Customer survey of Expo Line riders

As the report concludes and I think the takaway:

•Overall, 70 percent of those surveyed stated that they were new riders, with 44 previously driving and another 23 percent changing modes from bus to rail.

•While the majority of existing riders are regular riders traveling east to destinations near downtown Los Angeles, a significant number of new riders are occasional Expo users traveling west to downtown Santa Monica.

•In general, riders feel safe on Expo II, but are concerned about the low frequency of service which leads to overcrowding.

Three things I’ll add:

•Metro is hoping to move to six minute frequencies at peak hours in December. Trains currently run every 12 minutes.

•It’s worth keeping in mind that only three of the seven new stations have parking, thus the reason that most people aren’t driving to stations. It also helps that many of the new stations are a pretty easy walk from nearby neighborhoods.

•Below are the latest ridership estimates for Expo — these are through August.


17 replies

  1. I am a new rider, going from South Pasadena to Santa Monica for work. Two transfers: Gold to Red to Expo. I tried it daily for one month and decided to go back to driving, as awful as that is (110 to the 10). The total trip time on Metro averaged 120 minutes vs. 90 minutes driving, both measured door-to-door. I drive an electric car, so cost of travel was probably less driving.

    Besides the longer trip time, the other reason I reverted back to driving: the trains are too crowded during the commute hours! I’m standing smelling the armpits of everyone on the Gold, frequently, and the Expo almost always. Too crowded!

    • More rail cars coming online every month will help
      The regional connector will greatly reduce the time for that commute and eliminate one of the transfers.
      $1.75 is hard to beat over that distance.

      Keep trying once and a while, it will get better.

      • What is this “regional connector” of which you speak? (serious question) How is that going to change the transfers?

        • It will connect the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines via a new 1.9-mile tunnel. After it opens, the plan is to have one set of trains running between Azusa and Long Beach and another set of trains running between Santa Monica and East L.A. The two lines will share five stations in downtown L.A. where you can easily transfer between the two lines: Pico, 7th/Metro, 2nd/Hope, 2nd/Broadway and 1st/Central. Example of how it will make life easier: if you’re riding Gold Line from Pasadena, there will be no need to transfer to the subway at Union Station and then transfer to Expo Line at 7th/Metro in order to go see the Rams. Instead you’ll stay on the train and at any of the above stations you can transfer to the east-west line. One less transfer and no walking to a different platform.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

          • Thanks for that explanation. That would make a material difference in the trip, I think. I look forward to it.

    • I’m from NYC and recently moved here. Too bad about having to condescend to smelling the scent of other human beings – sounds like a very undignified experience. It’s comfort zones like this that are entirely unsustainable luxuries that make west coast commuters complete pampered princesses compared to east coast U.S. and most of the other western world. This said, the metro should really be faster than driving!

  2. Interesting but not very comprehensive. When you surveyed new riders on the Gold Line you found that most of the new riders were only going as far as Pasadena and not all the way to Union Station. Did you ask similar questions of the Expo 2 riders? Are they staying on the west side, between Santa Monica and Culver City, are they going all the way to DTLA, or are they stopping somewhere in between?

    • This is something I have wondered myself. Like why is it that only LAUS, Harbor Gateway and El Monte Bus stations are the only ones with Restrooms??

      • Homeless.
        When we dont have a solution for the mentally ill and drug abusers, they end up using public services in other areas to get by. Wherever there is a public restroom becomes a magnet for homeless encampments(hey if I was homeless I would want to live near a toilet and working sink too). All the homeless camps in my neighborhood are clustered around the public library, because they have a restroom.

        This means that when the community is asked for their input on the station design and amenities most push for no restroom.

  3. frankly what are you doing to compensate the blue line riders that have had to put up with crowded trains on the weekends in order to make sure your expo line went well

    • building the regional connector so blue line riders dont have to transfer to get to points north of 7th street?

  4. If you want to understand the P.O.V. of LA Metro passengers, you should attend a live show of BUSted! Los Angeles – True stories about getting around LA, told by people who don’t drive. Our youtube channel is the largest video archive in the country for Public Commuter stories, and the majority of the stories take place on the LA Metro busses and trains.

  5. I went on sev bus to 37st when I came back a bus with sever line pick ous up went to bus stop drop off toll ous that we had wayate for wes cov bus what a bad thing too do