After almost two years of planning, the city of Carson will soon launch a new municipal bus system that will mean shorter waits, longer hours of service and more comfortable rides for commuters, city officials say.
The system will also give residents wider access to the city, carrying people from one neighborhood to almost any other.
One of the reasons for the improved access is the system's longer routes, which will provide greater access to residential and industrial neighborhoods not previously served.
The city will contract with Parking Concepts Inc. to run the $1.3 million-a-year system, which includes 10 new buses. Parking Concepts will take over the routes from the current contractor during the first week in September.
The city raised the fare from 40 to 50 cents, with a free intersystem transfer. To transfer to other bus systems, the fee will be 25 cents.
The old system ran along similar routes, but they were shorter and less related to school boundaries, officials say. Rather than using a traditional grid, the bus routes radiate from the center of the city like petals on a flower. All of the routes converge at the South Bay Pavilion at Carson.
The old schedule was also more than two hours shorter each day.
A consultant's research showed that 33% of the city's residents left for work before 7 a.m. The new system will run from 5:20 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. weekdays, and serve almost half of the city's major employers.
On weekends, the system will run from 10:40 a.m. to 5:40 p.m.
Consultant Ned B. Einstein said his study showed demand for bus service spread evenly throughout the city, so buses had to cover a broad area. Einstein also designed the city's original bus system 12 years ago.
Einstein said he drove the city's streets day after day, timing trips from one area to another to figure out the most efficient routes.
One of his concerns was schoolchildren, Einstein said. Since the Los Angeles Unified School District does not offer bus service for most students, Einstein created direct service to all elementary schools, with most buses stopping on the school side of the street.
Buses will have a video camera for safety, better suspension, fire-retardant seat materials and air conditioning.
New Carson Bus Routes
In an effort to provide better bus service for a wider area of the city, the Carson City Council approved new buses and revised routes for the city transportation system. Starting Sept. 1, buses will use the new routes, which serve all of the elementary schools and more than half of the major employers in the city.