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Metro's new late-night rail hours begin this weekend

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, July 23, 2012, at 10:02AM
Boarding the Metro Red Line at 7th / Metro Station Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Starting this weekend Metro will extend their Friday and Saturday night hours until about 2 a.m.

This weekend Metro plans to launch their new extended hours for all rail lines which will keep trains running until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. These changes will affect the Red/Purple Line, the Blue Line, Expo Line, Green Line, Gold Line and the Orange bus line.

José Ubaldo, a spokesperson for Metro, says they chose to launch the program now because it's just the "right moment"; explaining that the extended hours will give people an incentive to use public transit when they go out at night, while also providing a service for residents who have to work late.

Beginning at midnight on weekend evenings, trains will run every 20 minutes for two hours. The Orange Line will stay in service until 2:40 a.m. in order to connect with trains at the North Hollywood Red Line station.

"In Downtown Los Angeles, Metro’s extended Friday, Saturday evening hours will allow more customers to enjoy the many exciting late-night venues we offer, as well encourage more people to use public transportation,” said councilman José Huizar in a statement this month.

Ubaldo echoed these sentiments today when he emphasized how the later hours will benefit business all along the rail lines -- not only in Downtown, but Culver City, Pasadena, Hollywood and others.

Metro's Friday and Saturday hours will be implemented on a type of trial basis, and their continuation will depend on ridership numbers as well as public response, said Ubaldo. But Metro has a "high expectation" that the new schedules will be successful based on the positive response they've seen from the Red Line's weekend hours, he said.

The Source reports that this schedule change will put L.A. "on par" in terms of frequency, with New York's late-night weekend train schedule -- although the east coast city runs overnight trains throughout the week as well.

This weekend wont be the first time Downtowners have had access extended public transit hours. In 2008, downtown L.A.'s DASH buses along with Metro's Red Line extended their service hours for the winter holidays, pushing back the subway's closing time to 3am.

The DASH rides were free and allowed riders to travel through DTLA from L.A. Live to the Music Center, the Historic Core and the Fashion District. The program ran for six weeks and was a combined public/private effort which cost $23,000 to run.

Metro's new weekend rail hours will begin this Friday, July 27 and most likely continue at least through the fiscal year.

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