Agoura and Westlake Leave Driving to RTD

Times Staff Writer

City officials in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village ended their fight with the Southern California Rapid Transit District on Friday by dropping plans to form their own bus line.

The mayors of the two cities said the RTD has promised to maintain hourly bus service that connects their communities with the San Fernando Valley and has rerouted buses to better serve residential neighborhoods in the area.

The RTD’s action has prompted them to ask for withdrawal of a state Assembly bill that would have authorized the two cities to pull out of the RTD and take some $900,000 in transportation taxes with them, said Agoura Hills Mayor Vicky Leary and Westlake Village Mayor Bonnie Klove.

Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley), who introduced the legislation Feb. 13 at the cities’ urging, said she will shelve it on Monday.


‘Made Them Aware’

“I think this legislation made them aware there was a problem,” Wright said of the RTD. “It caused them to look at the impact that this cut would have had on the community.”

RTD officials had proposed terminating hourly Line 161 and commuter Line 423, a twice-a-day route between Westlake Village and Los Angeles, because of low ridership. Transit officials said the cuts might be required because of reduced federal subsidies expected for the RTD next year.

The two cities responded in January with plans to start their own local rapid transit district using locally generated transportation taxes that now go to the RTD.


Praises RTD Officials

At a press conference at the Agoura Hills City Hall Friday, Leary praised RTD officials for going “out of their way” to accommodate the two cities. Klove, however, said the cities might seek to re-activate Wright’s bill if local RTD service is threatened in the future.

Wright, who attended Friday’s press conference, said she had been lobbied by the RTD to drop the bill on her own. But she said she refused to do so until authorized to do so by the cities.

RTD directors on April 10 approved new minimum service standards that guarantee Line 161’s existence. District officials also pledged to seek ways to preserve Line 423.


“We’re pleased that they will drop the bill,” RTD spokesman Rick Jager said Friday. “It maintains the regional system for us. The RTD is concerned when there is a threat to erode the system.”