A ceremony was held Friday afternoon in Exposition Park to welcome the Expo Line as the latest Metro Rail project to grace the transit scene in Los Angeles County.
The Expo Line opens to the public on Saturday morning at 5 a.m. There will be free rides to the public on both Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. with regular fare service beginning Monday. Details here.
Many public officials were on hand Friday at the Expo Park/USC station, including several aboard a train that broke through the traditional ‘first train’ banner about 1 p.m.
Among some of the comments from public officials:
•”The opening of the Expo Line is a central step toward a 21st century transit system this region deserves,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa.
“We can and will do much more,” he added, citing Thursday’s vote by the Metro Board of Directors to certify the final environmental studies to two other rail projects, the Regional Connector and Westside Subway Extension.
•County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas noted that Expo Line will be the first train to carry passengers to the Westside along Exposition Boulevard since late 1953.
He also noted that while the region recognizes that this past week was the 20th anniversary of the 1992 riots, it’s also important to recognize that the Expo Line is a big investment in the communities along the route, including South Los Angeles.
•”Thirty years from now this line will be remembered as a line that carried tens of thousands people [each day] and it will also be one of the busiest lines anywhere, not just in Los Angeles,” said County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky.
“This is the golden age of transportation in Los Angeles,” he added, noting that each of the rail lines expected to open in the coming decade is a down payment to Los Angeles County voters who approved the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase in 2008.
• “I can see Santa Monica from here!” said Metro Board Member and Santa Monica City Council member Pam O’Connor. “Not really. But I know it’s coming soon … in early 2016 when Expo Phase 2 is completed. And the grueling commute between downtown Santa Monica and Los Angeles will be transformed to a serene 46 minutes. And we really will see Santa Monica from here … on the train destination signs.”
•”My daughter goes to school right behind me,” said L.A. Councilwoman and former Expo Board Chair Jan Perry, pointing to the USC campus. “I’m going to text her when we’re done here that the next time she needs asks me for a ride home, I’m going to tell her to take the train.”
Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro