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Expo line begins regular schedule, full fares on Monday morning

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012, at 10:04AM
Ashley Bailey/KPCC

The Expo line opened for service this morning with the first train leaving at 4:54 a.m. from Downtown L.A.

Metro's Expo Line opened this weekend with free rides for all, but Monday begins the rail line's regular schedule and full, $1.50 fare for the cross-town commute.

The 8.6 miles of track that runs from Downtown L.A. to Culver City is causing some confusion among riders due to the similarity in train colors between the Blue Line and the Expo Line.

Metro's Rachel Mestas was standing along the tracks at the 7th Street/Metro Center station Monday morning, answering riders' questions and helping ensure they boarded the correct trains. She clarified that the new line, the Expo, is turquoise while the Blue Line is a royal blue.

“Unfortunately, they don’t actually paint the trains that color though, so it is a little confusing sometimes," Mestas told KPCC. "But they’ll get used to it and they’ll have enough time to be aware and be comfortable with it."

To make matters more confusing, the two lines share a track for a portion of their routes.

The first westbound train was scheduled to leave this morning from the DTLA Metro Center at 4:54 a.m. but will only go as far as the La Cienega/Jefferson station. The Culver City stop, the farthest westbound location on the new line, won't be open until this summer.

Trains are scheduled to leave approximately every 10 to 13 minutes, but Metro has a full timetable posted on their website.

Metro Spokesman Rick Jager said that although ridership was light this morning -- some rush hour trains only had about a dozen riders on board -- that is typical for a new Metro line. When the Blue Line opened in 1990 between Long Beach and downtown L.A., they had 17,000 riders the first two months, Jager said. Now, they have 85,000 riders a month.

The new Expo aims to reduce traffic congestion along the Santa Monica (10) freeway and provide commuters a transportation alternative to driving.

"It’s a virtual gridlock 24/7, sometimes it seems,” Jager told blogdowntown in April. “For Westside commuters, this will be a welcome relief.”

Although the first phase of the $930 million Expo line is nearly completed (except for the opening of the Culver City and Farmdale stops), Phase II of the project is anticipated to be finished in 2016. This addition will extend the light-rail line from Culver City to Santa Monica.

KPCC's Ashley Bailey contributed to this story

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