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LAX offers free bus rides and expanded FlyAway service over Thanksgiving

Fliers crowd Los Angeles International Airport during Thanksgiving week in 2015.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles International Airport will expand FlyAway service and offer free rides beginning Sunday on some municipal transit systems during the week of Thanksgiving, which is expected to be the busiest of the year.

Until Dec. 2, the airport will operate temporary FlyAway routes to Santa Monica and Century City. The airport will also run more frequent FlyAway service on its Hollywood, Long Beach, Union Station and Van Nuys routes.

About 3.2 million passengers are expected to travel though LAX during the two-week period around Thanksgiving, officials said.

The Thanksgiving rush will serve as the next major test for LAXit (pronounced “L.A. Exit”), the airport’s new pickup system for Uber, Lyft and taxis. Travelers are now required to board a shuttle or walk to the waiting area east of Terminal 1 to hire a car.

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After a rocky first few weeks, when wait times and complaints surged, officials have ironed out many of the kinks with the new system. They expanded the pickup area to accommodate more travelers, and say they have the space to expand the lot again, if needed, to accommodate the Thanksgiving rush.

How to take free transit from LAX

Free rides will be available to travelers who board a bus or train from the LAX city bus center on 96th Street and the Green Line’s Aviation Station.

Passengers should exit on the arrivals level and board a shuttle at the curbside lanes in the terminal area that are labeled “LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections.”

The LAX C shuttle goes to a bus hub where riders can connect to buses operated by L.A. Metro, Beach Cities Transit, Culver City, Torrance Transit and Big Blue Bus. Lines connect to Union Station, UCLA, Santa Monica, Lynwood, Norwalk, Long Beach and other points east, north and south.

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More on holiday travel

The LAX G shuttle goes to the Green Line’s Aviation station, where travelers can connect to the rail network.

Riders boarding at those locations do not need to scan their TAP fare cards or buy a ticket, Metro officials said, but should instead keep their boarding passes from a flight that day as proof of payment.

LAX will not have a rail connection for the next four years or so. Airport officials earlier this month began heavy construction in the terminal area on a people-mover train that will connect riders between a Metro station and the central terminal area. It is expected to open in 2023.

    FlyAway routes:

    The airport is offering a temporary route, called the LAX Holiday Shuttle, to Santa Monica and Century City.

    The airport’s four permanent routes will also offer more frequent service, including nearly doubling the service to Hollywood and Long Beach, until Dec. 2. Here’s where to pick them up.

    • Santa Monica (temporary): 1925 Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica. Buses will run once per hour in each direction between 5 a.m. and midnight. The shuttle will not run on Thanksgiving. The airport will have employees on hand to answer questions and take payment for tickets. (One-way fare: $10)
    • Century City (temporary): 2030 Century Park West. Buses will run once per hour in each direction between between 5 a.m. and midnight. The shuttle will not run on Thanksgiving. The airport will have employees on hand to answer questions and take payment for tickets. (One-way fare: $10)
    • Van Nuys: 7610 Woodley Avenue. Buses will run four times per hour to Van Nuys from 11 a.m. to midnight, and four times per hour to LAX between 4:30 a.m. and midnight. The route operates 24/7, with less frequent service in off-peak hours. (One-way fare: $9.75)
    • Union Station: Patsaouras Bus Plaza, off Vignes Street. Buses will run three times per hour between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The route operates 24/7, with less frequent service in off-peak hours. (One-way fare: $9.75)
    • Hollywood: 1627 N. Vine Street in Hollywood. Buses will run every half-hour between the airport and Hollywood from noon to 9 p.m. daily, with less frequent service in the early morning and late evening. (One-way fare: $8)
    • Long Beach: Shelter A of the Long Beach Transit Gallery, on 1st Street between Long Beach Boulevard and Pine Avenue. Two buses will run per hour between 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., with hourly service in off-peak hours.

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