Burbank Local Transit
Burbank Bus

(The maps on this page come from City of Burbank timetables, with the exception of the LAMTA map, which was taken from a November, 1961 system map of San Fernando Valley service.)

Early Burbank Transit Service (1911-1992)
The earliest transit service to the city of Burbank came when Pacific Electric extended the Glendale Red Car Line via Glenoaks Blvd. on September 6, 1911. It was supplemented by a Original Stage Lines bus route which began running on San Fernando Rd. in 1916. Original Stage Lines' return loop from its Pasadena-Ocean Park line also operated through Burbank, as early as 1919; they also acquired a North Hollywood to Burbank loop route -- originally started as the PE Lankershim-Magnolia Park line -- in 1927. OSL also briefly operated a trial line from downtown Burbank to First National (now Warner Bros.) studios in 1936; this was incorporated into a longer route between Burbank and North Hollywood which was implemented as part of a reorganization of OSL's Burbank routes in 1937 (they also briefly operated a route to and from Union Air Terminal -- via Victory Blvd. and Hollywood Way in 1937-38). Original Stage Lines changed its name to Asbury Rapid Transit in 1939 and again reorganized its North Hollywood-Studio City loop route, this time into direct service routes; they subsequently added a branch route of the San Fernando Rd. line to Union Air Terminal in 1940 and extended the Hollywood-Universal City line to Burbank in 1941. These routes are now part of Metro Lines 92, 94, 155, 183, and 222.

The first "city" bus lines in Burbank were operated by Carl Eckles (who had similar operations in Whittier and Santa Ana) under the name of Burbank Bus Lines. The map at the right shows the route configuration shortly after Eckles began operation: #1 Burbank Blvd.-Victory Blvd., #2 Magnolia Blvd., #3 Olive Ave.-Verdugo Ave.-Alameda Ave., and #4 Empire Ave.-Lockheed Vega. Note the unique method of combining the system map with customer timetable information; instead of issuing timetables, the map included timepoints (only possible with "clock headway" scheduling, but much simplified from a customer perspective). In 1944, Eckles sold that operation to Pacific City Lines (becoming Burbank City Lines), which was acquired by National City Lines two years later.

In 1946, BCL extended service north of downtown via Glenoaks Blvd., restructuring into a three-line system -- #1 Victory Blvd., #2 Glenoaks Blvd.-Verdugo Ave., and #3 Burbank Blvd.-Alameda Ave. -- in the process. At the end of that year, NCL sold the system to former NCL employees A.W. Howe and T.W. Burke.

Asbury began a new route operating north to San Fernando from Lockheed Air Terminal, mainly via Glenoaks Blvd., in 1947. It had originally been applied for the previous year as service to downtown Burbank, but the extension of BCL service on Glenoaks one month after the application forced the routing change.

Burbank City Lines Map

In July, 1949 Burbank City Lines ceased business, though at the request of the city, service continued until the operation was taken over by Asbury Rapid Transit in October. Asbury continued the Victory Blvd. and Burbank Blvd. lines (now part of Metro Lines 154 and 164) and merged the Glenoaks Blvd.-Verdugo Ave. line with their Hollywood-Burbank line (finally creating the line they had applied for in 1946 but were denied because of the BCL service).

The PE Glendale-Burbank Red Car line was cutback twice, in 1940 and in 1949, and converted to bus service (still in existence as Metro Line 92) June 19, 1955.

LAMTA Burbank 1961 Map Both PE and Asbury were absorbed by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA) March 3, 1958. Most of the subsequent changes in service by LAMTA did not involve route changes; the map at the left shows LAMTA service either passing through or terminating in Burbank in 1961. In addition, two lines operated into the city from Glendale by Pacific City Lines -- which had operated into Burbank since June, 1930 as PE feeder lines -- were replaced by LAMTA in December, 1962 after a strike against what was by then National City Lines.

LAMTA was replaced by the Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD) on November 5, 1964; like LAMTA, RTD made several changes to service, most of which did not involve route changes (see the RTD History pages for details of much of this) between then and their replacement by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) on April 1, 1993. Metro remains the dominant service provider in the city of Burbank.

Burbank Local Transit (1992-2005)
In 1992 the city of Burbank opted to use some of their transportation-earmarked sales tax revenue to start three shuttles under the name "Burbank Local Transit" to interact with the new Metrolink commuter rail service.

Burbank Media District Shuttle Map

As the name implies, the Burbank Media District Shuttle (which still operates today on much the same route and schedule as the Metrolink-Media District Shuttle) provided connecting service from the Burbank Metrolink station to major employment sites within the Burbank Media district. The schedule was designed to meet all peak-hour Metrolink trains and, from the beginning, was free with a valid Metrolink ticket or monthly pass. (Later, a $1.00 cash fare was created for passengers not traveling with Metrolink fare media.)

The service was simple: Several minutes after trains arrived in the morning, service operated outbound to the Media District. In the afternoon, service operated inbound from the Media District on a schedule designed to arrive at the Metrolink station several minutes before arriving trains.

In addition, flexible-destination shuttle service was created to serve the areas around downtown and the Burbank Airport.

Downtown Area Shuttle Map Golden State/Airport Area Shuttle Map

Both of these lines were operated under a contract with Prime Time Shuttle (the airport van company) to meet all peak-hour trains, but the service operated without a fixed route; passengers could request a drop-off anywhere within the service areas (shown on the maps above) but had to call before 2:00pm to make a reservation for an afternoon pickup. Service on all three lines began concurrent with Metrolink service, on October 26, 1992, operating peak-hour only (6:00am to 10:00am and 3:00pm to 6:45pm, with the Media District Shuttle operating service until 8:00pm).

The Golden State/Airport Area Shuttle proved popular enough that its drop-off and pickup area was expanded on April 1, 2003 to include an area between the Golden State Freeway and Glenoaks Blvd. (adjacent to the Downtown Area shuttle's area).

Golden State/Airport Area Shuttle Map 2003

Burbank Bus (2005-present)
On February 28, 2005 Burbank Local Transit introduced a new line between North Hollywood Red Line Station and the Media District.

NoHo-Media District Map

Similar to its predecessor to/from Burbank Metrolink Station, the NoHo-Media District Shuttle was scheduled to leave for the Media District several minutes after incoming Red Line northbound trains in the morning, and to arrive at North Hollywood Station several minutes before departing Red Line southbound trains. But unlike previous services, the new shuttle allowed boardings within the Media District loop for the return to North Hollywood.

On September 1, 2005 Burbank Local Transit was renamed Burbank Bus and the two non-fixed route shuttles were converted into loop routes (Empire-Downtown and Downtown Loop). Hours of operation remained the same but the $1.00 cash fare was extended to the two new lines, along with acceptance of Metro passes. The policy established with the NoHo-Media District Shuttle allowing boardings back to the Metrolink station was continued on these lines.

Empire-Downtown Map Downtown Loop Map

Both of the new lines operated one-way loops (as shown on the maps), clockwise in the morning and counter-clockwise in the afternoon. (Downtown Loop ended service after July 31, 2009; according to the city, it was the most expensive line to run due to its relatively low ridership.)

A fifth route (NoHo-Empire) was started October 31, 2005 to connect North Hollywood Station with Bob Hope Airport on a one-way loop.

NoHo-Empire Map

This route differed from all of its predecessors in that it operated a counter-clockwise one-way loop in both morning and afternoon peak-hours. Boardings back to North Hollywood Station around the loop were allowed, as is now the case with all Burbank Bus service (other than the original Metrolink-Media District Shuttle, which still operates only in outbound one-way mode mornings and inbound one-way mode afternoons).

The system map from August 17, 2009 shows the four routes in operation after the Downtown Loop was removed from service, and their relationship to each other within the city limits:

Burbank Bus System Map

(Thanks to former Burbank transportation planner Mark Yamarone for his assistance in confirming dates. Some of the early history comes from the books Ride The Big Red Cars by Spencer Crump and From Railway to Freeway: Pacific Electric and the Motor Coach by Eli Bail. Special thanks to rail historian Wally Shidler for the map of the Burbank City Lines service. The assistance of railfan Dick Shelley is also recognized and appreciated.)

Return to the History Page