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Shuttle project gains speed

September 22, 2004

Mark R. Madler

The City Council decided Tuesday night to study using city buses to

shuttle commuters from a nearby Metro stop to the Media District.

The pilot project to use the city-owned Got Wheels buses is part

of an overall plan by city officials to have commuters use more

public transportation.

"This could be very positive," said Councilwoman Stacey Murphy,

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who proposed the idea. "We could keep the existing services going,

and add to them."

The council-appointed Transit Services Task Force and the

nonprofit Burbank Transportation Management Organization favor the

shuttle bus project.

Councilman Jef Vander Borght, who sits on the task force, said the

city would now have to determine what routes to set up for the

service.

"With the help of staff, we have identified this would be

worthwhile," Vander Borght said. "The issue becomes how and when."

J.J. Weston, the transportation management organization's

executive director, said a shuttle will significantly boost the

group's goal of getting people out of their cars and onto trains and

other public transportation.

"Once the service is up and running, it will be easier to market

it and perhaps increase demand," Weston said.

The transportation management organization is a nonprofit made up

of 130 businesses and the city. Its mission is to encourage

carpooling and mass transit.

The Got Wheels Youth Transportation program began in February

1999. Initially operated by a private company, the program was taken

over by the Park, Recreation and Community Service Department in

April 2000. The buses transport students after school and during the

summer break.

The MTA has two bus lines serving Burbank. The closest Metro Red

Line stops to Burbank, however, are in Universal City and North

Hollywood.

According to a staff report to the council, the transit task force

suggested that the North Hollywood station be the connection for the

shuttle buses to allow for stops in Magnolia Park on their way to the

Media District.

The shuttle bus proposal comes at a time when the city is taking a

hard look at how to improve local public transportation. The city

also operates vans for seniors and disabled residents, and vans to

shuttle people from the Metrolink station to their workplace.

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