The Pickup Line, West Hollywood’s free bus service that ferries weekend partiers up and down Santa Monica Boulevard, continues to be a success.
According to a report by the city’s Economic Development Division, an average of 1,200 people board the trolley each weekend. Surveys of trolley users in January and late February showed that the vast majority like the service. Eighty-four percent “love everything” about the PickUp line and 16 percent are “mostly satisfied.” The trolley runs from along Santa Monica Boulevard from Doheny on the west to Fairfax on the east.
The surveys show that the PickUp Line, which operates from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday, is mostly used by young gay men. In fact, 81 percent of riders are men, 66 percent are 34 years old or younger and 76 percent identify as gay. If the users want anything, it would be extending the service to Sundays (90 percent) and offering a mobile telephone app that shows the PickUp Line’s 20 stops (79 percent said they would use that).
The PickUp Line was launched as an experiment in early August of last year and was intended to run through Dec. 28. The City Council extended the pilot program on a month-by-month basis through June 30 of this year.
The cost of the program from its launch through February was $175,000. The Economic Development Division estimates the total cost through June 30 will be $281,000.
While most PickUp Line users said they saw no need to extend it to LaBrea Avenue on the city’s east side, the Economic Development Division is recommending that the City Council authorize a study of that possibility, including a look at the demographics of east side residents. With the opening of the Huxley apartment building on La Brea at Fountain Avenue and the impending opening of the Dylan building on La Brea and Santa Monica Boulevard and the construction of the Domain West Hollywood building next door, there is likely to be a large increase in young residents on that end of town. The division also recommends studying whether to extend the service to Thursday and Sunday nights.
The only negative sentiment about the PickUp line comes from taxi and valet services. “The launch of the PickUp in August 2013, compounded with the growing popularity of services such as Uber and Lyft, has created a decrease in demand for taxi and valet companies throughout West Hollywood,” the Economic Development Division said in its report. However, it noted, only 11 percent of PickUp Line riders said they would use a taxi if the PickUp Line were not available.