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Bob Hope Airport’s new shuttle bus fleet takes off

An airport shuttle picks up a passenger headed to Lot A from the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. On Monday, airport officials inaugurated the airport’s new fleet of 13 compressed-natural-gas shuttle buses with a ride on one of the vehicles, each of which seats 14 passengers and can accommodate two wheelchairs.

An airport shuttle picks up a passenger headed to Lot A from the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. On Monday, airport officials inaugurated the airport’s new fleet of 13 compressed-natural-gas shuttle buses with a ride on one of the vehicles, each of which seats 14 passengers and can accommodate two wheelchairs.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

This month, as new, cleaner buses shuttle passengers to and from parking lots and the terminal building at Bob Hope Airport, officials from Burbank, the airport and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are also promoting a recently expanded BurbankBus route as a way to get to and from the airport during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday week.

The BurbankBus route between the North Hollywood Metro Station and Bob Hope Airport began in June running throughout the day, from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., rather than only during peak hours. The bus operates every 15 minutes during peak periods, every 20 minutes during midday and every 45 minutes in the late evening hours. The fare is $1.

The service doesn’t normally operate on holidays, but Metro funded service for the Saturday and Sunday followingThanksgiving, one of the busiest travel periods of the year, “to help promote mass transit and reduce traffic congestion and aggravation,” according to a statement.

On Monday, airport officials also inaugurated the airport’s new fleet of 13 compressed-natural-gas shuttle buses with a ride on one of the vehicles, each of which seats 14 passengers and can accommodate two wheelchairs.

Earlier this month, the buses replaced an aging 14-bus fleet almost entirely made up of decade-old, diesel-powered vehicles.

It was a “very smooth transition, said Tom Janowicz, the airport’s interim operations director, during a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority board, which approved a $12-million contract in September with Dallas, Texas-based MV Transporation Inc. for a “turnkey” bus service, rather than taking on the capital expense of purchasing the vehicles.

Under the new shuttle-service agreement, the company will provide, insure, manage, maintain and operate the fleet of 2016 model-year buses at a fixed price of roughly $2.4 million a year through November 2020.

The new fleet has about 100 fewer total seats than the previous one, but the older fleet served the airport when it was handling 6 million passengers a year. It now sees two-thirds of that number of travelers, officials said in September.

The smaller, cleaner buses are “more nimble and much more clean,” said Frank Quintero, Glendale commissioner and president of the airport authority board.

Ray Adams, one of Burbank’s three commissioners, said the vehicles are “tremendous.”

The buses are equipped with GPS tracking and NextBus real-time control-system technology, which provides accurate vehicle arrival and departure times for passengers. The buses also feature on-board surveillance and collision-avoidance systems.

Airport spokeswoman Lucy Burghdorf said the airfield has also opened its remote parking Lot B for the holiday season, with shuttle bus service to and from the lot, which has an express-pay lane for credit card payments all day and will be staffed with a cashier from 4 p.m. until the last flight of the day.

The parking rate for Lot B is the same as Lot C — $3 for the first hour and $5 each additional hour on the first day, $5 for the first hour and $9 each additional hour on subsequent days with a daily maximum of $13.

Travelers will be able to park at the lot until Jan. 1, when it will be closed. Cars that remain will be allowed to exit after that date.

The authority is also continuing to offer an on-demand shuttle service on weekends and holidays throughout the year when the BurbankBus does not run.

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Chad Garland, chad.garland@latimes.com

Twitter: @chadgarland


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