VAN NUYS — Riders of a bus route that runs through Burbank’s hillsides and into Glendale have at least six more months before Los Angeles County transit officials make their final recommendation on whether to keep the route off the chopping block.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials recommended keeping Metro Line 183 for at least another six months, a move affirmed Wednesday night in Van Nuys by the San Fernando Valley Metro Governance Council.
“It’s good that we can maintain hillside services,” said David Kriske, Burbank’s principal transportation planner. “But we are definitely supportive of efforts to streamline the routes, especially with the ridership numbers.”
Line 183 travels from Sherman Oaks to downtown Glendale and the Glendale Amtrak/Metrolink station, with stops in North Hollywood and Burbank. Few people board or disembark in the Burbank hillside area, leading transit officials to advocate for a more efficient route, rather than the current winding scenic route.
However, the route’s reprieve may be short-lived. That’s because MTA’s new Transit Access Pass system, or the electronic TAP cards for public transportation, allows officials to more accurately track where riders get on and off the buses.
Officials want to use recent electronic board pass data to more closely examine where people board the Line 183 bus and search for common destinations.
“We think it’s premature to come up with a solution for this new information,” said Conan Cheung, deputy executive officer of operations for the MTA. “We don’t feel comfortable making the changes at this time.”
Longtime public transportation advocate Kymberleigh Richards said she’s seen service changes to Line 183 appear before the council at least four times during her tenure as a transit sector representative.
“We need to find a better solution for those customers,” Richards said.
She suggested keeping the hillside service for Burbank and eliminating the section between the intersection of San Fernando and Alameda and the Glendale station, but agreed to hear additional proposals within six months to a year.
Burbank Councilman Gary Bric said he was relieved to see Line 183 saved.
“I understand that there’s low ridership on the bus, but there needs to be something for those riders that do use it,” he said.
MTA board members are expected to vote on route changes this spring, including the cancellation of the weekend service of Line 794 Rapid — an express bus running from downtown Los Angeles through Glendale and Burbank into Sylmar — in exchange for increased service for the non-express bus on the route. Another proposal would merge Line 96 and Line 155 in Burbank.
The final changes will not go into effect until June 26 at the earliest, officials said.