Antelope Valley Transit Authority
Governing or Corporate Structure
The Antelope Valley Transit Authority is governed by a Joint Powers Agreement between the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale and Los Angeles County. Two representatives from each jurisdiction are appointed as members of the Board of Directors.
Significant Historical Milestones
The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) was established in March 1992 after Antelope Valley residents expressed a strong desire for public transportation in the high desert. During AVTA's first year in operation, the transit agency provided more than 900,000 rides. Today, AVTA provides over 3.6 million rides annually with service as far east as Lake Los Angeles, west to Century City, south to downtown Los Angeles, and north to the Kern County line. AVTA contracts with Transdev, Inc. to provide local and commuter fixed service, and with IntelliRide for the Dial-A-Ride curb-to-curb transportation service. AVTA began by operating three services: Local Transit, Commuter and Dial-A-Ride. The local transit service provided transportation around town while the commuter service provided an alternative to residents driving into Los Angeles on the heavily congested 14 freeway.
AVTA's commuter service began with three routes and five buses. Today, four commuter routes are in operation, and 28 buses are needed to meet the ever growing demand. The Dial-A-Ride program, a curb-to-curb transportation service, was developed to improve mobility for the elderly, disabled, and those in rural areas. Access Services (formerly ASI) came along in 1996 to serve the disabled as a "complementary paratransit service" in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Access is a non-profit public benefit organization that was created to provide the required paratransit service on behalf of the fixed route operators in Los Angeles County. Soon after its inception, AVTA became an award-winning transit agency. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recognized AVTA for its efficiency, and the California Transit Association recognized AVTA with awards for Transit Innovation in 1998 and for Transit Image in 1999.
More recently, in 2007 AVTA won an AdWheel award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for its Local Transit Map design, and since 2011 has won an additional six AdWheel awards. One entry took top honors at the national level. AVTA was recognized as Employer of the Year in 2011 and in 2014 by Desert Haven Enterprises for its support and employment of the developmentally disabled for grounds keeping and janitorial services. In 2012, the California Transit Association honored AVTA with the Small Operators Transit Excellence award. AVTA received both the William J. "Pete" Knight AIRE award from the AVAQMD, and the Energy Efficiency Leader award from Thermo King in 2014. Both organizations honored the agency for its commitment to environmental responsibility.
AVTA's growth has been tremendous and its service has expanded along with the population, which exploded in the 1990's. To manage the increased need for transit services, AVTA opened its new, larger facility in April 2004 with state-of-the-art equipment for maintaining its fleet. A solar canopy was built to cover a portion of the parking area and it continues to offset electricity costs for AVTA. The federally funded facility cost $21 million to construct. In 2013, AVTA completed an $11 million expansion project, which added new maintenance bays, more solar canopies, a new community room, and additional office space.
- Lancaster City Councilmember Henry Hearns: 1999-2008, helped bring Dial-A-Ride.
- City of Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford: 2003-2013, Phase II Expansion.
- Former Board Chairman Norm Hickling: 2010-2015, Electric Buses, First Digital Bus Signs in California.
- In 2011 AVTA began the Phase II Expansion project, an $11 million facilities expansion project. October 2013 saw the beginning of AVTA's Electric Bus Demonstration project. More recently AVTA rolled out the Employment Travel Program in February 2015.
Public Transit and Commuter Rail Agencies
Number of Employees
Number of Bus Routes Provided
Major Planned Investments
AVTA's FY16-20 5-year plan includes $18.1 million to purchase 21 electric buses to replace aging local units, $10.2 million to purchase 15 electric buses to replace aging commuter units, $1.4 million to purchase two additional electric buses for expansion, and $9 million for depot and en-route wireless charging infrastructure.
In 2011, AVTA broke ground on the Phase II Facility Project, an $11 million facilities expansion project that was funded primarily by the FTA, with additional funding provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Nearly $8 million was infused into the local economy over the life of the project, which was completed on time and within budget. The expansion created new office space, additional maintenance bays, a 3,000 square foot state-of-the-art boardroom, an additional conference room and a lobby with restrooms. The dedication of the new facility was held on March 20, 2013.
In October 2013, AVTA kicked off their "Electric Bus Demonstration Project," after the Los Angeles County Supervisors voted to provide $1.9 million to the transit authority to purchase two electric buses. The demonstration project proved highly successful, and in October 2014 Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich presided at the ribbon-cutting for the two battery electric, zero-emission buses as they officially went into local fixed-route service in the Antelope Valley. Supervisor Antonovich was joined by AVTA Board members, AVTA staff and local officials on this historic day.
The annual AVTA "Stuff-A-Bus" Holiday Toy Drive, a 20-year tradition, is the transit agency's signature fundraiser. Every December, AVTA staff and volunteers put all of their energy into filling a 40-foot bus with new, unwrapped toys, clothing and gifts, all donated by generous Antelope Valley residents and local sponsors, to help less fortunate children and families in the community during the holidays. AVTA had a record-breaking year in 2014, with over 4,000 items donated and distributed to local participating charities that serve families in the Antelope Valley.
2014 AVTA Staff Photo