PASADENA — Airport Coach resumed direct bus service between the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, five days after the bus company won emergency authority to operate the line, a company spokesman said.
Acting on a request from the company, members of the state Public Utilities Commission voted 5 to 0 on Nov. 23 to grant the Anaheim-based bus company interim authority to operate the service, said Don Chew, a commission spokesman.
Airport Coach had been operating a Pasadena-Monrovia-LAX route since Oct. 4 after buying FunBus Systems' AirLink. But, while the company was waiting for the commission to approve the sale or to transfer operating authority, airport officials terminated the FunBus contract that Airport Coach was operating under and service was stopped on Nov. 10.
The airport terminated the contract with FunBus because the financially strapped company failed to pay $50,000 in fees and rent for space at the airport, said airport spokesman Joseph Clair.
Until the commission approved the sale or granted emergency authority, Clair said, the airport had to prohibit Airport Coach from picking up passengers bound for the San Gabriel Valley. There was no restriction on dropping off passengers at the airport.
On Monday, Airport Coach resumed its full service of 18 round-trip runs between the San Gabriel Valley and the airport. All buses stop at two hotels in Pasadena, the Pasadena Hilton and the Holiday Inn. Some also stop at hotels in Monrovia.
"I'm delighted that we are able to do what we set out to do," said Charles Allee, president of Airport Coach.
Although the commission granted Airport Coach emergency authority, Allee said he did not resume service until five days later because it took several days to reorganize and reschedule drivers and other workers.
Missed Holiday Rush
As a result, the company missed out on the Thanksgiving rush of holiday travelers, Allee said. He estimates losses during the holiday period at more than $20,000.
But Allee did not fault the utility commission.
"I think the commission acted as rapidly as they possibly could," he said. "I think they were frustrated that the service had been disrupted at all."
In addition to resuming the airport bus service, Airport Coach has expanded its service by adding an additional stop at Howard Johnson Plaza on Huntington Drive in Monrovia, Allee said. Some buses had previously stopped at the Holiday Inn in Monrovia.
Instead of four outbound and three inbound runs to Monrovia, Airport Coach now offers 12 outbound and 11 inbound runs to the city, Allee said. He said the additional runs fit in with his plans to expand service in the area and base some of his buses in the San Gabriel Valley instead of Anaheim.
Allee said he plans to run newspaper advertisements to notify residents that direct airport bus service is back.
The bus service costs $8.50 one way and $16 round trip.
Airport Coach's emergency authority will last until the commission approves Airport Coach's purchase of FunBus. That decision may not come for another month or two, said commission spokesman Chew. "We are waiting to see if there's any protest for the entire package transfer," said Chew. He said commission procedures require a waiting period, during which Airport Coach's competitors and other groups or individuals may submit comments on the company's application.