Expo Line ridership numbers from Monday’s commute

There were 12,058 new TAP entries at the Expo Line’s seven new stations on Monday, according to Metro. Metro is still evaluating Expo’s ridership data and we’ll have more soon, including the impact of the extension on Expo’s phase one stations.

Monday was the first regular weekday commute on the Expo Line’s extension to Santa Monica. There were mitigating circumstances: an alleged drunk driver crashed through a fence in the morning near the Expo/Crenshaw Station and blocked the tracks for two hours between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. That caused delays during the peak morning commute that may have caused some potential riders to commute by other means.

Preliminary numbers show that Downtown Santa Monica Station was easily the busiest of the new stations in terms of TAP entries recorded. Here are those numbers in order of the stations from east to west:

Palms: 1,016 TAP entries.

Westwood/Rancho Park: 661 TAP entries.

Expo/Sepulveda: 1,150 TAP entries.

Expo/Bundy: 1,376 TAP entries.

26th St/Bergamot: 853 TAP entries.

17th St/SMC: 1,020 TAP entries.

Downtown Santa Monica: 5,982 TAP entries.



19 replies

  1. I predicted Expo ridership would catch up with the Gold Line’s weekday ridership of 50,000 once the extension opened. 29,000 + 12,000 = 51,000. Looks like I was pretty close ! So much for the massive ridership predicted by Westside transit fans who spent months trashing the Gold Line extension.

    • Gold Line is 31 miles, Expo Line is 15 miles. Hard to compare.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Phantom:
      There are many issues to address:
      1) 29,000 + 12,000 = 41,000
      2) The 12,000 riders counted only account for riders who boarded at the new stations. Riders who boarded at the old stations and traveled to the new stations aren’t included in the 12,000 riders. After accounting for all of the changes to ridership patterns associated with the Phase 2 implementation, those 12,000 riders probably account for 15,000-16,000 new riders on the first weekday of Expo revenue service. Therefore, I estimate that the first weekday ridership was actually approximately 44-45,000 riders.
      3) There is always a ramp-up period associated with the opening of a new rail line. It’s typical to only see 50-60 percent of the eventual riders shift their travel behavior in the first month, for a variety of reasons. The full ramp-up usually takes 1-2 years.
      4) I predict first month (June) ridership of 46-47,000 daily weekday riders on Expo. This should increase to over 50,000 daily riders by September, when school is back in session, so by then you should be able to claim that you’re correct with your original prediction.
      5) Gold Line ridership actually increased by fewer than 5,000 daily riders in the first month of service, from 47,931 in February to 52,672 in March. Half of that growth on the Gold Line disappeared in April, as the average dropped to 50,219 daily riders. It’s too soon to tell, but I estimate that the actual growth on the Gold Line is somewhere in the range between 4,000 and 6,000 daily riders. Compared to that growth, the Westside transit fans can be justified for “trashing” the Gold Line extension.
      6) Ridership on Expo for the next few months will be constrained by the shortage of rail cars, which prevents Metro from allocating three-car consists to the Expo trains. The on-going delivery, testing and implementation of those rail cars should result in three-car trains for all peak hour services sometime this summer.
      7) Additional rail cars will be required before Metro is able to upgrade the service to six-minute headways. By the time this happens, probably by 2018, ridership on the 15 mile Expo Line will reach 60,000 daily riders, far higher than the ridership on the 31 mile Gold Line, and approaching the ridership on the 22 mile Blue Line (77,000 in April).
      8) Steve says its hard to compare Gold Line and Expo Line ridership due to the relative lengths of the lines. How about comparing the two lines based on the relative number of rail cars in service, since that’s a good surrogate for operating cost. The Gold Line uses approximately 50 rail cars in peak service. Expo uses 20 to 25 rail cars in peak service. So, with less than half the service, the Expo Line achieves approximately 90 percent of the ridership of the Gold Line. I’d say that’s overwhelming evidence that Expo is more productive than the Gold Line.

  2. I would like to see more vendors of Rail Cars be able to compete their products to better serve our needs, so that we can have fast delivery of rail cars.

  3. I saw (rode) one three-car train on Expo on Monday. Since then I’ve only seen or ridden two-car trains on Expo. The two-car train that I rode this morning was carrying at least 300 passengers at the peak load point.
    Metro: Please look at the peak loads on the four LRT routes and provide service accordingly. Even before Phase 2 opened the Expo Line was experiencing by for the highest peak loads per vehicle, over 200 passengers per train in the peak period/peak direction. Now that Expo Phase 2 is open, average loads must be at least 250 passengers per train. Average peak loads on the other lines range between 160 (Green Line) to 220 (Blue Line). Why do the other three lines, which have much shorter headways, served by longer trains than Expo? I know you don’t have enough cars to operate Expo at six minute headways yet, but at least allocate the few Expo trains the cars they need to serve the current demand.

  4. […] Thrillist Posts, Removes Xenophobic Anti-Expo Line Screed (L.A. Weekly, Gawker) …Santa Monica Near-Expo Parks New Parking Meters Criticized By “Locals” (SMDP) …Monday Expo 2 Ridership: 12,000 Boardings, Half Downtown SaMo (The Source) […]

  5. Rode it on Monday. What a joke the MTA staff is. They didn’t know how to get you to the line from the Red Line. The train broke down at Pico. Had to get shoved in like sardines on a Blue Line train. The announcements were backwards so they’d say USC and it was La Brea. Sheriff’s hadn’t a clue what was going on. Stopping at lights was ridiculous. Should have waited to bring my 89 year old Dad along. MTA staff should all be fired.

    • What do you mean by your first point, “They didn’t know how to get you to the line from the Red Line”? Why were you confused in the first place? Signs are clearly posted around 7th/metro station directing passengers from the lower to the upper platforms.

      • The first time I transferred from the Red Line to the Expo Line at the 7th St station I asked someone at the Blue/Expo station platform if there is where the Expo Line departs as everything I saw indicated the Blue Line.

        My second attempt at this several weeks later I ended up on the platform on the opposite side of the Expo/Blue trains that I should have been on. I had to ask a Metro driver who was standing nearby how I can get to the other platform where all the people are.

        The third time I simply followed the crowd of passengers that got off the Red Line at the 7th St station. Why try to figure it out when the bulk of people probably already knew where to go.

  6. I don’t know about yesterday but today the westbound train at 8 AM was sardines, our driver had to try to close the doors four times at Western and Crenshaw, still standing room only after Culver City. Two-LRV consist.

  7. Do you have any observations regarding the number of parking spaces being used at the new stations?