GTrans considers NFL, LAX buses

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Gardena residents could soon be able to take GTrans buses to LAX.

On Jan. 28, City Manager Clint Osorio presented the city bus system’s Short-Range Transit Plan to the City Council. The plan includes a proposed bus extension to LAX, and buses to NFL games at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

“These are innovative things that maybe Gardena hasn’t been known to do before, but this is an opportunity to push forward,” Councilman Mark Henderson said about the transit plan in an interview after the council meeting. “It looks good for the community.”

According to staff reports, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) requires GTrans to develop three-year plans, with the latest one being for FY2020-2022.

According to the Short-Range Transit Plan, GTrans wants to improve service on Line 5, an east-west line which links Willowbrook, north Gardena and Hawthorne by way of El Segundo Boulevard.

The improvements would include weekend service, increased weekday frequency and extending the line to Los Angeles International Airport. 

Line 5 currently ends at Metro’s Aviation/ LAX light rail station, about two miles from the airport’s main terminal loop.

According to staff reports, the Line 5 improvements would be paid for through an Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities state grant for Compton Creekside Village, an affordable housing development in Willowbrook.

Line 5 passes near the future location of the development.

The grant program is aimed at housing and transportation improvements, according to staff reports.

“This is a positive thing that we should talk about and make sure that everybody is aware of,” Henderson said during the Jan. 28 meeting.

According to staff reports, GTrans would be able to get the funds by partnering with Los Angeles County and Integral Housing, Inc., the developer.  GTrans would also purchase two zero-emissions buses and new electronic information signs.

GTrans would continue to operate the bus service after the two-year grant period ends, according to staff reports.

In the transit plan, GTrans also states that it will run buses to Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers home games during the 2020 NFL season. 

The buses will travel from Los Angeles Southwest College and from the Metro Harbor Gateway Transit Center to the stadium.

The plan does not state if the buses will pick up passengers at intermediate stops along the way.

GTrans is partnering with the city of Inglewood and LAZ Parking to provide the service, the SRTP states.

The Rams and Chargers will each play eight regular-season home games in 2020, for a total of 16 days when the buses might run (not counting preseason or playoff games).

The teams will not play each other during the regular season, according to reports.

The plan also states that GTrans is also working with Metro on the NextGen Regional Service Concept.  On its website, Metro describes NextGen as a redesign of its bus network “to better meet the needs of current and future riders.”

According to Metro, the NextGen process is currently in the planning phase, with public workshops starting this month.

The SRTP states that GTrans is “looking at the possibility of assuming Metro service along two corridors” as part of NextGen. Wilmington, Vermont, Western and Rosecrans are mentioned as possible corridors.

According to the transit plan, Line 2 buses will also have signal priority at several intersections on Western and Vermont avenues in the future.

Signal priority systems allow buses to travel faster by holding green lights longer or shortening red lights. Line 2 is a north-south route between PCH and Imperial Highway.

The plan also includes information on GTrans routes, capital projects, the bus and van fleet, budget and finances, various regulations GTrans must follow, safety and security measures, vehicle maintenance, fares and marketing efforts. 

According to the SRTP, GTrans has a $25 million operating budget for FY2020, with money coming from federal transit funds, state funds, passenger fares, Proposition A, Measure R, Measure M and other sources.