JPL pilot program buses employees to Gold Line and back as LCF considers opening up a public route – Los Angeles Times


Employees at La Cañada’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory just lately noticed their commuter choices increase with the addition of a short-term free shuttle service between the 6,000-employee facility and Pasadena’s Del Mar station on the Metro Gold Line.

And if all goes nicely, that short-term job perk might turn out to be a extra everlasting boon to La Cañada Flintridge residents at giant.

The “JPL Gold” service — meant to complement a single-path journey from the Gold Line to JPL on Metro’s 177 bus, arriving each 30 minutes solely throughout peak morning hours — now means employees and guests can catch considered one of a number of, extra frequent buses operating in each instructions on weekdays between 5:18 and 11:54 a.m. and then from 1:40 to 7:36 p.m.

JPL rideshare administrator John Miranda stated the program began in April and will run by way of Sept. 29 on a piloted foundation at the price of about $126,000. Already it’s grown in reputation as extra and extra employees commerce of their commuter visitors and website parking woes for a free, no-problem journey to the practice station.

“The success of the program has been overwhelming,” Miranda stated. “We now have the numbers to prove that if [Metro increases] their frequency and their inbound/outbound capacity, we’ll show them the ridership,” he stated.

Between the free shuttle and elevated ridership on the 177, a mean of almost 200 individuals are profiting from the brand new expanded bus every weekday, in accordance to headcount knowledge.

On Tuesday, a type of riders was Santa Monica College scholar Wally Lozano Diaz, who got here to attend a workshop and had to pay for an Uber driver to deliver him from the Gold Line in Pasadena to JPL. The 25-year-previous Hawthorne resident was thrilled to study he might get back to Del Mar Station freed from cost, thanks to the shuttle.

“It made me really excited, because it makes things more accessible,” stated Diaz, who was blowing his scholar stipend on Uber rides. “Those Ubers were going to start killing me.”

JPL’s short-term program might probably develop into extra everlasting as La Cañada Flintridge metropolis officers speak with Miranda and different JPL employees about a value-sharing partnership that might open up the JPL-Gold Line bus route to residents and the broader public.

City Manager Mark Alexander and Director of Administration Carl Alameda are analyzing whether or not Proposition A transportation funds is perhaps utilized to a rideshare partnership with JPL. If so, the nook of Foothill Boulevard and Oak Grove Drive might probably develop into a cease on a common loop.

“We met with JPL about three weeks ago to discuss their program,” Alameda stated in an e mail Monday. “The thought is if the city provides a supplemental service, which would reduce the [current 177]wait times, the service would be more widely used.”

Miranda stated he’s hopeful the JPL pilot program has demonstrated a want for extra parking options and single-rider car options at a facility that’s grow to be extra crowded in recent times.

“We have 6,500 employees and 4,000 parking spaces,” Miranda stated. “In order to make that work, we have to have some mechanism to reduce the number of trips to the lab.”

Currently, about 500 carpools of two or extra employees are a part of that effort, as well as to one other 200 individuals who commute by bicycle often and between 600 and 700 who take part in obtainable van swimming pools, the rideshare administrator stated.

Caltech, which manages JPL, just lately agreed to improve worker subsidies for ridesharing from $35 per 30 days to $50. The mixed effort additionally helps JPL meet mandates put forth by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, requiring corporations who make use of 250 or extra to develop rideshare packages and incentives for employees, with the objective of averaging 1.5 riders per car.

With all its ridesharing choices in impact, Miranda says JPL is averaging 1.63 riders per car. Getting Metro to present extra frequent bus service between the power and the Gold Line would proceed to improve that quantity.

“I hope it happens soon,” he stated of the route’s continuation. “Employees (who share rides) are more productive. Not only are they more productive, they tend to have fewer absences. It’s a win-win.”

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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