SMC & BIG BLUE BUS LAUNCHING NEW BACK-TO-SCHOOL SERVICE
Santa Monica College and the City of Santa Monica 's Big Blue Bus this fall will launch a new service and revamp the existing SMC Commuter line in an expansion of their joint transportation initiative.
The new and revamped bus routes will reach deeper into Santa Monica and nearby communities and provide service to a new SMC parking shuttle lot.
Starting Aug. 27, the first day of the fall semester, SMC will open a new, 225-space shuttle lot, on Stewart Street and Exposition Avenue just off Olympic Boulevard, to replace the beach parking lot previously used on a temporary basis.
In conjunction with the new Olympic Shuttle Lot opening, Big Blue Bus will launch a new route, called “Sunset Ride,” that will connect the shuttle lot with the SMC main campus and two of its satellites – the Academy of Entertainment and Technology and Bundy Campus. The service – which will also make stops at many points besides SMC campuses – will run every 15 to 20 minutes Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. The service is open to everyone, but SMC students and employees with valid SMC I.D. can ride at no cost.
“This is one of the most important lines we've put together with Big Blue Bus,” said Marvin Martinez , SMC vice president of planning and development. “We think it will be a successful line for students, faculty and the community.”
In addition, Big Blue Bus is revamping Line 6, the “SMC Commuter,” which was started in February and currently runs three times in the morning and twice in the afternoon, making its way from the Westside Pavilion to Bundy and the main campus. The bus travels through Palms and Mar Vista, where a high number of students and employees live.
After testing the route in the spring semester and summer session, the college and Big Blue Bus agreed that it should be changed to better suit the needs of SMC commuters. Martinez said starting this fall the bus will run more frequently – from early morning to evening – and its schedule coordinated more closely with peak times of classes.
In addition, the route is being changed entirely to get closer to clusters of apartment houses where students tend to live. The new route will start at Venice and Culver boulevards and wind its way through new portions of Palms and Mar Vista with stops at Bundy and the main campus. The SMC Commuter will continue to be available at no cost to SMC students and employees with valid SMC I.D.
Martinez said the college will continue to operate its own shuttle service, connecting the main campus to the new shuttle lot, Bundy, Airport Campus, Academy of Entertainment and Technology, and Madison, which will reopen this fall after being closed for two years for a remodel to house the Music Department.
Meanwhile, Big Blue Bus will continue to operate Line 11, the “Crosstown Ride,” a north-south Santa Monica route that operates on weekdays only, stopping at the main campus every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and every half-hour in the evenings. Ridership on the Crosstown Ride jumped significantly when the Big Blue Bus in February increased the frequency of service from 30-minute to 15-minute intervals.
With 200 SMC student and employee boarding buses daily on school days, overall ridership went up approximately 50 percent from the second to the third month of increased Crosstown Ride service, said Paul Casey, Big Blue Bus senior transit programs analyst. This service is available at no cost to SMC students and employees with valid SMC I.D.
“By working with Big Blue Bus, we can go anywhere,” Martinez said. “We're combining our resources to make one large transportation system.”
Said Casey, “What we found with UCLA is that more people decided to move to an apartment on a Big Blue Bus route when a transportation plan was initiated.”
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