Another bus route with a long and interesting history is Metro’s #460, running between Los Angeles and Disneyland (Anaheim). Despite all of the route changes, and competition from Metrolink trains and OCTA commuter buses, #460 remains an important link between Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
#460’s Early History
Line #460 can trace its history to the some of the earliest bus lines in Southern California. In 1916, O.R. Fuller’s White Bus Line (later renamed Motor Transit) also connected LA and Orange County through Montebello and Whittier. Passengers could also use the Valley Stage Line, which ran from LA to Anaheim via Norwalk and Buena Park. Since both the White and Valley bus lines terminated in Anaheim, passengers had to transfer to buses operated by the Crown Stage Company to continue to Santa Ana.
Santa Ana Bus War
In 1920, Crown bought the Valley Stage Line, and combined it with its Anaheim-Santa Ana service. About the same time, Motor Transit acquired the ARG Bus Company, which operated a route between Los Angeles and San Diego, stopping in Santa Ana.
Motor Transit and Crown battled each other in California Railroad Commission hearings, and then in the courts, as to which company had the right to carry people between Los Angeles and Santa Ana. In 1921, the Commission upheld the right of Crown to offer the service; the rights that Motor Transit purchased from ARG did not include local service between the two cities. The Commission’s decision was affirmed in the California Supreme Court
During 1926, the bus operators, with encouragement from the Railroad Commission, divided the traffic among themselves. Motor Transit became a suburban bus operator, while long-distance routes (such as to San Diego) were handled by other companies.
Pacific Electric Takes Over
By 1933, the Motor Transit system had been bought by Pacific Electric. PE used the bus system to supplement, and eventually replace, several of its rail routes. When PE numbered its routes in the 1940s, the routes between LA and Santa Ana were designated #58. Alternate routes were lettered–#58D through Downey, and #58S via Telegraph Road. (There was a #58W, the old Motor Transit route via Whittier. #58W became #72 in 1966.) a #58F “Freeway Flyer” route began using the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) as that facility was completed.
Under Metropolitan Coach Lines (1953-1958), buses started serving Disneyland when the amusement park opened in mid-1955. Several months later, an alternate route between Buena Park and Disneyland via Beach Bl. and Katella Ave. opened.
The #58S (Telegraph Road) became #801; this line ended in Norwalk and no longer served Orange County.
RTD’s “Great Renumbering” of the early 1980s renumbered #801 to #462, and #802 to#460, their current route numbers.
Summer Fun Bus
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, RTD promoted the bus route to tourists as its “Summer Fun Bus” (not to be confused with Funbus, a privately operated shuttle in the Anaheim area) During the 1970s and 80s. #460 not only served Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm, but other tourist attractions such as Movieland Wax Museum, and the Japanese Village and Deer Park. In the busy summer months, RTD operated additional trips, including nonstops from Downtown LA to Knotts and/or Disneyland.
Hello OCTD, Goodbye, RTD
Meanwhile, the Orange County Transit District (OCTD), founded in 1972, was building its own countywide bus system. By the late 1970s, most major streets in Orange County had reasonably frequent OCTD bus service. As OCTD service expanded, RTD service along the same streets was reduced and/or eliminated.
In late 1985, the Anaheim-Santa Ana portion of the route, which the private bus companies of the 1920s had squabbled over, was amicably turned over by RTD to OCTD. #460 was cut back to Disneyland; service from that point to Santa Ana was operated by OCTD #51.
Years went by, and the bus company formerly known as RTD became today’s MTA, or “Metro” in 1993. Upon the Metro Green Line’s start of service in 1995, Metro rerouted the #460 to serve the light rail system’s station in Norwalk (I-105/I-605).
But in June 2003, #460 underwent its most radical change to date. Faced with increasing traffic congestion on I-5 (Santa Ana Freeway), MTA moved #460 onto the HOV lanes on the I-105 and I-110. Since the buses were less likely to be caught in traffic, #460 became (somewhat) more punctual, but service through Downey was lost.
One interesting side note: the new routing also meant changes in Downtown LA. #460’s coming off the I-110 use the 5th and 6th street couplet to the Maple Ave bus parking lot. This is only about a block from 5th and Los Angeles Streets, where the old Motor Transit Terminal used to stand. (The building is still in place, but has been used for non-transportation purposes for many decades.)
Bail, Eli. From Railway to Freeway (Motor Transit history)
“Crown Co. Is Winner in Bus War.” Santa Ana Register, June 9, 1921
Motor Transit Co. vs. Railroad Commission, 64 Cal Dec 278
Western Transit (newsletter of the Western Transit Society)
Southern California Association of Governments. Transit Development Program.
(contains histories of bus routes up to 1971)
Jones, Lionel. Los Angeles Bus Line History Book (updated route histories as of 2004)