RTD's Political Years: 1986-1993 (The Third Decade)
... and the "second coming" of MTA
The last major adjustments to RTD service in the Valley took place between September 28, 1986 and June 23, 1991. This map illustrates how RTD service was configured just before that period, which essentially went unchanged after the tweaking of the 1975 "grid" restructuring and the "Great Renumbering" of 1983:
(The black dots indicate "points of interest" and line numbers contained within colored blocks were peak-hour only lines.)
On September 28, 1986, constrained by federal funding reductions (a direct result of 1985's Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget Act), RTD cancelled 18 lines system-wide which were determined to be duplicative in nature and made other changes for more efficient service operation. In the San Fernando Valley, this resulted in these changes:
Line 150 on Ventura Blvd. was cancelled, with a realignment and extension of Line 424 between Reseda Blvd. and Topanga Canyon Blvd. providing replacement service on Ventura Blvd. The line was also extended north through Warner Center to Canoga Park. Reseda Blvd. service was replaced by new Line 240.
Line 183 was extended via Magnolia Blvd. from Laurel Canyon Blvd. to Sherman Oaks, and made a branch of Line 234.
Line 420 was realigned from Chandler Blvd. to Burbank Blvd. west of Whitsett Ave. The branch lines -- 421 (which operated as a freeway express between downtown L.A. and Universal City) and 422 (which operated as a freeway express between downtown L.A. and Sherman Oaks) -- were cancelled.
The portion of Lines 420, 421 and 422 that operated via Plummer St. between Panorama City and Northridge became Line 167, which was also extended to De Soto Ave.
Line 425 was realigned from Ventura Blvd. to an extended freeway express segment between Lankershim Blvd. and Van Nuys Blvd. (as a partial replacement for Line 422) and was extended west of Reseda Blvd. by duplicating Line 424 local service to Canoga Park.
The Line 427A "alternate route" line to Warner Center (with local service in Hollywood) was replaced by reverse-direction service on Line 427.
The changes were not enough to balance RTD's operating budget and a decision was made, one year later, to divest 13 express services. On October 5, 1987, under a "Bus Service Continuation Plan" 50% funded by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, RTD transferred Lines 413, 419 and 423 to LADOT; those lines then became part of the expansion of the relatively new Commuter Express service (which had begun December 9, 1985 with an unnumbered line operating between Encino Park-Ride and downtown, absorbed into Line 423 on July 1, 1988 and extended to the Newbury Park-Ride Lot one year later).* LADOT subsequently expanded service in the Valley with six additional Commuter Express lines and five DASH lines.
(* - The list of lines transferred to LADOT was created by LACTC, and also included Line 147 local service between San Pedro and Long Beach; Lines 430 and 431 between downtown Los Angeles and the Westside; and Lines 437, 438 and 448 to Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, and Palos Verdes Peninsula, respectively. The list also transferred Lines 192, 194, 291, 293, 492 and 494 to LACTC, which used them to create the Foothill Transit Zone.)
A little over a year later, on December 25, 1988, additional changes were made:
Lines 94, 163, 165, 169, and 212 were realigned to remove their loop through Burbank Airport.
Lines 96 and 412 were cutback to Laurel Canyon Blvd./Victory Blvd. from the old Division 8 yard at Van Nuys Blvd./Sherman Way. (The yard had been replaced by a new yard in Chatsworth on December 5, 1982.) Line 96 was also realigned to include the Line 97 route segment through the L.A. Zoo.
Line 426 was realigned past Victory Blvd./Laurel Canyon Blvd. to better cover Line 412's former route.
Line 97 was realigned to the Line 96 routing, and Line 152 was extended to Burbank, using the Alameda Ave. - Main St. - Victory Blvd. routing (which had originally been "temporarily" made part of Line 97 when Line 162 was cancelled eight years earlier).
Line 425 was realigned back to limited-stop service on Ventura Blvd. between Lankershim Blvd. and Reseda Blvd., and the segment between there and Topanga Canyon Blvd. was converted to limited-stop service. Line 427 was realigned at the same time to an extended freeway express segment between Reseda Blvd. and Warner Center.
Three line extensions occurred between 1989 and the merger of RTD into MTA:
On June 4, 1990, Line 168 was extended via Paxton St. from Glenoaks Blvd. to Foothill Blvd. Five weeks later -- on July 9, 1990 -- Lines 90 and 91 were extended on weekdays via Foothill Blvd. from the north terminal in Sunland to Sylmar, connecting with Line 168.
And on June 23, 1991, Line 169 was extended via Saticoy St. and Woodlake Ave. to West Hills Medical Center. At about the same time, Lines 163 and 245 had their west terminal moved from Sherman Way/Woodlake Ave.
Minor realignments took place on June 30, 1992 to make service terminating in downtown Burbank (Lines 152, 154, 163, 164 and 165) share a common routing and layover zone, and on October 26, 1992 to create connections with Metrolink (Lines 243 and 245 to Chatsworth Station, Line 152 to Burbank Station and Line 183 to Glendale Station). RTD also briefly operated a Line 152 shuttle between downtown Burbank and Burbank Station to supplement Line 152 service to the station during peak weekday hours.
This map, released at the same time as the June, 1992 changes, was the last issued by RTD:
(Note that the express lines transferred to LADOT five years previous were still appearing on the RTD system map, albeit shown in grey with non-bold line numbers.)
RTD was merged April 1, 1993 with LACTC into the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). In 1994:
MTA began two experimental routes -- Line 545, linking Chatsworth and Northridge with the then-under construction Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station and Line 624, operating a one-way loop route in the West Hills area -- January 18 and January 31, respectively.
MTA coordinated the efforts between itself and other agencies in briefly operating FEMA-funded emergency post-earthquake express service. In addition, the downtown Burbank layover zone for Lines 154, 163, 164 and 165 was realigned the Monday following the quake to Burbank Station to provide Metrolink connections (that arrangement was made permanent in June) and service on Lines 92, 93, 230, 239, and 410 was realigned to Sylmar/San Fernando Station when it opened at the end of January (more than three months ahead of schedule, thanks to LADOT accelerating construction).
No further changes to service occured until the first phase of the San Fernando Valley Transit Restructuring Study was implemented June 25, 1995.
(Thanks to Edmund Buckley of Western Transit and Frank Schroder of MTA's Scheduling Department for their assistance in confirming dates of service changes.)
For those interested in a complete history of the Valley's transit
service from MTA and its predecessor agencies, we have
created a line-by-line matrix on a separate page.