This is 30

During the 1920s, Los Angeles began to abandon its rail-based system and plan its future around the automobile. Over the next few decades, buses began to replace streetcar lines. And privately-owned cars became the way that most people got around.

Since our agency was founded in early 1993, it’s been our mission to restore some balance.

The job was a big one. Some thought it was impossible. We were tasked with planning, constructing and operating a high-quality, multimodal transportation system that could transform the way people travel throughout Los Angeles County.  

And this year, our founding mission is on our minds more than ever.   

Why? We’re turning 30.  

Thirtieth birthdays don’t get the same kind of congratulations that quarter centuries and centennials do. They’re more personal milestones. Yet for many of us, they mark the transition into adulthood: the moment when the previous decade of free-wheeling self-discovery is applied to long-term goals. In your twenties, you figure out who you are. In your thirties, you find your voice.   

That’s why we’re celebrating our birthday this year by handing the mic to all of you: the riders, operators, partners, and planners who have helped make Metro what we are today. For the next five months––yes, you heard that right!––we’ll be sharing these stories on The Source as well as our social media channels, highlighting the amusing, inspiring, and sometimes surprising ways that traveling through Los Angeles on transit has sparked new ideas, opportunities and lasting connections.  

  • You’ll meet a former journalist inspired to land a job with us after writing a book about life without a car.  
  • You’ll meet a self-described “streetlight detective” who campaigned for a Los Angeles monorail as a high school student.  
  • You’ll meet good friends who met by joining a travel buddy program at their senior center in the San Gabriel Valley. 
  • And you’ll meet people who have been both riding and driving Los Angeles buses long before Metro came around.   

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley brandishes a ‘Go Metro’ license plate, an ironic gift from Governor Pete Wilson, 1993.

A press conference outtake for the Metro Gold Line groundbreaking, 1994. The Gold Line was originally going to be an extension of the Blue Line — but lack of funding got in the way. The Regional Connector will finally close that gap between the two lines.

Fans take advantage of the Dodger Stadium Express on its first day of service in 2010

Three bikers take to the McBean Bridge and Bike Path, 2014

We hope that these stories will uncover some of the incredible histories that surround us, and will encourage you to think about Los Angeles in a new way. We also hope that these stories will give you a broader scope of what we do, and what exciting projects lie just around the corner. Most of all, we hope these stories will inspire you to consider trying a new mode of transportation be it bus, rail, bike, micro transit, or on foot. So check out these stories, stay tuned for more, and leave a comment to let us know what you think!  


  1. Cris Liban, “On getting to know Los Angeles by getting around in Manila”

  2. Karla Aleman, “On electrifying the G Line”

  3. Glen Norman, “On campaigning for rail during the 1960s”

  4. Emery Cunningham, “On riding to the end of the line”

  5. Chris Balish, “On going car free”

  6. Cynde Soto, “On the struggle to get wheelchair lifts on buses”

  7. Anne-Claire Podlipski, “On buses and bike racks”

  8. Eileen Hsu, “On drawing on Metro”

  9. D.J. Waldie, “On Los Angeles at 3 miles an hour”

  10. Paul Hesse and Paul Salcido, “On travel buddies”

  11. Eloy Torrez, “On storytelling through painting”

  12. William Dorsey, “On 50+ years in transportation” 

  13. Heidi Jackson and Ronni Jackson, “On LIFE”

  14. Jody Litvak, “On being an ally” 

  15. Ray Dang, “On why I march”

  16. Siyeong Kim, “On where you can go with a GoPass” 

  17. Sacha Halona Baumann, “On being a passenger”

  18. David Ulin, “On the subway to the sea”

  19. Adam Light, “On the art and science of station design”

  20. Norm Emerson, “On the watershed rail-enabling 1970s ballot measure that you’ve probably never heard of” 

  21. Lakshmi Jimenez, “On growing up transit dependent”

  22. Norm Langer, “On how the Red Line revived my business” 

  23. Anika-Aduesa Smart, “On the power of ‘where'” 

  24. Frances Anderton, “On the unbearable lightness of LA Metro” 

  25. Avital Barnea, “On living multimodally”

  26. Guillermo Goytia, “On the family business” 

  27. James Rojas, “On the genesis of Metro” 

  28. Diane Frazier, “On my journey from bus operator to senior executive” 

  29. Clark Allen “On my introduction to Los Angeles”

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6 replies

  1. Stop increasing the highway budget each year while decreasing the transit budget! There has been a trend recently where you guys make cutbacks to transit funding while gradually increasing the freeway widening budget. The transit budget used to be much higher relative to the latter than it is today. And let’s be honest, these highway projects aren’t “multimodal” as they are almost entirely for the benefit of drivers, as buses won’t benefit unless they are given dedicated lanes or at the very least, highly controlled access toll lanes like on the 110.

    • Thanks for increasing the highway budget each year while decreasing the transit budget! There has been a trend recently where you guys make cutbacks to transit funding while gradually increasing the freeway widening budget. The transit budget used to be much higher relative to the latter than it is today. And let’s be honest, these transit projects aren’t “multimodal” as they are almost entirely for the benefit of very few stuck up cyclists, as drivers (the majority of commuters) won’t benefit unless they are allowed to retain general purpose lanes or at the very least, remove limited access toll lanes like on the 110.

      • You literally have an entire street grid to drive anywhere in the city, set up primarily for you in your car. Having a few of those streets here and there which are made safer for walking, biking, and having lanes for buses is a perfectly reasonable proposition. You taking issue with that highlights the bigger problem in this city. A good portion of those commuters also would be using other modes if it was more convenient but can’t because it’s been made infeasible by car dominant infrastructure. LA is going to be dragged into the 21st century. You and others attached to the post WWII vision of LA might try to hold that off a bit longer, but it’s going to happen sooner or later.

      • As I already explained: many people choose to evade the fares on rail and smoke heavily. I witnessed this on the Redondo Beach C Line trip to Hawthorne/Lennox to go to the Hawthorne Planet Fitness.

        Torrance Transit is having their City Council meeting and I inquired about how Torrance Transit (per one of the bus drivers operating the Line 13) hired 16 new bus drivers. Hopefully, service on the Line 8 will be restored to what it was pre-pandemic: ~30 minutes frequency. I know Torrance Transit will soon update their services when the Transit Center on Crenshaw and 208th St open since that’s when the service change will take place. Because Line 2 and Line 5 will shorten to El Camino College and interline with each other a la Metro’s 211/215 and Torrance’s Lines 7 and 9, it would be a one seat ride from Del Amo Mall (Carson and Madrona) to Rolling Hills (Crenshaw and PCH). This may indicate that frequency will be changed on some routes. The most rumored was decreasing frequency on Line 6, from 40-60 mins to 60-90 mins. This was done to avoid duplicating Line 13, which also runs from HGTC to Artesia station. Torrance Transit ended up splitting Metro’s 130 at the Artesia station because they accused Long Beach Transit of duplicating their Line 6, which is bogus since Line 130 was in operation much longer. Long Beach Transit, in 2017, had plans to split the 130 at the HGTC, but Torrance accused them of duplicating their Line 6 (which runs a similar route between HGTC and Artesia station). Ironically, Long Beach Transit had plans to split the 130 at the turn of the century (late 1990s-early 2000s) when it ended at Fullerton. LBT wanted to acquire the entirety of Line 128 (which ended in La Mirada at the time) and the eastern half of Line 130 (Artesia Blue Line Station to Fullerton Park and Ride).

        I really would love to see the Line 8 go back to 30 minutes because I’m tired of changing buses (Beach Cities Transit to Metro) to go to Planet Fitness. If I go to the Torrance location, the 344 always gets crowded by the time it hits the Galleria from HGTC, whereas northbound trips get crowded by the time it hits Del Amo from Palos Verdes/Walteria. I chose to go to the Hawthorne location as transit is more frequent at that location than with the Torrance location.