Tour Metro electric bus at AltCar Expo, September 19-20

One of five new electric buses ordered by Metro and build by BYD will be on display at Altcar Expo. Photo Credit: BYD

One of the five new electric buses ordered by Metro and manufactured by BYD will be on display at the AltCar Expo. Photo Credit: BYD

The 9th Annual AltCar Expo will be taking place Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Admission is free and the expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The expo features presentations and demonstrations of the latest advancements in alternative technology vehicles, transportation, and energy efficiency. Don’t miss out on a tour of the all-new electric bus on display presented by Metro!

As an added bonus for Metro riders, those who show their valid TAP cards at the AltCar info booth will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a free Nissan LEAF rental! The winner will be announced after the event, and you must be present at the time of the raffle to claim the prize.

To get to the auditorium, take Metro Bus 534 to Olympic/5th and walk south on 4th Street. Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus is another option; for more routes and connections use the Trip Planner. Free bike valet will also be offered at the event.

Gastropub proposed for Fred Harvey Room at Los Angeles Union Station!

Some exciting news to pass along this morning: The Metro Board of Directors this month will be considering a lease for a new gastropub to be located in the Fred Harvey Room at Los Angeles Union Station. Here is the Metro staff report on the proposed lease.

The lease is with Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman, who have been very successful with other downtown Los Angeles bars and eateries, including Seven Grand, the Golden Gopher, the Broadway Bar, Coles, Casey’s Irish Pub and several others that have helped fuel DTLA’s revitalization in recent times.

If the lease is approved by the full Metro Board at its Oct. 2 meeting, the new restaurant would be the first to occupy the Fred Harvey Room at Union Station since the original Harvey House restaurant closed in 1967. The space, which has been very well preserved (see the above photos), has since been used for special events and filming. Fiona Apple’s video for “Paper Bag” does a great job of showing off the Fred Harvey Room:

As for the timeline for a prospective restaurant opening, it will probably take several months to a year. Most notably, the kitchen area needs to be completely redone and the necessary permits secured from the city of Los Angeles. Metro staff say that all renovations and/or restorations will be done under the watchful eye of an architectural historian.

Metro purchased Union Station from a private firm in 2011 and has since been upgrading the station and planning for its future. The Metro Board on Oct. 2 will also consider approving the final version of the Union Station Master Plan, which seeks to preserve the station’s historic nature while expanding the station to handle the growing number of riders using the facility, as well as better connect it to surrounding neighborhoods. We’ll soon post more on the final version of the Master Plan.

The Metro Board earlier this summer also approved a lease for Cafe Crepe, which will occupy the space formerly used by Union Bagel and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here’s the menu at their Santa Monica location. Of course, Traxx has been open at Union Station since 1997 and continues to be the fine dining venue at LAUS while also operating the Traxx lounge.

The Metro Board this month will also consider leases for two kiosks to be located in the East Portal. One will serve bento boxes and the other kiosk will offer coffee.

Reminder: new Metro fares take effect on Monday, Sept. 15

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As most of hopefully know by now, Metro’s fares are increasing effective Monday morning. The regular $1.50 fare will increase to $1.75 on Monday — but the new fare will also include two hours of free transfers for those that pay for riding with a TAP card.

That’s a key departure from the current fare system that requires everyone to pay a full fare every time they transfer.

All riders should consider whether it’s less expensive to pay per Metro trip or whether they need a pass. A quick example: if you only ride Metro between home and work and back home each weekday, it would be cheaper to pay $1.75 per trip (or $3.50 a day) rather than buy a monthly pass.

On the other hand, if you are a heavy user of the Metro system that rides multiple times a day or uses Metro buses and trains every day, a pass will remain the better option (albeit at a higher price than currently).

Where to buy a TAP card? At ticket machines at all Metro Rail and Orange Line stations, online at taptogo.net or at the 400 or so locations in Los Angeles County that sells them.

Here are two answers to two obvious questions about the new fares:

How do the free transfers work? The two hour free transfer period begins when you first tap your TAP card when boarding a bus or at a Metro Rail station. You can transfer as many times as needed in that two hour window for free with one key exception: you can’t ride the same bus or train line consecutively on the same fare. In plain English: no round-trips on the same fare. Please also continue to tap your TAP card before boarding each bus or train. 

What happens Monday to those who are currently riding on a valid weekly, monthly or EZ Pass? The short answer: nothing, your current pass will remain valid until it expires. You will pay the new higher price when purchasing your next pass.

I know many riders will have other questions. Please see this FAQ on metro.net or leave a question on our comments board and we will try to answer promptly. Please no comments or long arguments about different fare systems — we’ve already had plenty of that on the blog. You can also ask us questions on Twitter or Facebook. Please use the hashtag: #newfares

I also want to emphasize: please click here to see if you are eligible for Metro’s “Rider Relief” fares that provide up to a $10 discount on transit passes. The Rider Relief coupons for seniors and students provide savings on top of already reduced rates. Eligibility is determined by household income and the number of occupants in a household.

Please, please, please — check to see if you are eligible for a discount. There’s no point in paying more than you should and these discounts are available for one simple reason: there’s a lot of low-income folks who need them and the discounts help enhance mobility in our region. If you know of someone who may qualify, please pass along this information!

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Your Friday send-off: John Butler Trio – Flesh & Blood

ART OF TRANSIT: An Expo Line train leaving 7th/Metro Station last week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Don’t be deterred by the somewhat creepy sounding album title, Aussie band John Butler Trio‘s music is really quite soothing. I discovered the group through Erik Karlsson…and if you don’t know who that is, you should start following NHL hockey players.

If enjoying music on bus or train, please remember to use your headphones. And if you have transit playlist song recs, leave them in the comments or tweet them at us @metrolosangeles! Awesome tracks (as deemed by yours truly) will be shared in future posts.

Here’s the song Only One from the band’s newest album Flesh & Blood.

Metro Presents: PARK(ing) Day at Union Station on September 19

Los Angeles themed Loetria cards

Los Angeles themed Lotería cards

Leave your cars in park and join Metro for PARK(ing) Day at Union Station on Friday, September 19. From noon to 5 p.m.artist Alexis Disselkoen will create a temporary park out of a corner of the station’s Alameda-facing parking lot.

Swing by anytime PARK(ing) Day afternoon to enjoy the pop-up park and participate in a game of Lotería led by Disselkoen. (Lotería is like Bingo, but with pictures instead of numbers.) Winners will receive prizes while supplies last, and it will be free to play.

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner for routes and connections.

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Go Metro Weekends, Sept 12-14

Friday

One Direction will be taking over the Rose Bowl tonight! The British heartthrobs will be performing along with 5 Seconds of Summer tonight at  7 p.m. Tickets are still on sale for  the special boy band-crazed person in your life. (Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park Station, then walk two blocks to Parsons for Rose Bowl Shuttle. Note: shuttle costs $10 for this event)

Kickstarter will be hosting a film festival at the Autry showcasing small films funded by the fundraising organization. Admission is free and the showings start at 6 p.m. (Metro Bus 96 to the Autry)

Saturday

Come out to the South Pasadena Moon Festival, taking place at the South Pasadena Library from noon until 4 p.m. Celebrate one of most important holidays in Chinese culture with exciting entertainment, games and moon cakes! Admission is free. Activities may require tickets sold at $1 each. (Metro Gold Line to South Pasdena Station, walk about 2 blocks west on El Centro Street) Continue reading

Save your tables from water rings with Metro icon coasters

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Is your desk drab and colorless? Are your tables often covered with water rings…or worse, coffee rings? Solve these problems with some Metro icon coasters! The coasters are 3.5” in diameter and come in a classic “M” logo tin. They’re on sale now at the online Metro Store for $13.75.