The 600-Series Shuttles

Of all the concepts introduced in the San Fernando Transit Restructuring Study, the proposed replacement of some service with "shuttle" routes is both the least likely to ever be implemented as proposed ... and at the same time, the least likely to be discarded by those who believe that minibuses are the future of public transit.

Although, on the surface, some of the following proposed lines might have made sense in an integrated network of services, the reality is that MTA, being one of the largest transit agencies in the world, has to standardize on equipment in order to operate service without finding itself short on the "proper size" bus for a particular line. It is for this reason that MTA's existing shuttle lines are operated by outside contractors who are required to provide their own equipment.

MTA is also unable to replace existing lines with such contracted service, since the labor union representing its bus drivers has the legal right to insist that the agency allow it to operate any line with marginal ridership, using full-size equipment. In addition, some of the lines that were proposed for replacement by shuttles have sufficient ridership at some times of day (commuters at peak-hours, students in the morning and mid-afternoon, etc.) that the smaller equipment would be unable to handle the load ... and pulling out full-size buses at some times of day and minibuses at others would create additional costs which would reduce the potential savings.

That left the "circulator" routes, which were to be operated by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) as part of its successful DASH system ... except that LADOT delayed or blocked implementation of their lines from the study. However, LADOT has continued to refer to these proposals; they implemented a variation of Line 640 in 1999, kept both Line 645 and a proposed Line 680 Riverside Dr. shuttle (which would have replaced the Line 96 proposal) in their long-range implementation plan until 2000, and included elements of Lines 631 and 632 in their DASH restructuring study of 2004.

Line 630 (North Hollywood Circulator)
Line 631 (Sylmar Circulator)
Line 632 (Hubbard-Sayre Circulator)
Line 640 (Van Nuys-Panorama City Circulator)
Line 645 (Canoga Ave. Shuttle)
Line 650 (Sherman Oaks-Encino Shuttle)
Line 667 (West Hills Circulator)
Line 668 (Calabasas-Warner Center Circulator)
Line 669 (Warner Center-Valley Circle Circulator)

The April, 1997 MTA staff recommendations included a Line 675 shuttle to operate Line 183's route between Glendale and Burbank. That proposal was never implemented, pending the completion of Glendale Beeline restructuring, and was discussed as part of Metro Connections but never brought forward as a formal proposal.

In addition, two new shuttle lines -- Line 218 and Line 603 -- began operation in 1998 as part of the consent decree New Service Program "pilot project".

A variation of the Line 632 proposal was implemented June 25, 2006 as Line 634.

With their "check point" route deviation service, Lines 631, 632, 645, 667, 668, and 669 were briefly incorporated into the Smart Shuttle demonstration project. However, that quickly turned into a fiasco.

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