October 9, 2009

FlyAway bus expands service from LAX to OC


Photo credit: Art Mochizuki/LAX Public Relations


The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved on Monday a three-year license agreement with the City of Irvine permitting the FlyAway bus service to operate nonstop from Irvine Station in Orange County to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The agreement by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is part of its ground transportation initiative to expand its FlyAway bus system, which will feature CNG vehicles manufactured by North American Bus Industries,  to improve passenger convenience and reduce traffic congestion. The Irvine Station is the fourth site in the FlyAway network.

Its other locations at Van Nuys, Westwood and Union Station handled more than 1.5 million travelers combined for the 12 months ending June 2009. Airport ground transportation planners forecast Irvine could serve as many as 72,000 passengers during its first year of operation.

Like Union Station, Irvine Station serves other modes of transportation, including Amtrak’s Pacific Sunliner, Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s Metrolink commuter rail, Orange County Transit Authority bus lines, and other local business employee shuttle services. It is the busiest transit station in OrangeCounty, and the 14th-busiest Amtrak station nationwide with 669,405 boardings in 2008. 

LAWA is proposing a $25 fare each way for the one-way, 50-mile trip between Irvine and LAX. The fare structure also could include permitting two children in grades eight and under to ride free with each paying adult. The Board of Airport Commissioners will determine the fare and frequency of service when it considers a LAWA staff recommendation Oct.19 for a bus company to operate the service.

The City of Irvine unanimously approved the license agreement with LAWA on Sept. 8. LAWA will pay Irvine up to $6,800 for the cost of start-up improvements. The agreement also includes the use of nearly 500 surface parking spaces at the transit station, where FlyAway passengers can park for free.

The expansion of FlyAway bus service is a requirement of the LAX Master Plan Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP). The MMRP is designed to ensure compliance with the proposed mitigation measures identified in LAX Master Plan Alternative D and the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). The FEIR has been approved by the City of Los Angeles and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Under the MMRP, nine FlyAway service sites will operate by 2015 to reduce traffic going to and from LAX. Passengers will use dedicated, clean-fuel, high-occupancy buses to reach LAX from these locations and reduce ground traffic congestion and vehicle emissions around LAX and the region.  

The FlyAway service began in 1975 at Van Nuys, with service added at Union Station in 2006 and Westwood in 2007.

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