LOS ANGELES – Good news for frequent flyers.
Getting to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) may have just become easier with the arrival of a new bus line that will shuttle passengers from Hollywood to LAX, and vice versa.
On Wednesday, Sept. 3, LA city officials launched the new, low-cost FlyAway bus service that will ferry passengers to and from LAX for only $8, one way.
The new non-stop bus service, which started operations on the same day that it was announced, operates hourly from 5:15am to 10:15pm daily, including weekends and holidays. Shuttle busses leave 15 minutes after each hour.
“This is exactly what we need in Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
He lauded the bus service for providing more transit options for LA commuters, and for being an inexpensive way to get in and out of the airport. Garcetti also pointed out that the mass transit also helps reduce traffic and congestion in LAX.
“But what I love about this is that it comes to Hollywood, which is the most famous neighborhood in the world. Tourists come from around the world, and they get confused at LAX [with how to get here]. Now they know there’s one bus they can get on [that will] take them straight to a block away from Vine Street, the heart of the community. So, I couldn’t be more excited for economic development, as well as for the residents here,” the mayor said to Asian Journal.
The FlyAway bus stop is located at 6244 Hollywood Boulevard, on the southeast corner of the Hollywood and Argyle St. intersection, a block east from Hollywood and Vine.
According to LA World Airports Media and Public Relations Director Mary Grady, the bus line is expected to be a self-sustaining project, operating solely on the passenger fares and at virtually no cost to the City of Los Angeles.
“We set the rates with the understanding that this first year, based on anticipated actual numbers of people [taking the bus], that it would cover the cost of the shuttle service,” Grady said.
Grady also said that LA World Airports had started a couple of other FlyAway lines within Los Angeles, but some had just not had the success that they were hoping for. In fact, the Expo-La Brea line was shut down on Tuesday, Sept. 2, because it did not have enough riders to be a sustainable endeavor. LA World Airports ended up having to spend funds on the rarely-frequented bus line on La Brea, prompting officials to shut down the operation.
“We determined that people just weren’t using that FlyAway, so we started the Hollywood [line]. And we’ve already had people lined up, ready to take the bus. So, we feel…very good that this FlyAway service is going to do very well and pay for itself,” Grady said.
According to LAX officials, the ridership of the new Hollywood FlyAway line is expected to exceed 125,000 in the first year. On the launch day, officials showcased a 21-passenger Ford E-450 shuttle. They will upgrade to bigger vehicles as the demand and passenger volume increases, Grady said.
The LAX public relations official also echoed Garcetti’s sentiments about the FlyAway’s value in reducing traffic to LAX.
“It also helps reduce congestion in LAX, with fewer personal vehicles coming in. It’s a good thing for everybody,” she said.
And with a few construction projects in full swing at the airport, commuters are surely feeling the ill effects of the pileup in LAX.
In a statement, LA Councilmember, Metro board member, and Transportation Committee chair Mike Bonin called the project a “huge win for our neighborhoods” because it means fewer cars would be driving through the Westside as people head to LAX.
According to District 13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the bus service is “one of those amenities that we wonder why it didn’t come any sooner because of all the tourism in Hollywood.”
O’Farrell represents a district that includes nearby neighborhoods that will greatly benefit from the Hollywood Flyaway: Hollywood, East Hollywood, Koreatown, Rampart Village, and Historic Filipinotown.
In 2013, there were 42 million tourists that flew in to Los Angeles.
“We know that a good plurality of those tourists come to Hollywood. This opens up a lot of opportunities,” O’Farrell said.
O’Farrell pointed out that the FlyAway would help tourists and residents save money and get to the airport with greater ease, especially if they are staying in nearby hotels and neighborhoods. He also clarified that the shuttle line wouldn’t add to the traffic situation on Hollywood Boulevard, as it only occupies one parking zone as its station and that it didn’t require any lane reduction on the boulevard.
“I think the traffic impact will be minimal,” O’Farrell said.
The FlyAway bus service route in Hollywood joins four other routes already in operation at Santa Monica, Union Station, Van Nuys, and Westwood.
(LA Weekend September 6-9, 2014 Sec. A pg.1)