Metro announces more frequent subway trains and Blue Line service at night

Mayor Villaraigosa and a replica of Lady Gaga at the event this morning announcing more evening rail service. Photo by Juan Ocampo/Metro.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa just finished announcing the news at a news event at the Music Center: Beginning this Sunday, Nov. 13, Metro will run trains every 10 minutes between 6 p.m. and midnight on the Red and Purple line subway, as well as the Blue Line between downtown L.A. and Long Beach.

It’s a demonstration project that aims to boost ridership and better serve entertainment, cultural and sporting venues in addition to restaurants, hotels and stores. The service will also be accompanied by more discounts available to those who use Metro to get where they’re going.

“L.A. doesn’t roll up its sidewalks at sundown,” said Mayor Villaraigosa, who also noted that this is part of a bigger program to expand transit throughout the region — whether it’s building new lines or taking better advantage of existing transit.

“Our downtown is booming — it’s no longer a nine-to-five downtown,” said Carol Schatz, President and CEO of the Central City Assn., which represents downtown businesses. “Metro’s slogan is ‘more trains, more often.’ Our slogan is ‘party hardy and take the train.'”

Mayor Villaraigosa announces the news along with representatives of the downtown, Hollywood and Long Beach sports and cultural scene. Photo by Juan Ocampo/Metro.

The project is starting with Metro’s busiest rail lines at night. The subway currently carries an estimated 18,568 boardings between 7 p.m. and midnight with the Blue Line carrying 9,379 between those times. The agency will see how the new service performs and may make similar changes to other lines next spring.

Among the representatives of the night-life scene on hand for the announcement Monday were cheerleaders for the L.A. Kings and L.A. Clippers — both teams play a short walk from the Blue Line — as well as officials from the L.A. Opera, Hollywood and the Long Beach Aquarium.

I know some Source readers will ask: why not post-midnight service? The answer from Metro officials: they wanted to first determine if there are ridership gains to be had from more frequent service during the regular night hours. If the program goes well, late night service may still be added.

In the meantime, patrons on the Gold, Green and Orange Line busway should see quicker trips if they’re transferring to the subway or Blue Line at night. The extra service should also benefit workers who won’t have to wait as long for trains and will likely see more people on those trains, leading to a safer atmosphere.

Here’s a good news story by Eric Richardson of blogdowntown that fills in some other details.

39 replies

  1. I’d rather they save money on more frequent service and use it to run trains until last call. Kinda pointless otherwise.

  2. While the news of expanded service is welcome, it’s disappointing that the subway still won’t have any late night service.

    It would only take running a few more trains (that Metro already plans to be running with the expanded service) to make riding the subway a viable alternative to driving late at night. Service doesn’t even need to be 24 hours. End it at 2:15 so people can at least make it in either direction from whatever place they may be leaving for the night.

    I understand cost and maintenance are usually the de facto reasons for no owl service, but with this new announcement of expanded service and maintenance being done during operating hours so often, what reason is there to not run trains? There is safety to consider of course, but all it requires is posting someone at the stations. This is done in cities all over the world.

    I have talked to countless people that refuse to ride because of this and it’s unfortunate.

    And temporary late service (like Metro tried to provide back during the holidays in either ’08 or ’09) for a few months is in no way a gauge of what ridership could be like (another reason Metro has used to explain no late night service – that the ridership is not there and was not there during this temporary service increase). There are people who live in L.A. who still don’t even know that the subway EXISTS. It could take a year or more for the ridership patterns to change.

    I’m happy to have more subway service, but I hope Metro reconsiders it’s position on late night service so people can get the most use out of it possible.

  3. This is definitely a step in the right direction. However, ending the service at Midnight isn’t exactly ideal for encouraging ridership to entertainment destinations, especially during the holiday season.

    There should be even later service – at least until 3am. Any plans for that?

  4. This is great for going to many events. We’re sure people will appreciate this added convenience. But the Gold Line is still an event-goers headache…

    When can we get the Gold Line going north to run at least one hour later at night? It is very hard to attend an event Downtown or in Hollywood and have to watch the time for fear of missing the last train from Union Station to Pasadena. We feel like we have a Metro imposed curfew!

  5. Agreed with every comment above. The only reason I don’t take the train at night, is because I cannot take it home past 1am. Especially for the red line, it seems like this should be going till at least 2:30am

  6. We see that we’re not alone in wanting later service. Yes, let’s get all trains running later! Commenter Phil O has great points. We are so fixated on not missing our train that we forgot that all the trains have early schedules — sorry to ignore the other lines. Both for those going our to events and for those that work at night, later trains (say 3AM) are a must if the Metro Rail System is to be effective.

  7. Yeah, if I’m deciding whether to drive or take the train, the deciding factor is usually “how late will the train be running?”, NOT “how frequent are the trains.”

  8. As has been said by everyone else above, this is appreciated, but the trains need to run until 3 am, at least on Thursdays, fridays and saturdays.

  9. It is a great news that metro rail lines will operate every 10 minutes but what about late night trains like on a 24- hour service…. We Need Trains 2 Operate On A 24 Hour Service During Late Night Just Like The Metro Buses

  10. When is Metro going to offer 24-hour rail service on all trains? New York and Chicago have it. Why don’t we?

  11. I think this is great news. 20 minutes between trains in the evening is too long, the trains are more crowded. There are trains that are sitting idle during those times and more frequent trains on the red/blue/gold/purple lines will increase the popularity with more frequent services that also have more seats available on a given train.

    Good call.

    Thank you Metro.

  12. Great news, but in agreement with the other posts, later service would be more useful than more frequent service. Daily 24 hour service is probably overkill at this point, but service until 3am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights would be a huge help.

  13. I am excited for this, simply because just missing a train can add 20 minutes to my trip, and thats if I am only taking one train, unless I am in the red/purple line zone( Ive got more options between Wilshire/Vermont & Union Staition.

    I agree with everyone above about late night service. Trains would fill the 3 hour gap of service we have now. I’d wait 25 minutes for a late nite train. 24 hour service should be standard on all trains. People have a life at night as well. Working, hanging out, going from point a to point b, etc..

  14. Great news and good move, Metro. But this type of improvement should also start occurring with many bus lines as well since, again, the first or last leg of a bus-rail trip can be prohibitive with such long bus headways. And of course, it would be nice to see Metrolink do this as to help correct its poor headways.

  15. This is a welcome change. But like everyone else has said, we really need the trains to run until 3:00am on the weekends.

  16. I think it’s unanimous that everyone feels the trains should run until 3 AM, Thurs-Sun, at a minimum. I have many friends that refuse to ride them because the close so early. If Metro truly wants to expand ridership and cut down on drunk driving from NoHo to Hollywood to DTLA, then they would extend there hours.

    More frequent trains until midnight would be acceptable, then have them come every 15-20 minutes from 12-3.

    Please Metro, give the city of LA the transportion tools they deserve!!

  17. This a great idea, but I think all rail lines should be operational 24 hours, like New York MTA, and Chicago’s Metra(i think thats the name).

  18. I also think that extended Th, F, Sat hours until 3am would yield more usage than increased evening frequency. I sent Metro an email arguing this point, along with the drunk driving argument, about a year ago. Their reply simply said there wasn’t money for it.

  19. See, this would be brilliant, EXCEPT for the late night service – until Metro runs late night (aka, post bar) service, people who are out for a full night on the town won’t use it. Therefore, ridership won’t increase, and therefore, Metro will say there’s no demand. I really wish they would run the service first for 6 months, assure people they could use it, and THEN look at post 1 AM ridership.

  20. The last Red Line train is currently just about 1AM. Even if the last Red Line train was a mere 40 minutes later – 1:40 AM – only three days out of the week – a mere two more trains – it would be enormously helpful in getting drunks off the road, and cars out of the the Hollywood parking lot.

    Tokyo’s trains stop at midnight. The BART stops around then, too – if I remember right. But a taxi is much more of a viable alternative in those cities.

  21. I think this is a good idea and it is long overdue. The only problem that I see is that service on the green line will not change for some time. When I transfer from the blue line to the green line at the Rosa Parks station. It seems you have to wait forever for a green line train to arrive. In the mean time, you stand on the platform in the heat or cold and have to listen to the traffic on the freeway.

  22. Wish I had known this while waiting almost 20 minutes, twice, tonight. 🙂 Though I say yay, YAY, the post-midnight test logic is faulty. Riders who don’t ride because of the infrequent service aren’t necessarily motivated by the same needs as the post-midnighters.

  23. Zjunk is exactly right! I’ve been dumbfounded as to why they would double train service when they already run every 20 minutes, yet no late night or 24 hour service, at the very least on the red line, and at the very least on the weekends. People won’t use these “more frequent trains” because there’s no way to get home from the bars. I wrote an email to Villaraigosa yesterday expressing this. If anyone has actually gona as far as to read this article, I encourage you to do the same. Taking the metro early as a one-way trip to the bar, then a cab ride home is out of the question – when a one way cab ride is $40. Everyone I know would rather opt to drink and drive. If they are serious about making our roads safer, they would give us late night service. It almost seems like they actually WANT DUI drivers out there so the city can collect the revenue. Why else would they spend the money to double half empty train service before midnight, instead of giving us the train service we need to be able to actually use it to go out and party. In this article is says their slogan is ‘party hardy and take the train.’ – what BS and what train??

  24. I think I speak for everyone when I say that some kind of response from either Metro (or the Source) on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

  25. “Everyone I know would rather opt to drink and drive.”

    You know a lot of losers who would drink and drive.

    It’s like you’re holding Metro hostage. Add late night trains or the drunks will kill everybody on the road! Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Metro is responsible for drunk drivers now?

    • Hi Peter;

      Yes, the timetables are being revised now to show the more frequent evening service. They should be ready to go by the 13th.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  26. I would rather have 24 hour service with 20+ minute headways than 10 minute headways until midnight.

  27. People forget there is still bus service 24 hours along the many rail lines though.. Its just unpredictable, and also packed from all the late night workers. The whole “Its a DUI trap” is cynical and a gross rationalization for someones ill behavior. People have options, we just want more of them, i.e. late night train service we can set our watch to..

  28. i would much rather have train service that ran much latter, if you need a few hours to clean and do maintaince thats fine. but really there should be train service until about an hour after the bars close and service resumption at 4:30am

    it would make the streets so much safer, with fewer drunks behind the wheel.