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Local News Briefs

Big Blue Bus Fall Service Changes Start August 24, 2014

Route 3 is being restructured into two routes and 15 other routes are changing.

It’s that time again: students start classes, commuters head back to the office after summer vacations and Big Blue Bus (BBB) adjusts its schedules and routes for these annual changes in ridership demand. This year, the fall service change will begin Sunday, August 24. BBB is making many changes, including a major service modification on Route 3 and other smaller changes on 15 different routes that include new schedules on Route 1 and increased service on Rapid 3 (serving Lincoln Blvd.) and Rapid 7 (serving Pico Blvd.) to accommodate heavy demand when Santa Monica College students return to class.

BBB’s Route 3, currently traveling all the way from the Metro Green Line Aviation Station to UCLA, through downtown Santa Monica, will be split into two separate routes. The southern portion, from the Green Line Station to Downtown Santa Monica will remain “Route 3” and the portion from Santa Monica to UCLA is named “Route 3M” to designate the service along Montana Ave.

“Changes to Route 3 stem from significant on-time challenges with this long route that travels through five major traffic bottlenecks. The 95-minute service time is twice the average of BBB’s other routes,” says Edward F. King, Director of Transit Services. “This simply is not acceptable from a customer service and service quality standpoint,” continued Mr. King. “By splitting the routes into two separate services, BBB is able to make operational changes to increase driver recovery time and reliefs that will significantly improve the service performance for customers. However, there are always trade-offs. Eighty percent of customers will only experience positive changes, but customers currently traveling through downtown Santa Monica will have to connect to a second bus and cash paying customers will have to pay a second fare.” Big Blue Bus is encouraging these customers to buy pre-paid day-passes or monthly passes which will work out to cost less than the $1 per ride fare.

Free Wi-Fi is Now Available in LA

Following suit with Santa Monica’s “City Wifi” service, the City of LA now offers free wifi in certain parks, including Venice Beach.

Park-goers will be able to connect their laptops, tablets and e-readers to public Wi-Fi networks at Cabrillo Beach, Echo Park Lake, Griffith Observatory, Pershing Square, Reseda Park and Venice Beach.

The city’s Department of Recreation and Parks teamed up with American Park Network to install the free Wi-Fi. The system was paid for entirely by Toyota, according to American Park Network Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Mark Saferstein, who said the free Wi-Fi is intended to get more people to enjoy the city’s parks.

“It’s a way to get families who might not go to a park to go there and share with their friends on social media,” he said.

The “Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi” service, as it’s called, officially launched Thursday but has been getting tested since July. Park goers will have access to the network at designated spots throughout the parks. In Venice Beach, for example, the coverage area will include Muscle Beach, the skate park and the basketball courts.

Saferstein said the speed of the Wi-Fi service varies depending on the park, but he said users will have high-speed connections that will allow them to check their email or post a picture to social media. However, park goers shouldn’t expect to be able use the Wi-Fi to stream movies.

The program is also launching in various parts of New York, and Saferstein said that eventually it may be expanded to more parks in Los Angeles as well as other cities.

Library Now Offers Dynamic Content for Smartphones, Tablets and PCs

Santa Monica Public Library today announced public availability of thousands of movies, television shows, music albums and audiobooks, all available for mobile and online access through a new partnership with hoopla digital.

Santa Monica library cardholders can download the free hoopla digital mobile app on their Android or IOS device or visit to begin enjoying thousands of titles – from major Hollywood studios, record companies and publishers – available to borrow for instant streaming or temporary downloading to their smartphones, tablets, computers and Apple TV.

“We are thrilled to increase the Library’s online offerings,” said Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, Director of Library Services. “By doing so, we are able to provide 24/7 access and a new way for our cardholders to engage with the library’s resources. Customers only need a library card to stream or download dynamic content, and all content is free of charge. There is no waiting period for popular titles and hoopla’s automatic return means no late fees.” Library cards are free for Santa Monica residents.

Santa Monica Public Library is the sixth library system in California to partner with the service. hoopla digital partners with public libraries to provide online and mobile access to thousands of movies, TV shows, videos, music and audiobooks. Card-holders can borrow, instantly stream and download free dynamic content with a valid library card. All content is accessible via hoopla digital’s mobile app and online


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