Beverly Hills Tests Transit Pilot Program

The wind carried a surprisingly frosty chill on the morning of March 2, as a small, white bus parked across from the Beverly Hills Public Library. On the back of the bus, a blue “Transit Circulator” sticker was visible, as was a small makeshift sign that read “Hop on the City’s Transit Circulator Test Run.” Otherwise, no fanfare relayed the fact that a much-scrutinized project was about to take a major step toward realization.

Most people that day simply watched the 20-seat bus pass by. Others wanted to hop on thinking that it was somehow connected to one of the Los Angeles Metro Bus Lines that pass through the city. But, in fact, the test run was of a Transit Circulator 21-stop circular route that spans approximately 4.6 miles in Beverly Hills. Two buses began at Burton Way and North Rexford Drive and drove the 30-plus-minute route simultaneously in opposite directions.

An important piece of information gathered from this test run was the time it took to circumnavigate the loop, which generally hovered around 30 minutes. Locations such

as the Beverly Hills Public Library and the Cedars-Sinai Urgent Care facility on Wilshire Boulevard are potential sources of passengers. But it was difficult to gauge demand for the service during this initial test run, as the early morning saw little ridership.

Beverly Hills Transportation Planning Analyst Christian Vasquez told the Courier during the test run that he is optimistic about the program. In particular, he hopes that future visitors to the completed Metro D Line station will use the service to reach their final destination in the city.

“If people just want to do short trips, they can just take this,” he told the Courier. Traffic and Parking Commissioner Hadar Gellar and Commission Vice Chair Lisa Kay Schwartz also joined the test run. They spoke about future goals, such as a microtransit program that is expected to be implemented with this program and a Phase II that would cover in-demand locations like Roxbury Park and Beverly Hills High School. The Traffic and Parking Commission is expected to present a final draft of the plan to the City Council in the spring.