LBT's Major Changes In Effect: Altered Routes, Cleaner Buses, Mobile Site

LBT hybridbus

The new CNG buses are similar in appearance to the already-being-used hybrid buses except that they say "rideCNG" above the windows instead of "rideHybrid."

Long Beach Transit (LBT) began its series of major changes yesterday and today, with the introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to replace its diesel models, the unveiling of a completely revamped mobile website and the alteration of major routes, including the locally popular Passport and those lines servicing nearby Seal Beach.

The official switch from diesel to CNG vehicles is a major one for the transit authority, as LBT (and everyone in the state due to California emission regulations) will slowly incorporate 64 of the new buses to replace its older ones. Ten feet longer than the previous buses and the ability to provide seats for 10 more passengers, the new buses will complement LBT's current fleet of hybrid electric-gasoline buses.

These new buses, however, were the centerpiece of a rerouting debate that eventually resulted in the removal of LBT buses from OCTA territory of Seal Beach.

Today also marked the launch of the LBT's new mobile website, which provides users with easier access to schedules as well as real-time bus info on the go. The website is not an app and must be accessed through a smartphone's web browser.

According to LBT, the other service changes effective Sunday August 26, 2012 are:

Passport Service Updates
Due to state emissions regulations, the small red diesel buses will be retired and replaced with new CNG Passport buses. Passport A, B and D will be streamlined into LBT’s fixed route service, renamed 121 and 151, and require standard fare along the entirety of the routes, including the downtown area. The Passport C will become the Passport. It will continue to provide free service on its entire route. The Passport will serve the same destinations as the old Passport C with some adjustments due to the introduction of new 40-foot CNG buses. The northern end of the route on Pine will extend up to 10th Street, circle around on 9th Street, then return south on Pine. New stops include the Residence Inn and the Hilton Hotel, in addition to a relocated stop at Hotel Maya, on its way back downtown. There will be a minor change in frequency.

Route 121 (previously Passports A&D): The Passport D route will be combined with most of the Passport A route, and will be renamed route 121; it will serve the same destinations as the old Passport D. Service during the day will operate every 20 minutes seven days per week and every 30 - 60 minutes in the early mornings and evenings. The route will serve the First Street Transit Gallery (on 1st Street, between Long Beach Boulevard and Pine Avenue) at Shelter D for westbound trips and Shelter H for eastbound trips. Standard fares apply.

Route 151 (Previously Passport B):The Passport B route will be renamed 151 and will serve the same destinations as the old Passport B. Service will operate every 20 minutes weekdays and 25 minutes on weekends. The route will no longer travel along Ocean Boulevard, but the same destinations can be accessed via the First Street Transit Gallery (on 1st Street, between Long Beach Boulevard and Pine Avenue) at Shelter D for westbound trips and Shelter H for eastbound trips. Standard fares apply.

Fixed Route Updates
Due to a major reduction in Long Beach Unified School District bus service, Long Beach Transit buses may see a large increase in passengers during the morning and afternoons along routes serving schools. This may result in full buses, so please plan ahead and consider alternative routes.

Route 131: The 131 route will end at Alamitos Bay Landing that was previously served by the Passport A. Travel previously provided into Seal Beach can be made via connections with Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA). Travel hours will extend and weekday service will increase to every 40 minutes. The AquaLink dock at Alamitos Bay Landing can be accessed via a stop prior to the bridge along Marina Drive.

Route 171: The 171 route will end at the Marketplace (PCH at Studebaker). Travel previously provided into Seal Beach can be made via connections with Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA). Frequency will increase and operate every 20 minutes west of CSULB and 40 minutes east of CSULB.

Detailed information is available by calling 562-591-2301, by visiting Long Beach Transit's website, or by obtaining a copy of the updated Transit Guide.

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