Residents and commuters to Alhambra may have a new transit option that will run between the South Pasadena Gold Line station and select stops in Alhambra that include transfer points to Metro, Montebello Transit and the ACT line. The Metro plan, Measure M, does not include a Gold Line stop in Alhambra, so this shuttle may be a solution for many commuters who ride by transit.
The plan needs approval from Alhambra City Council before city staff can submit the proposal to MTA. The proposed ACT shuttle service “will run along Fremont, Orange, Palm, Main, northbound on Garfield into South Pasadena to the train station,” said Mary Chavez, Alhambra’s Director of Public Works and Utility, at the Sept. 12 city council meeting.
She said that the route will utilize existing stops, and that all stops would be in Alhambra except for the Gold Line station on Meridian Avenue and Mission Street. The vehicle type for the program will be similar to the city’s existing senior ride.
Councilmembers were concerned about the cost of the program and the shuttle route, asking Chavez and her staff to make several new considerations before the plan may move forward. “At this time nothing has been brought back to the City Council for a decision,” Chavez wrote in an email to the Alhambra Source on Sept. 27.
She said in her presentation that her staff recommends operating Monday through Friday during commuter hours, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The service would run every 20 minutes.
Chavez said that four vehicles, each seating between 14 and 20 passengers, will need to be purchased for the pilot program. She later said her staff would look into available vehicles to lease one more time after receiving pushback from councilmembers.
Chavez said the Gold Line shuttles could also be used for Alhambra’s Senior Ride program between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., which fall outside of the commuter hours.
“If for some reason, we aren’t able to lease out the buses, we should consider the purchase, especially if we can utilize them,” councilmember Luis Ayala said.
The cost of the vehicles and increased cost of Southland Transit’s contract for the additional service would total to about $413,000, which does not include the cost of insurance and fuel. The funding would come from MTA Prop A and Prop C if approved.
In response, councilmember Steven Placido suggested a six-month trial run, which Chavez will consider, to assess whether there is a high enough demand for the service to justify the spending. He also recommended a change in the bus route to include stops in the Southern and Eastern portion of the city.
“I think if we’re going to have a bus route, we really should be looking at serving Alhambra, and not a few… I think it should serve the entire community, and this doesn’t look like it’s doing enough. I think Valley is just as busy as Main Street, and yet we’re not looking at Valley,” Placido said.
Chavez said that residents can connect from the Green Line, which stops on Valley Boulevard, to the Gold Line shuttle because they have some stops in common. But she said her staff would consider expanding the shuttle service to include more stops at the city council’s wish, such that it would take “30 minutes instead of 20 minutes to arrive to the Gold Line station."
Chavez said there are other eligible ways to use the Prop A and Prop C funding, which can be used for transit-related projects. The money could also purchase new buses for the Blue Line and Green Line, which will need to be replaced.
The Alhambra Source wants to know what you think about the proposed ACT shuttle service. Please fill out our one-question survey, available through this link on mobile devices. You can fill out the embedded survey below if you are on a desktop. Feel free to comment on our Facebook and Twitter posts.
(Featured photo above by Karol Franks is licensed under CC BY 2.0)