Some very good news emerged from the Metrolink Board of Directors meeting on Friday: the commuter rail agency in early May will begin a pilot program of adding one express train in each direction on the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino lines — its two busiest.
Each train will make a limited number of stops. According to Metro CEO Art Leahy’s email to staff, the San Bernardino service will originate in San Bernardino at 5:45 a.m and arrive at Union Station at 6:45 a.m. and stop at Rancho Cucamonga and Covina, a savings of about 30 minutes. A reverse trip will leave Union Station at 5:18 p.m. The Antelope Valley service will originate in Palmdale at 5:37 a.m., stop at Santa Clarita and downtown Burbank and arrive at Union Station at 7:05 a.m., a savings of about 35 minutes. A reverse trip will leave Union Station at 5:25 p.m.
What do you think? Will this be helpful for your commute? Please leave a comment. Here is the press release from Metrolink:
Los Angeles – Today, the Metrolink Board of Directors approved a new express train pilot program on its Antelope Valley and San Bernardino lines to debut on May 9. Express trains make very few stops, significantly reducing the time of the commute.
“This is great news for our customers and Metrolink,” said Board Chairman Richard Katz. “By reducing the number of stops, commuters will save an hour on each round trip. This translates to 5 hours a week and 20 hours a month. That’s valuable time they can give back to their family and friends.”
The express trains will launch on Monday, May 9. The San Bernardino Line currently has 13 stops. The San Bernardino express train will make only four stops – San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Covina and Los Angeles Union Station. The Antelope Valley line currently has 11 stops. The Antelope Valley express train will also make four stops – at Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Downtown Burbank and Los Angeles Union Station. If the pilot program is successful, Metrolink will consider continuing the express service.
“In addition to saving our customers time, we hope to attract new commuters who appreciate the time savings and convenience, especially in the face of rising gas prices,” said Metrolink Board Vice Chairman and San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris.
“Express service on Metrolink transforms transit options for our County commuters,” said board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor, Michael Antonovich. “On the San Bernardino Line, this new service eliminates 22 minutes and three stops from the roundtrip between Covina and Union Station, saving commuters nearly two hours a week, eight hours a month and almost four days a year in travel time.
“The Antelope Valley service will eliminate 32 minutes each way and Santa Clarita Valley commuters will save 15 minutes each way to and from Union Station,” said Antonovich. “Eliminating nine stops, the Antelope Valley express train will make just make two stops between Palmdale and Los Angeles Union Station – at the Santa Clarita Valley and Downtown Burbank stations.”
Metrolink’s two busiest lines were chosen for the first express trains. The express trains’ stops were chosen based on ridership, available parking at the stations and location on the line. Metrolink customers along these lines may not be accustomed to Metrolink trains not stopping at every station.
“While these express trains offer significant value to commuters, safety remains our top consideration,” said Metrolink CEO John Fenton. “Our staff will be working diligently to communicate that the express trains will not be stopping at every station and they should heed warning devices that signal a train is approaching.”
Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 18th year of operations. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network.