Orange Line (Los Angeles Metro)
|Metro Orange Line|
Metro Liner at North Hollywood Station
|Type||Bus rapid transit|
Chatsworth / Warner Center
|Daily ridership||25,018 (July 2014)|
|Opening||October 29, 2005|
|Character||At-grade exclusive right-of-way|
|Depot(s)||Division 8 (West Valley)|
|Rolling stock||NABI 60-BRT & 45C-LFW (shuttle)|
|Line length||18 mi (29.0 km)|
The Orange Line is one of two lines on the Metro Liner network in Los Angeles County, California. It operates between Chatsworth or Warner Center (trips alternate between the two western terminals) and the North Hollywood Metro Station in the San Fernando Valley where it connects with the Metro Red Line on the Metro Rail system for Downtown Los Angeles. The other line in the Metro Liner network is the Metro Silver Line. The 18-mile (29 km) Orange Line uses a dedicated, exclusive right-of-way with stations located at approximately one-mile intervals; tickets (via TAP cards) are purchased from ticket machines on the platforms before boarding to improve performance. The Metro Orange Line bicycle path runs alongside part of the route. Unlike the Silver Line, which has a street-running section within downtown Los Angeles, the Chatsworth branch of the Orange Line runs in a dedicated right-of-way for its entire length. The Warner Center branch includes several blocks of street running in the Warner Center area.
The line, which is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), opened on October 29, 2005 with a construction cost of $324 million. The route follows part of the Southern Pacific Railroad's former Burbank Branch Line which provided passenger rail service from 1904 to 1920; it was subsequently used by Pacific Electric streetcars from 1938 to 1952.
- 1 Service description
- 2 History
- 3 Proposed developments
- 4 Incidents
- 5 Fleet
- 6 Environmental impact reports and cost benefits of alternatives
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Because of its many differences from a standard bus service, the authority has branded the transitway as part of the region's network of light and heavy rail lines. It appears on the Metro Rail System Map. Orange Line vehicles (called Metro Liners) are painted in the silver and gray color scheme of Metro Rail vehicles. Likewise, it is one of the authority's two bus lines that have been marketed with a color designation rather than its line number (901). The Orange Line is rarely referred to by its line number, but it sometimes appears on documents and destination signage.
The transitway's color name, the Orange Line, refers to the many citrus trees that once blanketed the San Fernando Valley. In the planning stages the transitway was known as the San Fernando Valley East-West Transitway, and later the Metro Rapidway.
Metro Orange Line buses operate daily between 3:45am and 1:00am. First and last bus times are as follows:
To/From North Hollywood
- Eastbound to North Hollywood Station
- First Bus: 3:41am (from Warner Center)
- First Bus: 3:53am (from Chatsworth)
- Last Bus: 11:46pm (from Chatsworth, via Warner Center)
- Westbound to Chatsworth Station (alternating trips during the day)
- First Bus: 4:32am
- Last Bus: 7:23pm
- Westbound to Warner Center Transit Hub (alternating trips during the day)
- First Bus: 4:50am
- Last Bus: 7:29pm
- Westbound to both Warner Center and Chatsworth
- First Bus: 7:36pm
- Last Bus: 12:55am
Since the Orange Line service operates to meet the final Metro Red Line trains at North Hollywood, there is nearly 24-hour "owl service" Friday and Saturday nights, with the last bus departing Chatsworth via Warner Center at 1:46am, returning from North Hollywood at 2:55am.
|Stations||Connections||City/ Neighborhood||Parking||Date Opened|
|North Hollywood|| Metro Red Line
Metro Local: 152, 154, 156, 162, 183, 224, 353, 656
Bob Hope Airport Shuttle
Burbank Bus: NoHo-Media District, NoHo-Empire
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 757
LADOT Commuter Express: 549
|North Hollywood||951 Spaces||October 29, 2005|
|Laurel Canyon||Metro Local: 156, 230, 656||Valley Village||October 29, 2005|
|Valley College||Metro Local: 156, 167, 656
LADOT Commuter Express: 549
LADOT DASH: Van Nuys/Studio City
|Valley Glen||October 29, 2005|
|Woodman||Metro Local: 154, 158||Valley Glen||October 29, 2005|
|Van Nuys||Metro Local: 154, 156, 233, 237, 656
Metro Rapid: 761
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 793, 798
LADOT DASH: Van Nuys/Studio City
|Van Nuys||776 Spaces||October 29, 2005|
|Sepulveda||Metro Local: 234
Metro Rapid: 734
|Van Nuys||1,205 Spaces||October 29, 2005|
|Woodley||Metro Local:164, 237||Van Nuys||October 29, 2005|
|Balboa||Metro Local: 164, 236, 237
LADOT Commuter Express: 573, 574
|Lake Balboa||270 Spaces||October 29, 2005|
|Reseda||Metro Rapid: 741
Metro Local: 240
|Tarzana||522 Spaces||October 29, 2005|
|Tampa||Metro Local: 242||Tarzana||October 29, 2005|
|Pierce College||Metro Local: 164, 243||Winnetka||373 Spaces||October 29, 2005|
|De Soto||Metro Local: 164, 244
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 796
|Winnetka||October 29, 2005|
|Canoga||Metro Local:164, 165
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 796
|Canoga Park||612 Spaces||December 27, 2006|
|Warner Center||Metro Local: 150, 161, 164, 169, 245
Metro Rapid: 750
LADOT Commuter Express: 422
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 791, 796
Ventura Intercity Service Transit Authority: Conejo Connection
|Woodland Hills||October 29, 2005|
|Sherman Way||Metro Local: 162, 163
||Canoga Park||207 Spaces||June 30, 2012|
|Roscoe||Metro Local: 152, 353
||Canoga Park||June 30, 2012|
|Nordhoff||Metro Local: 166, 364
LADOT DASH: Northridge
|Chatsworth||June 30, 2012|
|Chatsworth||Metro Local: 158, 166, 167, 244, 245, 364
Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 791
LADOT Commuter Express: 419
Metrolink: Ventura County Line
Simi Valley Transit: C
|Chatsworth||610 Spaces||June 30, 2012|
Maximum recorded average weekday boardings were 27,987 during September 2008. Usage fell during the Great Recession with average weekday boarding running at 20,593 in July 2009 and 21,902 in July 2010.
Monthly boardings rose from 548,111 boardings in June 2006 to 652,875 in June 2007 and then 679,578 in June 2008, a 24% increase in two years.
Collisions with automobiles occurred weekly during the first several months of operations. The LACMTA has noted that the Orange Line had about the same accident rate as other bus lines in the city on a per-mile basis, and has stated that the line's accident rate is "less than half" of the MTA's entire fleet of buses. The Blue Line also had a significant number of collisions in its early years and currently has the highest fatality rate in North America.
In December 2005, MTA called for the installation of red-light cameras at most intersections.
There is concern that the Orange Line will soon reach its engineered capacity, and has exceeded its designed capacity during peak periods During peak hours, the signaling system is designed to balance the Orange Line buses with vehicle cross traffic. Adding more buses requires platooning, or bunching, which is the running of convoys of two or more buses together, similar to what rail achieves in having multiple cars per train. Greater signal prioritization is also an option, and comes at the cost of decreasing cross street travel times and capacity. Another alternative requires the changing of state law or the granting of a Caltrans exemption from state law and the purchasing of 80-foot-long (24 m) buses. The maximum capacity of bus rapid transit lines and light rail lines is theoretically similar, but North American transit operators have little experience operating high-capacity bus rapid transit systems.
The majority of the Orange Line is built on part of the former Southern Pacific Railroad Burbank Branch railbed. The line had passenger rail service from 1904 to 1920, with stations at several locations including North Hollywood and Van Nuys. It had Pacific Electric Red Car service from North Hollywood to Van Nuys again from 1938 to 1952. The railbed was purchased by the predecessor to Metro in 1991 along with several other railroad rights-of-way for future use in transportation projects. Transit planners envisioned an extension of the Metro Red Line subway as the most natural option because the purchased right-of-way begins at North Hollywood station.
However, with a decline in operating revenue, the subway's high cost of construction, and Federal funds difficult to secure, a subway extension project seemed financially out of the question at a time when other planned rail lines were already being cancelled, such as the Eastside subway extension and the Gold Line section from Union Station to Pasadena (later revived).
Then-L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan suggested some type of "trench" construction in which to lay the rails to save money and extend the subway trains to Warner Center: "Some way to get it out of the ground," Riordan said, referring to a trench's much lower cost to construct compared to deep-burrow tunnel boring machines (TBM), and to address the objections of residents for any elevated line. However, local community groups fiercely opposed such alternatives and, in fact, any rail construction that was not completely underground.
Objections cited included noise and perceived danger to a large Orthodox Jewish community which the right-of-way bisects. Because Shabbat prohibits driving or using electricity from sundown Friday through Saturday, those travelling to synagogue are compelled to walk and, while not backed by any studies, claim to be exposed to greater potential danger by crossing rails on foot, especially at night. Groups were organized and funded by the community to kill anything but a subway.
Prior to his 1993 conviction and prison sentence for accepting bribes, California state Senator Alan Robbins introduced a piece of legislation which prohibited the use of the corridor for any form of rail transit other than a "deep bore subway located at least 25 feet below ground." The California Legislature passed it as law in 1991. (Note: State Assembly Bill 577 (AB 577) subsequently repealed the Robbins law on July 8, 2014)
Busway option proposal
In response, supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky promoted and Los Angeles County passed Proposition A in 1998, which prohibited Metro from using its county sales tax funding to build subways anywhere in the county. With subway and light rail now legally prohibited, but with growing political pressure to use the right-of-way for "something," the only available, legal option to make use of the transit corridor was to build a busway—which was also immediately opposed by neighborhood groups, however a restriction on busways was never included in the already-passed Robbins law—allowing it to move forward
$44.8 million of Proposition 108 money, (the Passenger Rail and Clean Air Bond Act of 1990) was used for the purchase of the right-of-way. But because this voter-approved bond specifically states that this money is to be used only for rail infrastructure and operation, the California Transportation Commission is entitled to repayment of said funds in current dollars unless the Orange Line is converted to rail within ten years of completion of the busway. This repayment deadline would be 2015.
Construction began in September 2002. During construction the contractor experienced several delays: a dead body found tucked in a barrel along the alignment, and toxic soil had to be removed.
In July 2004, an appeal by a local citizens' group known as C.O.S.T. (Citizens Organized for Smart Transit) was successful in convincing the California Court of Appeal to order a temporary halt to construction. They claimed a network of Rapid Lines should have been studied as a possible alternative to the Metro Orange Line. The legal maneuver was unsuccessful in killing the project, but costs to taxpayers for the 30-day shutdown were $70,000 per day ($2.1 million total) to hold workers and equipment while the matter was resolved.
The lawsuit by C.O.S.T. to permanently halt construction was eventually thrown out of court by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe who also ordered the group members to pay $37,415.81 to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for document-preparation work related to the case.
The line opened on October 29, 2005. Construction had cost $324 million ($23 million per mile).
On December 12, 2006, Metro closed the transitway between Tujunga Avenue in North Hollywood and Fulton Avenue in Valley Glen (at the Valley College station) to repave the transitway surface that Metro says is showing signs of wear. The closure was expected to last approximately two weeks to rebuild the busway's crumbling pavement.
In January 2007, Metro began testing a longer 65-foot (20 m) bus to increase capacity. The agency had to receive a special waiver from Caltrans to operate the bus for testing purposes, since current state law only allows the operation of buses 60 feet (18 m) or shorter. 65-foot (20 m) buses have a seating capacity of 66 passengers and can accommodate 100 passengers.
From early October to mid December 2008, Metro again repaved portions of the transitway to repair wear on some segments of asphalt and upgrade the pavement to accommodate future traffic growth.
On June 23, 2009 construction began on a four-mile (6 km) extension from Canoga northward to the Metrolink station in Chatsworth. The LACMTA board approved the plan on September 28, 2006, and it was completed in 2012 at a cost of $215 million. This continues to follow the Burbank Branch railroad right-of-way. Revenue service opened on June 30, 2012.
When the Chatsworth extension of the Metro Orange Line opened on June 30, 2012, several NABI 45 foot Compo buses were assigned for the Metro Orange Line weekday peak period shuttle between Chatsworth station and Warner Center. The 45 foot compo buses are only assigned to run on the shuttle trips. These buses are painted in the Metro Local scheme. Additionally, these buses are similar to the buses used in the Metro Silver Line in terms of length and interior design (expect Silver Line buses are painted in a distinctive silver color scheme branding the Metro Silver Line).
Operationally, there are four different service patterns to the line. From start of service to approximately 7 p.m., seven days a week, service splits such that every other bus leaving North Hollywood serves Warner Center, and every other bus leaving North Hollywood serves Chatsworth. After 7 p.m., all buses travel to Chatsworth via Warner Center. During weekday peak hours, there is special shuttle service between Warner Center and Chatsworth. At all other times middays and weekends, passengers must transfer at Canoga Station, although since these are transfers within one "line" they are free.
Bob Hope Airport expansion
Another possible extension of the Orange Line proposed by transit advocates, including members of The Transit Coalition, is an extension from North Hollywood station to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, which would approximately go north on Vineland Avenue and east on Vanowen Street to the airport, to connect with the Metrolink station.
Another extension recently proposed is from the North Hollywood Station along Chandler Boulevard that would connect to the Burbank Downtown Metrolink Station. The 3.9 mile long arrangement would provide increased access to commuter rail as well as transit access to the pedestrian-friendly entertainment and retail district of Downtown Burbank at the proposed new terminus. Proponents of this expansion also argue that the extended line could eventually serve as the beginning of a San Fernando Valley / Orange Line to Pasadena / Gold Line connection.
As of October 2011, both the Bob Hope Airport and Downtown Burbank extension options are being studied, in addition to other potential BRT routes in Los Angeles County. The existing right-of-way east of North Hollywood Station is currently rail banked as a bike path.
Conversion to light rail
When purchased in 1991, the MTA originally considered the route for use as either light rail or a Red Line extension, and both of these ideas have been floated repeatedly by critics (see below). A rail route would allow longer vehicles, higher operating speeds, and greater frequency.
Critics point out the possibility of converting the Orange Line to a light rail system. The conversion would be relatively cheap – former mayor Richard Riordan described it as the "least expensive rail alternative" of the lines under consideration. However, there are significant legal and political challenges. Metro was until 2014 prohibited by law from converting the Orange Line to any form of rail other than a deep-bore subway. Due to a 1998 proposition, Metro also cannot spend the sales tax revenue from previously passed propositions, but can use revenue from subsequent tax increase propositions such as Measure R funds (conversion of Orange Line to rail is not included in any Measure R projects, but does include the "subway to the sea" along Wilshire Boulevard and other subway proposals) and other sources of revenue on deep-bore subways.
LACMTA has been criticized for removing railroad tracks that were already in place for a significant length of the Orange Line's route, tracks which could have been revitalized and used as part of a true light rail system. This, however, is highly unlikely as in past light rail construction all existing rail is removed and new ballast and new rail with modern innovations, such as continuous welds and concrete ties, are laid in place that provide for faster, smoother and safer rides, and new tracks are placed a few feet from their original position to accommodate double-tracks and island platforms.
In October 2013, Los Angeles City 4th District Councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion to support the repeal of Public Utilities Code section 130265 (1991's SB 211, or Robbins Bill) and support of any legislative and/or administrative action by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) which would prioritize the development of rail-based transit. The motion was passed by the City Council on October 29, 2013 and approved by the Mayor on November 6, 2013.
In April 2015, a report prepared for Metro estimated that conversion of the Orange Line to light rail would take two to three years and cost between $1.2 and $1.7 billion dollars, a price that would include not only the upgraded infrastructure but the vehicles to run on it. Improvements to the busway to improve capacity, including more and larger buses and grade separation at busy intersections, could be implemented more cheaply -- for between $230 and $350 million. The report noted that, if not upgraded in some way, the Orange Line would soon reach its maximum capacity at rush hours. 
On October 27, 2005, two days before the line's official opening, a motorist driving with a suspended license ran a red light and collided with an eastbound bus at Vesper Avenue. There were no injuries.
During November 2005 there were two collision-caused injuries. In the first, a fare inspector on the bus was taken to a hospital for minor injuries after a 65-year-old female driver had an illegal right turn against a red light and struck an Orange Line bus near the crossing at Corbin Avenue in Reseda. In the second, one person was seriously injured and 14 others hospitalized after an elderly motorist apparently ran a red light while using a mobile phone. After the second accident, the MTA instructed all buses to slow down at intersections and installed white strobe lights on the sides of the buses to improve visibility. They said that they would review any and all ideas to improve safety on the line.
In October 2006, a delivery truck hit the side of a bus. One person was seriously injured and 16 received minor injuries.
The large buses, which have been dubbed "Metro Liners" by the LACMTA, are twenty feet longer than the standard forty-foot bus, and carry up to 57 passengers, which is about 50% more passengers. (A prototype 65 foot bus is also used for the Orange Line.) The buses are articulated in the center due to this longer length. They have three doors for faster boarding and alighting. Vehicles have no fareboxes because the Metro Orange Line operates on a proof-of-payment system, like the Metro Rail network.
Environmental impact reports and cost benefits of alternatives
On October 22, 2004, Metro issued a Revised Final Environmental Impact Report (RFEIR) that concluded that the Metro Orange Line was superior to each of three Rapid Bus Alternatives studied in the revised report. The RFEIR studied:
- Three East-West Rapid Bus Routes Alternative (Sherman Way, Vanowen Street and Victory Boulevard)
- Five East-West Rapid Bus Routes Alternative (Sherman Way, Victory Boulevard, Oxnard Street, Burbank Boulevard, and Chandler Boulevard)
- Rapid Bus Network Alternative (as submitted by Citizens Organized for Smart Transit, this network of nine Rapid Bus routes would consist of three east-west routes and six north-south routes)
The revised FEIR examined the environmental impacts, costs and benefits of each Rapid Bus alternative and concluded:
- The Metro Orange Line would attract substantially more new riders than any Rapid Bus alternatives.
- The Metro Orange Line would result in the greatest system-wide travel time savings.
- The Metro Orange Line would maintain the most consistent travel time, which would not be compromised over time as the result of increasing traffic congestion.
- The Rapid Bus alternatives would all have lower capital costs than the Metro Orange Line because of their minimal construction requirements. However, because the Rapid Bus alternatives would attract fewer new riders than the Metro Orange Line, the Rapid Bus alternatives exhibit poor cost-effectiveness measured on a per-new-rider basis.
- The exclusive transitway operation of the Metro Orange Line has distinct land use benefits that would encourage transit-oriented development at/around stations and is consistent with adopted local planning documents.
- Operating costs for the Rapid Bus Network Alternative would be up to $10 million more each year than the cost to operate the Metro Orange Line.
- "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates". Metro (LACMTA). August 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Facts At A Glance". Metro (LACMTA). December 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
- "Orange line timetable" (PDF). Metro (LACMTA). December 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
- "Orange Line - Map and Station Locations" (pdf). Metro (LACMTA). Retrieved 2013-12-26.
- "New Canoga Station, Park & Ride Lot Opens on Western Terminus of Metro Orange Line". Metro.net December 27, 2006.
- "LA Metro System Ridership Remains Strong, Metro Orange Line Hits a New Record". LA County Metro.
- "Monthly Ridership Plot" (PDF). Metro (LACMTA). November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
- "Similar bumpy roads for transit in L.A., Houston - Crashes raised safety concerns for light rail here and California's Bus Rapid Transit".
- Liu, Caitlin. "Six Hurt in Latest Orange Line Crash". Los Angeles Times.December 8, 2005.
- LA Times – Orange Line bus crash hurts 17
- Wells, John V (July 18, 2000). "Train Whistle at Rail Grade Crossings". Congressional Testimony.
- Liu, Caitlin and Amanda Covarrubias. "Orange Line Model Beset by Crashes". Los Angeles Times. November 4, 2005.
- Liu, Caitlin. "Orange Line Buses May Get Strobe Light Signals". Los Angeles Times. November 18, 2005.
- Liu, Caitlin. "After Crashes, Red-Light Cameras to Be Installed at 12 Orange Line Crossings" Los Angeles Times. Dec 15, 2005. B1.
- "Busway so popular, it's nearing capacity" (PDF).
- "Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide". Institute for Transport development and policy.
- "Bus System Design Features That Significantly Improve Service Quality And Cost Efficiency".
- "Burbank Branch History, by Bruce Petty, Los Angeles River Railroads, retrieved December 5, 2010
- "Is a Busway the Valley Way?; The region's Orange Line is ready to roll but some wonder if it will do much to curtail traffic.", by Amanda Covarrubias, The Los Angeles Times, page A1, October 18, 2005
- "Hahn Tiptoes in Front of Buses, Is Flattened.", by Steve Lopez, The Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2001
- "U. S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals USA Vs Jackson No.94-10095 D.C. No. CR.-93-00118-EJG Opinion", by FLOYD R. GIBSON , GOODWIN, and HUG, Circuit Judges, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, April 12, 1995
- "Legal arguments against the busway".
- "Public utilities code section 130250-130265".
- Liu, Caitlin; and Times Staff Writers (March 13, 2003). "Valley Busway Opponents Told to Reimburse MTA". Los Angeles Times.
- "Crashes Heighten Busway Concerns", by Amanda Covarrubias, Caitlin Liu, and Times Staff Writers, Los Angeles Times, November 03, 2005
- "Metro Orange Line to Undergo Pavement Repairs Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 12". Metro.net. December 8, 2006.
- Doyle, Sue. (2007-01-26). "Bigger buses to hit the Orange Line". The Daily News.
- Rong-Gong Lin (2007-08-25). "MTA super-sizes bus service". Los Angeles Times.
- Guccione, Jean. "MTA to Run Orange Line Busway to Chatsworth". [Los Angeles Times]. September 29, 2006. B1.
- extension diagram
- "Canoga Park-Chatsworth busway construction kickoff Wednesday", Sue Doyle, Daily News, retrieved 6-23-2008
- "Item 44 Program Management Project Budget and Schedule Status" (PDF). Metro. January 18, 2012. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
- Liu, Caitlin. "Car Hits Bus on Transitway Test Run, Raising Concerns for Safety", Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2005.
- "Car Collides With Orange Line Bus". ABC7. November 2, 2005. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
- "Busway Safety Controls Boosted 10 MPH Speed Ordered Entering Intersections.".
...in the aftermath of Wednesday's collision that sent 15 people to the hospital, one with a severe injury. The collision, one of two Wednesday, was caused by a 78-year-old motorist who ran a red light, possibly while talking on a cell phone.
- Silverstein, Stuart (October 24, 2006). "Orange Line bus crash hurts 17". Los Angeles Times.
A crowded Orange Line bus collided with a delivery truck in the east San Fernando Valley on Monday afternoon, leaving one person seriously hurt and 16 others apparently with minor injuries, authorities said.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to LACMTA Orange Line.|
- LA Metro: Orange Line map and stations - route map and station addresses and features
- LA Metro: Orange Line Timetable - schedules
- LA Metro: Orange Line Extension - 4 miles (6.4 km) extension under construction from Canoga Station north to Chatsworth Metrolink Station (2012).
- Orange Line history
- LA Metro: official (countywide) website - operator of the Orange Line
- Light Rail Now: "A Bus by Any Other Name Is Still ... a Train ? " - by The Light Rail Now project.