But getting people from valley to valley may not require a new express bus. Public transit advocates are rightly pointing to a host of other bus routes in the area that connect Pasadena with the Red Line through Glendale. A proposed Metro Rapid bus, 794, would connect Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena via another line. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is revamping a Commuter Express route — Commuter Express 549 — which already runs through Burbank and Glendale. The east connection for the line is already at the Gold Line station in Pasadena and the route's western connection is at Burbank Boulevard and Fulton Avenue in Van Nuys, where it meets the Orange Line. The revamp will connect it to the Red Line station in North Hollywood.
City and transportation officials are working from a study done years ago that says an east-west connector would be a viable option for commuters. That was four or five years ago. The planning stages of this project should include an updated study designed to measure demand for such a system, in light of other routes that may better serve that same demand.
Perhaps that study should also look at how riders of rapid transit feel about buses. It seems a stretch to expect that riders would want to jump from rail line to bus, then get on a rail line. Talk about an arduous trip. Switching subways on one system, as people do in many major cities is one thing, but ask those people to take a bus between subway systems and they'd balk.
Why not go all out and invest time, energy and money in the possibility of a continuous rail line. The idea is to make things easy on the traveler, right?