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Orange Line upgrades could reduce ride times by 16 minutes

Metro wants to build railroad crossings and a new bridge for the bus route

Orange Line bus pulling up to curb
Commute times along the Orange Line could decrease by more than 30 percent with the proposed changes.
EMBARQ Brasil | creative commons

Riders of Metro’s popular Orange Line could enjoy shorter commute times in the future, thanks to a series of proposed upgrades for the San Fernando Valley bus route.

The Source reports that Metro staff is recommending $280 million worth of improvements for the bus rapid transit line, which would reduce the length of a trip along the whole route from 50 minutes to just 34 minutes.

Right now, Metro requires bus drivers to slow down through intersections to avoid collisions. This has the unfortunate effect of causing the buses to frequently get stuck at lights, as The Source explains.

The proposed changes would add 34 crossing gates at intersections along the route, as well as a mile-long bridge for buses to travel upon between Sepulveda and Van Nuys boulevards. These additions would allow buses to travel through intersections at a normal speed or bypass them altogether, keeping them on track to take advantage of synchronized lights along the route.

Ride time reductions would be especially significant between the North Hollywood and Canoga stations; passengers would see trips on this segment of the route fall from 38 minutes to 25 minutes, according to Metro estimates.

Since opening in 2005, the Orange Line has become one of the agency’s most-used transit lines, carrying more than 25,000 riders daily. Funds for upgrades to the route were included in the Measure M project list approved by voters in November.

Eventually, Metro plans to convert the entire line to light rail, but that project isn’t scheduled for completion until 2057.

If the upgrades to the bus route are approved by the agency’s board of directors, construction would start in 2019 and wrap up by 2025.