Metro Rapid

Metro Rapid is a local express bus service in Los Angeles County, California with bus rapid transit characteristics. It operates in mixed traffic environments and has fewer stops than the Metro Local service. The system is mainly operated by Metro. Two routes are operated by Big Blue Bus, one by Culver CityBus and one by Torrance Transit. The Rapid program speeds up travel time for passengers, complementing the Metro Local bus network operated by the Metro as well as other bus routes operated by smaller agencies.

Metro Rapid
Metro Rapid bus on line 761 Los Angeles 2007-03.jpg
A NABI 60-BRT bus on Line 761 heading to Westwood
FoundedJune 24, 2000
LocaleLos Angeles County, California
Service typebus service, bus rapid transit
OperatorLos Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
Big Blue Bus
Culver CityBus
Torrance Transit

Metro Rapid buses are distinguished by their prominent red color. Based on availability of equipment, units in non-Metro Rapid livery may be placed into service on lines that normally use Metro Rapid buses.

To speed up travel times, buses are equipped with special transmitter devices that send a signal to traffic lights, which cause them to favor the bus by holding green lights longer and shortening red lights. Metro Rapid buses also stop less frequently than Metro Local buses, with Rapid stops located only at major intersections and transfer points. The frequency of Metro Rapid buses is increased as well, as more buses on a line translates to less wait time at each station. All Metro Rapid buses are low-floor CNG buses for faster boarding and alighting.

As a result of a recent[when?] federal court consent decree ruling, beginning in June 2006 almost all Rapid routes began operating from at least 5 am to 9 pm, five days a week, with a maximum of 10-minute peak headways and 20-minute midday and evening headways. Some Rapid routes operate on weekends as well.


Metro bus stop sign for Local line 4 and Rapid line 704 in Santa Monica.

The Metro Rapid Program was implemented in June 2000-December 2002 with the goal of improving bus speeds within urbanized Los Angeles County. Lines 720 (Wilshire), 745 (Broadway), 754 (Vermont) and 750 (Ventura) were the pilot routes of the program. Metro claims travel times were reduced by as much as 29%.

Metro Rapid stop

Metro Rapid buses are distinguished by their red and silver livery. Some Rapid stops are equipped with "NextBus" technology which indicates the wait time before the next bus arrives. NextBus displays were installed mostly at stops on Lines 720 and 750.

Metro Rapid Lines 720, 770 and 780 are the only lines that complement multiple lines (the 720 runs alongside the 18 and 20; 770 runs alongside 68 and 70; and the 780 runs alongside the 180, 181 and 217); Lines 720 and 780 are the longest routes in the Metro Rapid system. They take roughly 2 hours from start to end during rush hours. Also, line 720 is the most frequent of all Rapids. In the morning rush hour, the Rapid 720 ranges from every 2–10 minutes.

Metro Rapid NABI 60-BRT articulated bus in downtown Los Angeles

A year after Metro introduced SmartBus technology on most of their buses, marquees were modified on most Metro Rapid buses in which the "STOP REQUESTED" portion scrolls across the marquee instead of staying in place and "PLEASE USE REAR EXIT" scrolls slowly. Months later, marquees were switched back to their original format.

The fare is the same as other Metro bus and rail service. Routes are numbered in the 700 series (7xx).

On February 2020, Metro announced their NextGen Bus Plan that proposed an elimination of the majority of the Metro Rapid lines and merge them into their Metro Local counterpart. All Metro Rapid routes, except for Lines 720 and 754, will be discontinued, while the remaining Rapid lines will serve as rush hour routes and Line 761 will return with a new terminal to Sylmar Metrolink Station.


Critics[who?] see the Metro Rapid system as not sufficient to meet Los Angeles' growing transit needs. Limited funds, they say, would be better spent on extending the region's rail network. Rapid buses do not have the capacity or efficiency of light- or heavy-rail technology.

Other critics[who?] claim that Metro Rapid is a triumph of marketing over substance. For many years, Metro and its predecessor, the SCRTD, operated limited-stop routes, which were similar to Metro Rapid service in the middle of their routes (serving only transfer points and major stops), but made local stops at each end. Rapid buses do not change traffic signals outside of the City of Los Angeles because only the City has tied the transponders to the signal network. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is working on rectifying the problem for all the other cities where Rapid buses pass through, but individual signals have to be reprogrammed to give signal priority to Rapid buses. In addition, only Rapid-branded buses have transponders, which causes problems when not enough Rapid buses are available (or conversely, when Rapid-branded buses are used on Local service).

Another complaint concerns the placement of Local and Rapid stops at separate locations at the same intersection.[citation needed] This was done to eliminate the backing up of buses at stops, but has resulted in a dangerous move called the "Rapid Bus Shuffle", in which a rider waiting at a Local stop runs to a Rapid stop, or vice versa, if the other bus arrives first. In response, some Rapid stops are placed adjacent to Local bus stops.

In addition, civil rights organizations like the Bus Riders Union complain about cutbacks in Local service required to implement Rapid service. Generally, between 25 and 50% of Local service is cut and replaced by Rapid service. Thus, riders not living or working near a Rapid stop must walk a longer distance to an intersection with both Local and Rapid stops, or wait longer for a Local bus. The Special Master of the consent decree between Metro and the BRU has ordered that no more than 33% of the resources for Rapids come from Local service.

Metro staff has never considered Metro Rapid a substitute for rail service, but is instead a pragmatic interim measure given current budgetary constraints.[citation needed]

Another major complaint is the lack of Saturday, Sunday, and holiday service on several of its high-volume routes like the 705, 710 and 740 where many patrons commute from inner-city suburbs, Downtown LA, or the South Bay to major cities for their jobs and local shopping.


Current Metro Rapid RoutesEdit

Route Terminals via Days of Operation Notes
Santa Monica
2nd St & Santa Monica Bl
Downtown LA
Union Station
Santa Monica Bl Daily (Mon-Sat: 5:00a-9:00p; Sun: 7:00a-8:00p)
  • Service began June 2007, replaced Line 304 and operates alongside Line 4
West LA
Santa Monica Bl &

Sepulveda Bl

Santa Monica
Downtown Santa Monica station
Commerce Center
Wilshire Bl, Whittier Bl Daily (M-F: 4:30a-1:00a; Sa/Su: 5:00a-1:00a)
  • Service began June 2000, one of the two original routes, replaced Lines 318, 320 and 322, and operates alongside Lines 18 and 20
Westwood, Los Angeles
Wilshire Bl & Westwood Bl
Downtown LA
6th St & Central Av
Koreatown, Los Angeles

Wilshire/Vermont station

Santa Monica
Ocean Av & Arizona Av
Downtown LA
Union Station
Venice Bl Daily (5:00a-11:00p)
  • Began June 2010, replaced Line 333 and operates alongside Line 33 (which replaces service during late evening and early morning hours)
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando station

West LA

Expo/Sepulveda station

Sepulveda Bl Weekdays (5a-10:15p)
  • Began June 2006, operates alongside Line 234 (which replaces service everyday during late evenings and early mornings and all day on weekends)
Van Nuys Bl & Glenoaks Bl
Reseda Bl & Devonshire St (weekdays only)
Van Nuys Bl, Ventura Bl, Reseda Bl Daily (M-F: 5a-10p; Sa/Su: 5:30a-8p)
  • Began December 2014, replaced Lines 741 and 761 and operates alongside Lines 233 and 240
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles

Sherman Oaks Galleria

Canoga Park, Los Angeles

Canoga station

Studio City, Los Angeles

Universal City/Studio City station

Ventura Bl Weekdays (5a-10:30p)
  • Began June 2000, one of the two original routes, operates alongside Line 150
East Hollywood
Vermont Av & Hollywood Bl
Vermont Av & 120th St
Vermont Av Daily (M-F: 5:00a-9:30p; Sa: 6:00a-9:15p; Su: 6:00a-8:30p)
  • Began December 2002, replaced Line 354 and operates alongside Line 204
East Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hollywood/Western station


Crenshaw station

Western Av Weekdays (5:00a-9:30p)
  • Began December 2005, replaced Line 357 and operates alongside Line 207
Downtown LA
Broadway & Venice Bl
El Monte

El Monte Station

Cesar E. Chavez Av, Garvey Av Weekdays, Saturday (M-F: 5:00a-9:00p; Sa: 6:15a-7:15p)
  • Began December 2007, replaced Lines 368 and 370 and operates alongside Lines 68 and 70

Pasadena City College

Culver City

West Los Angeles Transit Center

Colorado Bl, Hollywood Bl, Fairfax Av Weekdays (5:00a-8:45p)
  • Began operating in December 2004
  • Replaced 380 in June 2005 to have a western terminus at Hollywood/Highland Station and combined it with the 717 in June 2006 to extend to its current western terminus at West Los Angeles Transit Center.
  • Operates alongside Lines 180, 181 and 217
Van Nuys Bl & Woodman Av
West LA

Expo/Sepulveda station

Van Nuys Blvd, Interstate 405 Operates on Weekdays during rush hours (4:45-10am; 2:30-8:15pm) as a Rapid Express
  • Began December 2014
  • Closed-door along the San Fernando Valley for northbound service and Westwood for southbound service
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando Station

Downtown LA
Hill St & Venice Bl
San Fernando Rd Weekdays (4:45a-9:20p)
  • Began June 2008, replaced Line 394 and operates alongside Lines 94 and 224

Rapid routes operated by other agenciesEdit

Route Terminals via Days of Operation Notes
Big Blue Bus Rapid 3
Santa Monica
4th St & Wilshire Bl
Westchester, Los Angeles

Aviation/LAX station

Lincoln Bl Weekday peak hours (6:10a-9a, 2p-6p)
Big Blue Bus Rapid 7


Santa Monica
Broadway & 5th St
Koreatown, Los Angeles

Wilshire/Western Station

Pico Bl Weekdays (6a-7:30p)
Big Blue Bus Rapid 12


Westwood, Los Angeles

UCLA Charles E Young/P2 Hub

Palms, Los Angeles

Overland Av & Venice Bl

Westwood Bl, Overland Av Daily (M-F: 5:30a-11:00p; Sa/Su: 6:30a-11:00p)
  • Operated by Big Blue Bus
Culver CityBus Rapid 6
Westwood, Los Angeles


Westchester, Los Angeles

Aviation/LAX Station

Sepulveda Bl Weekdays (5:50a-9:57a; 2:20p-7:35p)
Torrance Transit Rapid 3
Redondo Beach

South Bay Galleria

Long Beach

Downtown Long Beach Station

Carson St, Avalon Bl, Pacific Coast Hwy Weekdays (6:05a-10:20a; 2:15p-7:40p)

Former routesEdit

Route Terminals via Notes/History
West Hollywood
West Hollywood Library
Vernon Av & Santa Fe Av
La Cienega Bl, Vernon Av
  • Service began June 2004 and operated alongside Line 105. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Koreatown, Los Angeles
Wilshire/Western Station
Redondo Beach

South Bay Galleria

Crenshaw Bl
  • Service began February 2004, replaced Line 310 and operated alongside Line 210. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.

Inglewood Transit Center

Bell Gardens
Florence Av & Garfield Av
Florence Av
  • Began service on June 29, 2003 to replace the Local Limited Line 311.
  • Replaced by Line 311 in December 2010 and 311 was cancelled in 2016.
Beverly Hills
Santa Monica Bl & Canon Dr
Grand/LATTC Station Beverly Bl
  • Originally operated daily before the service cut to only on weekday peak hours
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership
Westchester, Los Angeles

LAX City Bus Center


Downey Depot Transportation Center

Manchester Bl, Manchester Av, Firestone Bl
  • Began service in June 2008, replaced the Local Limited Line 315 for weekday services
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership

Inglewood Transit Center


Hollywood/Vine station

Culver City

West Los Angeles Transit Center

Hollywood Bl, Fairfax Av
  • Began operating in June 2005, replacing the Local Limited Line 317, which began in December 2004
  • Merged with Line 780 in June 2006
Sylmar, Los Angeles

Sylmar/San Fernando Station

North Hollywood, Los Angeles

North Hollywood station

San Fernando Rd, Lankershim Bl
  • Began service in June 2008, and operated alongside Metro Line 224
  • Discontinued in June 2009 due to low ridership [1]
Century City, Los Angeles
Constellation Bl & Century Park W
Downtown LA
Union Station
Olympic Bl
  • Began December 2007, replaced Line 328 and operates alongside Line 28. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Mid-City, Los Angeles
Pico/Rimpau Transit Center
Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo/Arts District station

Pico Bl
  • Began operating in June 2008, replaced Local Limited Line 330.
  • Reverted to Line 330 in June 2012
Jefferson Park, Los Angeles

Expo/Crenshaw station

Redondo Beach

South Bay Galleria

Crenshaw Bl, Hawthorne Bl
  • Began December 2004, replaced Line 340 and operated alongside Line 40. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Reseda Blvd & Devonshire St
Ventura Bl & Reseda Bl
Reseda Bl
  • Began operating in December 2006
  • Replaced by Line 744 in December 2014
Downtown LA
Union Station
South LA

Harbor Freeway station

  • Began December 2002, replaced Line 345 and operated alongside Line 45. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Cypress Park, Los Angeles
Av 28 & Idell St
Huntington Park
Palm Pl & Seville Av
Av 26, Daly St, Soto St
  • Began June 2004, replaced Line 350 and operated alongside Line 251. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Downtown LA
5th St & Beaudry Av

Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station

Central Av
  • Began operating in June 2008, replaced Local Limited Line 350
  • Discontinued in December 2010 due to low ridership
Downtown LA
5th St & Beaudry Av

Long Beach Boulevard station

Santa Fe Av, Pacific Bl, Long Beach Bl
  • Began June 2007, replaced Line 360 and operated alongside Line 60. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Van Nuys Bl & Glenoaks Bl
Westwood, Los Angeles

Federal Building

Van Nuys Bl, Sepulveda Bl
  • Began operating in June 2003 and replaced the Metro Express Line 561
  • Replaced by Lines 734 and 744 in December 2014
  • This route may have a chance to return, due to NextGen Proposal Plan.
Fair Oaks Av & Colorado Bl

Artesia station

Fair Oaks Av, Atlantic Bl
  • Began June 2008, replaced Line 361 and operated alongside Line 260. Discontinued December 2020 as part of a restructuring.
Imperial Hwy & Atlantic Bl
Downtown LA
Union Station

Del Amo Fashion Center

Martin Luther King Jr. Bl, Crenshaw Bl, La Brea Av, Hawthorne Bl
  • Began operating in June 2007
  • Former Rapid Express Line
  • Operated during weekday peak hours in peak directions
  • Discontinued in June 2008 due to low ridership, although riders have advocated improvements [2], during the service's short life


NABI Metro 45C #8084 on the 780 on the way to Hollywood

The Metro Rapid fleet consists exclusively of low-floor buses manufactured by both North American Bus Industries, and New Flyer.

Other Los Angeles-area RapidsEdit

Foothill Transit's Silver Streak made its debut on March 18, 2007, using the El Monte Busway and the San Bernardino Freeway. This route is not part of the official Metro Rapid program.


  1. ^ "Route Map : 704" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  2. ^ "Route Map : 720" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  3. ^ "Route Map : 733" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  4. ^ "Route Map : 734" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  5. ^ "Route Map : 744" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  6. ^ "Route Map : 750" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  7. ^ "Route Map : 754" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  8. ^ "Route Map : 757" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  9. ^ "Route Map : 770" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  10. ^ "Route Map : 780" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  11. ^ "Route Map : 788" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  12. ^ "Route Map : 794" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  13. ^ a b c "Big Blue Bus Rapid 3 Schedule" (PDF). June 12, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Route Map : 705" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  16. ^ "Route Map : 710" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  17. ^ "Route Map : 711". Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  18. ^ "Route Map : 714". Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  19. ^ "Route Map : 728" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  20. ^ "Route Map : 740" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  21. ^ "Route Map : 741". Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  22. ^ "Route Map : 745" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  23. ^ "Route Map : 751" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  24. ^ "Route Map : 760" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  25. ^ "Route Map : 761" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  26. ^ "Route Map : 762" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  27. ^ "Route Map : 940". Retrieved 2016-08-06.

External linksEdit