Thursday, August 1, 2013

Monrovia Transit - Celebrating 30 Years in Monrovia

We’re not trying to toot our own horn here in the Community Development Department but…Monrovia Transit is celebrating its 30th Anniversary.  Hip, hip, hooray!  Since word has spread about this impressive milestone, Department Staff have been flooded with interview requests from TV, radio, and print media around the nation.  If you’d like to know more about the program, we've included a text version of an interview we gave recently on the Tonight Show.  Or, was it the Today Show? We've given so many interviews lately it's difficult to remember.  (Only's from an interview for a City newsletter.  Enjoy!)   

What is Monrovia Transit?
That’s one of the questions I get asked most frequently.  Often referred to as “dial-a-ride,” Monrovia Transit is a curb-to-curb service that does not follow fixed routes or schedules.  Operating very much like an airport shuttle, you’ll share a ride with multiple passengers and the vehicle may make a few stops before your final location.  In other words, you tell us where to go and we’ll get you there – of course as long as it’s within our service area.  

Also, I’d like to mention that there isn’t a formal sign up process to use Monrovia Transit.  Passengers just need to call (626) 358-3538 to schedule a ride, which they can do 24-hours a day.  Monrovia Transit is open seven days a week, with the exception of a few holidays.  Monday through Friday the hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  On Saturday and Sunday the hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For more information I’d encourage people to check out our website at:

What year did the Monrovia Transit start?  Why was it implemented?
It’s funny you should ask, this year marks Monrovia Transit’s 30th Anniversary.  Hey, wait a second…is that why we’re being interviewed?  Now I’m connecting the dots.  All joking aside, Monrovia Transit began in 1983 as a way to help seniors and disabled get around town.  Later the service expanded to include the general public as a way to improve the City’s public transportation offerings.  Since the City does not have control over the Metro and Foothill Transit bus lines, it filled in the gaps by opening up Monrovia Transit to the general public.  The only group we don’t provide service to is school aged children – at least not during the school year between the hours of 8:00 and 4:00 p.m.  The reason for that is school transportation would greatly impact the quality of our service, and could jeopardize our funding as well.

What’s Monrovia Transit’s Service Area?
Our service area includes the City of Monrovia, Bradbury, unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County adjacent to Monrovia, and Target in Duarte (a designated transfer point to Duarte Transit). With 24-hour notice, we’ll also take passengers to medical appointments at physician’s offices within three miles of City Limits, as well as the City of Hope.  While we won’t be taking people to the beach or Disneyland anytime soon, our service area is comprehensive.

The numbers. How many riders does it serve annually?  Can you estimate how many riders over the 30 years?
We’re averaging about 50,000 rides a year right now.  Or, more than 4,000 trips a month, depending how you’d like to break down the numbers.  The figures going back over the last 30 years would be difficult to say since the service has changed some over the years.  I’d need to dig into the files a bit to come up with that total.

Has the program changed over the 30 year history?
Yes.  We’re constantly looking for ways improve our service so changes are going to occur over time.  I mentioned two of our biggest changes earlier, becoming a general public service and the expansion of our service area.  We also get a lot of helpful feedback and new ideas through community outreach and customer comment cards that we’ve placed inside all of our Monrovia Transit vehicles.

Where does the funding come from?
Monrovia Transit is primarily funded by the City’s Proposition A Local Return, which is ½ cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 1980.  Additional money comes from farebox revenue, reimbursements from service contracts with the County of Los Angeles and City of Bradbury, and something called an Incentive Grant which we’re eligible for as a result of our contract with the County.  

Is there any interesting fact or tidbit that you think people will want to know?
Sure, there are a few I can think of off the top of my head.  One is that although our costs grow each year (due to personnel, fuel, and other expenses), our fare has not changed in some time. A one-way trip for our general public passenger is $1.00.  Seniors and disabled pay only $0.75.  Another fun fact is that we serve the public about 360 days a year, which is pretty impressive.  The final fact is that we transport over 50,000 passengers per year, which is the equivalent of over 4,000 riders per month.  In other words, we keep pretty busy.