Non-stop FlyAway bus service between Union Station and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) began today. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, airport and public transportation officials, and riders were among the first people to use the new service following a news conference and inaugural ceremonies.
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has partnered with Metro to provide the new FlyAway service that takes passengers directly from Patsaouras Transit Plaza to LAX airline terminals in 45 minutes or less using freeway carpool lanes.
Mayor Villaraigosa, who heads LAWA (a City department) and chairs the Metro board, said, "The new FlyAway service connects Los Angeles' international air gateway with Los Angeles County's major intermodal transit hub at Union Station. The FlyAway provides a valuable service by bringing the world much closer for both Angelenos and visitors to Los Angeles."
"The FlyAway at Union Station will significantly improve customer service at LAX," said Lydia H. Kennard, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which owns and operates LAX and three other Southern California airports. She added, "Like our popular FlyAway service from San Fernando Valley, we believe this new non-stop bus service at Union Station will make getting to and from LAX more convenient and hassle-free for air travelers."
Roger Snoble, Metro chief executive officer, said, "The introduction of FlyAway airport shuttle service at Union Station, L.A.'s major transportation hub, provides an invaluable new service option for Metro's transit customers. The multitude of bus and rail connections at Union Station makes the convenience of FlyAway service available to tens of thousands of daily transit riders."
More than 50,000 trips are made through Union Station on a daily basis, which includes those trips made via Metro Red and Gold Lines, Metrolink and Amtrak trains, DASH, Metro and various municipal bus operators.
To encourage the use of public transit, from March 15 through March 31, riders presenting tickets or passes from public transit operators, including taxi receipts, can receive a free FlyAway roundtrip ticket.
The new non-stop FlyAway operates from Berth 9 at Patsaouras Transit Plaza, which is located on the east side of Union Station at Gateway Center (Metro headquarters) and is accessed by car via Vignes Street. Buses run in both directions every 30 minutes between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 a.m., and every hour from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The buses depart Patsaouras Transit Plaza and LAX on the hour and half-hour everyday, including weekends and holidays.
The 20-mile ride costs $3 one-way for adults, $2 for children between 2 and 12 years, and free for children under 2 years. Tickets are available from a kiosk staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and located a few feet from the FlyAway stop at Patsaouras Transit Plaza.
FlyAway buses will drop off passengers at LAX on the Upper/Departures Level in front of each terminal. Passengers departing LAX will be picked up on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal under green signs marked "FlyAway, Buses and Long-Distance Vans."
Parking for up to 30 days is available at Gateway Center Garage (enter on Vignes Street) for $6 a day for a 24-hour period. Five hundred covered parking spaces are available for FlyAway customers.
Cash only is accepted for the bus ride. An automated teller machine (ATM) is located inside Union Station (Alameda Street side). Cash and checks are accepted for parking.
FlyAway buses are designed with luggage bays and feature cushioned seats. Porter service will be available to riders. The new service complies with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Parking slots for vehicles displaying disabled placards or license plates are available in the Gateway Center Garage.
In collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, Los Angeles Airport Police officers will ride the FlyAway buses on a random basis and patrol the FlyAway Berth 9 area on foot. Bomb detection canine teams will conduct periodic sweeps of the buses, Berth 9 area and luggage. The security operation will also include the Van Nuys bus service.
The new service is part of LAWA's ground transportation initiatives to expand its FlyAway bus system to improve passenger convenience, and to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions by encouraging high-occupancy vehicle ridership. The new Union Station location is part of a plan that will eventually add seven more locations around Southern California to the FlyAway system by 2015. LAWA also plans to add FlyAway service to its other commercial passenger facilities at Ontario International and Palmdale Regional Airports as demand warrants.
The new FlyAway service is offered through a three-year agreement with Metro. Metro will allow LAWA to use Union Station's Patsaouras Transit Plaza, provide parking for 500 vehicles at the Gateway Parking Garage, and allow the operation of an information and ticket sale kiosk on the plaza.
The FlyAway from Union Station builds upon LAWA's experience operating the popular FlyAway service from Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valey. The Van Nuys FlyAway bus has served over 18 million riders and saved 396 million vehicle miles traveled in the region since it began in 1975. LAWA ground transportation experts estimate 2,000-plus cars are removed from local streets and freeways everyday due to VNY FlyAway operations. A new state-of-the-art FlyAway terminal opened at Van Nuys Airport in December 2004. The park-and-ride facility has over 2,000 covered parking spaces in a five-level structure and another 500 spaces in a surface lot.
Also on March 15, fares for the popular Van Nuys FlyAway bus service will be adjusted to match fares on the Union Station service. The parking rate at the Van Nuys FlyAway will remain $4 per day with a 30-day maximum stay.
Further information on the two LAX FlyAway bus routes at Union Station/Patsaouras Transit Plaza and at Van Nuys Airport is available by calling 1-866-I FLY LAX (1-866-435-9529), or visiting www..lawa.org/lawaGT.cfm.
Expansion of the FlyAway bus service also is a requirement of the LAX Master Plan Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program and one of the conditions of the recent settlement of lawsuits filed against the LAX Master Plan.
SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports
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