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Expo Line gets mixed reviews so far; Metro says issues with the new train are normal

By Emily Chu
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012, at 09:42AM
Emily Chu

Some Downtowners say the Expo line hasn't influenced their commute much since it's opening.

The first phase of the Metro Expo Line is officially complete with the opening of the Culver City and Farmdale stops, but despite Metro's extensive marketing, the new line has been met with mixed reviews. For many travelers at Downtown's 7th Street station, their crosstown commute hasn't changed much since the Expo Line opened.

On the platform where the Blue and Expo lines stop, many passengers Blogdowntown talked to last week were taking the Blue line, and a few hadn't even heard of the Expo -- which was officially completed last week.

Ayo Idewu, a 39-year-old professional in the real estate industry, said he commutes to work on public transportation and has rode the Expo line about seven times so far. He said he's noticed inconsistencies in the Expo line's service. If he weren't taking the Expo line, he'd take the Blue line to Pico, he said.

"Parts of it are kind of slow, but it's convenient," he said.

Other riders have cited issues with the recently completed line as well. Molly Selvin, a professor at Southwestern Law School, told the Los Angeles Times,, that she waited at the La Cienega station for 45 minutes before giving up and driving in her car.

Marc Littman, spokesman for Metro, explained that all the lines-- Blue, Red, Gold, and others-- have experienced "issues that they tweak as they go along." This opening, despite any criticisms from riders, is ordinary, he said.

Littman said he did observe one difference in the Downtown station though; merging two lines at the DTLA stop "makes it a little more difficult" than opening the other lines.

Even so, Littman was confident that Culver City is a major destination that will attract enough daily boardings to meet the MTA's goal of 27,000 boardings a day. They expect to meet this goal by 2030.

"It wasn't just designed for commuters, but for a whole gamut of people," he said.

Terrell Lane, a 20-year-old DJ, is exactly the type of rider Littman described. He was waiting for the Expo line for the first time, with plans of heading to the Culver City mall with some friends. He said he hadn't heard too much about the line, from advertisements or otherwise.

Mainly, he heard vague recommendations that the Expo line is "pretty good, pretty cool, pretty neat."

As he stood on the platform, he commented that he expects to use the Expo line a lot in the future.

Littman said riders shouldn't be so quick to judge the Expo line as its only been open a short period of time.

"It's the first time we've served the Westside in more than 50 years," he said.

Idewu, the daily commuter, said he'll continue to take the Expo line but would like to see improvements to the system before he commits completely.

"If they get faster and it's 24 hours, definitely," he said.

Phase I of the project started in 2006 and was completed last week. Phase II will extend the line from Culver City to Santa Monica, and is slated to open in 2016.

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