Exactly one month from now, the Expo Line extension will be opening. This is great news for UCLA commuters, who will now have a good alternative to the oft-congested Santa Monica Freeway.
The current Expo Line only runs to Culver City. The 6.6-mile extension adds seven new stations:
- Palms: At the intersection of Palms Blvd. and National Ave.
- Westwood/Rancho Park: This is the best transfer point for buses headed up Westwood Blvd. to Westwood Village and UCLA. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from campus.
- Expo/Sepulveda: Just south of Pico Blvd. Near Sawtelle Japantown.
- Expo/Bundy: About 1.5 miles from the Santa Monica Airport.
- 26th/Bergamot: Adjacent to the Bergamot Station arts complex in Santa Monica.
- 17th Street/SMC: About half a mile from Santa Monica College.
- Downtown Santa Monica: Steps away from the Santa Monica Pier, the beach, Santa Monica Place, the Third Street Promenade, the Palisades Park, Tongva Park and the Santa Monica Civic Center.
Those heading to UCLA should step off the Westwood/Rancho Park station. Beginning June 11, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus will operate its new Rapid 12 service, a more direct route between the Palms station, the Westwood station and UCLA. According to Big Blue Bus, it will run every seven to eight minutes during peak times throughout the school year.
“It was closely replicate the experience of an end-to-end shuttle, and with virtually no wait time at either end due to high frequency,” said Edward F. King, Director of Transit Services at Big Blue Bus, in a Daily Bruin Letter to the Editor.
The new Culver CityBus Rapid 6 will offer a near-direct route between the Sepulveda station and UCLA.
Additionally, UCLA Housing is offering a Saturday BruinBus shuttle—operated by UCLA Transportation—to Santa Monica. BruinBus shuttles are free not just to students but also to Westwood visitors.
UCLA Transportation subsidizes 50% of the BruinGO! Flash Pass, which provides unlimited rides on an Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Culver CityBus. The pass only costs $33 per quarter or $0.50 per ride.
Amid requests to have UCLA Transportation offer a free shuttle from campus to the Expo Line’s Westwood station—which will likely prove to be cost inefficient—King countered that while “having to pay any fare does discourage ridership, we don’t agree that the solution is to overlap service that is already planned to handle the large loads of students. It would waste resources on both sides.”