Local traffic congestion and high gas prices helped boost Burbank
mass transit ridership by 9% between July and September, officials
Figures made available by the city’s Transportation Services
Department show that 50,888 people used Burbank Local Transit
shuttles compared to 46,798 over the same three- month period last
Burbank Local Transit includes three shuttle lines that serve the
Media District, the airport and the downtown area.
In September, 24% more people rode downtown-area buses, and 22%
more took the airport buses than in 2002. The Media District service
rose 18% last month.
“Things started picking up with the spikes in gas prices more than
12 months ago,” said Andrew Carrasco, transportation services
supervisor for Burbank Local Transit. “That was because of the higher
gasoline prices. But there is also a lot of [traffic] congestion,
including in Burbank. A lot of the new development, including the
Empire Center and the AMC Theaters, is increasing traffic. And that
is impacting travel service around Burbank.”
Ridership, meanwhile, continues to grow, due in part to a strike
by Metropolitan Trans- portation Authority mechanics. The strike,
which started Oct. 14 and has shut down MTA bus service throughout
L.A. County, has prompted a 10% increase in ridership in the local
airport and downtown routes and about a 5% increase in the Media
Center line, Carrasco said.
Many riders are people who work locally but ride into the city via
Metrolink, officials said.
“The traffic itself has become a catalyst to get people out of
their vehicles and into a bus,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco said that officials from the city-owned transit service
are looking at ways to meet the increasing demand in ridership. Early
next month, Burbank Local Transit will launch a pilot program for a
fixed-route service that stops at the major senior residential hubs
in the city.
Officials hope the new service reduces demand on Dial-A-Ride,
another service that provides transportation for seniors.
Dial-A-Ride has also seen its ridership go up. In seven years, the
number of users has risen from 62,000 to 84,000 last year.
Carrasco does not see a letup in the amount of congestion, and an
aging baby boomer population foreshadows increasing demand for local
New options, he said, could include linking transportation with
neighboring cities such as Glendale and Pasadena.