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Metro Bus Line 177 Gets Transformed into Better Bus Service for Caltech and JPL Riders in La Canada/Flintridge

Tuesday September 15, 2009

For months, representatives from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and transportation management personnel with both Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the La Canada/Flintridge and Pasadena areas have been working closely to improve service on Metro Local Line 177 (La Canada – Sierra Madre Villa Metro Gold Line Station), which serves the two locations. And the changes implemented in late June of this year seem to be paying off.

Prior to the new service changes that went into operation earlier this year, ridership on Line 177 had been very low and Metro was proposing to cancel the service due to low performance. However, Metro’s San Gabriel Valley Service Sector instead made a commitment to work closely with both JPL and Caltech transit managers to make changes to the line in order to increase ridership and better serve the students and faculty at these two facilities.

Rather than trying to restructure Line 177 on their own, Metro sector staff, including representatives from the agency’s community relations and marketing units, reached out to individuals within both JPL and Caltech that had been attending monthly Metro sector meetings and public hearings concerning the possible cancellation of the line to get their input on improving the service.

Several meetings and discussions took place and the ideas and comments provided at those meetings helped Metro staff restructure the route to better serve the needs of the customers using the line. In addition, Metro conducted passenger surveys and JPL and Caltech reached out to their own transit users to get their input on how the line could be improved.

Based on the input that came out of all those discussions, Metro significantly modified the route to better meet the stated needs of the riders of the line. Changes to Line 177 included taking some service out of the mid-day portion of the line that was not being used and adding those hours back into peak hours of operation in both morning and afternoon drive times.

In addition, the service now operates one-way during the peak hours - from the Metro Gold Line Sierra Madre Villa Station to Caltech and JPL in the morning hours and then from JPL to Caltech to the Metro Gold Line Sierra Madre Villa Station in the afternoon/early evening hours.

In making these changes to the line, Metro is now able to operate the line every 20 minutes between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Service on this line prior to the changes was operating every 30 minutes. Since the service improvement to peak hour operation, JPL conducted a survey asking how their staff felt about the new operating levels and received positive feedback from everyone.

For complete route and scheduled information on Line 177 or any other Metro Bus or Metro Rail service, visit the Metro web site at or call 1-800- C-O-M-M-U-T-E.


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