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Metro Rapid
A NABI 60-BRT bus on Line 761 heading to Westwood
FoundedJune 24, 2000
LocaleLos Angeles County, California
Service typebus service, bus rapid transit
OperatorLos Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
Big Blue Bus
Culver CityBus
Torrance Transit

Metro Rapid is a local express bus service in Los Angeles County, California with bus rapid transit (BRT) characteristics. It operates in mixed traffic environments and has fewer stops than the Metro Local service. The system is mainly operated by Metro. Two routes are operated by Big Blue Bus, one by Culver CityBus and one by Torrance Transit. The Rapid program cuts travel time for passengers, complementing the Metro Local bus network operated by the Metro as well as other bus routes operated by smaller agencies.

Metro Rapid buses are distinguished by their prominent red color. Based on availability of equipment, units in non-Metro Rapid livery may be placed into service on lines that normally use Metro Rapid buses.

To reduce travel times, buses are equipped with special transmitter devices that send a signal to traffic lights, which cause them to favor the bus by holding green lights longer and shortening red lights. Metro Rapid buses also stop less frequently than Metro Local buses, with Rapid stops located only at major intersections and transfer points. The frequency of Metro Rapid buses is increased as well, as more buses on a line translates to less wait time at each station. All Metro Rapid buses are low-floor CNG buses for faster boarding and alighting.

As a result of a recent[when?] federal court consent decree ruling, beginning in June 2006 almost all Rapid routes began operating from at least 5 am to 9 pm, five days a week, with a maximum of 10-minute peak headways and 20-minute midday and evening headways. Some Rapid routes operate on weekends as well.

Overview

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Metro bus stop sign for Local line 4 and Rapid line 704 in Santa Monica.
Metro bus stop sign for Local line 4 and Rapid line 704 in Santa Monica.

The Metro Rapid Program was implemented in June 2000-December 2002 with the goal of improving bus speeds within urbanized Los Angeles County. Lines 720 (Wilshire), 745 (Broadway), 754 (Vermont), and 750 (Ventura) were the pilot routes of the program. Metro claims travel times were reduced by as much as 29%.

Metro Rapid stop
Metro Rapid stop

Metro Rapid buses are distinguished by their red and silver livery. Some Rapid stops are equipped with "NextBus" technology which indicates the wait time before the next bus arrives. NextBus displays were installed mostly at stops on Lines 720 and 750.

Metro Rapid Lines 720, 744, 770, and 780 were the only lines that complemented multiple lines (the 720 ran alongside the 18 and 20; the 744 ran alongside 233 and 240; the 770 ran alongside 68 and 70; and the 780 rans alongside the 180, 181 and 217); Line 720 is the longest route in the Metro Rapid system. It takes roughly 2 hours from start to end during rush hours. Also, line 720 is the most frequent of all Rapids. In the morning rush hour, the Rapid 720 ranges from every 2–10 minutes. As of June 27th, 2021, most lines that complemented multiple lines, except Lines 720 and 754, were discontinued as a result of Metro’s NextGen Bus Plan by merging the Rapid Lines with their Local counterparts to create higher frequency. Line 720 was truncated to Downtown LA at 6th/Central meaning it will no longer complement Line 18 east to Commerce Center.

Metro Rapid NABI 60-BRT articulated bus in downtown Los Angeles
Metro Rapid NABI 60-BRT articulated bus in downtown Los Angeles

A year after Metro introduced SmartBus technology on most of their buses, marquees were modified on most Metro Rapid buses in which the "STOP REQUESTED" portion scrolls across the marquee instead of staying in place and "PLEASE USE REAR EXIT" scrolls slowly. Months later, marquees were switched back to their original format.

The fare is the same as other Metro bus and rail service. Routes are numbered in the 700 series (7xx).

In February 2020, Metro announced their NextGen Bus Plan that proposed an elimination of the majority of the Metro Rapid lines and merge them into their Metro Local counterparts. Most Metro Rapid routes, except for Lines 720 and 754 will be discontinued, while Line 761 will return with a new terminal to Sylmar Metrolink Station.

Criticism

Critics[who?] see the Metro Rapid system as not sufficient to meet Los Angeles' growing transit needs. Limited funds, they say, would be better spent on extending the region's rail network. Rapid buses do not have the capacity or efficiency of light- or heavy-rail technology.

Other critics[who?] claim that Metro Rapid is a triumph of marketing over substance. For many years, Metro and its predecessor, the SCRTD, operated limited-stop routes, which were similar to Metro Rapid service in the middle of their routes (serving only transfer points and major stops), but made local stops at each end. Rapid buses do not change traffic signals outside of the City of Los Angeles because only the city has tied the transponders to the signal network. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is working on rectifying the problem for all the other cities where Rapid buses pass through, but individual signals have to be reprogrammed to give signal priority to Rapid buses. In addition, only Rapid-branded buses have transponders, which causes problems when not enough Rapid buses are available (or conversely, when Rapid-branded buses are used on Local service).

Another complaint concerns the placement of Local and Rapid stops at separate locations at the same intersection.[citation needed] This was done to eliminate the backing up of buses at stops, but has resulted in a dangerous move called the "Rapid Bus Shuffle", in which a rider waiting at a Local stop runs to a Rapid stop, or vice versa, if the other bus arrives first. In response, some Rapid stops are placed adjacent to Local bus stops.

In addition, civil rights organizations like the Bus Riders Union complain about cutbacks in Local service required to implement Rapid service. Generally, between 25 and 50% of Local service is cut and replaced by Rapid service. Thus, riders not living or working near a Rapid stop must walk a longer distance to an intersection with both Local and Rapid stops, or wait longer for a Local bus. The Special Master of the consent decree between Metro and the BRU has ordered that no more than 33% of the resources for Rapids come from Local service.

Metro staff has never considered Metro Rapid a substitute for rail service, but is instead a pragmatic interim measure given current budgetary constraints.[citation needed]

Another major complaint is the lack of Saturday, Sunday, and holiday service on several of its high-volume routes like the 705, 710 and 740 where many patrons commute from inner-city suburbs, Downtown LA, or the South Bay to major cities for their jobs and local shopping.

Routes

Current Metro Rapid Routes

Route Terminals via Days of Operation Notes
720
[1]
Santa Monica
Downtown Santa Monica station
Downtown LA
6th & Central
Wilshire Bl Daily (M-F: 4:30a-1:00a; Sa/Su: 5:00a-1:00a)
  • Service began June 2000, one of the two original routes, replaced Lines 318, 320 and 322, and operates alongside 20
  • Used to run as far as the Montebello/Commerce Metrolink Station until it was shortened to its present terminus in 2004.[1]
  • Line 20 runs service west of Westwood to Santa Monica on late-night and Owl trips everyday when Line 720 is not in operation for the night.
  • Originally ran as far east to Commerce Center and used to operate alongside with Line 18 until it was shortened at 6th & Central in Downtown LA in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of the NextGen Bus Plan.
Westwood, Los Angeles
Wilshire Bl & Westwood Bl
754
[2]
East Hollywood
Vermont Av & Hollywood Bl
Athens
Vermont Av & 120th St
Vermont Av Daily (M-F: 5:00a-9:30p; Sa: 6:00a-9:15p; Su: 6:00a-8:30p)
  • Began December 2002, replaced Line 354 and operates alongside Line 204
761
[3]
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando station

West LA

Expo/Sepulveda station

Van Nuys Bl, Sepulveda Bl Daily (Northbound: 5:30a-9:45p; Southbound: 4:00a-7:45p)
  • Began operating in June 2003 and replaced the Metro Express Line 561.
  • Operates alongside Line 233. Line 233 is extended to the Westside when Line 761 isn't in operation for late-night and owl trips.
  • Returned service in June 2021 due to the NextGen Bus Plan, with some slight modifications. Line 761 northern terminal was rerouted from Pacoima to Sylmar station. The southern termini was extended to Expo/Sepulveda Station.
  • Originally ran from Pacoima to Westwood until it was replaced by Lines 734 (south of Ventura Bl to Westwood) and 744 (East of Ventura/Sepulveda) from December 2014 until its return in 2021.

Rapid routes operated by other agencies

Route Terminals via Days of Operation Notes
Big Blue Bus Rapid 3
[4]
Santa Monica
4th St & Wilshire Bl
Westchester, Los Angeles

Aviation/LAX station

Lincoln Bl Weekday peak hours (6a-9a, 1p-7p)
Big Blue Bus Rapid 7

[4]

Santa Monica
Broadway & 5th St
Koreatown, Los Angeles

Wilshire/Western Station

Pico Bl Weekdays (6a-7:30p)
Big Blue Bus Rapid 12

[4]

Westwood, Los Angeles

UCLA Charles E Young/P2 Hub

Palms, Los Angeles

Overland Av & Venice Bl

Westwood Bl, Overland Av Daily (M-F: 5:30a-11:00p; Sa/Su: 6:30a-11:00p)
  • Operated by Big Blue Bus
Culver CityBus Rapid 6
[5]
Westwood, Los Angeles

UCLA

Westchester, Los Angeles

Aviation/LAX Station

Sepulveda Bl Weekdays (5:50a-9:57a; 2:20p-7:35p)
Torrance Transit Rapid 3
Redondo Beach

South Bay Galleria

Long Beach

Downtown Long Beach Station

Carson St, Avalon Bl, Pacific Coast Hwy Weekdays (6:05a-10:20a; 2:15p-7:40p)

Former routes

Route Terminals via Notes/History
704
Santa Monica

2nd St & Santa Monica Blvd

Downtown LA

Union Station

Santa Monica Blvd
  • Service began June 2007, replaced Line 304 and operated alongside Line 4
  • Discontinued in September 2021, as part of Phase 2.5 of the NextGen Bus Plan
705
[6]
West Hollywood
West Hollywood Library
Vernon
Vernon Av & Santa Fe Av
La Cienega Bl, Vernon Av
  • Service began June 2004 and operated alongside Line 105.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
710
[7]
Koreatown, Los Angeles
Wilshire/Western Station
Redondo Beach

South Bay Galleria

Crenshaw Bl
  • Service began February 2004, replaced Line 310 and operated alongside Line 210.
  • Saturday service was added to Line 710 in June 2006 until it was discontinued in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Used to run as far as Hollywood/Vine Station via Vine Bl until it was shortened to Wilshire/Western Station in June 2007.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
711
[8]
Inglewood

Inglewood Transit Center

Bell Gardens
Florence Av & Garfield Av
Florence Av
  • Began service on June 29, 2003, to replace the Local Limited Line 311.
  • Reverted to Limited Line 311 in December 2010, and Line 311 was once again cancelled in June 2016.
714
[9]
Beverly Hills
Santa Monica Bl & Canon Dr
Grand/LATTC Station Beverly Bl
  • Originally operated daily before the service cut to only on weekday peak hours.
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership.
715
Westchester, Los Angeles

LAX City Bus Center

Downey

Downey Depot Transportation Center

Manchester Bl, Manchester Av, Firestone Bl
  • Began service in June 2008, replaced the Local Limited Line 315 for weekday services.
  • Originally ended at South Gate at Firestone/Atlantic until it was extended to City of Downey in December 2008.
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership.
Inglewood

Inglewood Transit Center

717
Hollywood

Hollywood/Vine station

Culver City

West Los Angeles Transit Center

Hollywood Bl, Fairfax Av
  • Began operating in June 2005, replacing the Local Limited Line 317, which began in December 2004.
  • Merged with Line 780 in June 2006
724
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando Station

North Hollywood, Los Angeles

North Hollywood station

San Fernando Rd, Lankershim Bl
  • Began service in June 2008, and operated alongside Metro Line 224
  • Discontinued in June 2009 due to low ridership [2]
  • Line 724 deviation on San Fernando Rd was replaced by an extension of Line 794.
728
[10]
Century City, Los Angeles
Constellation Bl & Century Park W
Downtown LA
Union Station
Olympic Bl
  • Began December 2007, replaced Line 328 and operates alongside Line 28.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
730
Mid-City, Los Angeles
Pico/Rimpau Transit Center
Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo/Arts District station

Pico Bl
  • Began operating in June 2008, replaced Local Limited Line 330.
  • Originally ran into Union Station until it was relocated to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station in June 2009.
  • Reverted to Line 330 in June 2012, and Line 330 was cancelled once again in December 2020.
733
Santa Monica

2nd St & Santa Monica Blvd

Downtown LA

Union Station

Venice Blvd
  • Began June 2010, replaced Line 333 and operated alongside Line 33
  • Discontinued in September 2021, due to Phase 2.5 of the NextGen Bus Plan
734
[11]
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando station

West LA

Expo/Sepulveda station

Sepulveda Bl
  • Began June 2006, operated alongside Line 234 (which replaced service everyday during late evenings and early mornings and all day on weekends).
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Service between Ventura Bl and Sylmar Station is replaced by a higher frequency Line 234. Service south of Ventura Bl is replaced by Line 761.
740
[12]
Jefferson Park, Los Angeles

Expo/Crenshaw station

Redondo Beach

South Bay Galleria

Crenshaw Bl, Hawthorne Bl
  • Began December 2004, replaced Line 340 and operated alongside Line 40.
  • Originally ran into Union Station via Martin Luther King Bl and Broadway until it was relocated to Expo/Crenshaw Station in June 2012.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
741
[13]
Northridge
Reseda Blvd & Devonshire St
Tarzana
Ventura Bl & Reseda Bl
Reseda Bl
  • Began operating in December 2006.
  • Was one of the shortest Rapid Lines in the system.
  • Replaced by Line 744 in December 2014.
744
[14]
Pacoima
Van Nuys Bl & Glenoaks Bl
Northridge
Reseda Bl & Devonshire St (weekdays only)
Van Nuys Bl, Ventura Bl, Reseda Bl
  • Began December 2014, replaced Lines 741 and 761. It operated alongside Lines 233 and 240
  • This line and Line 788 were the last Rapid Lines ever released as a new number line.
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Service west on Ventura and Sepulveda Bls was replaced by a higher frequency of Line 240. Service on Van Nuys Bls was reverted to Line 761 except the northern terminal was relocated to Sylmar instead of Pacioma.
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles

Sherman Oaks Galleria

745
[15]
Downtown LA
Union Station
South LA

Harbor Freeway station

Broadway
  • Began December 2002, replaced Line 345 and operated alongside Line 45.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
750
[16]
Canoga Park, Los Angeles

Canoga station

Studio City, Los Angeles

Universal City/Studio City station

Ventura Bl
  • Began June 2000, one of the two original routes, operated alongside Line 150
  • Originally operated daily until it was reduced to a weekday-only route in December 2010.
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Replaced by a higher frequency of Line 150 west of Reseda Bl and higher frequency of Line 240 east of Reseda Bl.
751
[17]
Cypress Park, Los Angeles
Av 28 & Idell St
Huntington Park
Palm Pl & Seville Av
Av 26, Daly St, Soto St
  • Began June 2004, replaced Line 350 and operated alongside Line 251.
  • Originally ran far to Long Beach Bl Station on weekdays only until it was shortened to its present terminal in June 2007 to lower the overlap for Line 760.
  • Originally had a Saturday service until it was discontinued in June 2011 due to low ridership.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
753
Downtown LA
5th St & Beaudry Av
Willowbrook

Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station

Central Av
  • Began operating in June 2008, replaced Local Limited Line 350.
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership.
757
[18]
East Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hollywood/Western station

Hawthorne

Crenshaw station

Western Av
  • Began December 2005, replaced Line 357 and operated alongside Line 207
  • Originally operated 7 days a week until its weekend service was discontinued in June 2011 due to lack of time travel savings.[3]
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Replaced by a higher frequency of Line 207.
760
[19]
Downtown LA
5th St & Beaudry Av
Lynwood

Long Beach Boulevard station

Santa Fe Av, Pacific Bl, Long Beach Bl
  • Began June 2007, replaced Line 360 and operated alongside Line 60.
  • Used to run as far south to Artesia Station and operated daily until it was shortened to its present terminal and discontinued its Sunday service in June 2011 due to lack of time travel savings.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
762
[20]
Pasadena
Fair Oaks Av & Colorado Bl
Compton

Artesia station

Fair Oaks Av, Atlantic Bl
  • Began June 2008, replaced Line 361 and operated alongside Line 260.
  • Originally had a Saturday service until it was discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership.
  • Discontinued in December 2020 as part of a restructuring for NextGen Bus Plan.
Lynwood
Imperial Hwy & Atlantic Bl
770
[21]
Downtown LA
Broadway & Venice Bl
El Monte

El Monte Station

Cesar E. Chavez Av, Garvey Av
  • Began December 2007, replaced Lines 368 and 370 and operated alongside Lines 68 and 70
  • Saturday service was added in June 2008 until was it was discontinued in April 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Replaced by a higher frequency of the newly rerouted Line 70 which now follows the path of the former Line 770.
780
[22]
Pasadena

Pasadena City College

Culver City

West Los Angeles Transit Center

Colorado Bl, Hollywood Bl, Fairfax Av
  • Began operating in December 2004
  • Replaced 380 in June 2005 to have a western terminus at Hollywood/Highland Station and combined it with the 717 in June 2006 to extend to its current western terminus at West Los Angeles Transit Center.
  • Weekend service was added between Pasadena and Hollywood in June 2008, until it was discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership.
  • Operated alongside Lines 180, 181 and 217
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Replaced by a higher frequency of the newly rerouted Line 180 from Hollywood/Vine to Pasadena City College, and a higher frequency of Line 217 which is now extended east to Vermont/Sunset Station.
788
[23]
Arleta
Van Nuys Bl & Woodman Av
West LA

Expo/Sepulveda station

Van Nuys Blvd, Interstate 405
  • Began December 2014
  • Closed-door along the San Fernando Valley for northbound service and Westwood for southbound service.
  • Also known as "Valley - Westside Express"
  • Was the only Rapid-Express Line that ever ran on a freeway.
  • This Line and Line 744 were the last Rapid Lines ever released as a new number line.
  • Was suspended in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic until it was discontinued permanently in June 2021 due to the NextGen Bus Plan.
  • Alternatives to this line include the resurrected Line 761 on Van Nuys and Sepulveda Bls from Arleta to West LA.
794
[24]
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando Station

Downtown LA
Hill St & Venice Bl
San Fernando Rd
  • Began June 2008, replaced Line 394 and operated alongside Lines 94 and 224
  • Was extended to Sylmar Station in June 2009 replacing Line 724 segment on San Fernando Rd and weekend service was added.
  • Weekend service was discontinued in June 2012 due to a lack of travel time savings.
  • Discontinued in June 27th, 2021 due to the 2nd phase of NextGen Bus Plan. Replaced by a higher frequency of Line 94 from Burbank to Downtown LA, and a new Line 294 from Burbank to Sylmar.
920
[25]
Santa Monica
Colorado Av & Ocean Av
Koreatown, Los Angeles

Wilshire/Vermont station

Wilshire Bl
  • Began operating in June 2007
  • Former Rapid Express Line
  • Operated during weekday peak hours
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership, although riders have advocated improvements, during the service's short life
Westwood, Los Angeles
Wilshire Bl & Westwood Bl
940
[26]
Downtown LA
Union Station
Torrance

Del Amo Fashion Center

Martin Luther King Jr. Bl, Crenshaw Bl, La Brea Av, Hawthorne Bl
  • Began operating in June 2007
  • Former Rapid Express Line
  • Operated during weekday peak hours in peak directions
  • Discontinued in June 2008 due to low ridership, although riders have advocated improvements [4], during the service's short life

Fleet

NABI Metro 45C #8084 on the 780 en route to Hollywood
NABI Metro 45C #8084 on the 780 en route to Hollywood

The Metro Rapid fleet consists exclusively of low-floor buses manufactured by North American Bus Industries, New Flyer and ENC (El Dorado National)

Other Los Angeles-area Rapids

Foothill Transit's Silver Streak made its debut on March 18, 2007, using the El Monte Busway and the San Bernardino Freeway. This route is not part of the official Metro Rapid program.

References

  1. ^ "Route Map : 720" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  2. ^ "Route Map : 754" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  3. ^ "Route Map : 761" (PDF). mybus.metro.net. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  4. ^ a b c "Big Blue Bus Rapid 3 Schedule" (PDF). June 12, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  5. ^ http://www.culvercity.org/home/showdocument?id=8170
  6. ^ "Route Map : 705" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  7. ^ "Route Map : 710" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  8. ^ "Route Map : 711". www.scribd.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  9. ^ "Route Map : 714". www.scribd.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  10. ^ "Route Map : 728" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  11. ^ "Route Map : 734" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  12. ^ "Route Map : 740" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  13. ^ "Route Map : 741". www.scribd.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  14. ^ "Route Map : 744" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  15. ^ "Route Map : 745" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  16. ^ "Route Map : 750" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  17. ^ "Route Map : 751" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  18. ^ "Route Map : 757" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  19. ^ "Route Map : 760" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  20. ^ "Route Map : 762" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  21. ^ "Route Map : 770" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  22. ^ "Route Map : 780" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  23. ^ "Route Map : 788" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  24. ^ "Route Map : 794" (PDF). Metro.net. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  25. ^ "Route Map : 920". www.scribd.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  26. ^ "Route Map : 940". www.scribd.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.