The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) on Friday introduced the first phase of its NextGen Bus Plan and its innovative Metro Micro project. Both are set to officially launch on Sunday, Dec. 13.
NextGen represents the first major overhaul of Metro’s bus network in more than 25 years and is designed to speed up bus trips, provide more frequent trips to the bulk of Metro’s riders and improve reliability and accessibility.
Metro Micro is a new on demand ride-sharing service using vans and small vehicles that will be operated by Metro in select zones. The service is designed to integrate directly into our existing transit system and enhance transit service where it’s challenging to run fixed-route buses.
“Our mission is to create a world-class transportation system for Los Angeles by giving Angelenos a wide array of convenient, reliable and affordable transportation options to get where they need to go,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “With NextGen and Metro Micro, we are rolling out two key projects in our pursuit of a city and region defined by greater mobility and expanded prosperity for every rider, commuter, and resident.”
Go Metro Micro
Metro Micro is an on-demand shared ride service using vans for short trips within designated service zones in Los Angeles County. The technology behind this service will allow riders to plan entire trips – both Metro Micro and their bus or train ride – in real-time using a single mobile app, internet browser or Metro’s call center. Riders will be able to pay for the service by using their TAP card and TAP account or with a debit, credit or prepaid credit card.
Rides will cost an introductory rate of $1 per ride (transfer not included) for the first six months of Metro Micro service in each zone. Metro staff will return to the Board at the end of the six-month introductory period to consider potential fare adjustments.
On Sunday, the service will launch in its first two zones, the South Los Angeles Area and the LAX/Inglewood area. Service hours at launch are:
- Watts/Willowbrook: 5 a.m.-11 p.m., seven days a week
- LAX/Inglewood: 5 a.m.-10 a.m. and 2 p.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Friday
Future service zones to be launched in 2021 are:
- El Monte
- North Hollywood/Burbank
- Northwest San Fernando Valley
- Highland Park/Eagle Rock/Glendale
- Altadena/Pasadena/Sierra Madre
- UCLA/VA Medical Center/Century City
In February, the Metro Board approved awarding a $29-million contract to private ridesharing company RideCo Inc. to partner with Metro to operate Metro Micro. This three-year pilot project is designed to replace short, solo trips by offering a flexible, on-demand service operated by Metro employees in vehicles that hold up to 10 passengers.
Similar to other pilot projects, Metro Micro staff will be continually adjusting this service based on demand and real-time results from data collected during its operation.
In addition to offering a more flexible mobility option, the MicroTransit Pilot Project has been designed with safety in mind. Vehicles will be operated by Metro employees who are extensively screened before they are hired and will receive specialized safety training, including incident prevention and robust COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
“It’s not every day that we can commemorate the launch of not one, but two services that will help people to get around Los Angeles County faster and more efficiently,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin. “The NextGen Bus Plan and Metro Micro are both the result of listening to Metro riders and finding creative ways to get them to essential jobs and tasks. We owe it to our riders to find innovative solutions to make transit more attractive and help alleviate some of the misery of traffic congestion.”
NextGen Phase One begins
As part of the agency’s NextGen Bus Plan to improve bus frequencies and better serve riders, bus trips are being added to many Metro Bus lines to improve the frequency of service and provide more room for riders to practice social distancing whenever possible. Metro requires riders to wear a face covering at all times.
Other bus routes are being modified with route changes to speed up trips and a few lines with low ridership are being discontinued. Riders can use this online tool to check their bus line for any changes. Also, the Transit app for smartphones – Metro’s official app – will show changes.
When the NextGen Bus Plan is fully implemented in December 2021, there will be more frequent, all-day bus service on more routes, shorter wait times for buses and more reliable service. Even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NextGen network and its focus on improving the frequency of service will better serve bus riders.
Metro will be consolidating eight Metro Rapid and Local lines. This is being done to maximize service to all stops on major corridors. The following Metro Rapid lines will be replaced by more frequent service on their partner local lines: Rapid Line 705 (Vernon Ave./ La Cienega Blvd.) will be replaced with Line 105; Rapid Line 710 (Crenshaw Blvd.) will be replaced with Line 210; Rapid Line 728 (Olympic Blvd.) will be replaced with Line 28; Rapid Line 740 (Hawthorne Blvd./ Crenshaw Blvd.) will be replaced with Lines 40 and 210; Rapid Line 745 (Broadway) will be replaced with Line 45; Rapid Line 751 (Soto Street) will be replaced with Line 251; Rapid Line 760 (Long Beach Blvd.) will be replaced with Line 60 and Rapid Line 762 (Atlantic Blvd./ Fair Oaks Ave.) will be replaced with Line 260.
Some bus stops on local bus lines will change to reduce travel time on the bus while maintaining easy access to bus stops. If a stop is being discontinued, a sign will be posted at the stop directing riders to the nearest stop.
“This pandemic has shown how critical it is that LA Metro help people travel to essential jobs and tasks,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Metro Micro will give people in these zones a new, convenient way to get around while still meeting our goals of reducing traffic by using shared rides. And NextGen will give people throughout Los Angeles County a faster, more reliable bus system that will continue to improve and evolve as we recover from the pandemic.”
For more information about Metro Micro, visit https://www.metro.net/micro/.
For more information about the NextGen Bus Plan, visit https://metro.net/nextgen/.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is currently providing lifeline service for essential trips and frontline workers. Metro continues building the most ambitious transportation infrastructure program in the United States and is working to greatly improve mobility through its Vision 2028 Plan.
Metro has proudly pledged to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Health and Safety Commitment Program to help ensure the safe return of transit riders as the U.S. recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.