It has been awhile since we’ve talked about line letters for Metro’s rail and bus rapid transit lines, which is always a favorite subject of readers! With the letters issue in the news a bit these days, we’d like to offer a brief refresher on where things stand.
The Metro Board of Directors approved a new Line Letters naming system in November of 2018. The reasons we’re moving toward line letters are threefold:
- Consistency: we want one cohesive systemwide naming convention. At present we’re inconsistent. Most lines are named after colors, but the Expo Line and Crenshaw/LAX Line are derived from street names and places. We think that’s confusing.
- Accessibility: our current system map — which is very reliant on colors — is difficult to read for those who are color blind. Adding letters helps avoid that problem.
Future planning: our system is growing; a couple lines are being joined together and continuing with only color names will mean selecting line names based on shades of color that will sometimes be difficult to distinguish and decipher from one another. Letters plus colors, we believe, will make it clearer to residents and visitors who use our system.
The Metro Blue Line will be the first rail line using the new naming convention when it reopens in October 2019. Metro senior leaders always referred to the new line as “The A Line.” However, somehow the “Line A” lexicon creeped into the picture. We’re happy that public feedback over the summer brought the issue to our attention. Thus, the name “A Line” will be the official name.
What does this mean for the average rider? Honestly, not very much. The majority of station signage simply shows the color dot with the letter A. The smaller tactile/Braille signs that show ‘Line A’ will eventually be updated.
The rest of Metro Rail and the Silver Line and Orange Line will transition to the new naming convention when the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens. For those curious as to why Crenshaw/LAX Line does not have a letter name at this time, staff is still working to finalize the operational plan.
And, finally, this morsel. We’re currently building the Regional Connector, which will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines. When the Regional Connector opens, the Long Beach to Azusa line will be the A Line while the Santa Monica to East Los Angeles will become the E Line. The J Line will be used for the Gold Line during the transition phase and will be retired when the Connector opens.