As I promised, we are going “Beyond the Berm” of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to explore Anaheim, and what better way to do that than the Anaheim Transportation Network (ATN). Though when it debuted back in 2002, the Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) was originally limited to essentially the Disneyland Resort area, shuttling parkgoers from nearby hotels, ART now is a system of over 20 interchangeable public routes in-and-around the City of Anaheim and Orange County. The system stretches beyond just the Disneyland Resort area, heading into Buena Park with access to Knott’s Berry Farm and Medieval Times, and even Costa Mesa and Orange. Via train connections, passengers can even connect to Los Angeles Union Station, Santa Barbara, and the Beaches of Southern California.
If you’re like me, your first and really only exposure to ATN is ART, and only know that you can catch a ride from one of a number of serviced hotels surrounding Disneyland. Personally, I remember making quick weekend trips and staying just north of the park knowing that I could jump aboard one of those little trolleys for a couple of bucks and save walking numerous blocks to the front door of the Happiest Place on Earth. That was the way I thought of these buses since the early 2000s and well into the future, and that outdated way of thinking was thrown out the door on a recent trip where I was shown so much more of the ATN. Granted, the ATN has expanded over the years, adding routes and destinations. ATN even got new offices back in 2014, indicating the growth of their operation and the promise of the future of the transit system for the city.
ART today is just one part of the ATN, with 21 scheduled routes through the city, and servicing over 70 hotels throughout the County. With 81 buses in the fleet (all of which operate on electricity, Compressed/Liquefied natural gas and liquid propane), ART has become the primary transportation provider between hotels and points of interest throughout Anaheim and Orange County, offering transportation these locations and beyond:
- The Disneyland Resort
- The Anaheim Convention Center
- Anaheim GardenWalk
- The Outlets at Orange
- Anaheim Stadium
- Honda Center
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- South Coast Plaza
Adults can buy a day pass for ART for $6.00 or a one-way trip for $4.00. Children ride for a bit less. Multi-day passes are also available, and even longer passes which are great for locals or the frequent visitor can also be picked up. Routes and schedules can also be found on the TripShot app (available for download on Apple or Android mobile devices) which also serves as a place to buy passes and serves as the pass itself. Using this app, passengers can also plan their own on-demand trip using ART. Those who don’t wish to use their phone can seek out physical passes to ride that are available for purchase with cash at the Bus Tickets and Information window located at ARTIC, located at 2626 E Katella Ave in Anaheim.
But that’s just ART. Again, we’re talking about the whole of the ATN here, right? Debuted in 2019, and named after Francisca Avila Rimpau, whose fifteen children became the earliest real estate developers, educators, movers and shakers of Los Angeles and Anaheim, one of the more innovative new systems of the ATN is the “Free Rides Around the Neighborhood,” or “FRAN.” FRAN provides on-demand service to a geofenced service area of the dynamic downtown corridor known as “CtrCity” in Anaheim (More about CtrCity will come later in the series). The service does not follow fixed routes, and functions similar to popular ride sharing apps (read: Uber or Lyft) and Riders can choose to begin & end their trips at one of the predefined stops near popular downtown destinations using the Tripshot app or riders can also call (714) 490-0486, or the old fashioned way of hailing one like a cab.
The vehicles themselves are all electric vehicles that seat five passengers and provide quick transit from those predetermined points. It should be noted (as this question was asked numerous times) you cannot order FRAN to pick you up at Disneyland. The best part about FRAN? This relatively new (debuted in 2019) microtransit is completely free to use! This service is a joint venture between ATN and the city of Anaheim, funded by grants and local property assessments.
FRAN Serves a small (relatively speaking) yet robust area full of sights to see and things to do, including The Anaheim Packing House, the MAKE Building, Carnegie Plaza (Home of Disneyland’s College Program Participants), and several other hot spots in the “CtrCity” area. And, just because I love trivia, I feel the need to add that each of the ten FRAN vehicles are named after Francisca’s daughters & granddaughters, and each features a beautiful silhouette of Francisca.
If you know me personally, you know I despise the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with a fiery passion. I have many select words for it that I dare not say in print or on the Internet. And if something is too dangerous for the Internet, then it definitely shall be left unsaid. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have nothing but love and adoration for the John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA) which is far more convenient for Anaheim destinations, and ATN is about to make that airport substantially MORE convenient.
Starting in 2022, ATN plans to unveil “Everyone Ventures Everywhere” or “EVE.” Once EVE debuts, it will provide transportation from SNA to the Anaheim Resort Area. This will be an on-demand/reservation based system, and will consist of all-electric luxury vehicles.
Named for Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout, who got her pilot’s license back in 1928, trained with Amelia Earhart, and was even hired by Walt Disney at one point, EVE’s fleet of 7 electric vehicles will take passengers from the most convenient airport to Anaheim to the Resort District in comfort.
At the time of this writing, no price point has been set for this new service. These 7 electric vehicles, combined with 36 ART buses that are all-electric (with 10 more set to arrive in early 2022), and the all-electric FRAN fleet show how much progress the ATN is making towards their goal to be 100% electric. They even have a new maintenance facility with solar charging canopies that will accommodate the new FRAN fleet and expanded electric bus fleet, as well as current and future electrification needs that will only help them achieve that goal.
Now that we know how to get outside of the Disneyland area thanks to the ATN, why don’t we hop aboard and go for a ride? Stay tuned for the next entry of “Beyond the Berm” where we do just that and check out some Anaheim history!
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.