenue for anything other than an extension of the existing subway into the San Fernando Valley.[4][5] However, the passage of Proposition A in 1998 cut off funding for any subway projects. With both subway and light rail now legally prohibited, but with growing political pressure to utilize the former railbed, the last available option was a dedicated busway. This proposal was also opposed by neighborhood groups; however, since the previous law did not prohibit it, it moved forward.[6] The busway opened as the Orange Line (now G Line) on October 29, 2005. The line was a success, attracting nearly 23,000 boardings per day in the first year it was open, and nearly 30,000 boardings per day by 2013.[7] The line is so popular, that in 2014 users petitioned lawmakers to repeal the ban on light rail,[8] and Metro now plans to convert the busway to light rail by 2050.[9]

After the successful launch of the busway in the San Fernando Valley, Metro decided to rebrand the county's other busways in an attempt to increase awareness.[10] In March 2006, Metro decided that the Harbor Transitway would be colored bronze and the El Monte Busway would be colored silver on Metro's maps and the two would be marketed as a "Combined Transitway Service." No changes were made in the operations of the bus routes operated on either facility. The changes were criticized as being difficult to understand for irregular and new riders.[11]

In 2009, Metro returned to plan it first proposed in 1993[12] and created a new bus rapid transit service called the Silver Line (now J Line) utilizing both the Harbor Transitway and the El Monte Busway. The new higher frequency service would be funded by converting both corridors into high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, to be branded as the Metro ExpressLanes. The bus route began operations on December 13, 2009. Since the J Line's start, Metro has refurbished the aging stations along both the Harbor Transitway and the El Monte Busway, bringing them closer to the amenities provided along the G Line's busway. The plan has led to higher ridership along the corridor, especially along the Harbor Transitway.[7]

On June 30, 2012, the busway used by the G Line buses was extended northward to the Chatsworth Metrolink station, continuing to follow the former Southern Pacific Burbank Branch right-of-way owned by Metro.[13]

Route names referring to colors were changed to letters in 2020, with the Orange Line becoming the G Line and the Silver Line becoming the J Line.

The following table shows the timeline of BRT expansions:

Segment description Date opened Line(s) Endpoints # of new
Metro Orange Line initial segment October 29, 2005 G Line  North HollywoodWarner Center 13 14
Canoga station December 27, 2006 G Line  Canoga 1[a]
Metro Silver Line initial segment December 13, 2009 J Line  El MonteHarbor Gateway 8 [b] 26
37th Street/USC station December 12, 2010 J Line  37th Street/USC 1[c]
Metro Orange Line Chatsworth Extension June 30, 2012 G Line  Canoga – Chatsworth 4 4
Metro Silver Line San Pedro Extension December 13, 2015 J Line  Harbor Gateway – San Pedro (Pacific/21st Street) 2 8
Warner Center Shuttle June 24, 2018 G Line  Warner Center station removed -1[d]
TOTAL 28 44


  1. ^ Canoga was an infill station on the Metro Orange Line, which opened one year later in 2006. The station was built to provide a parking lot near the Warner Center western terminus.
  2. ^ Although the route started in December 2009, the stations used are much older. The El Monte Busway stations opened in 1973 and the Harbor Transitway stations opened in 1996.
  3. ^ When the Metro Silver Line station opened in 2009, buses did not serve the existing 37th Street/USC station (built in 1997) due to detours from the construction of the Metro Expo Line. Service to the station was added one year later in 2010.
  4. ^ The Canoga to Warner Center segment was removed and replaced with a high-frequency shuttle route that serves a larger area of Warner Center.


Metro plans to add additional Metro Busway lines; some projects may have their timelines accelerated under its Twenty-eight by '28 initiative.

Concept Description Construction Operational Status Ref.
North Hollywood–Pasadena Transit Line Create a new east–west Bus Rapid Transit route connecting Metro's Memorial Park station in Pasadena to the North Hollywood station in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley along State Route 134 with possible stops in Eagle Rock, Glendale and Burbank. Metro currently has Measure M and SB-1 state funds to create the line. Project is set to cost under $267 million to construct. The BRT is expected to begin construction by 2022 and open by 2024 with approximately 13 stations. Part of the Twenty-eight by '28 initiative. 2022 2024 Approved, construction in progress[14] [15][16][17]
Vermont Transit Corridor Create a new north–south subway route down Vermont Avenue extending the HRT B Line at the Wilshire/Vermont Station south, to the Metro E Line and C Line. Included as a Tier 2 Strategic Unfunded Plan project in 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan; a Bus rapid transit line has been funded in the near term by Measure M, but studies will be conducted for possible heavy rail transit, as the Vermont corridor is Metro's second busiest public transportation corridor. 2020 2024 Three LPA analysis funded / Pending Draft EIR for BRT [15][18]
G Line  G LRT conversion Converting the current G Line Bus Rapid Transit route into LRT. Made possible after the 2014 repeal of state legislation prohibiting LRT along the G Line right of way, which had been enacted due to neighborhood opposition in the 1990s. Bridges along the busway are designed to LRT standards, but the project would require substantial service disruption as the roadway is replaced by rails and catenary wire installed. Some Valley politicians and pressure groups have endorsed the proposal; critics have suggested funding would be better spent on adding new lines along other corridors in the Valley. Long-term plans include complete conversion in phases with full replacement by 2057. Metro began BRT upgrades in 2018 by adding more grade crossing gates, two new viaducts at Van Nuys Blvd and Sepulveda Blvd, reducing travel time by 20%. 2051 2057 No current funds available for LRT until 2051 [19][9][20]
C Line  Lincoln Blvd BRT/LRT Line Extend the LRT C Line from LAX northwest to Venice and Santa Monica Beach and possibly connect with the E Line's western terminus. The G Line was originally engineered to maintain compatibility with this extension. Included in City of Los Angeles Westside Mobility Plan, and as a Tier 2 Strategic Unfunded Plan project in 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan. 2043 2047 No LPA or EIR conducted [15][21]
North San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Create a new east–west Bus Rapid Transit route connecting Metro's Chatsworth's Metrolink Station to the North Hollywood station in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley along Nordhoff Street or Roscoe Boulevard primarily. Once the BRT Line reaches Laurel Canyon Boulevard or Lankershim Boulevard in Sun Valley district in LA, it would proceed south to North Hollywood with possible stations at Strathern Avenue, Saticoy Street, Sherman Way, Vanowen Street, Victory Boulevard, Oxnard Street, and Burbank Boulevard. Metro currently has Measure M funds for project. Project is set to cost under $267 million to construct. The BRT is expected to begin construction by 2021 and open by 2024. Part of the Twenty-eight by '28 initiative. LRT funds are not currently available. In May 2022, Metro has dropped the BRT approach on the project which would have added a single BRT line, and instead now focuses on improving local bus service via peak hour bus lanes on Roscoe Boulevard and signal priorities on Nordhoff Street due to community concerns. 2022 2025 Various BRT LPA's analysis in progress / Pending Draft EIR for BRT [22][23]

On March 17, 2021, Metro staff came forward with five corridors that the agency could pursue to have Bus Rapid Transit implemented in them.[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Facts At A Glance". Metro. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  2. ^ "40 Years Ago This Week: Groundbreaking For El Monte Busway — California's First Multi-Modal System & The World's First Bus Rapid Transit Station". Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive. January 24, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Shuit, Douglas P. (November 20, 2000). "Harbor Transitway Has Everything but Riders". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Broverman, Neal (February 4, 2014). "State Could be About to Repeal Ban on Light Rail in the Valley". LA Curbed. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Public utilities code section 130250-130265". Archived from the original on 2012-12-12.
  6. ^ "Legal arguments against the busway".
  7. ^ a b "Metro Ridership". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. February 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Broverman, Neal (July 8, 2014). "It's Now Legal to Build Light Rail in the San Fernando Valley". LA Curbed. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  9. ^ a b Olga, Grigoryants (July 17, 2018). "LA's Metro says improvements are in the works for the Orange Line, with light rail in mind". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Emsden, Maya (March 16, 2006). "Approve color designations for Metro lines and fixed guideways" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
  11. ^ Freemark, Yonah (December 10, 2009). "Los Angeles Integrates Service on Two Busways, with Plans to Implement Congestion Pricing". The Transport Politic. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  12. ^ "Dual Hub High Occupancy Vehicle Transitway Report" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Scheduling and Operations Planning Staff. August 1993.
  13. ^ "Item 44 Program Management Project Budget and Schedule Status" (PDF). Metro. January 18, 2012. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  14. ^ "That Rapid Bus Line from North Hollywood to Pasadena is Officially Happening". MSN.
  15. ^ a b c "2009 Long Range Transportation Plan" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). 2010. p. 31. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Sharp, Steven (October 1, 2018). "Planning for North Hollywood - Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit Line Moves Forward". Urbanize LA. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  17. ^ "Community meetings begin this month for NoHo to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit project - The Source". September 25, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  18. ^ "A subway on Vermont? Metro is considering it - Curbed LA". 7 May 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  19. ^ Hymon, Steve (July 9, 2014). "Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 9". The Source. Metro. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  20. ^ "Metro breaks ground on Orange Line Improvements Project - The Source". October 12, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  21. ^ "Measure M project descriptions - The Source". November 8, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  22. ^ "North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit Improvements News". Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  23. ^ North San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor – Project Update Summer 2022, retrieved 2022-05-29
  24. ^ "Metro Staff Recommend Five Corridors". Urbanize. March 17, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.