During the Roman Empire, all roads led to Rome. And in present day Los Angeles, when one looks at Metro’s transit map, it becomes immediately obvious that (almost all) tracks lead to Downtown Los Angeles.
By Marc Corti
As a result, there are some noticeable gaps in reliable, hourly, seven day a week express public transportation service connecting certain communities within Los Angeles County.
One such service gap is connecting San Gabriel Valley (SGV) residents and businesses to their peers in the San Fernando Valley (SFV). For example, a Pasadena resident wishing to visit the North Hollywood Arts district (and further west) without driving their own personal vehicle, would need to take the Gold Line south to Union Station and then transfer to the Red Line – a commute that will take at least 1 hour and 15 minutes. Significantly, this is also the route a Pasadena (or another SGV) resident would have to take to get to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport. The service gap also means that a Pasadena resident who works in certain job centers in Glendale and Burbank has no other express option but to drive themselves to work. This lack of service is also mirrored by SFV residents who work, shop and dine in Pasadena or visit the SGV for any other reason. This Pasadena-Glendale-Burbank-North Hollywood gap is a significant hindrance towards an effort for a higher level of transportation sustainability and connectivity.*
Fortunately, the powers at be at Metro have recognized the significant service gap connecting the San Gabriel Valley to the San Fernando Valley. So beginning on Tuesday, March 1, the NoHo-Pasadena Express 501 bus will begin service. Initially operating as just a pilot program, the 501 bus will offer express/seven day a week service to destinations in Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and North Hollywood. The bus will operate predominately along the 134 Freeway and take approximately 34 – 50 minutes (depending on traffic conditions) to travel from the North Hollywood Orange/Red Line Station to Del Mar Station. And, the bus will operate from about 5:30am to 9pm daily (see official timetable for accurate/exact bus information) at intervals of every 15 or 30 minutes (depending on time and day of the week).
SGV residents can now take the 501 bus to the NoHo Red/Orange Line station where they can transfer to the Burbank Bus that serves the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport – significantly reducing the time needed to get to the airport via public transportation.
With the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa opening on Saturday, March 5, the new 501 bus will help serve both SFV and SGV residents who commute along the 101, 134 and 210 Freeways by providing them an alternative to driving.
Fare Information is summarized in the table below:
Note: The $2.50 base fare is the standard fare for all of Metro’s express bus services.
> For more detailed and accurate information on the route, stops, fares and timetable, please view Metro’s official Line 501 webpage.
*There is the Commuter Express line 549 operated by LADOT that runs between Pasadena and the SFV. But this service only operates M-F and only during the morning and evening commutes.
Information and images for this article were drawn from The Source.
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