Transit Fridays

In my continuing quest to support public transportation in Los Angeles, I've decided to extend my use of LA Metro beyond the weekends. For the last three weeks, I have taken one day out of my workweek to leave my car at home and let someone else do the driving. While I have regularly used Metro Rail, Bus Rapid Transit, and ridesharing to explore LA on the weekends, I recently started using the new express bus that runs between North Hollywood and Pasadena. Called the 501 express, it was put into service back on March 1st in order to connect three Metro rapid transit lines: The red line subway and orange line busway in North Hollywood, and the Gold Line light rail in Pasadena, serving the cities of North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena via some surface streets and the 134 freeway carpool lane. Since one of the few stops is in Glendale where I currently work, this express line was feasible for me to use. There are sacrifices to make of course: The express bus' North Hollywood Red Line Station terminus is a one-mile, forty minute walk from my apartment, which requires that I leave an hour earlier for work than I usually would when I drive, and the Glendale stop is a twenty minute walk to my office, but those sacrifices are easy to make for once a week, a day I like to call "Transit Fridays." I chose Friday to do this transportation experiment because I don't work late that day, which would definitely require me to drive. So far it's been a very relaxing change of pace in my work commute routine, where I can relax on the way to work, and access my building quicker without having to cross through the parking garage first. On the way home, I can stop by a great burger joint to grab dinner, as the bus drops me back off at the North Hollywood Station and I use Lankershim blvd to walk home from there. The main reason for this transit experiment: Los Angeles Metro is using this express bus to gauge passenger interest in a possible bus rapid transit or rail line between North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena, should the current line be successful. While most of the buses initially picked up no more than five passengers the first few times I used the route, the number of passengers nearly doubled the next week. I can only hope that this line does become popular enough to warrant a mass-transit line (rail or bus rapid transit) that serves these very same communities. If or when that happens, I'll be commuting to work via public transit more than just on Fridays.