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Big Blue Bus will hold a Public Hearing for Expo Service Planning on April 28, 2015
April 29, 2015

On April 28th, the Santa Monica City Council will review and discuss the final Big Blue Bus recommendations and report for integrating BBB service with Exposition Light Rail. A Public Hearing will be held during the agenda item to receive public comment.  Staff will request that the council adopt  the revised Big Blue Bus operating plan for new and restructured BBB routes and schedules that will include 6 new routes, first-last mile connectivity, a greater north-south orientation of BBB service, and proposed changes for 19 of the 20 BBB routes that serve the 51-sqaure mile BBB service area.  The Expo Integration Plan process included extensive public outreach, a survey of existing conditions, a City Council Study Session, and a resulting recommended plan of action.    

See details, and a link to the City Council Agenda, at

The area served by Big Blue Bus (BBB) is changing in ways that promise to have significant impact on transportation and BBB services over the next several decades.  BBB Director Ed King adds, “This is the most significant change for the BBB service network in our 80 plus year history, a milestone event that will provide seamless integration with light rail, as well as with our regional partners in Los Angeles County.   To date BBB service has served light rail only at the periphery and this is an outstanding opportunity to serve rail in our core. The changes to our system will attract new rail-to-­bus transfers that will increase ridership and reduce overall congestion in Santa Monica and the Westside, therefore creating greater multi-modal opportunities for commuters to access jobs, housing, schools, retail, recreation and more.”

The primary objectives of the plan are:

  • Creating first-and-last mile connectivity
  • Creating more north-south corridor service to serve the stations
  • Reducing redundancy with other transit providers
  • Eliminating inefficient routing; improving speed and reliability; and maximizing resources
  • Acknowledging that current BBB service must continue to serve local passengers, markets, and customers that do not interface with Expo

A study session was held at the December 16, 2014 Council Meeting to review the Expo Integration Plan and obtain Council direction prior to final review and adoption. The plan recommended at the time provided the above enhancements to the BBB system and called for a 9% increase in annual revenue service hours.  The updated proposal includes an increase of approximately 11% in revenue service hours. Based on feedback from the Council and stakeholder comments received after the December 16th presentation, the revised Big Blue Bus Expo Service Integration Plan includes changes to four of the 20 routes:

  • Route 16 was extended to create a connection to Routes 3 and Rapid 3 on Lincoln Boulevard
  • Route 18 has been revised to add night service until 9:30pm, seven nights per week, as well as weekend day service, and both this new night service and the weekend service are recommended at a frequency of every 30 minutes. This route also was rerouted slightly due to LADOT feedback regarding operating challenges on various corridors in Venice.
  • Route 43 was originally recommended a span of service from 6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm, but now includes service from 6am to 9am and 2pm to 7pm.
  • Route 44 was programmed at frequency of every 20 minutes at the December Study Session. As a result of feedback offered by Santa Monica College, the recommended frequency is now every 15 minutes all day from September through June, and every 30 minutes all day for the months of July and August. 

About the Big Blue Bus

The Big Blue Bus operates a fleet of 200 vehicles transporting more than 61,000 passengers daily across a 51-square mile service area. Nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to a cleaner environment, the entire fleet operates on alternative fuels, including liquefied and compressed natural gas (LNG/CNG), which helps to cut emissions by over 80 percent. Serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928, the Big Blue Bus has won numerous awards for its customer service, safety and efficiency.

Key Milestones 




First Expo Online Survey

Jun 2013

Sep 2013

Data Collection, Establish Baseline of Existing Conditions

Oct 2013

Dec 2013

Create an Anticipated Demand Model

Jan 2014

May 2014

First Round of Community Meetings

Feb 2014

Apr 2014

Second Expo Online Survey

Feb 2014

Jun 2014

Create Dedicated Web Page for Project

May 2014

Jul 2014

Route Design & Implementation Plan of BBB Services

Mar 2014

Nov 2014

Publish Draft Expo Integration Proposal

Jun 2014

Jun 2014

Second Round of Community Meetings

Jul 2014

Aug 2014

Third Expo Online Survey

Jul 2014

Oct 2014

City Council Study Session on Plan

Dec 2014

Dec 2014

Final Service Recommendations and Adoption of Plan by City Council

March 2015

March 2015

Public Hearings

April 2015

April 2015

Promote Council Decisions

May 2015

June 2016

Implement Service Changes

Aug 2015

Aug-Sep 2016

Follow Up Study

June 2017

Dec 2017