By J.K. YAMAMOTO, RAFU STAFF WRITER
Proposals to reduce service on the Gardena Municipal Bus Lines have been modified to address public concerns, according to Jack Gabig, the city’s director of transportation.
Under the modified proposal, which will be considered by the Gardena City Council this week, service on Line 1 to downtown Los Angeles, including Little Tokyo, will still be available.
The original proposal for Line 1, unveiled last month, called for the elimination of service from Vermont Avenue and Gardena Boulevard to downtown; elimination of late-night service; and relocating service from Western Avenue and 166th Street to Marine Avenue and Normandie Avenue.
It was suggested that serving the Artesia Transit Center would provide faster service to downtown with connections to Metro and Torrance Transit, and that the cuts would result in more frequent service on Line 1, from every 30-35 minutes to every 20 minutes.
At a public meeting on April 20, reaction to these and other proposals, including the total elimination of Line 4 (Gardena-South Park-Hollypark-El Camino College), was overwhelmingly negative.
The new proposal for Line 1 is as follows:
• Discontinue weekday off-peak and 16 weekend trips to downtown.
• Operate six morning and six evening weekday peak trips and 10 weekend trips to downtown via Marine, Western, Redondo Beach Boulevard, Normandie, Gardena, Vermont, Rosecrans Avenue, and Harbor Freeway.
• Off-peak weekday and 10 weekend trips to operate via Marine, Western, Redondo Beach, Normandie, and 182nd Street to the Artesia Transit Center.
• Increase local peak service to 15 minutes.
• Cancel service after 8 p.m. weekdays and after 7 p.m. weekends.
• Cancel service before 7 a.m. weekends.
No change to the existing route along Main Street to 1st Street and 2nd Street in the downtown area has been proposed.
Some service was restored to Line 4 — two morning and two mid-afternoon trips on weekdays.
The main difference for Line 1 is the 12 peak trips during commute hours on weekdays, Gabig said, explaining, “The predominant riders on the service as a whole are workers and employees.”
The proposed weekday times are 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.
He added, “The weekend recommendations are just based on ridership — fairly level ridership throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, not peak-driven, more spread out through the day. Fewer work trips, more discretionary trips.”
The modified proposal was better received than the original plan at a public meeting on May 11.
“There are still some patrons who are concerned that we’re not running downtown during the off-peak periods,” Gabig noted. “We think there are fewer patrons that have as strong a concern as before. We know that no matter what modifications we recommend, we’re going to be impacting somebody, and somebody’s going to feel strongly about it. We’re attempting to address concerns that patrons are sharing with us and still develop a service plan that will focus on increased efficiency and ridership growth.
“Service downtown has declined in ridership over the years and is not likely to change, given the abundance of transportation options and changing demographics of Gardena.”
One factor has been the decline of Gardena’s card clubs, from seven in the mid-1980s to two today, Gabig said, pointing out that the loss of Gardena’s monopoly on local gambling establishments has meant fewer visitors from downtown.
Limited resources are being redeployed to “core Gardena services” on Line 2 (Western local, north on Vermont, south on Western) and Line 3 (Compton-Gardena-South Bay Galleria), he said. “The less we take off of Line 1, the less we can address these local service quality and efficiency issues …
“Our goal has always been to be responsive to community needs while addressing changing travel patterns and maintaining a balanced budget. Our initial plan moved resources from unproductive service to corridors with higher transit demand. Our revised plan continues to add service to local Lines 2 and 3 while still maintaining some of the Line 1 service to downtown Los Angeles requested by the community.”
The City Council will be asked to approve the proposal but will not necessarily make a decision that evening, Gabig said.
The meeting will be held Tuesday, May 24, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Gardena City Hall, 1700 W. 162nd St.
LATE BULLETIN: The bus issue is one of the last items on the evening’s agenda, but it is unclear what time it will be taken up.