HomeCity NewsPanel Hits the Red Light on Green Bus

Panel Hits the Red Light on Green Bus

The Burbank City Council decided unanimously Tuesday, Feb. 14, to stop service next month on BurbankBus’ Green Route because of high costs and low ridership. The panel also chose to appropriate additional funds for an agreement with MV Transportation, a city partner that manages transit operations.
The NoHo Media District (Green) Route will be available for use until March 15.
The panel reviewed plans for a new north-south bus route on Buena Vista Street — an update to the Green Route — connecting the Hollywood-Burbank Airport with the Burbank Media District, but councilmembers felt there was not enough data to show that demand existed for a new route.
The Green Route currently has the lowest ridership across the three BurbankBus lines and has the highest costs per rider.
Ridership of all BurbankBus routes has decreased by 62% on average since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and costs have soared from $5.60 per passenger to $16.50 per passenger across all lines. BurbankBus charges passengers only $1 per ride.
The Green Route provides service from the North Hollywood Red Line Station to the Burbank Media District via Hollywood Way, Olive Avenue, Alameda Avenue and Buena Vista Street. Two vehicles operate the route, reaching stops every 30 minutes during peak hours on weekdays. The current annual cost is $371,000 and there are only about 40 riders per day.
The route update would have transformed the Green Route from a loop around the Verdugo Park area to a north-south line on Buena Vista Street between Burbank Airport and Walt Disney Studios in the Media District. Instead, city planners recommended that the City Council eliminate the Green Route given its high costs, reallocating funds to other routes.
Opting to install the proposed alternate Green Route would be “speculative” according to city staff, as the city does not have sufficient data to assume that there is a demand for an updated route on Buena Vista Street.
“We have been trying to create a city with friendly transportation, so we can get people away from their cars and have them take alternative transportation,” said Councilwoman Zizette Mullins. “Buena Vista is a really important street, and we need to eventually have transportation offered.”
Mullins pointed out that there is a lot of development along the new line — some of which will provide very little parking — and an updated route could connect residents with the Empire Center, the Hollywood-Burbank Airport, and provide an alternative option for commuting to their jobs.
Councilmembers agreed that once some of that development is done, specifically along Empire Avenue, staff should study the demand for bus lines in the area around Buena Vista Street.
“It’s important to have smaller connecting bus routes that can supplement Metro’s long distance-routes. BurbankBus is not doing it. The pink line was a step in the right direction,” said Andre Dionysian, president of Civic Duty Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging young people in the democratic process. “My suggestion is we should seriously take a look at dropping MV and not looking for an alternative.”
Instead, Dionysian suggested during the meeting that Burbank create a regional transit authority of San Fernando Valley communities, tasked with developing convenient routes between Burbank and its neighboring cities, instead of relying on MV Transportation as a middleman for providing transportation services.
“It would fill in the gaps where Metro can’t. To be able to get across the city or just in between cities — Burbank, North Hollywood, Glendale — if we can pool our resources, we can do what MV does, cut out the middleman, save money, increase efficiency and electrify,” Dionysian said.
The city has taken steps in this direction. City staff has proposed preliminary plans to Glendale and Pasadena to partner up in developing an electric bus fleet. This plan currently falls short of scrapping transportation partners to establish routes between cities.
“There is widespread belief that BurbankBus isn’t working. It’s just not, despite the very best of efforts,” said Councilman Nick Schultz. During the meeting, Schultz endorsed a greater push to get data on preferred routes for an updated Green Route, scrapping the line in the process, with the intention to look at the option of creating a new route once the city has better data.
Ultimately, the City Council chose to proceed with this course of action. The council does plan to significantly ramp up BurbankBus services in the coming years but intends to review data related to Burbank residents’ demands before establishing new lines.

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]