Free rides and station parties: coverage of Expo Line days II & III

Good morning! Our friends at the National Weather Service are predicting mostly sunny skies and a high of 68 degrees in Santa Monica on Saturday, pretty much perfect weather for our second day of free rides and community parties at these stations: Downtown Santa Monica, 17th St/SMC, 26th/Bergamot, Expo/Bundy, Palms and Culver City. More here.

We’ll put our coverage of the day here. We’re expecting big crowds given that a lot of people had to work Friday and the interest in the new rail extension from residents and media alike. Our Friday coverage is here. And here’s a post about all-things-Expo-Line.

5:20 p.m.Great piece by LAT’s architecture and planning critic Christopher Hawthorne on the Expo Line and what it means for our region. One excerpt:

It’s possible that the Expo Line’s stop in downtown Santa Monica has as much city-operated parking within walking distance as any light-rail station in the country.

Yet there is apparently no shortage of Angelenos ready to fault Metro for not building more, or who expect that all the parking near the new stations be free or very cheap, as a kind of regional subsidy for the continuing fiction that there are no public costs associated with driving.


5:15 p.m. Sunday — If you’re commuting Monday on Expo and new to the system, these eight tips may be helpful.

5:10 p.m. Sunday — Big crowds today, too, even with fares now in effect.

And just managed to see this…

11:30 a.m. Sunday — Metro estimates about 30,000 people got on or exited trains at Downtown Santa Monica Station on Friday and about 70,000 on Saturday.

9:45 p.m. — And that’s a wrap for us. Free rides continue until the end of service tonight at about 2 a.m. On Sunday, the new Expo timetable begins with service every 12 minutes throughout most of the day. And — not to sound like party poopers — regular fares are in effect beginning tomorrow. Don’t forget to tap your TAP card at the validator before boarding trains. If you need a TAP card, they can be purchased for a $1 at TAP vending machines at every station. Fare info here. Thanks for riding, everyone!

9:20 p.m. — Photo dump!

Dance squad at Palms Station party.

Dance squad at Palms Station party.

26th St/Bergamot.

26th St/Bergamot.

Party at 26th/Bergamot.

Party at 26th/Bergamot.

Westwood/Rancho Park.

Westwood/Rancho Park.

Half Past Six playing at Expo/Bundy Station party. The band is from Wildwood School.

Half Past Six playing at Expo/Bundy Station party. The band is from Wildwood School.

Pretty balloons at Expo/Bundy.

Pretty balloons at Expo/Bundy.

Next big opening -- Metro Bike Share in DTLA coming this summer!

Next big opening — Metro Bike Share in DTLA coming this summer!

Weirdness at 26th/Bergamot.

Things got weird at 26th/Bergamot.

Anna worked so hard this week her hair turned blue.

Anna Chen worked so hard this week her hair turned blue.

9:13 p.m. — With weariness comes cleverness.

9:00 p.m. — More feedback.

5:25 p.m. — uberPOOL is offering a $5 discount to Expo Line riders traveling to/from the seven new stations and Culver City. Details here.

5:20 p.m. — Line has really swelled in past hour at DTSM Station. Line is long, but it is moving. The trains can carry a lot of people (about 400 is the max for a three-car train).

Not a huge surprise there are lines to go back east, given the number of people traveling west earlier this afternoon….


5:05 p.m. — Huge crowds as expected. Downtown Santa Monica — already heavily peopled on weekends — feels even more peopled. Some social media that has landed since we last touched base…

2 p.m.  — entertainment at the party at Palms Station.

Slack for iOS Upload

11:45 a.m. — Great weather, moderate to heavy crowds on trains thus far — more people headed west than east.

And first wave of pics…


Petting zoo at Palms Station.


More petting zoo action.


Getting a kid and train in the right place was not super easy.


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Palms party.


KPCC’s John Rabe filing a report while on an eastbound train. KPCC has been all over the Expo opening — lots of great reportage, btw.


Traveling sisters.

11:50 a.m.

11:55 a.m. — No pig hunting on trains please. Last seen at Culver City Station.

angry birds

7:13 a.m. — Here are a few tweets that landed while we were getting some shut-eye.

1 reply

  1. Very late post, but I just want commend Metro for their planning of the opening day runs. Compared to my experiences on the Blue and Gold Line openings I think things went very well.

    As expected, many trains were SRO but surprisingly some were not. The line for eastbound travelers from DTSM was long but moved very quickly; once the extra ‘free rider’ trains are removed departures should go much smoother.

    Never did get to meet the blue haired cutie, dammit :-).

    Now, if we could only beat some sense into the City of L.A. to give trains traffic light priority …..