I rode West Hollywood's "CitylineX", a complimentary shuttle that runs at peak hours to and from Hollywood/Highland station along Santa Monica Blvd (the city's main commercial drag) for the first time on Wednesday. and I had a few complaints to vent.
1. Duplication. Metros 704 and 4 local buses also head to the red line (at Santa Monica/Vermont station) with the same or better frequency. You end up paying the same 1.75 single-ride fare either way (since the fares now include bus-train transfers) so not why not just ride whichever bus comes first?
2. If you're going to compete with the 704 bus, at least be faster. Taking the Red Line and CitylineX shuttle from my work (at City Hall) to Weho's Hamburger Mary's restaurant took me about an hour and 10 minutes, only 10 minutes than it would take to ride the Metro and 704 (and walk) all the way to my apartment (about 1.6 miles further down Santa Monica). I have a feeling that this is because: a). You have to ride 6 minutes further up the line to get from Santa Monica/Vermont to Hollywood/Highland station, and b). You have to travel a mile south on one of the most congested stretches of Highland avenue to reach Santa Monica Blvd. from Hollywood/Highland, taking away from the 2.68 mile-westerly advantage of Hollywood/Highland station over Santa Monica/Vermont.
3. Is West Hollywood a 9-to-5 Business District or a sleepy bedrooom community? No! Then, why does the Cityride shuttle only during the peak workday commute times? Indeed, much of West Hollywood's travel activity (even during the week) is generated by late-night entertainment venues or mid-day and evening dining activity. Remember too, that the red line will only get you to either the Valley or Downtown and, given geography, it is just as easy for residents commuting Downtown to take the 704 to the train. A 24-hour service, that captures both evening and mid-day traffic, could benefit both travelers headed from the northeast valley to dine and dance in the city and the two-way club- and dining-bound traffic between Weho, Hollywood and the eastside.
4. What about the (notoriously-congested) Sunset Strip? Santa Monica Blvd is not Weho's only big arterial. (Personally I think a "loop" along both streets) would be ideal.
5. Why not just extend the pickup trolley to Hollywood/Highland and make it all-day?