After a glorious opening weekend marked by station parties and huge crowds lined up to ride train cars to the coast for the first time in more than 50 years, Metro's new Expo Line extension came down to earth a bit Monday. In its first big test as a viable option for commuters, the train ran into a few poorly-timed stumbling blocks.
The morning began with an unfortunate fiasco when a drunk driver crashed through a fence and came to a halt on top of the tracks (the driver was unharmed). As LAist reports, the positioning of the car blocked trains in both directions, forcing Metro to shuttle passengers past the obstruction by bus for over an hour.
Later, a train broke down by the Pico Station; according to the LA Times, it stayed put there for about 15 minutes, holding up other trains behind it and throwing Metro's new schedule out of whack. Similar delays were also reported over the weekend, with KPCC reporting that mechanical issues and safety concerns slowed the journey of at least one train by about 13 minutes.
New riders hoping to shave some time off of their morning commutes were probably disappointed Monday, but then, that's not really the point of the Expo Line in the first place. Taking a car—or as KPCC notes, a bike—will probably be faster than commuting by rail in almost any situation. The train, however, provides an option for those without cars, for those who prefer not to drive, and for those who would rather relax with a book and not have to worry about traffic. That is, until that traffic ends up crashing through a fence and sitting on the tracks.
Total commute time from office in Santa Monica (on 26th and Colorado) to apartment in DTLA (Pershing Square): 1 hour, 15 minutes total: 8 minutes to walk from office to Bergamot & 26th expo line station (the crosswalk signal at Olympic and 26th takes a very long time), 4 minutes of wait time for the train, 50 minutes to travel on the Expo line train from 26th & Bergamot to 7th and Flower, 13 minutes to walk on foot from 7th & flower to my apartment on the north side of Pershing Square. Stood for the first 3rd of the commute, sat for the last 2/3 of commute. Train car wasn't too crowded, but definitely full. Didn't listen to music or read, just eavesdropped on a semi-NSFW conversation between the two women sitting behind me. @metrolosangeles #expoline #moreexpo #gometro
- Expo Line, meet the real world: A car on tracks, a broken-down train [LA Times]
- A Drunk Driver Just Ruined The Expo Line Extension's First Monday Commute [LAist]
- Nope, the Expo Line doesn't beat a car or bike in a race [KPCC]
- Expo Line Extension [Curbed LA]
- First Look at LA's Just-Opened Expo Line to the Beach [Curbed LA]
- Holy Cow, Look at the Lines For LA's First Light Rail to the Beach [Curbed LA]