End of the line for Bakersfield-to-LAX bus service

End of the line for Bakersfield-to-LAX bus service »Play Video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Local travelers are losing a handy link to the airport in Los Angeles. Airport Bus of Bakersfield will shut down as of Aug. 31, leaving passengers looking for a new way to get to LAX.
"It leaves a lot of people stranded," Bob Petker said. "I don't know what they're going to do, there's no service coming up doing this."

That seems to be the case.
Airport Bus is now part of Horizon Coach Lines, and spokesman Don Hadden told Eyewitness News by phone on Thursday they have to eliminate the service.

"The reason is declining passenger numbers," he said. Hadden also said his company has not heard of any other company coming in to replace Airport Bus.
"I can't understand it, because the buses are usually full or at capacity," Petker said.
The service has been running for more than 30 years under several different owners, local Airport Bus manager Karyn Pfening said. Signs and fliers at their facility on F Street have announced the closure.
"We'll operate through the last bus from LAX on Aug. 31, and then that will be it," Pfening said.

She also said since the decision was made, her staff has been getting lots of calls from passengers who are worried about how they'll get to LAX now.
Airport Bus has offered five trips a day to LAX and back to Bakersfield.
"It's sad for all of us, and it's sad for the community that depends on the transportation to the airport," Pfening said. "Some of them come every week, some of them commute every week to fly someplace."

She also wonders what options travelers have now.
Amtrak operates buses from Bakersfield to its Union Station in Los Angeles, and from there travelers can pick up LAXFlyAway Bus. But, by state law Amtrak bus tickets can only be sold in conjunction with a train trip.
Some travelers tell Eyewitness News it would be possible to buy an additional short train ticket, from Wasco to Bakersfield, for example.
Pfening said there is Greyhound Bus, but that also has challenges for local travelers trying to reach LAX.
"In the case of Greyhound, you would have to catch a cab from the Greyhound station over to the LA Union station to catch the FlyAway bus that goes out to the airport," Pfening said.
And Petker also listed other ways to get to LAX that sound like a lot of trouble.

"Going in a cab, or somebody has to drive them, they have to drive themselves and store their car (at the airport). It's just a big problem," he said.
Pfening said four Airport Bus employees will lose jobs when the service stops. Other local employees here will continue to work at other operations they run under different contracts.
Asked about the number of passengers, Pfening said they've had 180 to 200 travelers a day and sometimes more. She said Airport Bus has been running at about 56,000 riders a year.

"We were as high as 65,000 in 2006," she said.
But, it all ends at the end of August.
"I'm sorry they're going," Petker said. "It's going to hurt a lot of people."