A $299-million contract to purchase 78 new light rail vehicles from Kinkisharyo International, LLC, was approved Monday afternoon by the Metro Board of Directors on a 8 to 1 vote.
The approval is pending resolution of two protests filed with Metro by firms that did not win the bid as well as no negative responses from the Federal Transit Administration before the protests are resolved.
The contract also includes four options to buy another 157 light rail vehicles for $591 million for a total contract value of $890 million for 235 new rail cars. Metro staff had recommended Kinkisharyo after spending the past year evaluating bids. (Renderings of the new cars are above and after the jump).
Board Member Jose Huizar voted against the contract and Board Member Richard Katz abstained. Members Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas were absent and Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa could not participate in the discussion due to a conflict of interest.
Metro CEO Art Leahy opened the special Board meeting by saying that agency has fallen several years behind its procurement of new rail light rail vehicles and that the agency does not have enough vehicles at this time to operate the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Both projects are under construction and could be complete by 2015.
With regular Expo Line service beginning Monday morning, Los Angeles Councilman and Metro Board Member Jose Huizar (above) was on hand at the 7th/Metro Center station to greet Expo and Blue Line passengers, promote the new line and hand out commemorative pins.
Also on hand was Metro operations chief Frank Alejandro, shown below.
The Board of Directors meets at 10 a.m. today at Metro HQ in downtown Los Angeles for a special meeting to consider a $299-million contract to buy 78 light rail vehicles from Kinkisharyo International, LLC. The contract also includes four options to purchase 157 more rail cars for a price up to $591 million.
Obviously, spending $890 million is a big deal and there are — surprise! — other firms that would like to do business with Metro. Thus, the special meeting.
The Expo Line’s opening weekend with free rides is now complete and regular service begins early Monday morning between 7th/Metro Center in downtown Los Angeles and the La Cienega/Jefferson station.
The first westbound train from 7th/Metro Center leaves at 4:54 a.m. and the first eastbound train from La Cienega/Jefferson station at 5:12 a.m. The final train of the night departs at 12:32 a.m from both 7th/Metro Center and La Cienega/Jefferson
The regular Expo Line timetable is below. It can be downloaded from the Metro website here [pdf]. Reminder: the Farmdale station is not yet open, nor is the train traveling all the way to Culver City until this summer.
Congregation of St. John's Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles keeps pace with approaching Expo train. Photo by Luis Inzunza.
Two processions at around 12:30 p.m. today came together for a blessing of the new Expo Line. On the west side of Flower at 23rd Street, Episcopal priests led the congregation of St. John’s Cathedral from the historic church on West Adams that’s just a block away from the 23rd St. Station. Across the street, an Expo Train simultaneously approached the station, looking scrubbed and clean in its Sunday best. Flanked by L.A. City Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, the Very Reverend Canon Mark R. Kowalewski conducted the blessing from the platform during the brief boarding stop. On its way to Pico Station, the train departed on schedule, leaving the platform in a cloud of incense.
The Very Reverend Canon Mark R. Kowalewski, dean and rector of St. John's Cathedral, leads the blessing ceremony at the 23rd Street Station. Photo by Gino Giles.
Ridership on the Expo Line is relatively light today, with intermittent full trains and no queues to speak of. Free opening weekend rides continue today until 7 p.m. The Expo Line opens for regular fare service on Monday at 4:54 a.m. from 7th St / Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles. The first eastbound train will depart La Cienega/Jefferson Station at 5:12 a.m.