G Line (Los Angeles Metro)

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G Line
LACMTA Square G Line.svg
Image of Orange Line bus traveling at speed on the busway
Metro Liner traveling on the exclusive busway near Chatsworth
Overview
Other name(s)Orange Line (2005–2020)
Line number901
TerminiNorth Hollywood
Chatsworth
Stations17
Service
TypeBus rapid transit
SystemLos Angeles Metro Busway
Operator(s) Metro (LACMTA)
Depot(s)Division 8 (West San Fernando Valley)
Rolling stockNew Flyer XE60
Daily ridership22,256 (February 2020)[1]
History
OpenedOctober 29, 2005; 16 years ago (2005-10-29)
Technical
Line length18 mi (29 km)[2]
CharacterAt-grade exclusive right-of-way
Route map

Chatsworth
Amtrak Metrolink (California)
Division 8 yard
Nordhoff
Roscoe
Sherman Way
Warner Center
discontinued
2018
Canoga
De Soto
Pierce College
Tampa
Reseda
Balboa
Woodley
Sepulveda
(planned)
Van Nuys
(2028)
Woodman
Valley College
Laurel Canyon/Valley Village
North Hollywood
B Line 
Handicapped/disabled access all stations accessible

The G Line (formerly the Orange Line) is a bus rapid transit line in Los Angeles, California, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). It operates between Chatsworth and North Hollywood stations in the San Fernando Valley. The 18-mile (29 km) G Line uses a dedicated, exclusive right-of-way for the entirety of its route with stations located at approximately one mile (1.6 km) intervals; fares are paid via TAP cards at vending machines on station platforms before boarding to improve performance. It is one of the two lines in the Metro Busway system.

The line, which opened on October 29, 2005, 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 1911 to 1952. At North Hollywood station, the G Line connects with the B Line subway which offers service to Downtown Los Angeles via Hollywood. The Metro Orange Line bicycle path runs alongside part of the route.

In 2020, the line was renamed from Orange Line to the G Line while retaining the color orange in its square icon as part of a complete renaming of lines by the LACMTA.[3][4][5][6]

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), under its BRT Standard, has given the Orange Line corridor a Bronze ranking.[7]

Service description[edit]

Because of its many differences from a standard bus service, Metro has branded the G Line as part of the region's network of light and heavy rail lines and it appears on the same system map as the rail lines. The buses are painted in the silver-and-gray color scheme of Metro Rail vehicles. The G Line is rarely referred to by its line number (901), but it sometimes appears on documents and destination signage.

The G Line's icon color, and former Orange Line name, were inspired by the many citrus trees that once blanketed the San Fernando Valley. In the planning stages the G Line was known as the San Fernando Valley East-West Transitway, and later the Metro Rapidway.

Operation[edit]

G Line buses operate 24 hours a day.[8] At peak hours (between 6am and 7pm eastbound, 5am and 6pm westbound), every other bus is a short turn, only operating between North Hollywood and Canoga station.

Station list[edit]

The G Line serves 17 stations, they are, from west to east:

Stations Date opened Neighborhood Major connections and notes[9][10]
Chatsworth June 30, 2012 Chatsworth AmtrakAmtrak and Metrolink (California) Ventura County Line
Park and ride: 609 spaces
Nordhoff
Roscoe Canoga Park
Sherman Way Park and ride: 207 spaces
Canoga December 27, 2006[11] Park and ride: 246 spaces
De Soto October 29, 2005 Winnetka
Pierce College Park and ride: 392 spaces
Tampa Tarzana
Reseda Park and ride: 442 spaces
Balboa Lake Balboa Park and ride: 273 spaces
Woodley Van Nuys
Sepulveda Park and ride: 260 spaces
Van Nuys Park and ride: 307 spaces
East San Fernando Light Rail Transit Project (2028)
Woodman Valley Glen
Valley College
Laurel Canyon/Valley Village Valley Village
North Hollywood North Hollywood B Line 
Park and ride: 1,085 spaces

Ridership[edit]

Annual ridership
Year Ridership
2009 6,825,390  —
2010 7,087,074 3.8%
2011 7,522,082 6.1%
2012 8,528,167 13.4%
2013 9,164,407 7.5%
2014 8,742,210 -4.6%
2015 8,422,122 -3.7%
2016 7,754,858 -7.9%
2017 7,373,450 -4.9%
2018 7,008,626 -4.9%
2019 6,714,108 -4.2%
2020 3,523,695 -47.5%
Source: Metro[1]

History[edit]

The majority of the Orange Line is built on part of the former Southern Pacific Railroad Burbank branch, part of which saw Pacific Electric Red Car service;[12] passenger service on this segment ended in 1952,[citation needed] but the right-of-way remained undeveloped and was acquired by Metro in 1991.[12] As the Metro Rail system was being designed in the 1990s, initial plans were to build an extension of the Metro Red Line there, since the purchased right-of-way's eastern terminus was at the site of the planned North Hollywood station. However, political developments stymied these plans: community objections to surface transit along the route resulted in a 1991 law mandating that any line along the route be built as a deep-bore tunnel,[13][14] but a 1998 ballot measure driven by perceptions of mismanagement banned the use of county sales tax to fund subway tunneling.[15][16][17] Prevented from using the route for rail, Metro proceeded to create its first bus rapid transit line along the corridor, and despite further lawsuits from area residents,[18] the line opened on October 29, 2005, at a final cost of $324 million or $23 million per mile ($429 million and $30.5 million in 2020 adjusted for inflation).[19]

Then-County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said they initially mirrored the busway concept based on a similar transit system he, then-Mayor Richard Riordan, and other elected officials toured in Curitiba, Brazil.[20]

On June 23, 2009 construction began on a four-mile (6.4 km) extension from Canoga northward along the Southern Pacific trackbed[21] to the Metrolink station in Chatsworth. Metro's board approved the plan on September 28, 2006, and it was completed in 2012 at a cost of $215 million ($242 million in 2020 adjusted for inflation).[22][23][24] This created two branches at the western end of the line beyond Canoga station; the older branch proceeded outside the busway on city streets to Warner Center. In 2018, this branch was eliminated and replaced with a frequent service local shuttle, leaving the entirety of the Orange Line on dedicated right-of-way.[25]

Proposed developments[edit]

Grade separation and crossing gates[edit]

Orange Line bus crossing a level crossing at Burbank Boulevard and Fulton Avenue

In the first year that the busway was open, there were ten injury collisions between vehicles and buses, which were heavily covered in the media. Metro noted that the buses had about the same accident rate as other bus lines in the city on a per-mile basis,[26][27] and has stated that the line's accident rate is "less than half" of Metro's entire fleet of buses.[28] They also pointed out that the A Line also had a significant number of collisions in its early years.[29] Under pressure, Metro ordered buses to slow down from 25–30 mph (40–48 km/h) to just 10 mph (16 km/h) when crossing intersections.[30][31] Starting in December 2005, red light cameras were installed at most intersections.[32]

Prototype grade crossing with red lights and "Busway Crossing" crossbucks, the very first in the United States

As part of the package of enhancement to the LA Metro system approved by voters in 2016 with Measure M, in October 2017 Metro recommended a series of improvements to the Orange Line. These include quad crossing gates at 34 intersections, and the construction of a mile-long elevated section between Sepulveda and Van Nuys Boulevard. These improvements would eliminate much of the time Orange Line buses spend waiting at red lights, would allow buses to cross intersections at higher speeds, and would cut end-to-end travel time along the entire route by 29%. Projected construction costs are $283 million.

The project is currently in the pre-construction, planning, and public outreach phase, but the goal is to begin full construction in 2023 and complete it by 2025.[33][34] The pre-construction phase of the Metro Orange Line grade-separation has already begun, starting with the LADWP undergrounding the overhead power lines at Sepulveda Blvd and Orange Line in Van Nuys.

Capacity enhancements[edit]

There is concern that the Orange Line will soon reach its engineered capacity, and has exceeded its designed capacity during peak periods.[35] During peak hours, the signaling system is designed to balance the busway traffic with vehicle cross traffic. Adding more buses requires platooning, running 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.[36]

Conversion to light rail[edit]

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. This price would include both upgraded infrastructure and the purchase of rail vehicles. The report noted that if not upgraded in some way in the near future, the Orange Line would soon reach capacity at rush hours.[37] Full conversion to light rail is planned to take place by 2050.[34]

Incidents[edit]

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.[38]

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 made an illegal right turn against a red light and struck an Orange Line bus near the crossing at Corbin Avenue in Reseda.[39] 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.[40] After the second collision, Metro instructed all buses to slow down at intersections[30] 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.[31]

In October 2006, a delivery truck hit the side of a bus. One person was seriously injured and 16 received minor injuries.[41]

Fleet[edit]

G Line bus using en-route charger at North Hollywood station

Metro has a dedicated fleet of 40 New Flyer XE60 battery-electric buses to serve the G Line.[42] Each bus has a battery capacity of 320 kW-hr.[43]

The buses are 60 ft (18 m) long, 20 ft (6.1 m) longer than the standard forty-foot bus, and carry up to 57 passengers, which is about 50% more passengers. The buses are articulated in the center due to this longer length and have three doors for faster boarding and alighting. Vehicles have no fareboxes because the Metro G Line operates on a proof-of-payment system, like the Metro Rail network. Buses are capable of traveling up to 150 mi (240 km) between charges.

There are en-route rapid charging stations at the Canoga, Chatsworth, and North Hollywood stations which can add about 40 mi (64 km) of range during a 7-10 minute charge during a layover at a rate of 450 and 600 kW. These en-route chargers are manufactured by Siemens and are compliant with the SAE J3105-1 standard.[43] Buses are stored and maintained at Metro's Division 8 yard which is located in Chatsworth and has direct access to the busway. There are ten additional slow (150 kW) chargers at Division 8 to recharge buses when they are stored overnight or mid-day. Both the rapid (en-route) and slow (depot) chargers use an overhead pantograph to interface with vehicle contacts. The depot chargers will be used in a one-to-many scheme, where the 150 kW from a single charger is divided between multiple overhead pantograph outlets.[43][44]

Metro's XE60 buses were equipped with dual air conditioning units to keep buses cool during hot summer days in the San Fernando Valley, two drive axles for better acceleration, an active suspension system to smooth out bumps, and no large cooling fans to make buses operate quieter. Inside the bus, there are USB device charging ports at seats and public WiFi for passengers.[42]

Each electric bus cost $1.15 million each, the electrification project including the buses, charging equipment and infrastructure improvements came at a total cost of $80 million.[42]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Metro Ridership". Metro.net. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. February 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "Facts At A Glance". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Ignore Those 'Line A' Signs. Metro's Blue Line Will Reopen As The 'A Line'". LAist. September 25, 2019. Archived from the original on September 26, 2019.
  4. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (December 13, 2018). "Because they're out of colors, LA Metro will rename all its train lines and rapid busways with letters in 2019". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  5. ^ Newton, Damien (November 20, 2018). "Metro Moves Ahead with Changes to How They Name Rail/BRT". Streetsblog LA. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "Meet the Line Letters: Information for Metro Employees" (PDF). LACMTA. December 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  7. ^ "BRT Rankings". Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  8. ^ "Orange line timetable" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  9. ^ "Metro B Line (Red)". www.metro.net. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  10. ^ "Metro Parking Lots by Line". www.metro.net. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  11. ^ "New Canoga Station, Park & Ride Lot Opens on Western Terminus of Metro Orange Line". Metro.net December 27, 2006.
  12. ^ a b Curtiss, Aaron (April 7, 1996). "Tracks to the Past". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  13. ^ "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
  14. ^ "Hahn Tiptoes in Front of Buses, Is Flattened.", by Steve Lopez, The Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2001
  15. ^ Broverman, Neal (February 4, 2014). "State Could be About to Repeal Ban on Light Rail in the Valley". LA Curbed. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "Legal arguments against the busway".
  17. ^ "Public utilities code section 130250-130265". Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  18. ^ Liu, Caitlin; and Times Staff Writers (March 13, 2003). "Valley Busway Opponents Told to Reimburse MTA". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ "Crashes Heighten Busway Concerns", by Amanda Covarrubias, Caitlin Liu, and Times Staff Writers, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2005
  20. ^ "Beverly Hills View | Zev Yaroslavsky". October 3, 2014.
  21. ^ "Item 44 Program Management Project Budget and Schedule Status" (PDF). Metro. January 18, 2012. p. 3. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  22. ^ Guccione, Jean. "MTA to Run Orange Line Busway to Chatsworth". Los Angeles Times. September 29, 2006. B1.
  23. ^ extension diagram
  24. ^ "Canoga Park-Chatsworth busway construction kickoff Wednesday" Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Sue Doyle, Daily News, Retrieved June 23, 2008
  25. ^ "Service Council approves new Warner Center circulator connecting with Orange Line". February 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Similar bumpy roads for transit in L.A., Houston – Crashes raised safety concerns for light rail here and California's Bus Rapid Transit". December 26, 2005.
  27. ^ Liu, Caitlin. "Six Hurt in Latest Orange Line Crash". Los Angeles Times.December 8, 2005.
  28. ^ LA Times – Orange Line bus crash hurts 17
  29. ^ Wells, John V (July 18, 2000). "Train Whistle at Rail Grade Crossings". Congressional Testimony.
  30. ^ a b Liu, Caitlin and Amanda Covarrubias. "Orange Line Model Beset by Crashes". Los Angeles Times. November 4, 2005.
  31. ^ a b Liu, Caitlin. "Orange Line Buses May Get Strobe Light Signals". Los Angeles Times. November 18, 2005.
  32. ^ Liu, Caitlin. "After Crashes, Red-Light Cameras to Be Installed at 12 Orange Line Crossings" Los Angeles Times. December 15, 2005. B1.
  33. ^ "New Orange Line bridge and crossing gates recommended to reduce busway travel times". October 16, 2017.
  34. ^ a b Olga, Grigoryants (July 17, 2018). "LA's Metro says improvements are in the works for the Orange Line, with light rail in mind". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  35. ^ "Busway so popular, it's nearing capacity" (PDF).
  36. ^ "Bus System Design Features That Significantly Improve Service Quality And Cost Efficiency".[broken link]
  37. ^ Nelson, Laura J. (April 10, 2015). "Report: Converting Metro's Orange Line to rail could cost $1.7 billion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  38. ^ Liu, Caitlin. "Car Hits Bus on Transitway Test Run, Raising Concerns for Safety", Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2005.
  39. ^ "Car Collides With Orange Line Bus". ABC7. November 2, 2005. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  40. ^ "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.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ a b c Sotero, Dave (October 14, 2021). "Metro announces fully electric bus fleet on the G Line (Orange)". The Source. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  43. ^ a b c Final Rollout Plan (PDF) (Report). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 2021. p. 2-3.
  44. ^ Linton, Joe (January 27, 2020). "Eyes on the Street: Electric Chargers on the G (Orange) Line". Streetsblog Los Angeles. Retrieved February 15, 2021.

External links[edit]