Saturday, December 18, 2004

City readies new shuttle program
Vote expected next month on using city buses to take commuters from Red Line station to Media District.
By Mark R. Madler - The Leader

BURBANK — The city anticipates a high number of riders for a new program meant to get commuters out of their vehicles.

A shuttle bus between the North Hollywood Red Line Metro stop and the city's Media District is set to debut early next year, provided the City Council gives final approval.

Greg Hermann, assistant community development director for transportation, said a final proposal will be brought to the council at its Jan. 25 meeting, with implementation to begin in early February.

"We anticipate a lot of people will ride this," Hermann said. "We want to be prepared for the number of people riding."

Councilwoman Stacey Murphy in August raised the idea for a shuttle from a Metro stop. She says she is excited that the shuttle system will start soon, but is disappointed that it couldn't have started sooner, adding that she thinks the program will be a success.

"I really would have liked to see it up and running around the holidays so people could avoid traffic," Murphy said.

The council-appointed Transit Services Task Force and the nonprofit Burbank Transportation Management Organization approved the shuttle bus project.

Shuttle buses will run four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening to take employees to the Metro station, Hermann said.

The transit task force suggested that the North Hollywood station be the connection for the shuttle buses to allow for stops in Magnolia Park on their way to the Media District. The shuttle bus proposal comes at a time when the city is taking a hard look at how to improve local public transportation. The city also operates vans for seniors and disabled residents.

The original proposal was to use the city-owned Got Wheels Youth Transportation buses for the shuttle. But those vehicles were deemed too small and are used the same times the shuttle system will operate, Hermann said.

The city will instead use 30-passenger, natural gas-powered buses that are also used to take commuters from the Metrolink station to the Media District, he added.

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