Long Beach Transit service reductions take a toll

Students using the U-Pass Program may notice that some of the busses don’t come around as frequently as they used to.

That’s because Long Beach Transit decreased the frequency of its service on Aug. 29 due to state budget cuts.

Evening services for Route 181-182 and Passport B/4th Street will now arrive every 30 minutes instead of the previous 15 minutes. Passport C/Pine Avenue-Queen Mary will dock every 20 minutes.

In Route 172/PCH-Palo Verde, transportation to and from the Los Cerritos Mall is restricted to daytime hours, Monday through Friday.

Long Beach Transit encouraged riders to prepare for delays and overcrowding.

Larry Jackson, president and CEO of Long Beach Transit, said that changes and reductions in service frequency “would not seriously impact the quality of service for [transit riders].” Jackson asked for patience from riders affected by what he calls a “financial storm impacting transit agencies throughout California.”

Marcelle Epley, marketing manager for Long Beach Transit, said that the increased cost of diesel fuel and decreased state funding is why the transit system reduced its services.

“Bus stops around the junior high and high schools have been [most heavily] impacted due to the dual cuts made to public transit and LBUSD school bus service,” Epley said.

Epley added that a return to the original, more frequent schedule might happen next year. She said that the transit service modifies its schedule in February, June and August to coincide with school sessions.

Though it appears to have hit hardest in neighboring communities, direct notice of the change in on-campus bus traffic has not been substantial this early on.

“We won’t be able to get a true understanding of [the service reduction’s] effects until about a month into the semester when people really begin to understand the [permanent] change in place,” said Mark Rudometkin, Cal State Long Beach general manager of campus parking and transportation.

“I’d like to think it’ll be smooth, but anytime you reduce a community’s primary source of transportation, there’s obviously going to be some concerns,” Rudometkin said.

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