For the 13th consecutive year, the beach is just steps away from residents of La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Montrose.
Los Angeles County's popular beach shuttle resumed service on June 19 and will run until Labor Day, departing for the Santa Monica Pier on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9:45 a.m. and returning at 4:55 p.m. to Memorial Park on Foothill Boulevard.
It also makes stops at Two-Strike Park in La Crescenta, at the library at La Crescenta and Foothill boulevards, and at the corner of Ocean View Boulevard and Montrose Avenue.
Tickets are $3, or $1.50 for riders age 60 and up.
This year the service, which has been offered in some form by the county since 1983, added a new feature. For the first time, riders are being asked to make reservations 24 hours before their trip at www.LAGoBus.info.
“[The reservation system is] to better predict the demand out there, because some days we have very low ridership, and some days we have high ridership,” said Anabel Dubois, an engineer with the county Department of Public Works. “This way we can gauge how many buses to send out.”
Dubois added that the reservation system ought to ease riders' concerns about the bus running out of space before it reaches the stop closest to their home.
Beach-goers without a reservation can still take the bus, but have to wait for reservation-holders to board first.
The remaining seats are offered up on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last year saw the highest ridership among La Cañadans since the Crescenta Valley received a route in 2000, with 1,816 rides originating in the city, around 36% of the total riders on the line.
The La Cañada Flintridge City Council voted in May to pay the $13,000 cost the county charges for the service.
On Thursday, local riders weren't worrying about the reservation system as much as saving a couple of bucks during the dog days of summer.
Jonathan Lin, 16, an incoming senior at La Cañada High School, emerged from the bus Thursday evening carrying a slice of pizza and a bag of candy along with his beach towel.
He said that since he doesn't have a driver's license, the bus is the best option for him and his friends.
“Even if our friends drove us, we'd have to pay them for gas money,” he said.