A Rapid 7 crosses the Expo tracks by the Big Blue Bus facility at Colorado and 6th Street as a test train approaches. (Photo by Jason Islas/Santa Monica Next)
A Rapid 7 crosses the Expo tracks by the Big Blue Bus facility at Colorado and 6th Street as a test train approaches. (Photo by Jason Islas/Santa Monica Next)

Be prepared for some changes to Big Blue Bus routes and schedules this Sunday, February 21, when the municipal transit agency begins phase two of its three-part service realignment.

The changes, the single-largest adjustment to service the Big Blue Bus has made in its seven decades, are designed to better integrate the municipal transit services with the coming Expo light rail line, scheduled to start passenger service to Santa Monica in May.

This round of changes affects nearly every route in the system and will add two new routes, 16 and 18, to Big Blue Bus service. Once all three phases of the “Evolution of Blue” plan are fully implemented, we will some exciting stuff, like an “Uber-like” on-demand service on the evenings to help get people home from Expo stations and the addition of several new routes.

Routes 1, 8, and 3M will see some major changes while the rest will get some relatively minor tweaks. You can see the full list of changes happening this Sunday here or below. Click on a specific route name to be taken to a more detailed explanation of the changes.

  • Route 1 will get some major overhauls. The new route will extend south from Main St. and Winward Ave. to Marina Del Rey. Service from Marina Del Rey to Downtown Santa Monica and UCLA will depart from Marquesas Way and Via Marina. The route will no longer run between Main St. and Winward Ave., and Venice Blvd. and Walgrove Ave. This segment will be partially replaced by new Routes 16 and 18. Also, Route 1 will no longer serve Broadway or Santa Monica Blvd. between Ocean Ave. and 4th St. or Ocean Ave. between downtown and Pico Blvd.
  • Route 2 will see a new eastbound stop added at Pico Blvd. and Main St.
  • Route 3 will see some minor schedule changes as well as stop removal.
  • Route 3M, which serves UCLA and Downtown Santa Monica via Montana Ave., will be replaced by Route 18, which will connect UCLA to Abbot Kinney via Montana Ave. and 4th St.
  • Rapid 3 will see only minor schedule changes. You can view the updated schedule here.
  • Route 5 will see some significant schedule changes. In anticipation of new Metro Rail service from Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles, additional service will operate between Century City and Palms Station during weekday morning and evening peak periods. There will also be stops added.
  • Route 7 will see some minor schedule changes.
  • Rapid 7 has some minor schedule changes and a new stop added at 4th and Pico Blvd. for both eastbound and westbound buses.
  • Route 8 will see major changes. The westbound route will change to serve the Downtown Santa Monica Station on 4th St. and Colorado Ave. New routing at Ocean Park Blvd. and 4th St. means Route 8 will now pass under 4th St. instead of going up and over 4th St. This means new stops at 5th Street and the elimination of the stops at 4th St. There will also be some schedule changes.
  • Rapid 10 will see some schedule changes and a couple stops added so that the bus can serve the Expo light rail station at Olympic and Bundy.
  • Route 12 and Rapid 12, which link UCLA to Expo, will both start serving bus stops adjacent to Expo stations.
  • Route 14 will see some minor schedule changes.
  • Route 15 will see some schedule tweaks to better connect with the Rapid 10.
  • Route 16, a new route that will start at Bundy and Wilshre, serve the Bergamot Station Expo stop, and continue to Marina del Rey, will begin service.
  • Route 18, another new route, will start service. It is an expanded version of route 3M, connecting UCLA to Downtown Santa Monica and Venice via Montana Ave. and 4th St.
  • Route 41 will get a name change and increased frequency. Newly christened the “17th St. Station – SMC” will connect Montana Ave. to 17th St. Expo station and SMC, running exclusively in a clockwise circulation pattern.
  • And, route 42 will open on the day rail service starts. It is the counter-clockwise counterpart to route 41.
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