AV Press: Inter-valley buses a popular draw
LANCASTER – After a month in operation, midday bus trips between the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita, which fill a gap in Metrolink train service, are drawing more than 600 riders a week, or about 15 passengers a bus.
Antelope Valley Transit Authority officials said the new TRANSporter service, a two-year pilot program subsidized through Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s office, is already a success.
“We are very pleased with the initial amount of ridership utilizing the new TRANSporter service,” AVTA Chairman Norm Hickling said in an announcement. “Supervisor Antonovich recognized a need for midday bus service between the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita Valley, but no one expected the service to grow this quickly.”
Based on information collected by AVTA staff, the midday buses appear to be popular with college students as well as with Metrolink passengers.
The new service will be subsidized by Los Angeles County until June 2014, using $1.1 million derived from the half-cent transit sales tax approved by county voters in 2008. County supervisors voted in May to approve the expenditure.
The buses operate on weekdays, making four northbound trips and four southbound trips daily.
Leaving from the Palmdale Metrolink station at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m., the southbound bus arrives at the Newhall Metrolink station about 15 to 30 minutes before the departure of the next southbound train.
The northbound bus leaves Newhall at 9:10 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 5 p.m., about 10 to 20 minutes after the arrival of northbound trains.
“We knew there would be many Metrolink passengers who would appreciate the added service during off-peak traveling hours,” said AVTA Executive Director Julie Austin. “However, we have been surprised to discover that 60% of our passengers are not connected to Metrolink. We believe this is a huge indicator of the demand for this service and anticipate continued growth as more residents learn about it.”
A one-way ticket costs $4, and valid Metrolink tickets are accepted in lieu of a cash fare. Northbound passengers may request a stop in Acton.