All Aboard the Expo Line to Santa Monica

IMG_0450Commuters can now travel by train to the beach, with the opening of the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica. The 1.5-billion dollar project features seven stations, including several in Los Angeles County’s Second District, and the last stop is only half a mile from the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

“After the Pacific Electric Streetcars were decommissioned 63 years ago, many never believed that public transit would ever return to the Westside,” said Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “But today, Metro has made the impossible possible.  Angelenos can now get from Santa Monica all the way to Downtown Los Angeles in just 47 minutes.”

IMG_0454 “Not only will the Expo Line extension improve mobility throughout the region, it will be an economic stimulus for all the neighborhoods that it passes through,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “Its construction has already created thousands of jobs, and I expect its operation will create even more opportunities for more people.”

Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Member James T. Butts said, “We are changing the transportation landscape of L.A. County and providing a transit system for generations to come.”

The Expo Line now stretches 15.2 miles between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Santa Monica, with 19 stations in all. The extension makes up 6.6 miles and 7 stations: Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 27th St/Bergamot, 17th St/Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica. Celebrations and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held at each of the stations, as the people welcomed their new community asset. Ridership on the Expo Line extension is projected to total 18,000 to 20,000 weekday boardings after the first year of service.

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Thumbs up at the Downtown Santa Monica Station

“For the first time in a generation, Angelenos and visitors from around the world can travel from our skyline to the shoreline without setting foot in their cars, bringing needed relief to some of our most congested corridors,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Second Vice Chair Eric Garcetti.

“This is a really wonderful day for me, partly because I had the privilege of carrying the legislation to create the Exposition Construction Authority,” said Metro Board Member and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “But the real winners today are all the residents of LA County who can bypass traffic in yet another segment of our region, and look forward to even more!”

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at the Palms Station

Service on the Expo Line begins each day at about 4:45 a.m. and continues until about 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. Trains will run every 12 minutes until about 8 p.m., after which service will be every 20 minutes. A paved bike path runs adjacent to the tracks for most of the route between Culver City and the 17th Street/SMC Station.

A regular Metro fare is $1.75 and includes two hours of free transfers for those using a TAP card. A daily pass that is good for unlimited rides on Metro is $7 and monthly passes are $100. There are discounts available for seniors, the disabled, Medicare recipients and students. Please see taptogo.net for more information on how to apply for discounted fares.

“The opening of the Expo Line extension today is a great reminder that we have come a long way in a short time,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “But we still have more to do with easing everyday congestion. We will continue to strive to deliver our investments on time and on budget for the transportation network that Los Angeles County deserves.”

With the Expo Line extension, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rail system now includes six lines spanning 105 miles.