Commuting on the Expo Line? 8 things to know

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Hi everyone. Anna and I will be out on the Expo Line tomorrow morning. Please follow us on Twitter for frequent updates, service alerts and news about Metro.  

1) What’s the schedule and travel time? 

Trains will run every 12 minutes daily (except late at night). The first eastbound train leaves Downtown Santa Monica at 4:42 a.m. and the first westbound train leaves 7th/Metro in downtown Los Angeles at 4:54 a.m.

The scheduled travel time between downtown Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles is 48 minutes. If you’re new to transit, please allow extra time to learn the (hopefully) new routine.

Here’s the entire timetable:

2) How do I get to destinations beyond the Expo Line on the Westside and in downtown L.A.?

Downtown Los Angeles & beyond

You can transfer to the Blue Line at Pico Station. Catch a southbound train on the other side of the platform.

You can transfer to the Red/Purple Line subway at 7th/Metro Station. The trains are on the lower platforms. Both Red and Purple Line trains continue to Pershing Square, Civic Center and Union Station, where you can transfer to/from the Gold Line, Metrolink commuter trains and numerous bus lines.

If headed to Hollywood, Universal City or North Hollywood, take a Red Line train bound for North Hollywood.


•The Expo Line stations closest to UCLA and Westwood Village are Westwood/Rancho Park Station and Expo/Sepulveda Station.

–From Expo/Sepulveda: The Metro Line 234, Metro Rapid 734 and Metro Rapid 788 are being extended to the station beginning May 15. All three connect with Westwood and UCLA (see the individual timetables):

–From Westwood/Rancho Park: Big Blue Bus 8 and 12 can be used to travel between the station, Westwood and UCLA. Beginning in June, BBB 12 will be known as the Rapid 12 and will run at greater frequencies and have weekend service.

•The Expo Line station closest to Century City is Palms Station. Big Blue Bus 5 runs between the station and Century City — check the schedule for BBB 5 buses that make this trip.

•The Expo Line station closest to Santa Monica College is the 17th/SMC Station. It’s about a .8-mile walk or bike ride to the center of campus by going south on 17th Street. Or you can use Big Blue Bus 41 to travel from the station to campus and BBB 42 from campus to the station (the 42 begins service on May 20).

Maps and timetables of all Metro bus and rail lines are here. Here’s our rail and busway map:


3) How much does it cost to ride the Expo Line?

Metro’s regular fare is $1.75 and that includes two hours of free transfers for those using a TAP card, which cost $1 and can be purchased at vending machines at all Metro Rail stations. Please tap your card at the validator before boarding. You don’t have to tap when exiting a station.

All Metro fares are here. You can purchase a TAP card online and/or apply online for discounted fares for seniors, disabled/Medicare recipients, students and low-income households.

4) How do I get to the new stations without driving?

There’s a new bike path along the tracks that connects with existing bike lanes. And, each station is served by buses run by either Metro, Big Blue Bus or Culver CityBus. The walking environment around most of the stations is pretty good.

This lengthy post has a ton of information about bus routes intersecting the Expo Line, how to transfer between bus and rail and the number/location of bike racks and lockers.

Tip #1: if you’re taking the Big Blue Bus to the Expo Line, be sure to tell the bus operator that you need a transfer to the Expo Line. The transfer looks like this:

This is what a TAP-enabled transfer looks like that you will need to go from Big Blue Bus to Expo. Ask the BBB bus operator!

Tip #2: If you’re using a bike rack, do not use a cable lock — they can be compromised by thieves. It’s better to use a U-lock device and to separately lock both the frame and the wheels to the rock. The folks at your local bike shop can help set you up.

5) Is there parking at the new stations?

Three of the seven new stations have parking: Expo/Sepulveda (260 spaces), Expo/Bundy (217 spaces) and 17th St/SMC (67 spaces). Some spaces are reserved in the morning for monthly permit holders ($39); otherwise daily parking will be $2. See this post for more info on parking.

6) Will the Expo Line be crowded?

Very likely, especially at rush hours. Please see my colleague Anna’s post about crowding. Metro is in the midst of receiving new light rail vehicles and those new cars, in time, will allow more frequent service and longer trains.

7) What about safety and security? 

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department patrols Metro stations, trains and buses. There are emergency phones at every station. If you need to reach the Sheriff’s Department, please call their transit hotline at 888.950.SAFE (7233) or, in an emergency, call 9-1-1.

8) What’s the best way to get service updates and Metro news?

To repeat: follow Metro on Twitter. We have a general account that includes service updates and agency news, as well as an account that only features service alerts and updates.

23 replies

  1. Just want to point out that the “new” Expo Line timetable still has “LATTC/Ortho Institute” station marked as “23rd St” and “Grand/LATTC” station marked as just “Grand”. Perhaps a quiet admission by Metro staff that the new names are not exactly memorable or friendly?

    Also, in the connections chart on the timetable the Silver Line is marked as both “Metro Liner & Express (Silver Line 910 & 950x)” and “Metro Liner Silver Line” yet its labeled under “Metro Busway” under the system map. So which is it the Metro Liner Silver Line or the Metro Busway Silver Line?

    • You should note that parking is $2 all day but there is no in and out for this fee. If you return to use the parking again you must pay again. I know someone who got a picket for in and out on a 24 hour parking purchase. It was over $200 for the ticket which he managed to talk out of arguing there is no posted restriction except the 24 hr period.

    • 217 has served La Cienega/Jefferson since the opening of Expo phase 1 and select trips continue to the Howard Hughes Center in Westchester on weekdays.

  2. The Culver City 3 from Westwood/Rancho Park may be a better option to Century City since it runs all day while Big Blue Bus does not.

  3. I think you can lock your bike when you get on the bus. I know you can do this if you get on the Metro buses. What I ended up doing was asking, “Who’s responsible for theft if my bike is taken from the rack on the bus?” The answer is I am! So with that info I’m taking the responsibility of preventing theft. I do that by locking the bike to the rack.

    Any driver ever gives me gruff on this, I’m getting all the info on this incident and talking to their supervisors. I’ve yet to have that happen.

    ( Would be great to see an article on what the position is on other bus systems in the surrounding area.)

    • “’Who’s responsible for theft if my bike is taken from the rack on the bus?’ The answer is I am!” – Yeah, this was all the info I needed to confirm that the only way I was gonna bring my bike along my commute, that I was going to have to get a foldable bike so it stays with me at all times even inside the bus!! This may sound inconsiderate to a few, but no one is going to be considerate if my bike were to be stolen after I found out I was going to be responsible for the theft of my own bike on the bus.

      That being said, I do put the bike on the rack if it’s not folded but that requires me to stay at the front throughout the trip. Thank you for letting me know that there is at least someone who actually locks their bike on to the rack, I may have to do it in the future, but the Expo Line and Gold Line now mostly solve this issue . I don’t think BBB is okay with this though.

    • The problem with locking your bike on the bus is that it delays people while you try to fumble and unlock your bike. Big Blue Bus does not allow you to lock your bike on the bus: The Metro rules also say it is “not allowed” – If you want to lock something, perhaps lock the wheel to your frame. That way if the thief takes the bike, they can’t ride it away but have to push it.

      • You mean the thief has to carry the bike away, right? I’d pick the back wheel locked to the frame if I had a choice.

        Did you by any chance ask them who responsible for a theft of a bike on their racks?

    • Locking your bike to the racks on a Metro bus is not permitted, even if some operators may allow you to.

      • My argument is that they are not going to have me leave my bike unlocked if they aren’t going to take responsibility of it is stolen. There’s no way I’m leaving my bike like that! Furthermore there has been times where you are suppose to take a bus on your normal train ride. Due to construction or accident, or whatever, and this is another reason I would not leave my bike unlocked. I can control security of my bike on the train. On the bus, it’s a different story. Furthermore, if I need a furthermore reason, some of these neighborhoods the bus is going through is a bit sketchy!

      • The rules are the rules. A Metro bus operator shall have the last word as far as what he will allow on his coach. He is the captain of the ship, and if he insists upon not letting a patron lock his bike to the racks, then there’s nothing you could do about that. My Rule Book backs my decision on this. Once I pull the emergency brake on my coach, the bus is not moving until I’m ready. Your argument notwithstanding.

      • Seems like this opens up a possibility of a legal action if a passenger choose not to ride a bus, but finds himself having to ride one cause the train isn’t taking him where he has to go. Personally I’d rather ride through the sketchy neighborhood than have my bike there for the taking.

      • Rules are rules. It states for the Metro train commuter at –

        Rules for bicyclists include accessing platforms via stairs or elevators only, walking bicycles through stations, holding onto bicycles at all times, not boarding crowded trains and giving priority to elderly and handicapped passengers.


        It is the cyclist’s responsibility to ensure safe operations of their bicycle when traveling on the MTA system and to minimize the potential for liability, damage and injury to other passengers.


        I didn’t read anywhere where the bicyclist is suppose to get on the bus and surrender responsibility of their bikes. Any help on that?

  4. Thoughts on the 3rd day of service. . . It’s slow. It’s actually taking an hour flat from end to end and this is on a Sunday night. Almost missed my Red Line connection as a result. Will try it as an actual commute tomorrow (Monday, Peak direction commute) and see how that turns out.

  5. Dear Metro, Please advise those with bicycles on the train to display common courtesy by not blocking the doors so that passengers can safely and expediently exit the train.

  6. Note to Metro – not sure if this impacts any of your mobile tools, but as of today Google Maps STILL Has Not added the Expo Phase II stations. Most of us 🙂 know where they are, but ….

    • Don’t hold your breathe. Google hasn’t even added the Gold Line Foothill extension stations, and they’ve been open for almost three months now..

      • @ExpoRider, I’m one of the few without an expensive smartphone but the new Foothill extension stations show up on GM in a Google Chrome desktop browser. IME Google services are Very inconsistent and time variant without warning.

        Metro may have a role in these bookmark activations but I dunno.

  7. in the LA Times I have read lots of complaints about how slow the Expo Line is. I understand that grade separation is very expensive, but why not have crossing gates at all of the intersections? I have wondered the same thing about the Orange Liner for years. The gates would make it harder for cars to get in the way and allow greater speed for the train/bus.