Q&A: everything you need to know about the Gold Line extension to Azusa


What’s the plan for opening day on Saturday?

Merriment, joy, feasting and song, I hope. I’ve been writing about this project for the better part of a decade and once upon a time, this day seemed unlikely to happen. And now it is happening, thanks to the dogged work of many Foothill community members.

Service on the new extension will begin at high noon. Rides will be free on the entire Gold Line from noon until midnight. There are also community parties at five stations on Saturday. All the details are here.

Let’s hope the weather holds. Our friends at the Weather Service have been amending the forecast the past few days. Current prediction: a slight chance of showers before 4 p.m.

How long will it take to ride from Azusa to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles?

It will be about 48 to 49 minutes from Union Station to the APU/Citrus College Station in Azusa (and vice versa). It’s a 33-minute ride between Union Station and Arcadia, 36 minutes to/from Monrovia, 40 minutes to/from Duarte/City of Hope, 44 minutes to/from Irwindale and 46 minutes to Azusa Downtown.

Here’s the entire timetable.

What happens on Sunday? 

Regular service begins. Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule (see the timetable above). And you get to pay to ride!

How long did it take the streetcars to run from Azusa to downtown L.A.? 

About 72 minutes but the streetcars took a different route — see this post for more about San Gabriel Valley rail history.

How to pass the time on train rides?

Staring at the pretty mountains is a fine choice — I don’t think there’s a transit project in America with finer views.

If looking for something to read, Metro also has some internet offerings. Our blog strives to let you know what’s going on at the agency and we try to avoid the usual government jargon/horsehockey. Metro is also on Facebook, Instagram and has two very busy Twitter feeds: one for general information and the other for service alerts.

Nextbus.com is also a handy way to check real-time Metro bus and train arrival info on your smartypants phone.

How do I get to the heart of downtown Los Angeles on the Gold Line?

At Union Station, go downstairs from the Gold Line platform and transfer to the Red or Purple Line subway (hint: it’s faster if you go right and use the subway entrance next to the Starbucks and Wetzel’s Pretzels).

If you’re trying to reach Staples Center, L.A. LIVE or the Convention Center, take the Red Line or Purple Line subway for five minutes to 7th/Metro Center and then go upstairs and transfer to either the Blue Line or Expo Line. Ride for one stop and exit the train at Pico Station.

You can also walk to those destinations from 7th/Metro. It’s a pleasant stroll and an exciting way to check out DTLA’s many new skyscrapers.

How frequently will trains run on the new section of the Gold Line?

At least every 12 minutes on weekdays  — and then every 20 minutes after 8 p.m. On weekends, trains will run every 15 minutes for most of the day and every 20 minutes after 8 p.m. Again, see the timetable for specifics.

How late will trains run on the Foothill Extension tracks? 

The times vary by station, but the last stop of the evening is roughly from 12:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and about 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Consult the timetable if you plan on stretching your evening activities long into the morning — and perhaps have a backup in case you miss the last train.

Will there be parking at the stations? 

Each station will have free parking available on a first come, first served basis. See below.


What do you need to ride Metro trains or buses?

A TAP card, which resembles a credit or debit card. You can store daily, monthly or weekly passes on the card. Or you can load cash on the card — called stored value — and have fares deducted from the amount you load.

TAP cards can be purchased from TAP vending machines located at all Metro Rail stations, including the new Gold Line stations. They can also be purchased online or at select locations.

Some people say following the screen directions on the machines takes some getting used to. Prediction: you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

A typical TAP validator. Pretty high tech, eh?

A typical TAP validator. Pretty high tech, eh?

How much does it cost to ride?

The regular adult fare is $1.75. That includes two hours of free transfers in one-direction to any Metro bus or train — the two hours begin when you tap your card against a validator on a Metro bus or at a Metro Rail station. (A validator is the thing that says ‘tap’ on it).

Two hours, by the way, is plenty of time to travel to places such as Long Beach, Culver City, Santa Monica (after the Expo Line extension opens May 20) or Hollywood. Granted, some of these are long transit trips. But you can’t beat the $1.75 regular price….

Does Metro offer discounts?

Yes. There are daily, weekly and monthly passes, as well as discounts for students, seniors, the disabled and Medicare recipients. Here’s the current list of fares — and check out some of the discounts in the three righthand columns:


Should I buy a monthly pass or use stored value?

The monthly passes ($100) are best for those who use Metro very frequently. Stored value is better if you’re just traveling to and from work five or six days a week.

What about kids — does my infant need to carry a TAP card in his diaper? 

For goodness sake, no! Two children age four and under ride free with each fare-paying adult on bus or rail. Metro loves children — they’re our future riders.

Which bus lines can I use to reach the new Gold Line stations?

This is where you may need to do some planning. Google Transit and Apple Maps are both good tools to plan transit trips, btw.

Below are the bus lines that connect with the new stations. Click on the links for timetables and maps.

Arcadia: Metro Line 79, Metro Line 487, Foothill Transit 187 and Arcadia Transit, which will operate a free (until June) shuttle bus running between the Gold Line, Santa Anita Park, Methodist Hospital, Westfield Mall and the Los Angeles County Arboretum.

Monrovia: Metro Line 264, Metro Line 270, Foothill Transit 494.

Duarte/City of Hope: Metro Line 264, Metro Line 270, Foothill Transit 272, Duarte Transit Green and Blue lines.

Irwindale: Foothill Transit 185.

Azusa Downtown: Foothill Transit 185, 187, 280494 and 496.

APU/Citrus College: Foothill Transit 187, 281, 284, 488.

Here’s the skinny on the shuttle to/from Arcadia Station:



And here’s the new maps and timetables for Duarte Transit’s Blue Line and Green Line buses, both of which are free and will connect to the Gold Line’s Duarte/City of Hope Station:

What about the new NoHo-Pasadena Express bus? 

Service began this week. You can transfer from the Gold Line to the express bus at Del Mar or Memorial Park stations in Pasadena (if you’re coming from the Foothill Cities, it’s faster to use Memorial Park).

The fare for the Pasadena-NoHo bus is $2.50 because this is an express bus that uses the freeway. If transferring from the Gold Line to the NoHo-Pasadena Express, there is an additional 75 cent upcharge — pay using your TAP card. If transferring from the NoHo-Pasadena Express to the Gold Line, there is no transfer charge.

Everything you need to know about the NoHo-Pasadena Express bus is here.

What about transferring to/from Foothill Transit? 

Transfers from Foothill Transit cost 50 cents. You can purchase them by asking for a transfer when boarding a Foothill Transit bus. More info on their fare page. The Foothill Transit base fare is $1.25.

Likewise, a transfer from Metro to Foothill Transit also costs 50 cents. You can purchase transfers at any TAP vending machine at Metro Rail stations.

How far of a walk is it to Santa Anita Park from the Arcadia Station? 

About 3/4 of a mile if you don’t feel like using the Arcadia bus shuttle. It’s a flat and pleasant stroll that this Government Blogger has personally tested.

Tip: Santa Anita Park offers free general admission on Thursdays and Fridays.

How far of a walk is it from Monrovia Station to Old Town Monrovia? 

About one mile, the easiest route being straight north (toward the mountains) on Myrtle Avenue. Metro’s 270 bus and Foothill Transit’s 494 bus can be used. Check the bus schedules for service times and schedules.

When will Gold Line service be restored to Little Tokyo and Pico/Aliso stations? 

Later this month, assuming the current schedule holds. The two stations are closed to trains for Regional Connector construction. A bus shuttle is running between Union Station and Pico/Aliso with trains running between Pico/Aliso and East Los Angeles. More here.

Can I ride my bike to the new stations?

You bet. Each station has bike racks and bike lockers. The lockers at the new stations are available to rent online — they’ll soon be listed here.

Need help finding a good route? The Metro bike map may be of assistance.

Bikes_sign_150x449Are bikes allowed on trains?

Yes, at all hours. Keep in mind that it can get crowded at peak hours. Please enter the train at the doors with the bike, stroller and suitcase icon stickers as seen at right. Be chill/dope/cool/courteous and don’t block aisles or get someone’s dress/suit caught in your bike chain.

More tips for taking bikes on Metro buses and trains are here.

How do I connect to the San Gabriel River Bikeway from the train? 

Not as easily as we’d like.

Duarte is working on a paved connection from the Duarte/City of Hope Station to the bikeway within the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. That will be a great option in the future.

Until then, other options involve riding on some busy roads that also have considerable truck traffic. Plan accordingly.

For those new to these parts, the bikeway follows the San Gabriel River from the mouth of San Gabriel Canyon all the way to Long Beach.

When will the segment of Citrus Avenue between Foothill Boulevard and the APU/Citrus College Station be completed?

Hopefully over the summer — a local developer is responsible for building the road. The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority will run shuttle buses between Citrus College and Azusa Pacific University while school is in session to help students reach the station. More background on this issue here.

How much did the Gold Line extension project cost?

About $1 billion of your sweaty, hard-at-work tax dollars. The bulk of the funding came from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

This is the first Measure R funded rail project to open, btw.

Are there good views of the line from the operator’s cab?

You decide. My colleague Anna Chen’s handiwork:

Is taking the train good for Mother Earth?

Generally speaking, taking transit instead of driving alone is a way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for climate change. That’s because transit can carry a lot more people efficiently.

When will the Gold Line be extended to Claremont?

The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority — the independent agency created by the state to build the project  — completed the environmental studies for this segment in 2014 and is now working on engineering and design.

Next is the hard part: this segment still needs to be funded. More info here from the Construction Authority.

There has also been occasional talk about extending the Gold Line to Ontario. At this time, environmental studies would need to be completed and funding secured from San Bernardino County. Metro is an L.A. County agency.

What other connections can I make using Metro Rail?

The latest map — with the new Gold Line stations — is below.

Keep in mind that the Expo Line to Palms, West L.A. and Santa Monica opens on May 20. That’s pretty soonish and will be in time to enjoy Second Summer.

Three other projects are under construction:

•The Purple Line Extension that will take the subway to the Miracle Mile, downtown Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood. The project is being built in three segments; the first to Wilshire/La Cienega is scheduled for completion in 2023.

•The Regional Connector project will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines with a 1.9-mile underground tunnel in DTLA. That will allow Gold Line riders from the Foothill Cities to ride directly to the heart of DTLA without having to transfer to the subway at Union Station.

•The Crenshaw/LAX Line will run between the Expo Line and the Green Line. It will include a station near LAX where riders will transfer to an airport train serving the LAX terminals. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled for completion in 2019. The city of L.A. is building the airport train and officials have said that could be done by 2023.

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.



43 replies

  1. Metro is cheating because Line 270 is scheduled to be discontinued in June. It connects to two Gold Line and the Green Line Stations. How is Metro’s plan for people who live and work along Peck Road.

    Will Metro provide additional funding for Foothill line 187 so that it can increase its frequency?

    • Peck Rd. is a part of L.A. County that doesn’t matter. Not enough hipsters and yuppies.

    • The decision on the 270 hasn’t been made yet and Metro is trying to determine if another operator would take over the line.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Will additional cars be added to the trains? I’m already standing for half the trip from Union Station to DelMar. With more passengers to Azusa; it will be like the last Helicopter out of Hanoi

    • Hi Lucy;

      It will remain two car trains. Keep in mind that during peak hours every other train is going to/coming from Azusa. Meaning every other train is only running between Union Station and Sierra Madre Villa.

      Hopefully no Hanoi situations – but a better analogy than is usually seen on this blog, fwiw.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • All of this begs the question: what is the status on the new cars? How many will delivered and on what timetable?

        • Hi Bob;

          I don’t know how many we have at the moment, but there are more than a few — you can see them at the Monrovia yard. Some were in use today but most of the trains today were the older cars. Some of the new Kinkisharyos that have been delivered are still being “burned in” and they will be phased into service.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  3. Do I need a TAP Card/need to TAP if I am only going to try out Gold Line?
    If I TAPed, would it charge my card? Will the TAP validators be programmed to give people a free ride?

    • Hi Stephen;

      No TAP card needed if just riding the Gold Line on Saturday between noon and midnight. If you plan on transferring to another bus or train, then you will need a TAP loaded with the proper fare. Beginning on Sunday, you do need a TAP card.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. It is so wrong that all these stations were built on the Gold Line while the much denser San Fernando Valley still only has 2 metro stations. So wrong that the San Fernando Valley continues to be neglected regarding rail lines.

  5. The traffic light synchronization at the gold line extension intersections is horrendous. So many delays and inexplicable behavior. It’s like the train coming by confuses the traffic lights and it doesn’t know what to do except make it red for everyone, even parallel traffic, which makes no sense, and then it takes a while to recover but gets confused all over again when the next train comes.

  6. Will there be a shuttle between the station and the Renaissance Faire in Irwindale this May?

    • I haven’t heard anything about a shuttle. It will likely be up to the event organizers and/or the city of Irwindale.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. After a couple years of Silver, Purple and the big, bad, red 720, this Duarte-to-Westwood commuter is ready for some Gold.

  8. I heard there will be a shuttle from the Pasadena station to the Burbank airport, how does that work?

  9. If you have a disabled plaque do I qualify for disabled rate. And what do I need to show as proof.. the blue plaque or the paper license?

    • Hi Faida;

      To be honest, even though I’ve visited the stations, I haven’t noticed one way or the other. I’ll take a look when back out there.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. ¡Buenas Tardes a Toda Mi Gente Bonita de Los Angeles, California..!

    Estoy Inmensamente Feliz Por Saber Que Hoy Gracias a DIOS y a Los Esfuerzos de La MTA Por Darnos Un Servicio Excelente y De Gran Calidad a Un Costo Económico a Todos Los Residentes y Visitantes de El “CONDADO DE LOS ANGELES”; Hoy “SÁBADO 5 DE MARZO DE 2016” Finalmente Haya Llegado El Feliz Día de La Inauguración de La Extensión de La “GOLD LINE”, En Horabuena, y Gracias a Todos Los Que Lo Hicieron Posible…

    ¡ F E L I C I D A D E S . . !




    ¡ B I E N V E N I D O S . . !



    Y a La Magia, Diversión, Colorido, y Gran Experiencia de Viajar a Través de:


    ☆ Que Sigan Los Exitos, Que Se Logren Los Proyectos Mas Beneficiosos Para Todos; y Que NOSOTROS LOS USUARIOS:


    Atte.: José Guzmán

  11. Sooo….I was really excited to ride the gold line from Lincoln station to Azusa today (the grand opening!! ). However, the train was very very late. I saw 5 trains go south to union and not a single one go north. The teleprompter kept saying the next train to Azusa would arrive in 6 minutes….25 minutes later and still no train!! Finally the train to Azusa arrived only to be completely packed! It was also one of Metro’s highly anticipated new trains, which was the one I wanted to experience. Time and time again, I am disappointed with the trains being so late. No wonder no one in LA wants to ride it.

  12. Is the metro gold line from Azusa to Union Station working after the accident that happened early sunday?

    • Yes — normal service between Union Station and Azusa has resumed! Just got back from riding. Lot of riders at the new stations.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  13. there is no parking available at APU Citrus station at 8am 🙁 With no space to park I had to drive to LA 🙁 Is there a plan to add some more parking?

    • You might have better luck with the Azusa Downtown Station about a mile down the road. The APU/Citrus Station is the terminus, so its parking spaces could fill up the quickest (because of commuters from the east).

  14. Monday morning, and the Gold Line is a disaster. 20 minutes between trains, and they’re too packed to get on. So much for public transportation.

  15. You may want to add that only every other train goes all the way to Azusa. I noticed that the screens at Union said different arrival times for Pasadena and Azusa trains, so I asked the Metro employee at the Golf Line entrance if some trains don’t go all the way and she said no, they’re all the same, all go to Azusa. Now I just got kicked off my train at Sierra Madre Villa and told to take the next. The sherrif who kicked us off said that many of the drivers don’t even know that they aren’t gonna go all the way so they’re setting their marquees to Azusa and then changing them part way into their journey when they realize. I know you guys are ironing out the bugs, and I intend to keep riding. Metro is saving me tons of time and money compared to my previous Metrolink route.

    • Hi Jenny;

      You are correct. Every other train is going all the way to Azusa. The way that information is being displayed on monitors is confusing, at best. We have forwarded feedback on this to various staff. Thanks for the additional heads up on this.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  16. What is the policy on the 1-way ride for two hours. I took the train from willow station, long beach to downtown azusa on google maps it showed 1hr 53 minutes. What happens if due to delays it exceeds the two hours.

    • Hi Ben;

      I think the one hour 53 minutes is end-to-end time. For transfers, the more important number is the time from when you first tap your TAP card to the time you get on your last bus or train. In the case of Willow to Azusa, that should be within 65-75 minutes of starting your trip.

      If delays seriously impact your ability to transfer, you can contact the TAP staff. Contact info is here: https://www.taptogo.net/TAPContact

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  17. Could you provide the street address for the entrance to each parking structure, so that one can use GPS navigation to find it easier/quicker? Minutes matter, especially if one has to go to an alternate station when the parking lot is full at the first station one tries. Thank you.

    • Hi Ben;

      Here you go–

      Where are the Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa stations located?

      Arcadia Station is located at 201 N. First Avenue (the northwest corner of First Avenue and Santa Clara Street).
      Monrovia Station is located at 1651 South Primrose Avenue (between Myrtle and Magnolia Avenues, off Pomona Avenue).
      Duarte/City of Hope Station is located at 1777 Duarte Road (just west of Highland Avenue).
      Irwindale Station is located at 16017 Avenida Padilla (just east of the Irwindale Avenue/I-210 Freeway overpass).
      The Azusa Downtown Station is located at 780 N. Alameda Avenue (east side of Azusa Avenue at Santa Fe Avenue, one block north of Foothill Boulevard).
      The APU/Citrus College Station is located at 905 N. Citrus Avenue (north of the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Citrus Avenue). In the near future, Citrus Ave will be completed north of Foothill Blvd and connect to the station. In the meantime, access to the station will be from Promenade, the main east-west street that runs through the Rosedale Master Planned Community.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source