Southern Californians are accustomed to traffic.
But in Little Saigon they can let someone else do the driving – at least for a little while.
The Little Saigon shuttle runs 23 daily round trips, transporting shoppers from one destination to another to keep them from having to fight parking and traffic. The shuttle, which is free to ride, runs in 20-minute loops and makes three stops.
The shuttle has been heartily welcomed by the locals and visitors traveling in Asian Garden Mall – Phước Lộc Thọ area since it launched in October. The 20-seat bus travels the rectangle from Bolsa Avenue to Brookhurst Street to Bishop Place to Magnolia Street daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On its route, the shuttle transports riders to a supermarket, small shopping centers, eateries and chic stores on Bolsa Avenue, and a residential neighborhood.
Within the bustling business area, traffic congestion and competition for parking spaces in Little Saigon has grown. Because of that, some younger Vietnamese Americans avoid the area; some of the older people who have moved to the area for convenience have found navigating the area anything but convenient.
One rider, Ms. Ty, carried a couple of plastic bags filled with Vietnamese herbs and groceries from the ABC supermarket while waving for the shuttle at the bus stop. The shuttle has made all the difference for her.
“I went to the market,” she said. “The bags are so heavy, so I climb on the bus to get home. My house is just one block away from the shuttle stop.”
One of the shuttle drivers, Stephanie, said there are some regulars who hop on with her every day, showing their reliance on the relatively new service.
“Usually people only go a couple of stops, and you might see the same people a few times a day. I know I pick up a couple of people three or four times a day because people go here and there and home,” she said.