Beach Bus is en route

Clutching towels, sunblock and boogie boards, two dozen foothill residents lined up Tuesday morning at Memorial Park in La Cañada Flintridge with one destination in mind — the beach.

Now in its 20th year, the summer Beach Bus provides fun seekers with cheap and convenient transportation to the Santa Monica Pier. Children and adults ride for $3 roundtrip, and the disabled and people 60 and older ride for $1.50.

The bus operates through the first week of September on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Labor Day. Local stops include Memorial Park, Two Strike Park in La Crescenta, the La Crescenta Library and the southeast corner of Montrose Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard.

The service is sponsored by Los Angeles County, and the city of La Cañada Flintridge pays $15,000 annually for its stop with money generated by Proposition A, a half-cent sales tax administered by Metro, said Carl Alameda, a senior management analyst with the city.

"It has been a very popular service, and we had a big boom in the ridership when the gas prices reached their peak in 2007," Alameda said. "We have gotten great feedback from the community; it is something they enjoy."

Children older than 12 can ride unaccompanied by an adult, making the Beach Bus a popular service with teenagers looking to fill long summer days. La Cañada High School junior Joey Multari, 15, said he has been using the Beach Bus regularly since discovering it last summer. His parents have no qualms about him and his friends traveling alone, he said.

"It is cheaper, and my friends all just got their [driver's] licenses so they can't legally drive people over there," Multari said. "It is a much better deal [than driving]."

LCHS student Laura Harvent crowded into the back of the bus Tuesday with four friends from Crescenta Valley High School. Her parents are thankful they don't have to waste gas driving across the city, she said.

"It is not as fun when your parents are there," Harvent added.

But while teenagers make much of the ridership, the Beach Bus also attracts plenty of adults. La Cañada resident Mark Goddard said he has been riding the bus for 15 years. The children can get rowdy, but that is all part of the experience, he said.

"This is a fun bus," Goddard said. "You sit and relax and talk to your friends."

La Crescenta resident Heidi Tuma and North Hollywood resident Nancy Berkey said the Beach Bus gives them an opportunity to get out of the house and into the sand and sun.

"The bus is $3 roundtrip," Berkey said. "It is cheaper than parking. To park it is $6 or $8, and then the gas and the congestion on the freeway, none of that we have to worry about."

For a complete bus schedule, visit

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