Metro to offer free rides, station celebrations as part of Expo Line grand opening May 20-21

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A westbound Expo Line test train above Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

As part of the celebrations for the opening of the Expo Line to Santa Monica on Friday, May 20, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will offer free rides on Friday and Saturday and will hold station celebrations on Saturday, May 21.

The free rides will be on the entire Expo Line, from 7th St/Metro Center to Downtown Santa Monica. On Friday, free rides will begin at noon and will continue until the close of service. On Saturday, May 21, the free rides will start at 4:42 a.m. in Downtown Santa Monica and at 4:45 a.m. at 7th/Metro Center and will last until the end of service around 2 a.m.

“We invite the public to join us on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the historic opening of the Metro Expo Line to Santa Monica,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We encourage the community to enjoy this new light-rail line service and see for themselves how close to the beach Metro can get you.”

The station celebrations will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following new stations: Downtown Santa Monica, 17th St/SMC, 26th St/Bergamot, Expo/Bundy and Palms. The Culver City Station that has been open since 2012 will be joining the celebrations. Entertainment, children’s activities, food trucks, bike valet and bike-pit stops and information booths are among the activities.

About the Expo Line Extension

The $1.5-billion, 6.6-mile light rail project from Culver City to Santa Monica has seven new stations: Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 26th Street/Bergamot, 17th Street/Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica. Each station features original art.

Three stations will have park-and-ride facilities: Expo/Sepulveda (260 parking spaces), Expo/Bundy (250 parking spaces) and 17th Street/Santa Monica College (70 parking spaces).

The Expo Line to Santa Monica includes a paved bike path that runs along most of the right-of-way between Culver City and the 17th Street/SMC Station. The bikeway includes lighting and landscaping, and each station has secure bike racks and lockers for the convenience of cyclists using the Metro system.

The new rail maintenance facility in Santa Monica can house up to 48 light-rail vehicles and will operate on a 24/7 basis.

Expo Line Phase 2 was built by the Expo Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency. It was largely funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax measure approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. Construction of Phase 2 began in 2011 and the project was completed in early 2016 and handed over to Metro for operation.

25 replies

  1. How will the free rides work if I start my trip Friday afternoon at 7th/Metro? That station serves the Blue, Red and Purple lines as well as Expo. If I tap into the gate, how will the system know that I’m riding expo, and not one of the other routes?

    • Very valid question that I’m sure no one has figured out. Same goes for pico station which expo shares with blue line. Maybe they’ll just have all taps those two days be free.

      • Hi Sarah,

        The day of the opening, we will have staff at 7th/Metro Center and Pico Station who can assist. More details regarding operations will come closer to event dates.

        Anna Chen
        Writer, The Source

    • The day of the opening, we will have staff at 7th/Metro Center and Pico Station who can assist. More details regarding operations will come closer to event dates.

      Thanks!

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • 48 / 3 = 16. So its actually more than 15 three car trains. And that’s actually not that small…even with trains every six minutes in each direction… 48 / 6 = 8, which is just enough. sounds like really good planning to me.

      • Also, the lines are all going to be connected with the Regional Connector so there can be fluidity throughout the system. Even now the Long Beach yard can hold extra Expo cars if need be.

    • I don’t think Metro has revealed the future use of the Midway (Div 21) yard on the Gold Line. It is possible that after the connector is completed, it could store cars from the ‘east-west’ line – much closer than the Long Beach (Div 11) yard.
      See the Google Map at http://goo.gl/XQGpY9 to estimate distances involved.

    • The Expo Line (15-18 miles) covers a rather shorter distance compared to the Gold Line (28-32 miles), and the fact is, Metro will probably yet again have a 10-12 min frequency from the Start. Not to mention train sets will probably still continue to come from the Blue Line if more train cars are needed on the Expo Line. Though that is a presumption of course.

    • Hi Geo;

      Service on the new Expo extension doesn’t begin until noon. You can go bright and early on Saturday, however!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • So, just so we are clear, the new stations (west of the current end of the line, Culver City) are not open until noon Friday? Those of us who need this to get to work could use some clarification.

        • Hi Doug;

          Correct. Trains do not begin running to the new stations until noon.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  2. […] When: May 20, 21. Free rides beginning at noon on Friday through 2 am Sunday. Station celebrations Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. Where: Free rides along the entire Expo Line from Downtown to Santa Monica beginning at noon on Friday, station celebrations at Culver City, Palms, Expo/Bundy, 26th/Bergamot, 17th/SMC and Downtown Santa Monica Tickets: Free and open to the public. More information here. […]

  3. […] Station celebrations will take place Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm at downtown Santa Monica, 17th St/SMC, 26th St/Bergamot, Expo/Bundy and Palms. The Culver City Station that has been open since 2012 will be joining the celebrations. Entertainment, children’s activities, food trucks, bike valet and bike-pit stops and information booths are among the activities. The events are free and open to the public. More information here. […]

  4. […] ¡Buenos días! Nuestros amigos del Servicio Nacional Meteorológico predicen para hoy cielos soleados durante la mayor parte del día y 68 grados como la temperatura más alta para Santa Mónica. Esto significa un clima perfecto para abordar gratuitamente la Extensión de la Línea Expo a Santa Mónica y disfrutar de los festejos comunitarios en las siguientes estaciones: Downtown Santa Monica, 17th St/SMC, 26th/Bergamot, Expo/Bundy, Palms and Culver City. Más aquí. […]