Responding to increased demand, the city of La Cañada Flintridge has placed a second shuttle in service along Foothill Boulevard during its most heavily trafficked periods.
La Cañada contracts with Glendale to provide its public bus line, and has been exploring options to expand service, said Carl Alameda, a senior management analyst for the city.
Ridership on Glendale Beeline Route 3 is increasing by 5% annually, Alameda said. Use of the city’s Dial-A-Ride service has increased 15% annually.
The new bus will operate solely on Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada during peak transportation hours. During off-peak hours, it will run the entire length of Route 3, which goes west into La Crescenta and south to Glendale Community College.
The compressed natural gas shuttle, which cost $403,000, was paid for with city revenue generated by Proposition A, a half-cent county sales tax. It is 35-feet long and has 35 seats, and can accommodate up 80 people standing.
“These buses typically have a life expectancy of about 15 years, but our older bus has gone far above and beyond that,” Alameda said.
The original shuttle bus is scheduled to be retired in the next 18 months, he added.
Dan Allard, who lives in La Crescenta and works at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, recently gave up his car. He rides the Glendale Beeline and the LCF Shuttle on a daily basis. The choice of seat upholstery in the new shuttle was questionable, Allard joked, but otherwise it has been a welcome addition.
“It’s been great,” Allard said. “I get on the bus I read, I listen to music, I do work.”
JPL has limited parking so the LCF Shuttle is a wonderful luxury for employees looking for a ride up Foothill Boulevard, employee David Oberhettinger said. He rides the LCF Shuttle at least once a week to go to lunch.
But Oberhettinger doesn’t bother with printed schedules. Like many of his fellow shuttle riders, he uses the Next Bus smart phone application, which uses GPS technology to track, down to the minute, when the next bus will be at the closest stop.
“I am sitting there at lunch, and I say, ‘Well, do I have to rush my meal? OK, I have 10 minutes left.’ It gets to about five minutes. I ask for the check, I walk out to the bus stop and the bus is there,” Oberhettinger said.
The city is currently in discussion with representatives from the Pasadena Area Rapid Transit System (ARTS) to create a La Cañada connection to the Metro Gold Line, Alameda said.
“What we are looking at doing is, through the service that Pasadena has in place with their fixed route transit, is getting a connection point that would be near Descanso Gardens,” Alameda said. “There would be a bus that would take people into Pasadena.”
The move would create a public transportation option for La Cañada residents who have to commute downtown, he said.