Metro Gold Line celebrates 10 years of progress

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On Friday, July 26, 2013, the Metro Gold Line will celebrate 10 years of progress. Only 13.7 miles long at its inception, the Gold Line opened to the public on July 26, 2003, carrying riders from Los Angeles Union Station to Pasadena. The line was initially known as the Pasadena Blue Line. It wasn’t until November 2001, a little more than a year after construction began on the line, that the Metro Board changed the name to the Gold Line.

The Gold Line had more than 4 million boardings in its first year and by 2009 there were more than 7 million annual boardings. With the addition of the six-mile Gold Line Eastside Extension, the light rail line currently carries approximately 13 million boardings annually.

Over its 10-year existence, the Gold Line has carried nearly 81 million riders – about equal to the population of Germany! – and exceeded all expectations. Taking that many people out of cars is equivalent to removing 11,335 cars from the road, or eliminating 112,263 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Not too shabby for 10 years of work.

The construction of the Metro Gold Line created thousands of jobs, and even more were created as new Joint Development Projects cropped up along the line. Four of these projects are completed – Union Station, Fillmore, Del Mar and Sierra Madre Villa Phase I – and 6 more are in the works, putting housing and business space mere steps from the tracks.

Each Metro Rail line has a unique identity, and the Gold Line provides one of the most scenic rides on the Metro Rail system. There’s nothing quite like gliding over the Arroyo Seco Parkway in the fall, looking out the train windows and seeing brilliant red foliage all around. And as with all other Metro Rail stations, all the stations along the Gold Line contain art – whether it be the pagoda design at Chinatown Station or the fun, over-sized flowers at East L.A. Civic Center Station.

“The Metro Gold Line is an integral part of the Metro Rail system, providing a vital link for residents of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley to the rest of the region,” said Metro Board Chair and Lakewood City Council Member Diane DuBois. “We are excited to be celebrating 10 years of rail service along the first segment of the Gold Line to Pasadena and are looking forward to the completion of the extension to Azusa, providing additional travel opportunities for the region.”

Funded by Measure R, the Gold Line Foothill Extension is currently under construction and is a welcome addition to Metro’s expanding rail system. Once it’s completed – along with Expo Line Phase II to Santa Monica, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Purple Line Subway Extension into West L.A. – Angelenos will find themselves with more transit options than ever.

So this weekend, why not celebrate the Gold Line by going for a ride? There’s plenty to explore at every station (LAist has a fun guide detailing Pasadena to East L.A.) and you can easily connect from the Gold Line to the Red or Purple Line at Union Station. Take advantage of Metro’s Destination Discounts program while you explore and save on shopping, dining and fun just by presenting a valid TAP card.

In addition, evening service on both the Metro Gold and Expo lines has recently increased to every 10 minutes until midnight, making Metro Rail even more convenient and accessible from one end of the county to the other.

RELATED: Ten years of riding the Gold Line; photos and observations

10 replies

  1. Great story, very true that this line is exceeding expectation however Chairwoman Dubois is incorrect in that the completion of the extension is Claremont/Montclair, not Azusa. Perhaps she meant completion of Phase 2A.

  2. We could start an argument regarding “completion” of the Gold Line. It is only funded as far as Azusa (an additional 11 miles from Sierra Madre) as noted by Chairwoman Dubois. Phase 2B will take it another 13 miles to Montclair, if funding is found. And Phase 2C would take it farther into San Bernardino County, possibly to Ontario Airport.

  3. It definately is the prettiest line we have especially as it meanders through the Arroyo all the way to the 210 stations.

  4. How many people are actually paying to ride the Gold Line? That answer has yet to be answered. The way I see people riding it, it wouldn’t surprise me that if we had a gated system from the start, funding would never have been an issue to extend the Gold Line to Ontario Airport by now.

  5. It is good to hear that service has been extended to every 10 minutes to celebrate the 10th anniversary! It will be great to not have to wait so long out on the freeway median stations. The gold line is the nearest metro rail line to me and I use it all the time.

  6. @Jeff

    The only times I’ve had my paper tickets and TAP card checked were all on Gold Line trains and stations.

    I’ve never, ever experienced a ticket check on the Red Line, Expo Line, and Orange Line.

    From my anecdote experience, the Gold Line would be the Metro line least favorable for me to evade fare.

  7. also @Jeff,
    I agree, we should have had a gated system from the start, none of this “trial” and “gradual familiarization to paying fares” crap that we are currently doing. We need to install gates at all feasible stations, and lock them immediately. It’s not that hard to tap a ticket on a machine…people do it around the world.

    However, the extra fares taken in by gates will not have any impact on future extensions, such as one to Ontario. Public transit by virtue, design, and consequence is a net monetary loss. Fares mildly offset capital and ongoing costs of public transportation. The benefits of public transpo are not monetary, mainly mobility, environmental, and quality of life. Public transpo will never break even on gov’t budgets.

  8. […] Metro Gold Line celebrates 10 years of progress – As an L.A. native who was a regular transit rider there, my favorite light rail line was — and still is — the Metro Gold Line. It is the cleanest and most reliable out of all of the Metro Rail lines in Los Angeles County. My dream was to someday move to one of the apartments located next to a Gold Line station in hopes of commuting to and from a future job in Downtown L.A. with the light rail line. Given the opportunity, I would love to move back and make that happen. It would be one of the few reasons that would make me want to move back to L.A.; my current ambitions of staying out here on the East Coast still stands. […]