Metro reopens the A Line (Blue) on Saturday, Nov. 2, with three days of free rides on refurbished line

Metro today announced the reopening of the A Line (Blue) on Saturday, Nov. 2 and will offer passengers three days of free rides from Saturday Nov. 2 throughout Monday, Nov. 4 on the A Line.

The New Blue Improvements Project is designed to increase Blue Line reliability with four new switches and new tracks that will reduce service interruptions and extend the life of the line. The project also enhances safety through an upgraded train control system and new overhead power system. 

Customers will see station upgrades such as new digital screens that will provide information on train and bus arrivals, digital artwork, new station identifiers and wayfinding signage, repainted stations and refreshed landscaping.

The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station will also be reopening on Nov. 2 after being closed the past nine months for a complete renovation, including a longer platform, new lighting, better connections to the surrounding community and new security center and bike hub. Work will be continuing on some elements of the project beyond Nov. 2 but the station — one of the busiest in the Metro system — will be ready again for passengers!

The A Line is the first rail line to employ the new naming convention in which Metro Rail and Bus Rapid Transit Lines will be named with letters and colors to better help riders navigate a growing system. The remainder of the system will transition to the new naming convention when the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens. 

Metro will hold three sequential community celebrations on Saturday, Nov. 2 beginning at 10 a.m. at 7th St/Metro Center at The Bloc, followed by the Watts Celebration at 103rd St & Graham Av, near the 103rd/Watts Towers Station and the Downtown Long Beach Station.

The New Blue Improvements Project is a $350-million renovation as part of Metro’s State of Good Repair program. The modernization of the line began in January 2019. The project was divided into two segments. The southern segment from downtown Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles was completed on June 1, when work on the northern segment began.

Related: Every six minute service during peak hours to resume on Expo Line and A (Blue) Line

Related: Blue Line vintage sign auction at Union Station on Oct. 24

42 replies

  1. (wish it was mid-Oct as originally planned, but at least it’s reopened!) Potentially stupid QUESTION: I assume we still have to pay for whatever line gets us TO the Blue/A line, not that the Expo or Red lines are free that day as well, right?

    • Hi Pat;

      Not a dumb question! Yes, free rides only on A (Blue) Line. Not free on the rest of the system. Same thing we did for other line openings.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • So, with the automatic 2 hour transfer window, this doesn’t amount to much of anything for those that riding from elsewhere (since it would be ‘free’ anyway.)

        • Steve — if you start your ride on the A line, is the transfer still free? If so, at least your return trip is free.

    • Doubtful as there is no longer a use for it. Metro will simply call it service duplication and get rid of it. That’s what they did with all Express buses in the past.

    • Long Beach Press Telegram had a write up that the 860 will continue after the Blue Line is up and running for those who still prefer taking the bus. Less chaos on the buses. Rides are more peaceful if your concerned with safety. If you’re most interested in time, then take the Blue Line.

      • 860 is faster than the Blue Line most of the time anyway. The Blue (A) Line makes a ton of stops, while the 860 is Express service.

  2. Will the bus be discontinued I assume and if so, is there going to be an express line downtown with fewer stops? Especially during high times such as the morning and evening?

    • Was the 860 faster than the Blue Line?? Cause if so man that is depressing and would prove that we need to start building the system with Express tracks in certain sections at some point and from day 1 on new lines going forward. Man this city is way behind in terms of rail.

      • In the early morning, yes (since the shuttles were not constrained by traffic). Once traffic ramped up though the train is faster.

      • Yeah it is a lot faster in my humble opinion. it is very sad and depressing that 860 express will be discontinued.
        At the First sign of a train going slower than the express line, I will be looking into sue-ing metro for misappropriation of funds. Not Kidding. The System in LA is very behind. It could be better, if made better.

  3. We have heard about that there were eight trippers in the recent operator bid for a Line 456 with four AM and four PM trips. Line 456 was historically the express from DTLA to Long Beach, which partially replaced the old PE line (as the 36 at the time) and which was replaced by the launch of the Blue Line. Is Metro really going to make more permanent a scaled-down version of the 860 running as the 456? I hope so.

    • Hi Michelle —

      News about the 860 is coming soon to a government blog near you.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • How soon?
        Steve, we need to know everything ASAP.
        It’s exciting and we don’t want it to keep hiding!
        Whoo!
        Thanks!

    • Hi! Reading signs at 860 stops about a 456. Hope this is true. Metro Blue Line is a haven for criminals, in my strongly held opinion.

  4. I don’t think they should continue an express route as it would defeat the purpose of taking the A line. There is always the Silver Line if people want the express experience. I know I’m shooting myself in the foot because I really have enjoyed the 860, however I understand that the resource would be redundant and better used somewhere else. I do feel that an express line is definitely needed on the A line in the future. Take a lesson from New York and focus and improving what you have rather than going on a building spree present projects excepted.

    • Can’t do Express on the A Line without major construction as it would require 4 tracks. Better to just co til he the 860 if they want express service between LBC and LA.

      • Actually, if scheduled right, Express service on the A can be done with the addition of a single track that can operate in contraflow operation. Express trains running northbound AM could make all stops to Willowbrook/RosaParks and then skip 103rd St and access the express track to Jefferson. PM could do the opposite. During the mid-day, the system could be designed for infrequent express services where trains in both directions would share the express track. The additional track can be placed in the old PE “4-tracks” section between Watts Junction (103rd St) and Jefferson Station. Doing this at this point would require redesign of some stations and freight along the corridor would be reduced to a single track without any real space for sidings but as a long term plan, it should be considered.

        • You’re talking peak-direction rush hour express service like some of the lines in NYC MTA. Yes! I love that idea (and not just because I’m a NY transplant living in LA).
          Something Metro should *really* consider with their Measure R rail expansion plans.

  5. The 860 Express is faster than the Blue Line during non-peak hours. It is especially handy for Long Beach commuters or nearby cities that want to pick it up at the Park N Ride. A lot of folks from Long Beach have been in support of it. Mayor Garcia, announced a few weeks ago the 860 bus is sticking around full time. Hoping they make it Consistently on the weekends and during the day it’s about a 25-30 minute commute from Wardlow Station to 7th/Metro. The Blue Line is 40-45 mins if it doesn’t break down.

    4 reasons it has been a success; it makes less stops than the Silver Line and Blue Line, most people on the 860 bus are going somewhere with a purpose like work, an event at Staples Center/Coliseum or to direct transfer to another metro line. There is enough demand from folks that want to go direct to DTLA and have no business stopping anywhere between Del Amo – Florence/Slauson. Wi-Fi on the bus is a plus to do work, and you have less riff raff getting on and off because of less stops. The reality is, the blue line still makes stops in not the best areas you get a lot of people getting on hustling trying to sell you stuff causing our problems we’ve all seen or experienced. Mentally ill homeless, that need some help but wander onto the train. All the issues that riders have complained about and lead to decreases in ridership over the years. The Blue Line, does make sense during rush hour for those that want a faster commute. 860 gets stuck in 405 traffic on its way to the 110. As soon as it gets on the 110 you hit express lanes that open up and make it easy. Have two options, especially an express since there is no express train and won’t be for awhile is much welcomed.

    • How about just having fair inspectors 200 plus lbs to see that all riders have paid their fair? This will help keep the trains free of homeless, vagerents, venders, the crazy’s and riff raff. This will also increase ridership of people trying to get someplace. We need to get more for our money than a moving hotel for the homeless.

  6. Sad that the 860 will go Away, Hopefully LBT will Make it Real Under their Proposed STAR Changes in the Future, the Concept Called for LBT to Bring Express Service to Downtown L.A. from Near C.S.U.L.B. or L.B. Airport to Downtown L.A. for Peak Hours Only Mon-Fri.

  7. Yes they need to keep the 860 or any variation of it for those who don’t live on that side of Long Beach to get to the Silver Line. I’m already getting up early (330 am) just to catch the 860 as I’m coming from East Long Beach. I want a choice because the Blue Line with all the new improvements, still has problems. I don’t like all the chaos on the Blue Line or any metro rail which I haven’t experienced on the 860 as much if any.

  8. I will be highly upset with Metro if they keep some type of 860 express from Long Beach to DTLA. Why??? Remember the 450 from San Pedro to DTLA? Metro morphed it into the Silver Line and it immediately added at least 20 minutes each way to 450 commuters trip to San Pedro. If anything, Metro should bring back the 450 (rush hour – am & pm)

    Cannot wait for the Blue Line to reopen! Hopefully, we will get some relief on the Silver Line and people will stop getting on the back of the bus without tapping!

  9. The line is still riddled with issues. I thought this new blue was to fix the issues and refurbish the line. I have seen more issues now than ever before. I ride the train on a daily basis and these trains are by far the worst. Always issues with the line overhead, problems with tracks,The train seats are dirty and riddled with trash. Maybe they should include people in the new blue project to clean and replace these seats atleast since Metro can’t fix the other stuff. I could swear Ive seen seats with the same gum and stains for months because it grew a new life form after it was there for so long. But who cares right because since this line runs through the ghetto nobody cares about it at Metro. In my case I will say that the blue line has more loyal customers than any other line because this line has more poor and middle class citizens like me that depend on this train for transportation. But I truly feel that this is the oldest and most forgotten line Metro has. If you don’t believe me go to the Expo line and Gold Line you’ll see the difference in trains. It’s like riding Business class to the third class on the Titanic.

    • You think riding on the Gold and Expo line is like riding business class?? LMAO!! If it’s okay to ask, have you ridden a public transit rail line in Europe or Asia?? Public Transit in America is a joke in general.

      As someone who rides both the Expo and Gold I can assure you they can be just as trashy on some days.

      • Expo line in the evening past 7/8p coming out of DTLA ain’t always a picnic, I can tell you that. I once saved a dude from getting accosted by a mentally ill woman who thought she was on a daye with the poor guy.

    • Hi, the fabric seats are being switched out as trains are refurbished. This is currently taking place on the subway rail cars, and light rail cars are in queue.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source