AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Admittedly, the first few days of the line’s debut seemed to bear out Alarc n’s warning about safety. But MTA officials correctly attributed early crashes to drivers getting used to the new detours and crossing lights. Indeed, the busway is now considered by transit officials to be the system’s safest bus line. Despite one recent accident, it’s still safer than the light-rail line between downtown L.A. and Long Beach. Now, as the Valley celebrates the first anniversary of the long-anticipated busway, it’s important that transit officials capitalize on the popularity of public transportation by Vals, and not spend all their attention on the billion-dollar boondoggles over the hill. The Chatsworth extension of the line must be a priority. And it’s imperative that north-south busways are built to connect with the Orange Line through the heart of the Valley along a corridor in the East Valley. The first year surpassed all expectations. There’s no reason the second year can’t as well. BEFORE the San Fernando Valley’s Orange Line busway opened to great fanfare a year ago today, a lot of predictions were made about how it would fare. Transportation officials thought it would take 15 years for the busway to attract 20,000 riders a day in this car-loving culture. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials anticipated 5,000 to 7,000 boardings a day. State Sen. Richard Alarc n predicted death and destruction, because the bus was “unsafe at any speed.” The predictions were way, way off. And what’s clear is that the Orange Line is safer and more sound than anyone could have imagined when the $350 million project was first unveiled. Within the first few days, rider estimates were blown out of the water with 11,000 daily boardings. Soaring fuel prices kept people from returning to their cars once the allure of the bus commute wore off. Now, an average of 21,000 people board the sleek silver buses every day. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!