Metro bus and train service changes go into effect on Sunday, Dec. 11



Metro implements service changes and adjustments twice each year — in June and December. The above flyer has this December’s changes.

One other notable change: the Expo Line will continue running every six-minutes during peak hours but will run every 12 minutes during mid-day hours (about 9 to 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. depending on direction) to reflect mid-day ridership and match the same frequencies as the Blue Line. Here’s the new Expo timetable. Mid-day trains will have three cars and peak hour trains will be a mix of two-car and three-car trains. Overall, it’s an increase in peak hour capacity and a decrease in mid-day capacity.

All the new bus and train timetables that go into effect Dec. 11 are here.

Here’s the news release from Metro:

Better Expo Line Connections

Metro to Implement Several Service Changes Effective Sunday, Dec. 11

Effective Sunday, December 11, Metro will make route modifications in downtown Santa Monica to Metro Bus Lines 704, 720, 733 and Owl Routes 4, 20 and 33 in an effort to improve connections to the Expo Line terminus station at Colorado and 4th Street. 

Bus routes will be moved, simplified and bus stops will be consolidated to improve travel time and convenience into and out of downtown Santa Monica. Both Metro Rapid and Metro Local overnight lines (called owl lines) will now use the same routes and stops in Santa Monica between Ocean Avenue and 6th Street.

In addition, Metro will improve bus service on some of its most popular lines. Known as the

“15-minute Network,” service will be improved to operate every 15 minutes during the morning and afternoon peak travel periods on Lines 68, 76, 90, 117, 125, 162/163, 164, 165, 180, 217, 232, 251, 260, 266, 751, 760, and 762.

Other key improvements:

Line 501 (NoHo to Pasadena Express via the 134 freeway) − Service will be improved to operate every 12 minutes during the weekday peak travel periods, providing more timely connections to the Orange Line in North Hollywood and the Gold Line in Pasadena. Weekday service hours on the 501 will also be extended and will now operate from 5 a.m. through 10 p.m. Weekend travel frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 45 minutes.

Lines 910/950 (Silver Line – Silver Line Express) − A minor route change to improve safety will occur in the area of Harbor Boulevard and Beacon Street at the Beacon Park and Ride Lot.  Patrons boarding northbound buses will now board on northbound Beacon Street at 1st Street.  Three additional buses have also been added to the line to improve on-time performance and enhance service between downtown Los Angeles and San Pedro during the 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekday rush hour. In order to improve access and reduce overcrowding during peak travel periods, Line 950 buses will now also be serving the Slauson and Manchester stations on the Harbor Transitway.

December 2016 Service Changes

Metro Expo Line – During weekday morning and afternoon peak hours, half of the trains will be three car trains. Midday service will be operated every 12 minutes with three car trains instead of every six minutes to match the weekday midday service provided on the Metro Blue Line and to provide service that reflects current ridership. Peak hour trains will now be a mix of two-car and three-car trains to help increase capacity at the busiest times of the day.


26 replies

    • All ridership info is posted here and you can slice/dice however you would like:

      Period Estimated Weekday Ridership Estimated Saturday Ridership Estimated Sunday Ridership
      2016/03 511 280 186
      2016/04 511 280 186
      2016/05 959 472 410
      2016/06 971 558 394
      2016/07 1,079 549 433
      2016/08 1,121 572 489
      2016/09 1,216 583 442
      2016/10 1,221 565 455
      2016/11 1,193 519 434

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  1. It is absurd Metro is going to force the 950 to stop at Slauson and Manchester. If they are going to do that, at least have the 950 bypass USC Medical Center for a speedier ride from El Monte to San Pedro. Maybe Metro can consider utilizing articulated buses on the Silver Line Local and Express so the Express (950) does not have to stop at Cal State L.A., USC Medical Center, 37th St, Slauson, Manchester, Rosecrans, Carson St, and P.C.H. I know I should forward my three cents to Customer Relations, but I feel it best to just sound off here, if that is okay.

  2. Operations at 7th/Metro should improve with the new operating plan. Since they are adding 3-car trains on alternating trains during the peak periods, the Metro dispatchers will have the flexibility to swap these 3-car trains between the Expo Line and the Blue Line. In the past few months they haven’t had this option because Expo was all 2-car trains, and Blue Line was all 3-car trains (except in a very few cases that I observed).

  3. Once again, Metro should have the Blue and Expo trains ALWAYS use different platforms at Metro Center. In this way an Expo Line train is not forced to wait while a Blue Line train changes ends and clears the West platform, and vice-versa.

    Any transfers between the two lines can be made just as easily, or even more so, at Pico.

    A single platform cannot efficiently serve train movements every 90 seconds when it entails unloading and reloading each train while changing ends. I am surprised that Metro has apparently not done this. In Aerospace engine ring, we called it the NIH “Not Invented Here” attitude.

  4. It seems that the 12-minute off-peak headways on the Expo and Blue lines are reasonable given the current state of 7th/Metro station. During rush hour, 6-minute headways on both lines only allow 3 minutes per train in the station, which includes disembarking, reversing, and pickup. There’s probably not even time for the operator to use the restroom.

    It was already obvious that this is a problem when I visited over Thanksgiving. We were backed up in the tunnel headed into the station for 10+ minutes. In order for rush hour to run smoothly, some breathing room during off-peak is likely necessary.

  5. Anyone else remember when the “15 minute network” was the “12 minute map.” Ah, those were also the days when rapids and locals provided helpfully duplicitous service–each retaining a their corridor’s frequency rather than the route schedules being cut to maintain a corridor-wide frequency.

    Those were the days. More frequent bus service, slightly lower fares, and things still weren’t great. lol.

    We can do so much more with our bus network. As a rider, has felt like priority to the agency, maybe save for the first couple years of metro rapid.

  6. What’s the status on the rail car order from Kinkisharyo? It seems like Metro is still shuffling around a limited supply. The new Expo schedule will allow for more capacity during rush hour, but I guess you’ll find out whether it’s enough. I’m guessing it’ll still be standing room only, but less packed like sardines.

  7. “Weekend travel frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 45 minutes.” This is not a “key improvement” but rather yet another reduction in service frequency, probably the primary disincentive for using buses in LA. It’s nice that the “15 minute” network is getting some scattered peak hour improvements, but it seems that whenever Metro adds some peak hour frequency for a few lines, somewhere else in the non-peak bus network always gets the shaft. People don’t want to wait 30 or more minutes for a bus. 8-10 minutes should be the target frequency for most corridors all day. That’s what makes a bus system actually attractive.
    Also: “Midday service will be operated every 12 minutes with three car trains instead of every six minutes…” Another reduction in service on the newly opened expo line. Really a shame, especially after cutting evening service down to every 20 minutes. Lets actually move forward with buses as well as rail expansion and not cut frequency. That is only regressive. Buses need to run at least as frequent as the rail lines they are connecting to. Its a no brainier.

  8. The 15 minute network is not a “real” 15 minute network that operates in both directions during the entirety of the peak period. Some changes are just adding a few trips o during the peak so that routes which were running, say, every 17 or 20 minutes are now more consistently at 15 for a couple hours during the rush. Others only added the peak service in one direction, so people traveling the other way still have to wait 20 or 30 minutes. I would like to see Measure M money in the June 2017 cycle include expansion of the 15 minute network to a consistent 15 minutes all day long, and no worse than 30 during nights and weekends.

  9. I assume that the reduced Expo Line mid-day service is for the winter only. The demand will be much greater during the summer months, especially on weekends.

  10. How does one make suggestions to Metro about making other tweaks to improve Expo Line connections?

    Here’s one of the most glaring examples: Metro has a Rapid bus (Line 780) that travels from mid-city through Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Glendale to Pasadena. It has stops for the Red Line in Hollywood and Los Feliz, but inexplicably terminates at Washington / Fairfax – just .7 miles north of the La Cienega / Jefferson station on the Expo Line.

    How crazy is that?

    Inexplicably, the Metro local bus (Line 217) does continue southward to the La Cienega / Jefferson station.

    This means that commuters who use the Expo Line only have the option of taking the local 217 service up Fairfax Ave. to Hollywood, but can’t take advantage of the faster and more comprehensive service on the Rapid 780 line.

      • Maybe true. but you owe it to your readers to pass on comments related to specific service issues.

        • I actually don’t think that the Source staff does owe you this. Their job is not to be customer service agents. It is unfair to ask the to take on their research, writing, editing, and publishing duties in addition to monitoring all comments and fielding them to the appropriate departments.

          I think part of the issue is that Metro doesn’t have great coordination between its service councils and central operations. The structure seems to not be very clearly and seems to leave Metro’s central operations a bit out of the loop. Maybe we could request that customer relations regularly monitors and replies to comments about service-related issues. I hear you that an official agency blog should be accountable to its readers and riders. Yet, I don’t think this responsibility should be left to The Source staff. They go above and beyond in their positions as is.

          Just my 3 and a half cents 🙂

          • Those responsible for setting routes and schedules should routinely peruse the Source just to get a feel of what the transit riders are saying.

            The Source is an excellent forum, and Metro should learn from it.

    • I agree there. Line 780 totally lacks a direct connection to the Expo Line and currently, Line 705 stops at La Cienega Expo Line Station.

  11. Why does it appear that the Expo line is getting prefential treatment, departing 7th/Metro every 6 min. while pssngrs waiting for the Metro Blue Line has to wait after every 2 Expo Lines departs?
    Why are the trains used on the Blue Line is less appealing, older and so many mechanical break downs?

    • Not from my reading of the two timetables. Both lines have 6-minute service during the rush hours and 12-minute mid-day service. Same is essentially true on weekends, where both lines have 12-minute service,

      However, this points up the problem of no having all-day single seat service between Union Station and trh 96th Street/LAX station and Green Line Wye being built as part of the Crenshaw Line. With uncoordinated schedules between Blue and Green Line trains, having to transfer at Imperial/Rosa Parks will make this unattractive to LAX-bound travelers. BART, New York, MTA Chicago CTA, and Denver provide such one-seat rail service and Metro should also.

  12. re: “Metro Expo Line – During weekday morning and afternoon peak hours, half of the trains will be three car trains. Midday service will be operated every 12 minutes with three car trains instead of every six minutes to match the weekday midday service provided on the Metro Blue Line to provide better rail-to-rail connections.”

    Yes, surely “better rail-to-rail connections” is the real reason. It couldn’t possibly be to cut operating costs 50% during midday hours.

    • How does reducing frequencies improve rail-to-rail connections?

      With 12minute frequencies, you could wait 12 minutes and not just 6 if you just missed a connection. Trains don’t always run on time, and thus connections could be iffy in some instances.

      • Expo Line and Blue Line will be on same midday schedules.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

        • For obvious reasons, Expo and Blue Line trains cannot be on the exact same schedule at Metro Center, What should be done is to schedule that either an Expo or Blue Line train will either arrive or depart every 3 minutes in the peak periods and every 6 minutes mid-day. Thus there would be a train movement on average every 90 seconds during peak periods and every 3 minutes mid-day.

          I still contend that the Expo and Blue trains should use different platforms at Metro Center at all times to avoid having an arriving train having to wait for a departing train to change ends and leave. Transfers between the Blue and Expo trains can be made at Pico to avoid passengers having to climb and then descend to switch platforms at Metro Center.