YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MTA to Delay Cutbacks of Contractor Bus Lines

October 25, 2003|Caitlin Liu | Times Staff Writer

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has suspended for the duration of the mechanics' strike a plan to cut back its contractor-run bus service, keeping buses running on nine routes and eventually on as many as 22, officials said Friday.

The private contractor-run lines, which are not affected by the MTA mechanics' walkout, represent only a fraction of the agency's 183 bus routes. Before the strike, cuts to the contractor lines had been scheduled as early as Sunday.

But in the light of the Amalgamated Transit Union's strike, which has left swaths of Los Angeles County without transit service since Oct. 14, MTA officials decided to postpone the cuts.

"We wanted to keep as much service going as we could," said David Armijo, an MTA general manager. "This is a small effort, but one that we can manage."

The cutbacks, originally intended to save the agency $3 million a year, will now occur a few weeks after the strike ends to give riders time to adjust, officials said.

Riders and advocates applauded the decision.

"To let those cuts take place wouldn't send a very good message to our passengers," said Kymberleigh Richards, president of Southern California Transit Advocates.

Thirteen contractor lines are experiencing their own labor strife and are on strike, which leaves only the nine routes active at this time.

The contractor routes still operating include Line 218, which shuttles between Studio City and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Line 96, which runs from Sherman Oaks to downtown Los Angeles; Line 608, which loops through South Los Angeles; and Line 605, which serves Boyle Heights and L.A. County-USC Medical Center.

A complete list of active bus lines around the county -- including service by such municipal operators as Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus -- may be viewed at

"They're lifelines," said Bart Reed, executive director of the Transit Coalition, a rider advocacy group. "There's desperate people all over the city. It's like everyone is starving for a way to get around."

Los Angeles Times Articles