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Are People Riding the Expo Line? Yes, But Not Enough Yet

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For some, the new Expo Line light rail has been a blessing. Others are complaining that it's too slow, hitting too many traffic lights when it reaches Downtown (some finicky Angelenos also aren't happy the rail cars don't look new enough--some are old Blue Line cars). Ostensibly, a ride from La Cienega in Baldwin Hills to the Seventh Street subway station Downtown should take 26 minutes, but many are saying it's sometimes a half hour or more. At yesterday's Expo Construction Authority Board meeting, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he was pushing Metro to work closer with the LADOT to synchronize traffic lights so trains move up and down Downtown's Flower Street faster. He also announced that Monday's ridership was 9,000. Sounds bad, but there're a few things to remember. One, the Gold Line eastside extension also opened to small numbers in 2009, but grows every month. Before the six mile extension opened, the Gold Line was getting a blip over 20,000 riders on an average workday--the extension has helped the Gold Line double ridership and it hit a record in March with 43,136 daily riders.

Back to Expo--with all the line's delays, it can be safely assumed that many don't even know it's operating yet. The route also hasn't opened its Culver City or Farmdale stations, which should goose ridership when they debut next month. Expo Construction CEO Rick Thorpe noted that dozens of teens from the Foshay Learning Center are boarding this week at the Western Ave. station, a good sign that Farmdale High School's students and staff will bring more riders. Meanwhile, Streetsblog took a night ride on Expo last night and said the cars were mostly full at 9:30 p.m. "I mean, it wasn't Red or Blue Line-full, but there was at least one rider on each side in every row of seats," writes the site's Sahra Sulaiman.

Curbed also inquired with Caltrans and Metro about why there are no freeway signs on the 10 indicating to drivers that they have an alternative to rush hour traffic. Metro is now looking into it. Hopefully, more news on that soon.
· Metro Diary: It’s 9:30 P.M?.Do You Know Who’s Riding Metro? [Streetsblog]
· Scenes From Day One on LA's Brand New Expo Line [Curbed LA]