New bus priority lanes were launched Wednesday on a 1-mile portion of Grand Avenue and 1.4-mile portion of Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles to help accelerate service for Metro bus riders.

As part of Metro’s NextGen Bus Plan, the new lanes were created in partnership with the city’s Department of Transportation to run southbound on Grand Avenue, from Hope Place to Pico Boulevard, and northbound on Oliver Street, from Pico Boulevard to Second Street.

They’ll operate as bus priority lanes on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Officials expect buses to run as often as every 60 seconds.

“Our bus network is the backbone of our transportation system, and these bus lanes are a clear next step toward faster and more reliable service, higher ridership, and lower emissions,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday at the lanes’ launch. “We are working tirelessly to make our system work better for Angelenos, and this project is a clear example of the type of improvements that will take Angelenos where they need to go faster, and more safely and sustainably.”

Metro surveyed more than 300 bus riders on the corridor and found that 7 in 10 experience delays or reliability issues. Ninety-six percent of surveyed riders said they would ride the bus more if Metro improved trip times, and nine in 10 said they ride the route every day or every week.

“The Grand Avenue and Olive Street dedicated bus priority lanes will enhance mobility and safety for the thousands of people who rely on public transit each day to get to and from school, work, shops, and appointments along these busy corridors,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Hilda Solis. “These bus lanes directly support the low-income households that use these corridors for travel, half of whom fall below the poverty line.”

Metro officials said bus priority lanes have been proven to increase bus speed by 15% or more, as well as improve street safety. With the final phase of the NextGen Bus Plan being implemented on Dec. 19, Metro anticipates that 83% of its riders will have access to buses arriving every five to 10 minutes. Before the plan was launched last summer, only 48% of riders had access to buses arriving that frequently.

Officials said the NextGen Bus Plan increased the number of bus lines running every five to 10 minutes from 16 to 29 on weekdays and from two to 14 on weekends, and doubled the number of residents who live within walking distance of bus lines running every five to 10 minutes.

“We want to build on the success of our earlier bus-only lanes in downtown Los Angeles to make Metro the best transportation option for Angelenos and visitors alike,” Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins said.

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